Designer Jessica Walsh launches her own creative agency, &Walsh

Jessica Walsh has launched her own agency after nearly 10 years working alongside Stefan Sagmeister at Sagmeister & Walsh. Walsh, who was partner and art director at the New York design studio, made the announcement on Instagram and revealed the name of her new studio, &Walsh.

Photography by Walsh

Photography by Walsh

"Huge, life-changing news!" she said, as she shared a vibrant image of herself dressed in white, revealing her new brand identity: a large and curvy ampersand. Leading the same creative team she was in charge of at Sagmeister & Walsh, her new company will be based in the same building on New York's Broadway.

&Walsh becomes one of the few creative agencies in the world that is led by a woman. Walsh published an article on her new website to highlight this issue of gender imbalance in the industry. She wrote: "Today, as I launch my creative agency &Walsh, I am overwhelmed with emotion: elation that this is finally happening, exhaustion from the non-stop work that brought me to this point & an anxious excitement about what's next.

"I'm also overwhelmed with gratitude for this privileged position I've found myself in. Very few women make it to creative leadership positions, and even fewer have founded their own creative agencies."

Walsh has been focusing on the lack of representation in leadership for women and non-binary people through our non-profit initiative Ladies, Wine & Design.

She added: "The numbers say it all: 70% of design students are women, but women hold only 5-11% of creative director positions. Only .1% of creative agencies are women-owned. POINT. ONE PER CENT. How does this make any sense when women drive about 80% of consumer purchasing? Diversity in leadership at agencies drives profit."

In a separate update, Walsh talks about listening to her gut and feeling it was time for a change, even though things were going well. "It grew from a passing thought into an internal monologue, until one day it was all I could think about," she wrote.

"Why change? Since I was very young, It has always been my dream to have my own studio entirely my own. It was my intention 10 years ago to start my own company before I met Stefan. Life takes you on unexpected paths, and mine took me towards his studio on 23rd street on a cold day in February. That meeting turned into working on several projects together, and we became business partners a few years later.

"This decade, working together went by in what feels like a second. I dedicated every ounce of my time, energy and passion to our work, our client relationships and growing the studio. We grew from a two-person design studio to a full-service creative agency of 25. I am forever grateful to Stefan for the ownership and trust he gave me."

What about Stefan? "This isn’t the end of Sagmeister & Walsh, Stefan and I will continue to collaborate through the Sagmeister & Walsh name on art projects like our exhibition and book on Beauty," writes Jessica. "Stefan does not plan on doing commercial work moving forward."


Get the best of Creative Boom delivered to your inbox weekly