A Year of Creative Agency Support & 5 Star Reviews ⭐
I'm Yelle Belle (she/her/elle), a Female Leader on the FLIK platform, and a professional weirdo who has become a magnet for creativity. Inspired by my uncomfortable experiences marketing through the isolated freelance hustle and the conservative corporate culture, at the start of the pandemic, I paused to create a balance.
I co-founded In Creative Company, a unique Creative Agency / Creative Collective hybrid model that fills the gap between agency, freelancer, and client. To our clients, we are a full-service creative agency. Yet internally, unlike a traditional agency model, we have 0 employees. Instead, we are a mostly women and non-binary membership-based community of 50 freelancers & solopreneurs who work independently until we’re ready to team up for a client’s big request. When our members are not working on our projects, they’re building their own businesses by getting inspired by our active Slack workspace and weekly events like Creative Pitch Practice and Co-working Sprints.
Together, our design, strategy, and management work has gotten our clients into New York Magazine, Business Insider, Nylon, Cosmo, New York Times, Commercial Observer, NY Mag’s ‘The Cut,’ TEDx, and Tribeca Film Festival.
In the collaborative spirit, I never work alone, which is why I totally love working with members of the FLIK community! In 2021 I worked with 4 apprentices: Ruchi Thukral (she/her), Samantha Le (she/her), Kassandra Jones (she/her), and Carol Xie (she/her).
Ruchi had been working for years on marketing teams in non-creative industries, something I was familiar with, and she desired to be an Art Director working in a more creative environment like In Creative Company. I guided Ruchi into this new role and witnessed her immense passion, strong vision, and articulate direction for the illustrations designed by Samantha who I paired Ruchi with. I had the opportunity to contract Ruchi for a paid client project after our apprenticeship and she proved her abilities all over again.
When Ruchi reviewed my mentorship, I was floored. She wrote:
“Working with Yelle was a breath of fresh air. In the creative industry, you usually come up against egos and very set ideas of what "creativity" or "cool" looks like, but it was the exact opposite with Yelle. She creates space for everybody's thoughts and opinions, and is able to use everybody's strengths to make something special.
I'm honestly surprised some crazy expensive agency hasn't kept her as Partner or Executive Creative Director “ECD,” and we're all the luckier for it! I always had Yelle in my corner, pushing me out of the box, and helping me build my confidence as a newly minted Art Director.”
Samantha is a second-year Design Computing undergrad at University of Sydney who wanted work experience with a creative agency. I was browsing the FLIK portal for an illustrator with a breadth of styles who could add dimension to our text-heavy InCreative.Co website and social posts. Samantha’s portfolio really impressed me and so did her execution during her apprenticeship. I think she even wow’d herself!
When Samantha reviewed my mentorship, my heart warmed up. She wrote:
“I rarely come across people who have such creative minds with positive energy like Yelle … Having Yelle as my mentor, a brilliant leader who really understands how to get the best out of people, I have learned so much and cannot stress enough how thankful I am for this opportunity.”
Kassandra stood out to me on the FLIK portal because of her videography skills and her long list of apprenticeships (aka loads of experience!) over the past year. During our time together, she conducted virtual interviews spotlighting our collective’s members then spliced cuts together for social marketing. Kassandra was able to hone in on her specialty as a docu-style video content creator and strategist for social media, rather than a social media manager.
When Kassandra reviewed my mentorship, I felt the collaborative spirit. She wrote:
“From the moment we had our introductory call, I felt completely supported and at ease speaking with Yelle. Throughout our time working together, I knew this was someone who always had my best interest at heart. We both brought our strengths to the table and were able to collaborate on truly impactful content creation supporting both of our visions.”
Carol had just graduated from an unfulfilling major at University then from an exciting UX/UI bootcamp. She expected to graduate and immediately find employment, which was not the case. When Carol reached out to me on FLIK looking for her first client project, I had just begun with a team of In Creative Company members to start on the UX/UI for our InCreative.Co refresh, so I added Carol to the team. Then for the last part of the project, Carol had to work alone to survey, interview, and design a new audience segment. She proved her independent capabilities to herself and realized her eye for style and detail.
When Carol reviewed my mentorship, I realized my leadership power! She wrote:
“Yelle really trusted in my ability and gave me the room to grow as a designer by allowing me to take on a solo project. Her strength is in gently pushing you to your potential - she sees the best in her team and pushes them to create work that is reflective of their talent.’
Overall, these 4 FLIK apprenticeships contributed to my business immensely. Ruchi, Samantha, Kassandra, and Carol were my accountabilibuddies who kept our ball rolling for In Creative Company’s website https://increative.co/ and social media @In.Creative.Company. While I inspired them to step into their confidence, they shaped me into a more articulate Creative Director and Project Manager.
I find the apprenticeship model to be a two-way street where our work together may be free monetarily, yet rich in value. Through FLIK, I learned how much more comfortable and rewarding an apprenticeship is than an internship. There’s no internship-style get-my-coffee tasks, or orders to do this-do-that. Instead, an apprenticeship allows us to get down to business to fine tune the crafts that we love.
Carol’s word of advice to recent female graduates is to get on FLIK! She will always sing its praises and says:
“FLIK is a really great place to get started to learn new skills and to add experience to your resume! This type of mentorship is really special and the remote option allows for such flexibility to accommodate anyone's schedule.”
My word of advice to female founders and future entrepreneurs and to anyone really is, don’t put your energy into mentoring just anyone. Think of what you need done, what your goal is, then find the raw talent who you can swiftly groom to get you there. Make sure their goals align with yours so they can feel passion and growth through the experience you’ve provided them. At the end of your time together, remind them of the power of LinkedIn recommendations. Celebrate each other's transformations and accomplishments for the world to see.
Thanks FLIK for this year of success! I’m back at it, interviewing my next set of standout apprentices to execute the upgraded 2022 social calendar I’ve prepared to reach more creative freelancers and solopreneurs and businesses in need of our creative services.