Interview: Agency vs in-house with Maggie Bonté

An interview with Maggie Bonté, Brand Design Lead (Maternity Cover) at Revolution Beauty, about working in agency vs in-house in the Creative industry.

In this ‘agency vs in-house’ interview series led by Salt Senior Consultant for Creative, Holley Potts, we speak to customers from all different sectors within the world of digital to answer the age-old question – agency or in-house? This series is designed to give you a snapshot of creative career journeys and insights into what are currently happening in their businesses. Over to Holley…  

Introducing the vibrant Maggie Bonté, Brand Design Lead (Maternity Cover) at Revolution Beauty who gives us a short and sweet insight into her personal experience between agency and in-house… 

Holley  – Nice of you to join us here Maggie, having personally come from a fashion background it’s great to have someone so immersed in this sector too here on my series. I thought I would kick of the title of this series as my first question for you, so what are the main differences you have seen between your time working at agency between in-house?  

Maggie – Over the years I have been quite a diverse mixture of agency life and in-house, though I would say I am probably more in-house than agency. I have been lucky to be both as usually people tend to stay on one side of the fence rather than mixing too much.  

With my love of fashion and beauty, I have stayed within this sector and mastered this area. Having been a freelancer for a few years and then going permanent at Estée Lauder, I found that when you are in-house you are more conscious of having that work life balance whereas in an agency, we did pitches back to back until 4am in the morning! Whilst you do get paid overtime, it is still very demanding on your work ethic but also yourself as a person. Then coming in-house to Revolution Beauty, you get the chance to be more creative as there are different avenues that you can express your creativity and not just one route that you were brought in to do.  

In an agency you are being dictated by the client, whereas in-house its more free range, it gives you the opportunity to create a project from concept to completion and is solely owned by you which is really satisfying.  

Holley  – I hear a lot of talk around how you tend to work on a singular project at agency and there being more variety in-house, from your career, have you found this too?  

Maggie – Here at Revolution Beauty, I get to produce a lot of the photoshoots too, so my roles are quite mixed which is great for variety. It’s nice to get that whole balance as when I was at agency, I was purely in Art Direction. I wouldn’t say I love one more than the other to be honest as its more of a personal preference than right or wrong. I would highly encourage people to try agency side if they haven’t as I think it’s important to see how both sides work to give you a better holistic view of how things are perceived.  

Generally, agencies have designers purely to design and then Art Directors purely doing Art Direction, it’s all quite dependant though.  

Holley– With the restrictions of social distancing, has this stunted how you guys collaborate? Especially with photoshoots that tend to be very expressive and fluid in terms of being created. 

Maggie– It has definitely been interesting at Revolution Beauty as when we do photoshoots, we are wearing masks and socially distancing. Initially, I thought this would hinder the creativity being so present on site and having to be so physical with collaborating with all the make-up artists, stylists and models etc. but we have managed to make it work. 

We have meetings everyday with our content team to keep that flow of communication and team structure. Lockdown hasn’t had a negative impact too much on how we work, we still have things like ideation sessions where we take notes and then reconvene again after. It’s made people realise that we can do the work independently, and well too. I hope this way of working will be the new norm as here at Revolution Beauty we have certainly proved that it can work. 

Holley– I love asking people this question as I always get a different answer every time, what trends do you see coming up this or next year as a result of everything that has happened?  

Maggie - I feel next year we will start to see the true trends really emerge. Personally, I see illustration becoming a massive trend especially after speaking to a lot of designers around this. Then from there, you can progress to animations as they both go hand in hand. 

 There we have it, a little delve into Revolution Beauty and the life of a creative. I like Maggie’s quote of trying both sides of the path. I feel this is so important not just for designers but for anyone within any trade to get a more holistic view of the industry.  

Stay tuned for more interviews, coming your way. If you would like to find out more about the series or find out how we can help you with your hiring, get in touch with Holley via hpotts@welovesalt.com

Read more of our agency vs in-house interviews here. 

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