By Noelle Coyle
A good partnership is born out of a recipe of success, and Amanda Toney and Aaron Kilby have clearly found the right ingredients to make it work.
“He’s a good 8-to-5 husband,” Toney says with a laugh. By Noelle Coyle
Kilby adds, “We trust each other,” as he ticks off the components that have made their company, The Taka Group, flourish. “Honesty, open communication, truly believing in that person’s capability.”
Both Toney and Kilby grew up east of the Mississippi — Illinois and Pennsylvania, respectively — but after visiting Arizona, they fell in love with the weather and the “entrepreneurial spirit” found here. Prior to founding their own company, they had worked together for six years at two different companies that became products of mergers and acquisitions. Fed up with the pitfalls of corporate America, they opted to become business partners and The Taka Group was born.
A full-service marketing and creative services agency, The Taka Group offers myriad services, including event planning and marketing, display and merchandising, product graphics, logo design, photography, custom printing, direct mail, ad campaigns and Web site design, among many others.
Located in Kierland Commons in office space above the retail stores, the coffee-loving duo have plenty of options for their daily cup of joe and the perfect setting for research.
“It’s nice to walk downstairs with clients to see what other brands are doing in retail marketing,” Toney says.
Launching their business during tough economic times was a challenge, Toney says, but they believed in their ability to work together and create something they could be proud of. And after just four months in business, their client list already reflects their hard work. Guess Eyewear, Banana Republic Eyewear, Paul Smith Eyewear, Oliver Peoples Eyewear, Xiascapes, and Earthborn are on the who’s who list.
An ironic achievement for the company occurred when it added Oakley to its client list. Toney and Kilby had previously worked for a company associated with Oakley and were offered jobs to help the company launch a new brand. The opportunity would have meant moving to California and working long hours, but they wanted to stay in Arizona.
“If we’re going to work 24/7, it will be for ourselves,” Kilby says.
Toney adds: “It was a tough decision, because we were invested professionally and emotionally in it. But then, when we got them as clients, it was the best of both worlds.”
They were also recently able to hire an additional employee. Sarah Colleran, who used to work withthe pair at another Valley business, joined The Taka Group as its art director.
Looking to the future, they would like to open satellite offices on both the West and East coasts to better serve clients located in California, New York and New Jersey. They also want to open a location in Italy, where they draw a lot of inspiration for campaigns.
“The bulk of our business is the sunglass and eyewear industry,” Toney says, “but we also want to touch all other sides of retail — purses, clothing, shoes — we want to hit all of the markets.”