Jamie Garratt plans to catch two waves in southern California: The one that sees the region slowly emerging as an agency hub, and those rolling in off the Pacific that appeal to the surfer in him.
The founder and president of five-year-old digital agency Idea Rebel plans to open a new office in Santa Monica, CA in November. It will join the agency’s flagship office in Vancouver and a Toronto office that opened in July.
The move was brought about by the company’s objective of growing with existing California-based clients, including surfing-inspired fashion brand Quiksilver, Warner Bros., Fox and Sony Pictures.
“We’re never really had the opportunity or need to have an office [in California], but we really want to service those clients better and expand our client base,” said Garratt.
California is a perfect fit with the agency’s culture, which places an emphasis on sustainability and active living, while also offering a “huge opportunity” for future business development, said Garratt.
“We know that we can increase our client base just by being there,” said Garratt, who will lead the Santa Monica agency. “There are really no agencies in L.A. and there’s a reason for that: San Francisco is the tech hub and New York has always been the business hub, and L.A. is more film and entertainment.”
While San Francisco is “saturated” with agencies, Garratt said there’s a sizeable market in southern California that requires agency expertise – and an expanding talent base to serve it.
“In the past 10 years it’s been really hard to find designers and creative staff, but we’re finding that it’s a little easier now. We’re able to enter that market now, which we couldn’t have done five years ago.”
Idea Rebel first launched in 2008 with a focus on web, social and mobile apps. The agency currently employs approximately 40 people between its two Canadian offices, although it is “aggressively growing” its nine-month-old Toronto office. Garratt expects it to reach 30 by year’s end.