We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachael Shayne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rachael, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I knew after spending years at advertising agencies and on the client-side at brands, there could be a better way to be creative and lead with a business mindset while also removing a lot of the obstacles to stellar execution. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset and I’m also quick to contest “best practices’ wondering if they still apply and how. As a woman who’s worked her whole career in historically male-dominated industries (advertising and tech), isn’t shy, is used to having an opinion, and is 6’ tall, the truth is that it was hard to find my place in corporate settings. However, in my own setting with a consulting and rapid-execution on-demand approach for branding and marketing, I can swoop in, stir it up, level-it-up and then retract. I think it works well for my strength and style and for the client-teams. And so, with that mixology of events, FocusedBrands was born.
What should our readers know about your business?
Our business is like the AirBnB of marketing and branding. We learn your business, your goals, and figure out where your brand lives in today’s marketplace. From there we stylize a team and get right to work helping companies grow. There are two key points of difference: 1, we embed with our client teams — since my co-founder and I are both seasoned marketing executives and operators, we can quickly become a part of the team and always think ‘bigger picture’ than simply what the SOW states. 2, we’re flexible and quick, there’s no reason to draw out the marketing process and overcomplicate it. Instead, we help focus-in on what’s important and activate it quickly. It is absolutely electrifying to work on projects that make your pulse quicken, with people who teach you things, and clients that appreciate the thinking and the execution that makes great marketing. branding, and comms. We truly have an incredible client base and each one has been a referral so we are deeply grateful in so many ways. I want people to know that every step along my career there was an almost (sometimes) imperceptible nudge from someone who cared enough about me or the outcome to offer a mention, the intro, the idea, the support, (sometimes we call these 5-minute favors!) in such a way that they helped shape this girl who came from a family where no one had gone to college and was given little guidance in general. Teachers, Friend’s Parents, Bus Drivers, Colleagues, People I’ve Been on Panels With, Professors I Met Through Board Membership, CxOs Who Take the Time to Create Leaders…it’s a long list of little nudges that are only obvious in hindsight.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would definitely start by going to Death & Co to have a cocktail, go to the Botanic Gardens, hit MCA, and have dinner at Tavernetta. We would hike up the trails from Chautauqua and spend at least 15 minutes meditating in the forest. We’d grab a great treat and coffee at Alpine Modern, shop at Cedar & Hyde, and Haven, and grab juice at Wonder Press. We’d window shop and buy earrings at J Albrecht and absolutely watch a sunset from the top of Rosetta Hall with chips, guac, and a margarita. We’d do a longer hike the next day starting at Dowdy Draw with Cured sandwiches in our on-trend Patagonia hip packs and we would for sure take my two little fur babies with us, Willie and Suki. We’d also be sure to hit The Market, shop at Modern Nomad, and walk Crush Walls assuming we had an Izzio cronut in our hands and some Crema coffee. Lastly, we would wander through and soak up the goodness and plantitas at ReRoot. (wow, these really are ALL of my favorite things…)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Three people stand out in major ways: 1. My husband, and Co-Founder, Jeff Donaldson. He makes this all possible in so many ways. He is ‘my person’ and an incredible father. He’s also amazing at making things happen and has a wildly creative brain. 2. My first major client, the CEO who encouraged me to do this by reminding me that different is good, and to shine my moxie instead of trying to hide it. He also offered me my first substantial project to get off the ground. Dan Ivanoff, CEO Schnitzer West 3. A male Chief Creative Officer who yelled at me to, “stop thinking” in the process of doing my job (well) and not only helping to win but effectively run, a great account. That incident started the slow burn of, “I’ll show you…”
Headshots: Joe Friend, Denver Colorado Client Imagery: FocusedBrands