Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hey there! I’m Makenzi (people usually call me Kenz), and I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where I studied History, Psychology, Rhetoric and Writing. While in college, I dove headfirst into the working world and pursued internships at well-established companies or well-positioned start-ups, which allowed me to go out on my own really young. I still live in Austin, Texas, with the light of my life, Wilson the dog.
What exactly is East 72nd?
East Seventy Second is a concierge marketing agency that emphasizes branding and creative content. We are available to our clients 24/7 to help them grow their brand.
What inspired you to start East 72nd?
Before I started East Seventy Second, I worked at Bumble, where the most talented women (like Chief Brand Officer, Alex Williamson) took me under their wing and instilled in me this belief in myself and my talent. I fell in love with giving brands in the lifestyle space their voice, and wanted to dedicate my career to that. I also wanted to dispel this misconception that a company has to have a massive marketing department or marketing budget to create beautiful, meaningful, powerful content.
How did you come up with the name?
I get this so often! East Seventy Second is part of an old address – one of my favorite places my family and I have every lived – and, most importantly, it was available as an LLC.
Do you ever feel like starting your own company in your 20s people don’t take you as seriously as they should?
Frequently, people’s first reaction to East Seventy Second is confusion, like “how does this child have
enough experience to run a business and charge for services?” Admittedly, it is confusing, but only if you view it from an antiquated perspective. The working world is changing. Marketing and advertising are changing. And the reality is, the people who know the digital world (and do it best) are barely legal. So in my mind, it almost makes more sense for young people, like myself, to be striking out on their own and challenging the status quo of the industry.
What is your favorite part about running East 72nd?
Being able to define the culture. I quickly learned how impactful office culture can be, and wanted the opportunity to create a space that was authentic and self-care focused.
What is your least favorite part about running East 72nd?
Bookkeeping and taxes. I took one accounting class and got a C, if that gives you an idea. Ha!
What makes you different from other marketing services?
This is something I have to remind myself of a lot – because there are so many incredibly talented creatives out there. But, like all creatives and agencies, East Seventy Second has its je ne sais se quoi. We also prioritize authenticity and client relationships, our aim is to be an extension of our client’s brain, knowing the brand just as well as they do.
How do you manage East 72nd and your personal life/family?
I am surrounded by the most supportive group of people – my family, friends and boyfriend could not be more supportive or understanding of the work that goes into starting, running and growing a business. Being mindful and intentional about how I spend my time is essential, and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my life doesn’t look a lot like my peers. That said, being available to clients 24/7 makes it difficult to totally disconnect. But, I’ve focused on finding clients who are respectful and encouraging, which makes it easier for me to disconnect on weekends and evenings (and want me to disconnect from them less!). I also try to take a few days off every quarter to re-center and re-energize.
How do you spread the word about your company?
I’m so fortunate that all of my work is referral based, and that my work for my clients attracts new clients. That said, I do (obviously) have a consistent Instagram that helps me reach new audiences and grow brand awareness.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Talk to other entrepreneurs! Community over competition is a real thing, and I’ve never encountered anyone who was anything less than thrilled to pass along their experience. Also, don’t get too caught up in perfecting a business plan (especially if you’re not seeking funding), and just start doing it.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying?
I have so many that help re-center me when I start comparing myself and my company to others. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself that “time takes time” and “comparison is the thief of joy.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I’m actively seeking interns in Austin!