Why local advertising vet Andrea Wiley chose to join Hemline — and what the agency's plans are for the future

In 2003, Cynthia Saatkamp and Kelley Morice launched Hemline on the second floor at 506 S. Main St. with one conference room table that they set up along the window. And since then, that’s where the creative marketing agency has remained, as other businesses have come and gone, and the area's landscape has evolved.

“We've seen South Main go up and down through the years,” Saatkamp said. “Every real estate boom, every financial boom.”

But while Hemline’s location hasn’t changed, its operations have. The space that once just had a conference table is now full of chic furniture, desks, art, and advertising awards. The all-female team that started with two people now has 10, six of whom work from the office. And its duo of partners — Saatkamp and Morice — has become a trio.

Because in October, Hemline hired a third partner and director of client services: Andrea Wiley, the VP of accountant management with Doug Carpenter + Associates (DCA).

Here’s how Hemline brought Wiley into the fold — and what the agency’s plans are for 2023 and beyond as it approaches its 20th anniversary and looks to the future.

Recruiting Wiley to Hemline

The decision to bring on Wiley didn’t happen overnight. Saatkamp and Morice had started discussing the possibility of bringing on a partner about five years ago, and got serious about finding that person last year.

“We are 100% hands-on [for] our clients, as well as running the business,” Saatkamp said. “We can't really grow if we don't have more of that hands-on [interaction]. So, we started looking at who would we bring in, 'Who would be that as the third prong of our stool, to make it really stable? Who's super smart? Who’s engaged in the community?'”

At one point, they considered doing a national search, but decided against it. They wanted whomever they selected to both have a strong marketing background and live in Memphis. They wanted someone who understood the Bluff City.

Wiley, they realized, made sense for the role. Already, Saatkamp had worked with her, as she had been vice president of the American Advertising Federation’s Memphis chapter — AAF Memphis — when Wiley was president; and the two had worked together to reinvigorate the organization.

“I was like, ‘We've known this person for years,’” Saatkamp said.

But it was one thing for them to realize Wiley was an ideal fit and another thing for her to actually join the agency. Wiley had, after all, been with DCA for over a decade. So, about six months ago, Saatkamp reached out to her to test the waters, and asked if she’d be interested in becoming a partner at Hemline.

Fortunately for her, she was. The Hemline leaders and Wiley took time to make sure it was the best decision for everyone involved; and in October, Wiley officially started working with Hemline.

“I was ready for a new challenge,” Wiley said. “One of the things that appealed to me coming here — in addition to the fact that I was working with two incredibly smart and accomplished women — is that there's a tremendous foundation to build upon. It was not starting over from scratch.”

But what exactly are Wiley’s plans as a partner with the agency? And just how will she build upon Hemline’s foundation?

Over the last few months, she’s been in listening and observation mode, to learn everything she can about Hemline’s business, as well as the businesses of its clients. She’s learning about the personalities of Hemline’s employees and gaining an understanding of how the agency operates.

By doing this, she can potentially apply a new perspective that enhances its processes, while allowing Hemline to both do more work for its clients and approach new clients.

“Any time you've been doing something for 20 years, you start to get the blinders on a little bit and you see things from one perspective,” Wiley said. “So, anytime you can bring in a third party, who can look at it objectively, you're going to start to see old and new things in new ways.”

What’s next for Hemline

Wiley isn’t Hemline’s only recent recruit. It’s also tapped Derikah Scott to be an art director, Kacie O’Kelley to be an account executive, and Sankedra Clay-Hudson to be its community partnership manager. And these hires come as Hemline sets a variety of goals for the future.

Over the years, Saatkamp maintains, the agency has looked to mentor young women who otherwise might not have had other opportunities to enter the advertising industry.

“Maybe they didn't have a classic ad agency background, but they were marketable in other ways,” she said. “We tend to look past the resume and really look at the asset a person is and can be. So, we have developed a passion for really seeking women in this industry and mentoring them, especially women of color, underserved people, who aren't in this industry a lot.”

Now, it wants to continue the push to diversify not just its staff, but the entire industry.

“We're pretty adamant about making it policy that we intentionally drive that, and we want to drive it for the industry,” Saatkamp explained. “We've talked about plans for, ‘How do we engage the students in the universities here? How do we help them better network and get into the industry? How do we get women and women of color to stay in the industry instead of leaving the industry?’”

Hemline also wants to add businesses from new sectors to its roster of clients, while maintaining a balance between its work with for-profit companies and its work with nonprofits. Regardless of the client, however, Hemline isn’t planning on putting its own name front and center.

“We tend to fly under the radar. We spend all of our time tooting our clients’ horns, so we don't talk about ourselves very much,” Saatkamp said. “It's why we've been in this space for 20 years and a lot of people don't know that. But that's okay. We like it that way. Because in advertising, you're really the master of making other people look good."

Lots of things can be true at once. It’s how you manage them that makes the difference.

Lots of things can be true at once. It’s how you manage them that makes the difference. Whether you’re just starting out or decades down the road and a bit out-of-touch, we’re experts at helping you find your voice. Our deep experience in customer experience makes Hemline uniquely qualified for today’s rapid business and consumer environments.

Let’s see what happens.

Contact us today to schedule a no-commitment brand exploratory conversation.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.