Firstly, this is written in first person because I, Désiré, am telling the story and it’s much easier than hurting my head trying to write in third person. Also, this is my story too.
Trinidad, 2014: I was working at a very comfortable job, but we had this ad agency that just could not get it right. I had to request art files and fix them myself; I had to design and strategise the whole campaign when they were being paid to do it; I had to coordinate with the printers directly because they never even sent the files to print and we missed an important event; and they had ZERO concept of technology or social media or how any of it worked, so I had to do all the work in the end. The nutshell? I was fed up of mediocre businesses swooping in and getting paid more than me while doing 10% of the work; and I had the knowledge and experience to do it which only frustrated me more. Coincidentally, a mentor had a similar issue and wanted someone who could get the job right. In 48 hours of his proposal, I resigned and set up TILT Creative; with the hopes of conquering the world.
Hyped up on Gary Vee’s Kool-aid, I was ready to smash all the agencies and dominate the Caribbean, while the UK and NY were also in my sights. I had big dreams of running a multinational award winning ad agency that rivalled Oglivy himself. In 12 months, we were doing really well and gaining traction; while I was able to wing every meeting, completely blind, and still walk out with a deposit and a signed contract. We had an office, a small team, some big clients, and life felt like it was progressing. I learned that I hated running the business, and started missing the hands-on approach, but I didn’t identify this at the time. On the horizon of success, the oil crash of mid-2016 hit, and Trinidad descended into a recession. Haemorrhaging clients like I split my femoral artery wide open, I made a clinical decision to jump ship and leave Trinidad (something that I had thought of for years, but never had the opportunity to until then).
England, 2018: I never took a break from marketing, as it was my core career and branding became one of those skills that I was able to really flex in the UK. Rebrands and brand refreshes were commonplace, along with blogging and SEO. All of my skills were put to good use, and I was getting paid well for them. After my experience with managing a team, I decided to stay as a lone wolf, since I’m much faster and much more agile on my own. TILT UK grew quickly as I was able to access a much larger market, in a much more efficient way… LinkedIn. 2019 was a rollercoaster year; the work was pouring in and I was swimming in deadlines – and loving every moment of it. Then the pandemic hit. Luckily, I wasn’t affected too badly, since TILT is a small outfit with zero overheads beyond a handful of software subscriptions, and completely remote. Nothing changed in terms of process, other than hearing some clients fear for the future… which was very understandable.
TILT has grown so much, from offering social media services and managed marketing in 2019, to offering creative strategies in 2021, to becoming a brand development consultancy in 2023. We’ve shifted from execution to strategy, and from marketing to brand. My passion has always been branding. Logo design was one of my favourite things, before I really got into brand identity, and then things changed for me. I could no longer give clients, who had a weak brand, marketing services. I knew that it would fail or underperform; and I just couldn’t do that – this has never been about the money for me. Strategy comes naturally for me as I’m a born planner; I plan my life like a project manager, and audit it like one as well. So it was a very natural progression moving from creative execution to strategy and now I’m able to strategise in the branch of marketing that I’m most passionate about: brand.
I have been incredibly fortunate to have the clients I do. They are mainly entrepreneurs and small business owners, people like me, and they inspire me and are the reason why I do this. We encourage each other, help each other and are able to really push each other to move past our comfort zone and into success.
Coming to the end of 2022, I decided it was time for me to shift into consulting and focus on branding and the business segment I’m most passionate about: the ones like me. I was thinking about this for a long time, and over the years, I was consulting with clients, just not offering it as a paid service. But I wanted to offer something a little different – I wanted to share my knowledge while helping businesses, and that’s the premise of the branding sessions: you learn and work. It was months in development and years of refining in my head. And it’s finally real. I’ve been so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such amazing people, who continue to push the envelope and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
So why do I do this?
Because I absolutely love it. And I wouldn’t want to do anything else.