We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Wolf and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Education, career, and work ethic were 3 big themes in my upbringing. The dedication and power of a hard day’s work were something my parents instilled in me from a very young age. For that reason, it’s not surprising that work has been a big defining part of my life.
When we talk about work/life balance in the traditional sense I think it puts a lot of pressure on the fight between our work and who we are as humans outside of work. Rather than trying to force work and play into timeslots, I feel like now I see work-life balance more as a bigger picture. What I mean by that is that there might be pockets of work that require intensity and dedication and my hope is that there are moments where those are balanced by moments of inspiration and rest. Thinking about this for me has taken some of the pressure to have everything within a 24 hour period and more about a healthy balance over time.
As Creatives, our industry puts a lot of emphases and focus on output. I think a healthy part of work/life balance is to also focus on input. What are we consuming (travel, different work, talks, new places, new people, new ideas) to ensure what we’re creating stays dynamic. So much of our holistic balance of work and life can make both so much more interesting!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’ve always been a bit of an insatiable and curious person. That has led me to have had a career that has exposed me to a variety of different facets of this industry. I started in-house and within two years quickly pivoted to the agency world. I started in a few smaller agencies on the East Coast but as very left and right brained thinker, a huge catalyst in where I am today was at LPK, in Cincinnati. At the time they were the largest employee-owned design firm globally and that fostered huge personal creative growth being exposed to hundreds of different creative leaders and artists. Working across the globe with our London office I was fortunate to create to global brand work for Pampers, Mr Clean, P&G Olympics and over time got the opportunity to build for brands like Jim Beam, Harmon Kardon, JBL, Olay, and Swiffer to name a few.
Since moving to Colorado, I’ve had the opportunity to work with agencies big and small. While my job title remained the nearly same for a decade, my role allowed me to create alongside creatives from Adam Vicarel to Guy Fieri with clients from local Bobo’s & Wilde to national brands like Dogfish Head Brewing to So Delicious. One of my favorite projects in that time was creating the first-ever 360º TV ad campaign for Starbucks CPG business. With a focus on brand strategy and design excellence, I’ve been able to understand how finding the soul and heart of a brand and putting a rudder on it can create really dynamic creative.
This is all-important at a high level for two reasons: 1) Because the environments and problems we are asked to solve craft so much of who we are as creatives and leaders and 2) Because at some point I needed to recognize that there was a big voice in my head calling me go out on my own. I started my own in 2017 and in 2019 found my now I found my business partner, Andy Yates, and founded what Stone is today.
Stone is a creative-led multidisciplinary design & strategy agency in Golden, Colorado. The dedication to being creative-led is a point of difference both for our clients and those who chose to join our tiny army as creatives. We are fortunate to support innovation, brand strategy, brand development, content creation and activation for big and small brands alike. I believe the power of storytelling binds all of those arms together in a meaningful way. I also believe that good design means good business if we start from the right questions. We’re in year 3 and will have some pretty major news in 9-12 months as some of the work we’re creating now hits market. I do believe the best is yet to come.
A word of advice––For those of you who have the voice in your head calling you to do something on your own or to take a business leap, don’t ignore it. In talking to other entrepreneurs, seldom does that voice go away. Leap with intent and the rest will come!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love crafting these types of lists to who it is that’s coming to town! I like a little high brow and low brow and everything in-between. Sunday afternoon music and cocktails at ESP Hi-Fi or Hudson Hill. Beers at New Terrain, TRVE, or Ratio. Cocktails at Middleman, Family Jones, the rooftop at Avanti. Show at Hi-Dive or DCPA. Hike in Morrison. Denver Poke Co, Vert Kitchen or Wings at Grillin’ Wings and Things-–take ‘em to Wash Park for a sunset picnic. Breakfast pastries at Trompeau Bakery and watch the sunrise at the City of Kunming Park. Vinh Xuong sandwiches on the way to Red Rocks. Dinner? Hop Alley, Joy Hill, Somebody People, Root Down, Safta, El Five, Super Mega Bien, Star Kitchen, Kikis Japanese, Domo. What’s cool is our small neighborhoods each have their own flavor and vibe and it’s best to get a little hit of all of them.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Briana Bosch is a unique spotlight for this page. As a fifth-generation farmer, she has created Blossom and Branch with a huge guise to local and sustainable farming practices. She offers a lot of education to her audience and is located in Lakewood. In addition to other things, I love to dig in the dirt in my off time and have spent some time in some of her floral farming classes.