Brands on the Rise is a regular Ad Age feature spotlighting the marketing and business tactics of successful challenger brands. Read other installments here.
The California-based direct-to-consumer brand Flamingo Estate is many things: produce purveyor, candle maker, olive oil producer, 2021 “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list-maker and, overall, a company that is blurring the lines of what types of products can be considered—and priced as—luxury goods.
But for founder Richard Christiansen, Flamingo Estate was an escape hatch from the ad agency business in 2020. That’s the year he left Chandelier Creative (which he also founded and which is still active), where he worked with clients such as Hermes, Old Navy, Cartier and other major brands for about 20 years. As the pandemic began, business slowed, and Christiansen realized he was done.
“I was so fatigued by fast fashion and fast food and fake strategy … I just wanted to do something that was honest and real, where you didn’t need the strategy session or the brand explorer or whatever, because the stories were fundamentally and completely honest and real,” Christiansen said in a recent interview.