When Holly isn’t busy helping companies define and share their story, she enjoys traveling with her spouse
Why did you start the business, what was the catalyzing event?
After being a long-standing employee, I approached the previous owner about making me a partner. We went down that path for about a year with consultants and lawyers. Then, Willie Baronet decided to get out of the business entirely and pursue other passions. I was 31 at the time and had to quickly decide whether to acquire the agency or watch Willie close the doors. I decided to take a leap of faith and purchased the agency from him.
How did you find your first customer?
Luckily, since it was an existing business that had been operating for nearly 15 years, we had a solid reputation and some steady business. I was also fortunate that my role was very client facing, so the transition with clients was fairly seamless, and we did not lose any business as a result of the change in ownership.
One of my first new customers as owner actually found us. The CMO found us online and called about a small project. That small project turned into being a longstanding relationship and one of our largest accounts in the agency’s history. It was a building materials manufacturer with multiple divisions across North America. That large account, along with a few smaller ones in my first couple of years as owner resulted in us doubling our revenue. It was challenging at times experiencing growth pains all while transitioning into my new role.
Describe your first office/location
When I acquired the agency, we were located in the White Swan building in the West End district of downtown Dallas. The building had recently been purchased and was being converted into the House of Blues, so we were forced to move. Not only was I taking on the business as my own, but I had to find a new office location, finish out the space, and sign a long-standing lease, all in a short timeframe. We had to move to a temporary space where our growing agency was literally on top of one another until we moved into our new office in the Landmark Center located in the West End.
What’s the most creative thing you did to get your business started, or kept it going through a tough time?
During the Great Recession back in 2008, I shared an employee with a similar business in my same building. It allowed me to retain the employee and cut my expenses.
What’s something quirky or superstitious you do as a CEO?
Not sure if this is quirky, but certainly anyone who knows me knows I love my high heels! Even while working at home during the pandemic and on Zoom, I’ll wear heels. They always make me feel a bit more confident and at my best when trying to make a strong impression.
What was your last job working for someone else? What was your favorite day job?
My last job working for someone else was at GroupBaronet, the agency I purchased. I’d have to say my favorite job is my current one as President and Executive Creative Director of MasonBaronet. I feel fortunate to have found a career doing something I genuinely love and that challenges me every day.
Where did you come up with the name for your company?
As a branding agency, we explored lots of creative names. But in the end, we landed on a not so creative name, MasonBaronet. Incorporating my name with the former owner’s allowed us to maintain the legacy Willie Baronet created while introducing me as the new owner. I was young at the time but looked even younger. Having my name on the door gave me a little more credibility when building new business.