Published March 24, 2015 by Linleigh Master
So this week in our Career Questions series, we features Mr. Tony Loveless, founder and creative director at Fritz & Andre Marketing. I really think you will enjoy hearing about his business, the pros and cons of running a business, as well some great insight for future professionals!
So let’s get right to it!
Right off the bat, let’s hear a bit about you…
What got you interested in your field?
I’ve always been interested in art. In high school I was in the “Young Masters” program and received a fine art scholarship to college. After 2 years I switched from fine art to graphic design thinking it would be a bit easier to make a living that way.
Where/ what did you study?
I studied fine art at Southern Utah University and Graphic Design at the University of Utah.
Describe your career journey in 3 sentences.
I went to college where I thought I was learning what I was going to be doing the rest of my life. Then I got a job at big agency where I learned what I didn’t want to do for the rest of my life. Next was starting my own agency where I learned what I was truly passionate about and hoping to master sometime in my life.
Describe the most difficult job you’ve had in your life (doesn’t have to be ‘formal’ employment):
The one that sticks out in my mind was a fast food job. If just fast food wasn’t bad enough — one hot day in July I had to put on a 100lb costume and stand out on the road waving at people as Uncle Alligator. I was fired shortly after I guess my Alligator impression was not what they were looking for.
What and when was your biggest ‘aha’ moment you’ve had in your career?
My career has been full of small ‘aha’ moments it is hard to pick out one big one. I’ll tell you about two that stick out in mind right now. The first was when my CPA told me that I was in a service business (the same type of business that he was in) and that service businesses suck. You’re growth is always limited by talent and by hours. The second was during a brief consulting job when I found out how much I liked databases. I was hired to revive an automobile marketing division of a one-to-one printing company. I really liked that job and the team of programmers and sales people that I was working with. I guess the ‘aha’ moment was when I saw that there was a way to scale a service business with out hiring more talent and without being limiting by the number of hours in the day.
What inspired you to become a business owner & stay involved as a creative director?
I like being labeled as a Creative Director, they are known for being crazy and unpredictable so I can get away with a lot of behavior that would get most people locked-up. I like being put in a position of absolute – meaning someone absolutely loves your work or they absolutely hate it. In an agency nothing is absolute – it is all blurry – and no one loves anything or hates anything. As a business owner I am dealing with a lot of other business owners and they are not afraid to speak their minds. I know right off if they love something or they hate it.
Now about your businesses…
How did you go about starting your business?
A friend of mine from college was visiting from Seattle. We were talking one night and I said “I have enough freelance clients for one of us to work full time, If you were to move here you could handle the existing clients and I would work on getting more while still being employed” He moved to Utah the next month and we started AnthonyFrankin (Douglas Franklin Avery and James Anthony Loveless —our middle names) in my basement. He lived with my wife and I and our 3 kids for the next year. After that we had enough clients for me to quit, get an office and for Doug to move out.
5 years later Doug missed Seattle and left to be an interactive Creative Director for Nordstrom. I felt like AnF had to change it’s name. I mean the F was no longer there. But AnF had a good story and some really loyal clients so I didn’t want to change it too much. Fritz and Andre or FnA was a natural (Fritz was my first dog and Andre was our mechanic when my son and I were restoring a 1968 Porsche 911). Plus, FnA It was a favorite saying from the 80’s and had all the same letters as AnF.
What would you say is the biggest obstacle when starting your own business?
Money, Time & Talent. Start your company young before you’re married. Starting a business is grueling and hard and you hate it — but because you are passionate about it — you love it. It is a bi-polar love affair and It’s not fair to put someone else through that if he or she is not as passionate or invested as you are. But when you do decide to hook-up you have to give you and your company to your partner unselfishly. Never hold the fact that “they were not there in the beginning” over their heads. Having a good relationship at home is as important to your business as having good cash-flow.