Alexandra Leigh is the Creative Director & Founder of ALX Creatives – a full-service, strategically-driven creative agency. Fueled by opportunity, creativity and coffee, she has spent over a decade helping companies find their voice and build their brand from the ground up.
Alexandra Leigh and her team of talented creatives bring to brands an integrated, holistic approach. By empowering her clients to find their own creativity, she helps their big ideas become one powerful story across multiple platforms.
Before founding ALX, Alexandra Leigh was the Creative Director at Elite Brands by ways of a successful career in fashion and editorial photography. The agency is headquartered in New York City and recently expanded to Chicago. Alexandra Leigh and Louis, her 8 year old French Bull Dog, split their time between the two cities.
Where did the idea for ALX Creatives come from?
For me, there was never an “aha” moment behind launching my business. It happened over a series of small decisions. The first, understanding that I did not want to be an employee! The second, I’m very passionate about creating a space for artists and creatives to grow, fail and learn. On the flip side, I’m very humbled by the opportunities we get to build platforms for brands to share and tell their story and ultimately foster their communities. It is very important to me to empower our team and our clients to have the ability to sell what they love doing. That has been our focus since the start.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Everyday is different. My career has always been that way, since starting as a fashion photographer. I love waking up and solving a new problem or creating a great solution for our clients.
How do you bring ideas to life?
While we follow an onboarding process for building brands, the real tangible ideas always come for collaborating with our clients. It is our job to extract the passion and purpose from our clients and turn that into a visual representation of their brand.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Living in a digital era, everything online feels like a fleeting trend. What really excites me is being nimble and adaptable, so that we can ride that ever-changing environment. We feel that pressure today, more than ever.
While the word “authenticity” has become a hot topic recently. In an era of digital noise and nonsense, I think it is the key to differentiating yourself. It is what separates you and your brand from your competitors.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Forward motion. No matter how tough it gets I wake up, show up and find solutions. The pandemic has pushed me to really own that way of being and get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Generally, I don’t think there is a “one-way-fits-all” for entrepreneurs. The whole wake up at 5am, workout, “be your best self”, might work for some… definitely not for me. I know great leaders who do their best work at 2am.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Leap into failure. My great failures have become my great successes. The real defining moments in my career have stemmed from falling. It’s the ability to approach those trials and tribulations and say “fuck it” let’s try again. It took me awhile to see that. Also, not being afraid to let people down when something doesn’t suit you. Like a bad client, for example. Shit rolls down hill and one bad egg can create a lot of unnecessary chaos inside an organization.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Kanye West 2020
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Communicating with your team and managing them individually. Everyday I get up and speak with my people, check-in and support them. They’ve become my family and leading with vulnerability and love has become integral within our culture.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Process. As a creative mind, it is very challenging for me to set a process and stick to it. Everything from pitching new business, onboarding clients, closing projects, and managing relationships. Process makes perfect! Rinse and repeat!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Trusting the wrong people in business and allowing myself to be used. It taught me to have thick skin and move forward fast.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Pivoting our agency to a more sustainable model. Now more than ever we want to help brands navigate the complex space in being socially and environmentally more sustainable and responsible. It’s the future! Consumers care, retailers care and we should all do our part.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I just spent $100 to buy a list of leads. I populated this list into a email drip campaign targeting top consumer brands. That money well spent will generate more money!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Asana and Google Drive. These tools help us manage our projects and workflows.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
How to Win Friends and Influence People
It might seem cliche but I think everyone in the biz should read this book.
What is your favorite quote?
“A soft, easy life is not worth living, if it impairs the fibre of brain and heart and muscle. We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage… For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.”
- To embrace failure. To fail gracefully and find balance.
- To lean into measured risk and not be afraid to as people for help.
- To keep moving forward relentlessly!
- To be nimble and adaptable in a digital age.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.