Duluth’s A+ Creative Class

By swimcreativeswim creative duluth

People don’t live in Duluth accidentally. Whether it’s family, nature, lake views or winter activities, we all have something that draws us here. This is not a place for those who shudder at windchill or wince at the sight of steep trails. Duluthians are tough, hardworking, creative and persistent — which makes us great friends and even better people to work with.

One conversation we’ve been having at Swim Creative lately is how lucky we are to have the talent that we do in Duluth. From artists and actors, to musicians, videographers, photographers and printers, we are very self-contained for a city our size.

This is especially important to our industry. Duluth’s leading advertising agencies are creating effective, modern work that moves the needle for clients. These incredibly talented groups of individuals shape brands and connect with consumers across our community and the world. Every day, from right here.

As local ad agencies in a small community, a few things are very important. First, that we are financially supported by our region’s businesses and institutions. Second, that we agencies connect with and support each other through our shared expertise in today’s ever-changing marketing, business and digital landscape. And, finally, that we continue to attract and retain the best possible talent.

Recently, I have been traveling a lot for work and have noticed that cities with a tiny fraction of the natural and artistic amenities that our region offers are growing by leaps and bounds. The young, creative class relocating to those cities are after the very thing they can find here — great places to work, live, play, shop, entertain and eat. I believe that Duluth and Superior have it over those cities in spades, and I didn’t even have to mention our clean water and air, nor my seven-minute commute to work.

Still, Duluth and Superior are not being left behind. Our incredible surroundings, including local colleges and businesses, draw in future leaders and talent who are inspired by what’s around them. Just a mere decade ago, young talent beelined it back to the Twin Cities after graduation. Now, we’re seeing more and more students stay to find homes and raise families here. We’re proud to be one of the industries in this region that is attracting and retaining this creative class. As advertising agencies, Swim Creative and our colleagues have contributed greatly to keeping students here — and engaged — through teaching, internship opportunities and employment.

At Swim, we offer some of the best salaries in our market, life/work flexibility and healthy benefit packages — all of which attract this sought-after creative class. More and more, résumés are coming from outside of our market, and isn’t that the goal of every great economy?

I’ll end with this thought. Locally, ad agencies don’t always get the kudos we deserve, yet we are at the ground level of helping to nurture and develop the economy and culture so important to this region. Our employees not only drink beer, eat out and buy cool stuff, but often develop the brands that are putting Duluth and Superior on the map. There are half a dozen mid-sized agencies with 15 to 20 employees in the Twin Ports that have remained relentless in staying here, through thick or thin. And those agencies are putting out inspired, insightful work that competes on a national scale. Recently, our local agencies were recognized by Twin Cities Business and The Minneapolis Egotist, and for that attention, we are grateful. As our region continues its rise, it is my hope that the local business community will further extend a commitment to partnering with the talent that exists right here. Because, the thing is, when local supports local, the whole community grows.

Patrice Bradley, Founder, CEO & Creative Director
As the driving force of Swim, Patrice infuses every business challenge with an impeccable sense of design and a clear strategic focus. Her 20+ year career has been spent teaching, offering half eaten sandwiches to co-workers and generally being a Force for Good.

1 thought on “Duluth’s A+ Creative Class

  1. Well said, P!

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