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Images courtesy Matt Borkowski
Interview

Erin Kleinberg & Stacie Brockman

11.21.17

The extensive amount of industry experience between these two women is so impressive I need a new word for impressive. Stylist, designer, social media strategist, content creator, and writer, are only a handful of the definable skills these women have combined. Erin Kleinberg and Stacie Brockman first met socially before Erin hired Stacie to manage social media for The Coveteur, Erin’s second successful enterprise. They went different ways when they left The Covetuer; both looking for new challenges Stacie headed to an advertising agency, and Erin focused on her clothing line, and starting a family. A year later, armed with agency experience and a new creative drive the women launched Métier Creative: an advertising agency targeting a specific group of consumers in the digital space. The women-led company specializes in launching new brands, and re-brands. Their clients include Moda Operandi, Dior, Ouai Haircare, and Stuart Weitzman.

Interview

You were both quite successful before launching Métier Creative – where does this drive come from?

SB: I think I’ve always been a bit of a rule-breaker with a natural need to take the road less traveled. Oh, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist (but I’m working on that!). My parents are two of the most non-competitive people, so they’re always baffled about where this insane drive to succeed comes from. Ultimately, I think it’s derived from my deep desire for independence when it comes to creative and financial freedom. I never want to be limited by time or money when paving my path, so I’m constantly lighting a fire to push myself.

EK: I grew up as the eldest child in my family, which innately sparked this desire to pave the way for a future that I wanted to lead. Inspired by the powerful women around me, whether it was my mom, my grandmother, or my mentors, I always had this passion to work for myself and scream out to the world what my intuition was telling me was missing in the market. I started out by designing my own clothing line out of my grandmother’s vintage scarves in University. This little passion project ended up being picked up by Holt Renfrew, a leading luxury department store in Canada, and later by Barneys and Intermix. When I finally had time to look up, it was 5 seasons later! I think a vast majority of where my drive came from co-founding The Coveteur, seeing an idea turn into an actual business and witnessing its success take off. From my clothing line, to the Cov, having two businesses under my belt that I can proudly look back on and say that following my intuition and passion to guided me towards their growth. Now, with Métier as my third, I’m so proud of the success we’ve seen in only two years.

How did the two of you meet?

SB on behalf of BOTH: Funny enough, we met for the first time in person during Rosh Hashanah at Synagogue. Talk about a way to start off the Jewish New Year! I’d been friends with Erin’s younger brother, Adam, and she was close friends with my best friend, Daniel. When Erin launched The Coveteur, I was carefully watching from the sidelines. I asked to interview her for a fashion journalism piece I was writing for school, and we just sort of clicked. She was like, “You’re really funny! Will you meet with my business partner? Will you run our social media for The Coveteur?!” Fast forward a few weeks later and I was the first intern hired and then the first employee. The rest is history!

Did you leave The Coveteur at the same time? Was it just time for a change?

SB: I left in March 2014. It was a pretty abrupt and bold move, but it was just time for a change and personal leap of faith. I had been approached by a few luxury brands to go in-house and spearhead their digital departments and ultimately decided to go to an ad agency so I could work on a range of brands. It was a beyond ballsy move considering I had no real idea what it meant to work at an advertising agency and be in client services. Jumping ship from the editorial/influencer world to the brand side gave me a whole new perspective. It truly opened my eyes to a new world and inspired me to start an agency of my own!

EK: Similar to Stacie, it was time for a change for me, personally and professionally. While at Cov, I had the opportunity to meet and connect with so many amazing people and learn about their passions, in the back of my head I was always thinking about my clothing line, which I had put on pause. I had a “if not now, when” moment and decided to see how I could take my experience into what’s next and year and half later, Stacie and I came back together and I’m so glad we did. In 2015, Métier Creative officially launched and I’m confident the best is yet to come.

Tell me about how Métier Creative is different than other influencer or brand ad agencies?

Both: Métier Creative is a true social-first creative agency. We don’t focus on archaic methods of marketing like billboards, TV spots or print magazine advertorials. We see the world through a social-only lens — what does it look like when you discover someone or something on Instagram or Facebook that makes you drink the Kool-Aid of obsessing over it until you subsequently buy it? We always think of Métier as this cool tour guide for luxury fashion and beauty brands to help guide them into this social-only world. Métier helps to create the cult status brands of today with the staying power to last tomorrow by focusing on building loyal communities and narratives that target millennial audiences by creating the thumb-stopping content, post-worthy packaging and memorable programs.

Influencer marketing is becoming more and more transparent – do you think consumers care about this?

BOTH: It’s the norm. Everyone is realizing that they’re a billboard and can influence people. I think people find it humorous now, depending on what the product or category is. Like, we all know waist-trainers, fit tea, hair gummies, teeth whiteners and drugstore body wash isn’t really “desirable” when plugged by an influencer, or really ever.

