Reflecting on making an impact in 8 years of service


On January 9, 2013, we celebrated eight years of creativity in service to our clients. I still remember our very first client. Flo McAfee of Summerland Studios hired me to design credentials and luggage tags for the 7th Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights March. It was a small project, but it was exciting to support such an important event. It’s actually the reason why I started SW Creatives…Flo wanted to hire me for this job, so I needed a company of sorts. It was just supposed to be a one-off freelance gig—a little “something something” on the side—while I happily worked my day job for the amazing Caraway Group, a diversity PR firm in DC. I had no idea that by August, I would be an official full-time entrepreneur, navigating, or stumbling, my way through the terrain of running a creative business.

Over the years, wonderful people like Flo referred me and referred me some more, steadily helping me build my business. Early clients included organizations like the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft, and the National Council of LaRaza, along with a variety of small businesses across a wide spectrum of industries. Next thing I knew, I needed to hire my first employee and a variety of contractors to support our projects.

In time, it became clear that we wanted to commit our efforts to serving nonprofit organizations and other cause driven programs. We were given our unique talents for a reason, and that reason is to do good, serving those who are serving others. So here were are, "creative partners for your nonprofit vision!"

What is even more interesting, or even more inspiring to me, is that eight years later, we are still contributing to major civil rights efforts! We just finished the 50th anniversary campaign materials for the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, of which Senator John Lewis is the grand marshal, who incidentally was a leader involved in our very first project! And at the end of this month, our campaign to restore the votes of disenfranchised Americans, a leading effort of the NAACP, will dominate the Reagan Airport Metro Station! How cool is that? Our work supporting great causes was a part of our business DNA from the very beginning and remains an integral part of who we are.

Today, SW Creatives is far more than Shala Wilson Creatives (I know, I wasn't very creative with the company name)! I have two of the most amazing employees who truly partner with me and believe in our mission to serve those who are serving others. Not only are Ryan and Christy far more creative than I ever was, they are smart, diligent and all-around top quality people who are a joy to lead. They are changing the trajectory of this firm in the most positive way, and together we are going to change our communities and the world!

New 2013 SW Creatives Logo Mark

To reinforce the idea of supporting great causes in our brand, we decided to add a mark to our logo, unveiled for our 8th anniversary. The idea was inspired by a rope. With every great cause many people are required to give it proper strength and support. We like to think we are a part of that rope, woven together with the other strands, sharing the burden and the work. We are equally committed to the cause for which that rope was crafted. I couldn’t be more proud of the work we have supported over the past eight years, or more grateful for the clients who have asked us to be a part of their unique rope.

Shala W. Graham
Principal & Creative Director