This Agency’s Small Size Is What Keeps It Nimble and Fast

Though it hasn't figured it all out—yet

(From l. to r.) Co-founder Andrew Schafer, co-founder Jed Alger, and designer Sean Donnell Courtesy of Must Be Something
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

One of Must Be Something’s biggest assets is its small size. Co-founders Andrew Schafer and Jed Alger say the creative agency’s staff of just seven people lets it be “nimble and responsive.” The team, which is based in Portland, Ore., is surrounded by a creative freelance community, ready to pitch in for short-term projects and contracts. “People don’t need to be working for big agencies and companies; they can kind of go out and do their own thing and find good work by themselves,” Schafer said. Though the agency has worked with companies of all sizes (think Nike’s latest “Stopocalypse” two-minute ad and upcoming work for Burgerville, a regional fast-food chain), Alger said the shop uses the same process across the board. “I feel like we’re definitely a creative agency, but we have more of a production company mentality, where we’re just making stuff,” Schafer said. And unlike bigger agencies—such as Schafer and Alger’s former employer, Wieden + Kennedy—it’s able to sort through any problems with the client directly. Alger said the team’s still figuring it out, but that its lack of a “proprietary process” lets it have a casual approach. “We try not to get caught up in too much process,” Alger said. “We try to trust in our experience, trust in our gut and let the work happen.”

This story first appeared in the September 3, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@itstheannmarie annmarie.alcantara@adweek.com Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.
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