Independent, full-service branding and advertising agency Toth+Co announced today the appointment of Kimberlee Eten as Creative Director. The hire comes at an exciting time of growth for the agency as it looks to expand its presence beyond fashion and retail, targeting a wider range of clients and brands.
Eten will be based in New York and lead creative teams in both New York and Boston.
“Having Kim on board is a huge boost not only for us as an agency but for all of our clients and future clients,” said Zack Toth, President of Toth+Co. “There's a parallel between doing great work and being confident that the simplest solutions are the best. Kim embodies this philosophy.”
Eten is no stranger to Toth+Co, having spent the earlier part of her career at the agency as Design Director from 2001-2011. She took the time to answer a few questions about what makes Toth+Co special to her and what she'll be doing in her new role.
Describe your job to us, what’s your title & what do you do?
We are at a transformative time in culture. Brands have to communicate the essence of what they stand for really quickly, you have 4 seconds. My job as Creative Director is about helping our clients adapt creatively and strategically, to leave a memorable impression, in a world that is moving about a hundred miles per minute.
Tell us about your background and what led you to join the creative side?
Funny, I went to college for math and science and then I switched to design. From a creative perspective, at their core they both are quite similar – they focus on problem solving, which is what I really love to do.
What are some of the perks and challenges you experience while working in a creative field?
I would say helping a brand evolve while retaining its authenticity is both a challenge and a perk. I see a lot of temptation out there to act quickly, which can jeopardize the equity a brand has established over the years.
What made you decide to return to Toth + Co?
Honestly, the artwork and the chairs. Hahaha. No, seriously, the people and standards they have.
How does the culture at Toth + Co influence the work you create? What’s changed since you were last there?
When I was hired by Mike Toth in 2001, I worked with Patrick Demarchelier. My first presentation was to Tommy Hilfiger. It was wild. Here I was, a junior creative and Mike throws me into the fire. Mike said he wanted me to learn from the best at the beginning because it would shape the way I saw things and make decisions. I am so grateful that my earliest experiences were associated with those who held a high bar. I’d say this high bar is what attracted me to Toth and still does today.
As Toth + Co is looking to expand beyond the fashion industry, tell us in simple terms why advertisers should consider your agency?
There are a lot of great agencies out there but Toth is a craftsman in storytelling. We were one of the first storytellers for lifestyle brands working with Ralph and J.Crew. And even though the way we communicate a story has evolved through technology, there is an artfulness in capturing a brand’s essence. So, I think Toth is an expert in authentic storytelling, which is really important today because it helps build social currency.
Do you have a dream account or brand you would like to work on? Which one?
My dream would be to work with a company that was asking big questions and was willing to take the right risks to find the answers. I love tinkering under the hood, I don’t always think you have to have a massive transformation to be progressive…I think you just have to find the answers that are right for the client and the business. I want to learn and then strip down the solutions so they feel intuitive to the client and big enough to drive change.
What piece of work are you most proud of?
My son’s preschool yearbook.