“That’s a terrible idea.”
A beat of silence. A blank stare. And then some words of wisdom.
“But if you’re going to do it, you’ll need a partner.”
The next day, Steve called Jerry.
“Hi, Jerry, my name is Steve Lingle. Our mutual friend and marketing professor, Mike Jones-Kelly, encouraged me to reach out to you. I’m starting my own ad agency, but I need a partner. Any chance we could get together and talk?”
“Sure, I’d love to,” said Jerry. “But I’m currently studying marketing communications at Trinity College in Oxford, England.”
“Oh. What are you, some sort of hotshot or something?” Steve asked.
“No, definitely not.”
“Great. Call me when you get back to America.”
Jerry called Steve back when he got back to America. They agreed to meet at Hilbert College, an extension of their alma mater, St. Bonaventure University.
“Are you here to murder me?”
“No, are you here to murder me?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“Do you want to hear my idea?”
“Only if it’s good enough to die for.”
From there, the guys would continue to meet at an equidistant location: The Gowanda Free Library in Western New York. The small building—equipped with TV trays for tables—served as the first unofficial meeting space of Quilted Squirrel. Dusty stacks of dog-eared comics stared in silence as the two strangers got to work.
Here’s what happened next:
1. Steve and Jerry wrote a business plan and got a loan from an unsuspecting bank.
2. They opened up Quilted Squirrel, their new marketing agency, in Hamburg, New York.
3. Someone said, “Uh, we’re gonna need a top-tier designer. And fast.”
That’s when Steve remembered Chris White, a designer and website developer he worked with at a marketing agency in Amherst, New York.
“He says he’s burned out on the startup thing,” Steve told Jerry. “But he was always super supportive of my idea. He’s already got like 18 years of experience leading creative projects. And he did tell me he’d be willing to help out… maybe even for free.”
So Steve called Chris. Then Chris met Jerry. Jerry liked Chris and Chris liked Jerry. Steve liked that Jerry and Chris liked each other. And since everyone liked the idea of Quilted Squirrel, the trio teamed up to take control of the business.
Fueled by Chris’s creative direction (and now that he was finally on the payroll), Quilted Squirrel’s identity started to take shape.
There was a logo.
Then there was a website.
Then there was an immediate need for top talent from around the community. An account executive. Another designer. A copywriter.
One year later, Quilted Squirrel was fully staffed. Assignments came rolling in. People were happy. Quilted Squirrel was working. But the office got too small too quickly. After a year or so, it wasn’t just time to move, it was time to move up. New team. New clients. New office.
Time marched on. Work came in and projects went out. Life happened. People left. People came back. Most surprising of all, nobody got murdered.
Ten years later, Quilted Squirrel is still going strong. As a full-scale marketing agency in Orchard Park, New York, Quilted Squirrel is branding businesses, building websites, producing videos, and developing marketing campaigns for clients all across Western New York.
So that’s the story, more or less. As for the work? The staffers? The experience? It all looked—and continues to look—something like this…
Let’s do something!
You’re invited to join us as we embark on another 10+ years of marketing in Western New York. Wanna be a part of it? Let’s do it. Contact us online or call us at 716.926.9266. ✌️
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