Boutique Shop Closes

With misty eyes and a few margaritas, staffers at Robaire and Hogshead last week digested the news that the agency’s two principals are moving on.

The 10-person creative boutique in Venice, Calif., formed in March 1998 by Sally Hogshead and Jean Robaire, is folding due to a clash between the two over long-term business goals. While they took pains to stress there were no creative differences or acrimony involved, they took the unusual step of issuing a release outlining their specific differences.

“Jean Robaire is interested in continuing to focus on the creative end of the business, while Sally Hogshead wants to grow an agency,” said the statement. Both said they were exploring their options, but neither was set to announce definitive plans.

“It’s just a question of philosophical differences,” said Hogshead, 31. “I have a few options, but what I want to do is build an agency and build brands.” She said the decision was unrelated to the birth of her first child six months ago.

Robaire, 43, said the parting was sad but unavoidable. “We and the staff were very tearful about this. But Sally wanted to take an agency and grow it like crazy. I like the format we’ve created,” he said.

The two had worked together at Martin Creative/L.A., with Robaire a creative director and Hogshead a copywriter. Previously, Robaire worked at TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, while Hogshead was at Fallon McElligott, Los Angeles.

In the past three years, the two worked on projects for such clients as Condé Nast, Viva.com and ING bank. They also did project work for agencies including Wieden + Kennedy.