I’ve always wanted to work with creative masterminds. I remember watching the creative director of a local ad agency drawing ideas for ads in his artbook while I was working as a waitress in high school, totally captivated by how they could do that. I’ve always been fascinated by creative, artistic people. How can they produce something so original, so fun, so awesome?
I started my professional career at an ad agency, where I was able to work with artists as a project manager. I discovered my own creativity in the execution of their ideas. Like figuring out how to put a 3D elephant on top of a hotel or how to be in two places at the same time (didn’t quite solve that one, though). But after almost 4 years, I had to escape the agency life. It was draining me dry with the non-stop working schedule, too many clients you don’t really have a connection with and lack of personal recognition.
In December 2011, Jure Prek, an old highschool friend of mine, invited me to lunch. At the time, he was working as an animator for Outfit7, their team was expanding and they were looking for a project manager. The interview process was intense – even back then, Outfit7 put a huge emphasis on finding people that are a strong culture fit. About two months after my lunch with Prek, I came in for my first day.
My first day started out… strange. I was expecting a slow start… you know, a few days of wondering if these people even need you before you find your place. Here, I had that uncomfortable feeling for just about an hour before I got a call from Iza Login, one of the founders and Deputy CEO at the time. She asked if we could meet about a new project later that day.
At the meeting, Iza said something along the lines of “we want to launch our own online store – merch, toys, you name it. Let’s set a deadline and make it happen.” I was trying to act calm, but I was probably shaking with excitement… Here I was, on my first day, starting something totally new for everyone and we were just calmly talking about it like we’re experts. I had a thousand questions and zero idea how I was going to go about it, but I was determined to get this thing done and, somehow, not worried. About a week later, we had a good laugh together when Iza realized that was actually my first day!
About two months later, the Talking Tom Shop was open. We were making mockups and testing first products while also organizing a Hollywood event, working on our first video spot with Disney and developing a bunch of games at the same time. I’ve never had a stronger feeling that anything is possible. No Limits is one of our core values and as a start-up it had a big impact on our mindset. It sounds a little fake when you say it, but I felt all of our values at work, every day. We were all so enthusiastic, all anyone was ever talking about were our projects.
Today, it’s all a little toned down, which is how it should be. You can’t have over 300 people working with the same dynamics as 30. That would be chaos. But that same spirit is still present, especially in the microculture of each team. Today, I manage a part of the 2D team. We help develop marketing campaigns for new games, design logos for all our products, develop unique visual creatives for our internal and external communications, recently finished a holistic redesign of the Outfit7 corporate brand, and a whole lot more – visuals for all our social media profiles and webpages, creative support for video content and licensing, etc.
There’s never a dull moment and the way we manage to handle all of it without getting stressed out is by putting a lot of focus on our team culture. I try to say the words we use to express our values when I talk to my team, to show them how they apply to everyday life. So I’ll say “let’s make it happen”, or sometimes “own your #hit!” But that one hopefully doesn’t need to come up a lot…
When I came on board in 2012, there were 6 people working in the art department, 22 in the company overall and we had around 350 million game downloads. Seven years and (for me) two maternity leaves later and there are 50 of us in the Art and Design department, over 300 in Outfit7 Group overall and we just reached 10 BILLION downloads. In all this time, I can honestly say there wasn’t a single day when I felt bad about coming to work.
I’m really proud to be part of this story that we’re still building together. I get to contribute in meaningful ways and we support each other in everything. One thing that really meant a lot to me is how my coworkers reacted when I told them I was expecting. They were all so happy for me, even though we had a thousand open projects! I got gifts for both my daughters, updates while I was on leave and a warm welcome back both times.
I can’t pinpoint one single reason why I’m still in love with working here. From a personal point of view I feel like I’m accepted here exactly for who I am – even my witch’s laugh found a place on the team (muahahahahaha!). Professionally, I have a strong sense of contribution and the opportunity to keep growing. And then there’s the people… My teammates here are so creative at what they do, doesn’t matter if they’re artists or devs or anything else, you just can’t help but admire them and learn from the way they think. So I guess I got my career wish!