Clients looking for independent solutions with greater scale just got another option.
Travis York, CEO of GYK Antler, based in Manchester, N.H., founded York Creative Collective (YCC) and will also serve as its CEO. YCC comprises GYK Antler, production company Big Brick, direct-to-consumer footwear brand York Athletics, SaaS reporting and analytics platform Explorics, sports media platform Kompany39, drum platform Noble & Cooley, nonprofit Rock On Foundation and Iron & Air, a media platform with a content arm. YCC also has a strategic alliance with investment firm York IE, which will provide access to supplemental capital to provide scale when needed.
Pam Hamlin, who left her role as CEO of Boston agency Arnold last year, will lead strategy and operations for the collective as president.
Hamlin characterized YCC as a “a collection of very different ventures with a range of business models with marketing services at the core to accelerate growth across the portfolio,” with the disparate entities “united in the belief that creativity, quality and craft drive results and are a competitive business advantage.”
“Agency clients and our own brands and businesses alike benefit from the strategic advisory, marketing services and business operations of YCC plus access to supplemental capital through York IE when appropriate,” Hamlin told Adweek, adding that YCC entities and clients will benefit from “shared governance, oversight and back-office resources.”
In 2012, York combined Griffin York & Krause (GYK) and Antler Agency to form GYK Antler and started Big Brick Productions. Soon after, GYK Antler started building up its own emerging brands in addition to working with clients.
“It became pretty clear pretty quickly that this entrepreneurial approach was to everyone’s benefit, as it required an understanding of business acumen, inspired modern marketing and relied on a commitment to collaboration beyond anything ever seen in a typical agency-client model,” York explained.
Another Arnold veteran, Mark Battista, who formerly served as the agency’s evp for brand experience, also joined YCC’s leadership team as chief brand ambassador. Battista will also serve as managing director for GYK Antler.
GYK Antler CCO Michael Wachs will serve in that same role for York Creative Collective. Francis Ferrara and Marian Spurrier will round out the leadership team as chief financial officer and director of talent and development, respectively.
“YCC combines the freedom that being independent provides with the firepower of some of the most creatively inclined and business savvy individuals skilled at developing powerful ideas and growing businesses,” Hamlin said.
“YCC strengthens each individual venture because it enables collaboration that maximizes the business potential of each of the brands it serves,” she added. “The sum of the parts is absolutely greater than the whole, because this way of working results in collaborative programs that bring together the unique strengths of the individual ventures to benefit a client and/or a business.”
As an example, she cited YCC’s work developing a marketing program for a GYK Antler real estate development client, which includes cross-collaboration from York Athletics, Big Brick Productions and Iron & Air Media, spanning custom content across digital, experiential activations, sampling programs and brand partnerships.
York said that others could join the YCC fold in the future.
“We are always in discussions with creative entrepreneurs from emerging and established brands about how to accelerate their growth by becoming part of the collective as well as prospective clients of the venture,” he told Adweek.