Gather round, for we have news! It's the Treebird Year-in-Review

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments, oh dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

Yeah, that’s right, we’re pulling the Rent card. We are children of the 90s after all, and if we can only pull the Rent card once (we’ll be regretting this next December, we’re sure) it might as well be in celebration of Treebird’s first full calendar year of operations.

So how do we measure the year at Treebird? (Aaanndd, cue music.) 


In people, in places

Because we’re pretty much the same as Steve Jobs, Treebird began at home (in a Craftsman bungalow rather than a garage), but soon moved to a fancy new headquarters in Cuptertino, err, the Telephone Factory Lofts, with sweeping westward views of the Atlanta skyline and right-beneath-us views of the bikers and baby strollers of the Beltline. Outfitted with some nicer-than-our-own-house pieces from client Marty Mason Collected Home, the new office, which we moved into back in April, provides  the perfect space for our ever-expanding team of ‘birds. And impromptu dance parties.


Speaking of people, we added another. Tina Hrinda joined the team this fall to impose much-needed order on all thing production and scheduling, freeing Jaci and Paloma to concentrate their energies on creative work. Tina’s energy and dedication already have made a big difference in getting things done and out the door in a much less stressful manner.

Meanwhile, Paloma’s role has evolved from Jaci’s helper and implementer into a full-fledged designer leading her own projects. She’s still Jaci’s right-hand woman, and she’s also an increasingly independent thinker and concepter taking the design reins on various programs.

Jason continues to placate the taxman and keep Treebird’s finances and balance sheets as pristine as the cold-driven snow. His highlight of the year may have been giving the business to an erroneous bill collector so hard that the guy called Jason back pleading for forgiveness and begging not to be reported to his supervisor. That's the kind of stuff for which we invent awards. 

Patrick should probably be producing more blogs, but in the meantime he writes every client’s positioning statement, setting the foundation for their full branding programs. He also edits a fair amount of Jaci’s emails so they come across a bit more…well, just be glad that he’s doing this and if his touch is invisible, all the better.

Jaci, the finest triple threat since Barbara Streisand (designer, entrepreneur, trusted client counsel), just keeps holding it all together, maestro-like, with grace, aplomb, and a measure of moxie when needed.

At the end of the year, we can say our team is happy, productive, growing in ways both remarkable and appropriate, and ready for the next bone-tiring onslaught of work....we mean, all the opportunities that lie ahead!

In clients, in projects

We must get bored easily, because the roster of new clients we welcomed into the fold this year is more eclectic than Luna Lovegood. In addition to shoring up our traditional areas of expertise in food and beverage (Indigo Road Restaurant Group, Chef Marvin Woods’ Asante, Restauranteur Giovanni Di Palma’s Little Italia, Taste of Atlanta, Community Q, Popstars, Figs and Honey) and real estate (Butch Whitfield, Greystar Properties) we also made forays into the fields of craft beer (Bearded Iris Brewing), construction and renovation (JACKBILT, Bird Hollow), bowling (Stars and Strikes), horticultural design (Buckhead Botanicals), health and beauty (Aesthetic Cosmetics, Preciosa Soaps), neighborhood tours (Rum and Blackbird), fine art (Gregg Irby Gallery), and even custom-made chair accessories (I Got Your Back Covered).

Some of our bigger moments included the openings of Oak Steakhouse and the soon-to-be-open Colletta, both in the new Avalon development in Alpharetta, and celebrity chef Marvin Woods’ Asante, right across from Centennial Olympic Park; expanding the GARDEN terrarium line to include nine new styles; creating and launching a whole new website and way of self-presentation for Marty Mason Design Group; launching new websites for Stars and Strikes and Butch Whitfield and redesigning the existing sites for Indigo Road anchors Oak Steahouse, O-ku, Oak Table, the Cocktail Club, Indaco, and the Macintosh; designing collateral for the Taste of Atlanta VIP party as well as the Stray Dogs annual event in Charleston; rolling out new branding for WH Stiles’ Fishcamp, Ann Quatrano’s new concept at Ponce City Market; designing the menus for Bar Amalfi; and creating a smattering of wedding invites, personal brands, and private event invitations.

While each of these clients came to Treebird with wildly different areas of expertise and widely divergent audiences, they also came in search of a common goal: the clear, evocative, and authentic articulation and presentation of their brand, however fledgling or well-developed it was at the time. And it’s the challenge of working with so many passionate people across so many interesting industries that keeps us going, keeps us curious, keeps us learning, and keeps us inventing new ways to answer the age-old questions of “Who are we, and who are we for?” 


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In midnights, in cups of coffee

That’s from the song. But can you get any more mid-90s bohemian than that? Where’s Ethan
Hawke?! Oh, ok, good, there he is. Phew. 

In challenges, in quandaries

You don’t learn except through mistakes. Grit is what makes you polished in the long run. You know, all that Paul Tough stuff. We are believers. So here’s a quick run-down of what made us pull out our hair or reduced us to sobbing puddles of former strong people this year.

IT continues to be a cruel mistress. Printing. Accessing the FTP. It’s a fickle friend, technology, and we do our best to stay on her good side.

Time is tough. We want to believe, McConaughey-like, that time is a flat circle, but it continues to be more of string that we always find ourselves at the end of. We long for the advent of the 28-hour day, and make do with the scant 24 hours we’ve been allocated as best we can.

Saying no is more difficult than it sounds. In a perfect world, we are the ideal fit for our clients and they are the ideal fit for us. We click together like a finely machined jigsaw puzzle. In the real world, things are a bit messier, and we’re fine-tuning our front-end processes more and more to ensure smoother partnerships the whole way through. Sometimes that means saying no up front, which is a hard assertion to get used to.

Not eating all the delicious food at client events. Working with all those amazing restaurants must be so awesome! is something we get a lot from friends and families in, you know, less glamorous industries. And it is! But all those awesome restaurants try to give you all their awesome food all the time, and now we’re right back to having to say no again.

Being devastatingly clever all the time. This is probably why we don’t blog as much as we should. But we can’t just put up a workmanlike blog, or send a standard holiday card…and now we’re right back to not enough time in the day.

Fine-tuning our presentations. We realize our clients are not in our minds as we magically and mystically alight upon a brilliant idea or solution for them. So we’re learning we need to do a bit more revealing of our process to show just how we got to those solutions, and not just expect them to “get it” instantly.

Keeping it real. Just kidding. Probably this should say “Exercising more tact.” But our honesty is endearing and refreshing, right?


How about love?
Measure in love.

Oh, Rent. But, hey, we do love what we do. And we love our clients for allowing us to keep doing it. There are days that don’t go so smoothly, weeks that test our mettle, our patience, our sanity, but we do not gnash our teeth and wish for anything different than what we have created, and that we keep sustaining, and that we would have no other way. Because there are more days and weeks and months of fulfilling, halcyon joy, and for that, we count ourselves incredibly fortunate. 

This is after all, according to at least one semi-expert source, our life's work. 

So thanks for being a part of it. And happy new year. 


Patrick Kelly