Back in 2018 I had a big birthday. One of those birthdays that make you really reflect on your life, what you've done, probably could have done that better, and what the next half looks like. I’m not alone, I know many of you have experienced that sort of birthday too. I'll spare you the details but basically I realized I didn’t want my ‘big job’ at 72andSunny, and I for sure didn’t want to live in LA anymore. I’d had the idea of launching Hailstorm so many times, dreamt for years of my ‘Jerry Maguire’ moment, but for so long kept working at agencies. It was probably the snacks and wine on tap ;)
But 2018 was the big birthday that made me say, “Fuck this! I'm doing it!” Then in true Michelle McKinney style, as if starting a BA consultancy wasn’t challenge enough, I thought, let's do it in Raleigh, North Carolina, where you don’t know anyone, there are only a couple of agencies, zero production, and make it a remote company! Risky pre-pandemic because many had trouble wrapping their heads around the idea of not actually having a body in a seat in the office. Laughable to me since in my experience a BA person can be sitting right next to a producer, account person, or creative, in a beautiful open-plan office, and still not be "looped in". Cut to a BA person asking, "When are you shooting? When did you even award?"
I landed my first client and worked my first project (a celebrity deal) while literally on the road driving cross country. We did the Route 66 song in reverse, arriving at Hailstorm HQ in NC in the Fall of 2018. I'll skip over 2020 because, to use one of Ryan Reynolds' new buzz words, it was extra ‘dumpstery’, but the rest is history.
Hailstorm is celebrating its 4th birthday today! It's been a rewarding journey and I am forever grateful to my husband who is not only crazy supportive, but is also a virtual swiss army knife, who has been so much help in those areas I just can't even. Then the team we’ve built. I have such love and appreciation for each and every one of them. They are the smartest, kindest, funniest group of amazing humans I’ve ever known. They show up with their A-game and a smile everyday. And I have such gratitude for the truly awesome client partners we’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with. All this to say that I’m just about ready to put away my "what if nobody hires us?" fear and raise a glass. Happy Birthday Hailstorm! Cheers to year 5 and many more! #hailstormio#happybirthday