Owners Kara Sax and Tamara Keller of The Sax Agency have been making major noise in the areas of branding, collaborative marketing, project management, advertising, and media as a whole. As a certified Black, woman-owned marketing and consulting agency, their portfolio spans a large and diverse client base. From dealing with Fortune 100 companies, athletes and entertainers, to startup brands and nonprofit organizations, these women make things happen for their clients.
Tell us how your partnership came about.
About 12 or 13 years ago we were introduced by mutual friends. As women we tend to have that instinct when we meet people, whether or not they will be for a moment or for life. We both knew we were “lifers” from the moment we met.
What made you start The Sax Agency?
We moved to Los Angeles around the same time both dealing with significant shifts in our personal lives, which led to us both leaving our corporate jobs and stepping out on faith to tap into our creative sides.
When we decided to move to L.A., Kara was speaking with a friend who happened to work in VH1’s unscripted division about a show concept we had and they got us an opening to come in and pitch the show! It was a whirlwind experience, as we ended up pitching our show to many major networks—BET, WeTV, etc. In the process, we researched and hired who was supposed to be “the best” marketing firm. We were sorely disappointed in their marketing presentation, work, strategy, and just overall execution. We immediately thought since we saw all these glitches in the matrix, and all of those skills came naturally to us, that this might be our calling … and here we are nine years later.
How does The Sax Agency plan on finishing the year strong in the midst of a pandemic?
Doubling down on investing in ourselves, continuing to be students of our craft, and plain old hard work. When the pandemic happened, we recognized this moment in time as the “Great Equalizer” and in many ways, businesses across the globe were starting over. We confidently took our position and took off. Our ability to be proactive and focused on moving forward was critical. We are now walking in our season of abundance and chance-taking and have refused to look back. We have kicked the roof off the self-imposed glass ceiling over our heads and realized that we in fact can go confidently toe-to-toe with the best firms in the industry. We are prouder than ever to not only lead with our talents, but also with the fact that we are a proud, strong, Black women-led agency. Our clients continue to “word of mouth” us to new heights.
What advice would you give to the aspiring female entrepreneur who is feeling discouraged in the environment that the world is in today?
Both of us are very spiritual people, prayer is how we start, get through, and end our day. Our advice is to focus on aligning your goals and objectives and making sure that your work ethic matches. Prioritize personal development work daily, show yourself compassion, and embrace a growth mindset. Be ready to take a risk, stay agile and connected with what feels right in your soul. We also have tried to practice more of a work/life balance than we had pre-pandemic—meaning we make sure we set aside time for family, working out, and reading. Making time to clear your mind is as important as any other appointment we fill our calendars with, especially in times like these.
From a monetary perspective, one of the keys to our success has always been “never be afraid to pivot.” We started out as production firm and are now a marketing agency for some of the most well-known brands in the country. In the process, we’ve also invested in restaurants, subscription boxes, and many other industries. They say the average millionaire has seven streams of income—so we are always looking for opportunities to dabble in industries that interest us.
What’s next for Kara Sax and Tamara Keller?
We are focused more than ever on contributing our time and money to cause-related projects and also expanding our agency’s reach—really aiming to not only exponentially grow revenue but maximizing our footprint in the industry. We want to sit on more boards and lend our voices to contribute to impactful D&I work. We want to leave a legacy. We are serial entrepreneurs and always have other irons in the fire. Out of everything, however, we are most excited about the book we are releasing later this year on self-sabotage. The book will provide both personal and professional testimonies from us both about how decisions we’ve made or have seen others make have impeded growth in many areas. This book is essential reading for all young professionals.
Dr. Jessica Mosley is a serial entrepreneur who loves teaching fellow CEO women how to show up in their truth & power. As Steward Owner of MizCEO Entrepreneurial Media Brand, Sovereign Care Home Care, Sovereign Care Medical Training Center, and Deborah’s Place for Battered Women, Jessica is busy making moves that impact her community & those connected to her.