Strategic, creative, and production agency.
Whether you’re here looking for your next ad partner or to make your next career move, there’s one thing we want to make clear about this business—we all have a choice: we can either follow or Defy.
The foundation of great work is a strong strategy. It’s what guides the courses we take to get clients where they want to go.
We prefer open communication with our clients to learn their businesses, develop relationships with their team, and jot down the small anecdotes that lead to big ideas down the line.
We believe an environment that promotes our team’s physical and mental health creates an atmosphere of inspiration and collaboration. So that’s just what we do. Together we’ve developed a flexible workflow that allows us to influence culture from the inside of our office or from the inside of our homes.
Our investment in people grows well outside our workspace. We understand this is all bigger than ourselves, so Defy continues to serve nonprofits and the ad community at large.
When we renovated our offices at 230 N 2nd Street in the spring of 2019 we had no idea that only a year later we would be leaving it behind in exchange for several remote offices of our own. As we left that Thursday afternoon I doubt any of us would’ve predicted it would be a dozen months (and counting) until we returned.
But here we are.
Over this next week we’ll be posting a series of questions and answers where we talk through what it’s been like, what’s working for us, what snacks have gotten us through the days, and how valuable a good chair really is.
DEFY: When you reflect on it being a year, what is your reaction?
Karolina: It just feels like it happened so quickly is what I would say I guess. From where we started working from home to now. There wasn’t really a buildup—it was just like one day we’re doing it. I can’t believe it’s been a year. That’s wild to me.
Jackie: It’s wild that it’s been a year. It doesn’t feel like it. It feels like a time warp.
Also too, the start of the pandemic acts as a marker for the random things I did right before March. I remember those things so clearly. It makes everything I did right before March seem extra important—like the most fun I ever had.
Brendon: I’d like to think I’m Notradamus but I think I came off more like Chicken Little leading up to going home. Nobody really took me seriously—and for good reason—I think I do get a little overly paranoid when I see these things coming down the pike and nobody could have foresaw how massive of an impact the pandemic would have at the time.
But I was definitely spooked. I’ve always been like paranoid about pandemics and whatnot. I was pushing for us to go home for a while and I think I ended up going home just a day before the office made the decision to send everyone else home.
Ridge: I wish I could go outside. That’s what I think about that. I go outside like maybe once a week at most.
I think when I had things to do outside I would go outside to do stuff but if I didn’t have anything to do outside I’d stay inside, so now I’m just stayin’ inside—like 24/7.
Karolina: I finally—me and my roommate—finally made it through all of the instant rice that we bought. Cause in the beginning we were like not sure—if grocery stores were just not going to be open or our power was going to go out or whatever. So the instant rice—it’s finally gone.
DEFY: How much instant rice are we talking?
Karolina: It was a case. A case of boxes.
DEFY: What was it like being the first one working from home a day before the rest of us?
Brendon: It was exciting. Being like “oh wow, this is like new, this is different. Working from home, I’ve never done this. We’ll be here for two to three weeks. Everyone in the United States is going to quarantine at the same time. They’re going to stop travel. They’re going to stop flights coming in. That didn’t happen! So at that point I’m getting more worried. We’re sitting around taking the necessary steps to keep it from spreading…everyone I know is isolating, yet bars are still open. Erin Express. Chaos.
DEFY: Dana, so I take it you’ve been in the office the most of any of us this past year?
Dana: I am in the unique position where part of my job is actually the maintenance of the office space so I was the one member of the team who wasn’t fully remote. I spent anywhere from one to three days a week in the office during this period of time although the majority of my time was spent at home.
But I do like the break of coming in now and then especially since we’ve mostly been home for more than a year now. It feels like a treat.
DEFY: What is the experience of having the office to yourself like?
Dana: Actually, I got a FitBit this year and I got really into tracking my steps so it’s actually really fun to be in the office all by yourself because there’s nobody here—like none of our neighbors are here really, the building manager is only in for a couple hours a day—so like, I just run around the office a lot to get my steps in. Like between jobs I’ll just wipe down a room and then run around the desks for a few minutes and then wipe down another room. So it’s really helped me meet my fitness goals.
DEFY: Alisa, you’re in the unique position of having joined us since this all began. What do you recall about last year?
Alisa: I remember a week before everything shut down I came in for an interview and nobody shook hands, we sat distanced but nonetheless in the same room.
DEFY: So shifting back to the original question, when you reflect on it having been a year what’s that initial reaction?
Sean: It’s wild I think. It’s one of those things where like two weeks into it I was like laying on the ground halfway through the day. I felt trapped. I couldn’t leave. It was like taking forever, for like a month or two there everything was taking forever and now it feels like it went quickly. Like the last six months went quickly.
Emily: I have a calendar with photos of the kids, and the photos featured this month are photos from last March. When I flip it to April it’s going to be photos from last April, and so on.
This month, it’s clear that some of the pics are from March 1 through 10—my daughter at gymnastics, my son at the Sixers game—and then we have March 12th on, and it’s a lot of “Here we are in a parking lot, here we are in our yard, here we are in a parking lot again.” And I know that March is just the start and I’ve got plenty more months of parking lot photos to follow throughout the rest of the calendar. That’s a bummer.
Nik: It’s been a long exhausting, emotional year. It feels in some ways that it was longer but it’s forced me to consistently turn a page and tell myself a different story and find some silver linings. It’s forced a lot of things. I didn’t expect to have a home office really ever. I didn’t expect to be as on as many video calls as we are. It forced us to embrace technology to some but necessary for the company.
Emily: Last year, I started a running “Captain’s Log” post on Facebook. I’d post a sarcastic or funny or bizarre thing we did each day we were all stuck at home. I figured it would be a funny thing I’d do for like, four weeks. I ultimately decided to stop it at Day 100 because it was too depressing to think about doing it for like, 60 or 90 more days. It’s insane to think I could still be doing it…
That’s all for today. Check back Tuesday to hear about the only thing that really matters: the go-to snacks that got us through the year.