What makes an influencer influential? Numbers? A certain niche?

BOTH: Anytime someone has the ability to influence someone — whether it’s 1 person or 100+ people — it’s powerful. The numbers game is a lot of smoke and mirrors. A lot of the highest converters are micro-influencers who are influential to a small number of people within a niche area be it a college campus or sorority, or an entire community of 1M+ followers.

What is the biggest challenge when working on a re-brand?

BOTH: Convincing the client to see a new and sometimes, unfamiliar perspective. When you work on something so near and dear to your heart, it can be tough to see the big picture. We really try and push our clients to trust our creative vision and strategy and it can be challenging to lead them to envision the light at the end of the tunnel.

Can you tell us a few brands who could benefit from some of your expertise? What would you do for them?

BOTH: Any luxury fashion or beauty brand that still believes in a triplegram needs to wake up and learn about the Instagram algorithm. Unattainable, same old, same old is not going to work against today’s creativity and pace.

Métier Creative has offices in New York and Toronto- are you both traveling constantly or is one of you based in each location?

SB: I head up the NYC office and Erin heads up Toronto. We both spend a ton of time traveling back and fourth between the 2 offices, as well as LA and Miami. One hundred percent of our clients are US-based, so Toronto is more of a convenient HQ for us given our Canadian roots.

EK: In Toronto, I have my family, my home… it’s where all the magic has happened for me and I haven’t felt the need to move away from that. Being a quick flight away from NYC and our clients in LA/Miami allows us to travel frequently while working remotely. Our Toronto office has morphed itself into a mini production house, as we often shoot many of our content shoots out here in TO! We are also constantly on VC, text, conference call; it’s the modern way to run a business is to have no geographical borders.

Erin, what’s the best part of being a mother? The hardest?

EK: I mentioned I grew up extremely independent being the eldest of the kids in the fam. The same now goes for my daughter Parker. She’s the first born of her generation in the family, and she’s so smart and independent. She’s only two and she walks into school like she owns the place, has full on conversations with me, and it’s so humbling coming home at the end of every single day to her smiling (sometimes…terrible 2’s ATM) face. She makes me laugh more than anyone I’ve ever met and I love her to death. The hardest part is the obvious. Balancing my own business, a new home, my personal life, my family life, and succeeding in all are a handful, but, I’ve got no choice but to push through and make it all work; it makes me the most efficient I can be!

What’s an average day like for each of you?

SB: There is no typical day! The only common denominator is a lot of emails and conference calls.

EK: What Stacie said coupled with waking up to a sassy baby who wants to play before she goes to school everyday, followed by some more playing before her bedtime and my ‘me’ time (typically consisting of Netflix, scrolling through my personal IG, and hanging out with my hubby of course). There truly never is the same type of day – we are constantly in production so we are always on set and I am constantly traveling.

How do you shut down or turn off? Do you?

SB: Still trying to fully figure that out! My dog has become a great distraction, as he needs an excessive amount of attention, TLC and walks. Also, I love a good Flywheel class to disconnect and recharge.

EK: TBD. But I’ll let you know when I figure that out! I love going on walks with Parker, it’s definitely a relaxing part of my day amidst the busyness. Oh, and Pilates if I can!

What are you reading? Watching? Where does your daily inspiration come from?

SB: I read a ton of Vanity Fair, AdWeek, Entrepreneur, WIRED, Forbes and Fast Company. I watch the most polarizing mix of smart and dumb TV to re-energize myself. My DVR is a 50/50 mix of Dateline, 60 Minutes, 20/20, Shark Tank and Intervention with the other half being Bravo-centric reality shows like Real Housewives. I’m currently reading “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Venture Capital,” which was gifted to me by one of our mentors (and former CEO of The Coveteur), Janet Bannister. She’s a true source of daily inspiration for both of us!

EK: I find seeing the world through the eyes of a two year old to be shockingly inspirational, refreshing, and cool. Watching Parker get to experience everything for the first time; foods, nature, animals, colors, is killer. We are constantly trying to move the needle forward and think about creativity, branding, and design in a modern, fresh way and I learn so much from watching her reactions and ability to get excited over something as simple as an orange! And truly appreciate the things that are mundane in every day life. Beyond that I find true inspiration from random inspiration from old films I love like Blade Runner, Coming to America, and I am a true Wes Anderson junkie. Anything around me can spark something. The other day I was snapping pictures of my landscaper’s logo because there was a specific formation of stars that I found dope! Inspiration is everywhere, guys! Currently watching Insecure and can’t wait for Stranger Things. Also, The Defiant Ones is a must watch.

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