Five years after co-founding creative talent representation business The Pond, Sue Worthington has sold her shareholding and set up another small specialist creative agency, Indiego. And The Pondʼs other co-founder, Leighton Howl, has bought Worthington's half of the business (with a second silent investor) and is looking for further investment to fuel expansion of the Pond model into Australian and Asian markets.
"Sue has been a key part of the initial set up and early growth of the business,” says Howl. “Sheʼs a highly skilled operator and everyone at The Pond will miss her cheerful presence. We all wish her the very best with her new venture.”
Worthington says she's muzzling herself at present and isn't speaking about the new venture just yet, aside from saying that it's a new creative enterprise. But she promises more news next week after the lawyers have had a look at the release.
The Pondʼs roster of “career independents”, including many of New Zealand's leading creative directors, advertising creatives, designers, digital creatives, and writers, now numbers more than 100.
“While traditional agencies and businesses are finding it difficult to retain and attract good people because of the tight economy and better wages across the Tasman, weʼre actually welcoming a lot more people on board at The Pond," Howl says. "A large proportion of those people are ex-pats returning to New Zealand and new migrants looking to establish themselves in our market."
He says the reason for this is simple: "The Pond offers independently-minded, highly skilled professionals the chance to work flexibly and nimbly for a wide variety of clients with a reasonable degree of income certainty. It has proved to be a highly attractive package for talented people who want to take their career into their own hands.”
After a period of flat growth through the middle of last year, The Pond has experienced a marked upswing in business since November, as many agencies have embraced outsourcing while very slowly considering their long-term need for more full-time hirings.
“Agencies of all sizes find our service attractive because it enables them to keep staff overheads low while at the same time contracting in creative specialists when needed for specific projects. A real issue agencies often face with outsourcing is securing the ongoing availability of key personnel. What The Pond does is manage that talent availability for them—we can lock in the creative muscle they need without adding any overhead.”