Climbing in the Clown Car

By Summer Teal Simpson Hitch

Given that this is my blog debut, let me start out with a hearty “Hello, everyone.” I’m Summer Teal Simpson, brand strategist, copywriter, and newest addition to the Focus Lab team.

A late summer hire, my trajectory with Focus Lab is a long one, originating in March of 2012. A dearly beloved mutual friend encouraged me to reach out to Bill Kenney. I was fresh into my freelance writing career, having stepped beyond the environmental non-profit realm to pursue my passion of putting words together. Said mutual friend noted Bill’s general awesomeness and Focus Lab’s skyward path and kicked my ass to reach out to them, as well every other web designer in town.

Here’s how that went down.

I heard back from him the next day, an uncanny turnaround rate for that time, I hear. We’d never met but he was as Bill is: totally laid back, kind. He was glad I’d reached out. 

I paused our correspondence briefly when I fell ill.

What those quotes insinuate, I just don’t know.

Turns out, Focus had what they needed in a copywriter. But he asked good questions just to have those answers on record (rates, experience, etc.) and he said he’d speak further with his business partner (Erik). 

I held that thought.

I reached out again two months later.

No luck.

You guessed it: Two months later, like clockwork, I bugged Bill again. Couldn’t take no for an answer.

He apologized for the radio silence, conveyed that they were still, in fact, satisfied on their copy needs, and wished me all the best. With the continued promise to keep me in mind if their needs expanded.

I accepted his reply with a swan’s grace. ;)

We would actually meet one another three months later, when the aforementioned mutual friend came back to Savannah for a visit. These speak for themselves.

The saga continued. Focus Lab distributed a holiday word find at the end of 2012. The first to find 20 words won a cash prize. I was too late to collect, despite finding an unmatched 50 words.

I tweeted my sentiments.

In late February 2013 I started part-time with ThincSavannah, the local co-working space where Focus just so happened to call home. Thinc was a great way for me to pair my freelance client work with a regular schedule. It also offered me the opportunity to get away from my supper table and out of my PJs and work with people. It was creative and fun and every day was different. And I got to headbang with cool people — like the Focus Lab team.

I begged for pizza when they ordered in on Fridays. A lot.

I forced them to engage with the Thinc mascot betta fish, Sashimi, and bugged them (more bugging) when they didn’t.

Under the guise of ThincSavannah, I congratulated their steady growth.

And I silently wept as they expanded to the second floor.

As I write this I realize how much I literally bugged the shit out of Bill Kenney. (Whoopsie.) But, as luck would have it, one fateful day in early August, Bill approached me with questions about copy. What kind of time did I have? What were my long-term objectives? As we talked, my enthusiasm skyrocketed. My time had come.

I knew then what I know today: my dreams were coming true. (Grab a tissue.) Spoiler alert: Everything you hear is true. Bill and Erik are brilliant, inspiring mentors. The Focus Lab team is an overflowing wave pool of warmth, humor, talent, and savvy. The work that is coming out of this office is top notch and a thing of beauty. The clients we work with are nothing short of awesome. We have Nerf gun wars and play on beanbags. We go camping together (well, we’re working on it). And I pinch myself every single day I walk through these doors.

The coolest part is that they insist that there are no accidents, that I was handpicked to join a team assembled with intention. And that they too are honored. (Grab another tissue.)

So, with Thanksgiving [kinda] just behind us, let me turn this historical post sappy and say this in closing. I am thankful for my friend who told me to email Bill. I am thankful for my short-lived position with ThincSavannah. I am thankful for my enviable wordfind skillz. I am thankful for the universe breadcrumb trail. And I am endlessly thankful for my future with Focus Lab.