By: Tore Gustafson

Date: June 28, 2017

Several colleagues and I conceived of what would become Subtext in January of 2011, and we formally kicked the business off five months later in June of 2011. Since then it’s been a wild ride, which I’ve reflected on before. We’ve made some mistakes, we’ve learned a lot, and through patient diligence we have created an agency we are proud of.

A former client reached out to us on LinkedIn earlier this month to say congrats on our 6 year anniversary, but I reminded him that he and all our clients that chose to work with us in a city with no shortage of similar businesses are the people who helped get us to where we are. It’s our clients that continue to believe in us and stand by our work that have made this company a success.

This includes long-time clients like SMART, Equity Foundation, CFSWW, Outrigger, Gerber, Fishpeople Seafood, MTI, Confederate Tribes of Grand Ronde, and Clark Public Utilities. It also includes some of our newest clients like NEAA, WhereScape, and Newton, as well as our past clients with whom we continue to maintain relationships. We also couldn’t have done it without our amazing network of past/present colleagues, agency partners, family, and friends.

While my original partners have moved on, the team that remains with Subtext has built a sustainable, creative, and thriving culture. I couldn’t do this without them. Just as our collective client roster has enabled us to become who we are, our current and past employees helped to shape who we are today.

Thank you to all past/present/future clients and employees of Subtext and all our other friends that have supported us.


What We’ve Accomplished

I’d like to call out a few of our internal achievements of the year:

  • B Corp Certification
  • Monthly Lunch & Learns
  • Quarterly Volunteer Events
  • Regular team outings & happy hours including a fun day of brainstorming and play at Edgefield
  • Expanded employee benefits including FSAs and short term disability

These were long term goals finally realized! And this is just the first half of the year. We have even bigger plans for next year to coincide with our B Corp re-certification process.  If any of you would like to chat about B Corps and perhaps learn about the certification process, we’d love to talk.


Where We are Going

Our current initiative is to continue to build out our client profile with amazing organizations that share our values. For us this means both for-profit companies with a commitment to effecting positive change as well as nonprofits and government institutions working to address real-world problems.

This initiative is not only to identify paid client work. We’re in the beginning stages of formalizing our pro-bono work in a longer-term engagement. In contrast to past pro-bono work with a fairly limited engagement, we’d like to become more embedded with an organization over the course of a year to better address their issues and provide more value beyond a one-off engagement.

We’re looking for the right cause or organizations, as well as partner agencies or like-minded businesses to help. Do you have a favorite cause you’d like us to consider for this year or next? Are you already working with a cause and think we could help further the mission?  Do you just want to keep tabs on what we come up with and how we tackle this endeavor? Drop me a line and let’s discuss!

The last six years have been about building a sustainable agency that values business growth in order to take care of our employees. In the next six years, we hope to build on that success and also aim to make a lasting impact on the world!