Coffee Talk with Amber and Tiffany Davis of Context & Co.
The Setting is no stranger to women partnering together to create magic. We’re founded by two best friends after all and know the importance of women supporting and building up each other in a world that is not always the most supportive.
In the busy lives of women finding their way in creating their own business, we took a morning to sit down for coffee with the ever so beautiful, smart, and graceful sister duo behind the creative branding agency Context & Co. Founded after both sisters decided to forge a new path after previous full-time and freelance experiences ranging from various powerhouses such as Ann Taylor, Tory Burch and NBC.
Based here in NYC and with a client list boasting the likes of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Lou & Grey and Mother Denim, Tiffany and Amber let us in on how they’re able to juggle it all from the morning wake-up struggle and operating out of The Wing to balancing new motherhood.
1. What fuels you for your day? (your typical choice for breakfast)
Tiffany Davis: All the coffee! Amber is a badass creature of habit when it comes to hers — hitting an actual counter (and interacting with actual humans) in our neighborhood before the sun’s even up. I’m trying to get better about make-ahead cold brew. When this doesn’t happen, I pull the sister card to text her and piggyback on her order.
I’m breastfeeding so even if I don’t feel hungry, I try to keep good calories coming. Either with some sort of nut butter and jelly sandwich on my commute or splitting a yogurt and granola bowl once we land at The Wing to work.
2. Give us the rundown of what a typical day at the office is for you.
Amber Davis: At the moment, I have an on-site client twice a week and Tiff’s just coming off of maternity leave so we’re always re-calibrating our groove. We like to do a verbal run-through of our goals for the day on the commute or before our heads go down and our earbuds go in. It usually consists of a sprint of work and catch-ups in the morning, a venue site visit or off-site meeting (and fun work lunch in a new neighborhood if we can fit it in), and then a client status call or meeting that we’re hosting in the afternoon.
TD: Days usually end with reviewing something that has come in for a client or that we’d like to send their way for review...and Amber trying to convince me to go to Madewell “just to see what’s there” before heading home for the night (she’s pretty convincing.)
3. How did you two come to create Context and Co.?
AD: We’re lucky to have interests and tastes that overlap in so many ways. We’ve recommended each other’s work for years. Prior to C&C, when we were working full-time, Tiff was always the “last set of eyes” on marketing projects that I was working on and she would often come to me for thoughts on digital— and IRL— activation thoughts to pair with content.
TD: We also spent years informally coaching friends on building their own dream projects. One day, we were both just like, ‘Let’s take our own advice and build something for us, too’.
4. Proudest moment of your career so far? Biggest challenge(s) you’ve encountered?
TD: New client work is thrilling, but nothing feels as good or as legit as a client that wants to work with you again and again — especially a former full-time employer. In my case, Ann Taylor (where I was a Senior Editorial Manager prior to C&C) and in Amber’s, AHA Life and Kaufmann Mercantile (where she continues to consult on digital and experiential marketing projects).
5. Who is a woman (or women) in business that you look up to?
AD: The list is a long one. When I moved to NYC I was still trying to put my finger on what I wanted to do long-term but knew in the short-term that I wanted to build a community with the many inspiring women here. I launched a blog — nicepackage.co— which is how I met Amanda [Shine] in the first place! From the early days, I’ve been able to reconnect/jump start relationships with circles from our home city of Atlanta while also diving into groups like The Lady Project and spaces like The Wing to stay connected.
6. What is something you wish someone had told you before you embarked on your career?
TD: You think you’re a five-year-plan person, but you’re not. You’re a build-it-while-you-fly-it-person. And that’s okay, because you’re also a very hard worker and a very smart girl. So trust yourself a little more.
AD: The detours are meant to be. I started working in highschool because I love to be busy and build on something that’s all mine. That said, I’ve had a fair number of gigs. I tend to be a major planner when it comes to my work, so there were moments when I worried at the twists and turns my career was taking. As it turns out, past jobs have brought me tough lessons but also some of my favorite people and insights that proved to be more helpful than I realized at the time.
7. If you could describe the world of branding and content creation in three words, what would they be?
Both: Storytelling. Process. Mojo.
8. What is your ultimate goal for Context and Co.?
Both: A studio where smart brands can build their stories in authentic, fresh ways. A job where both of us can work our asses off, get compensated accordingly and impact the world and the people we love in positive ways.
9. What does the future of brand and content management look like in your eyes?
Both: We believe that the best brands, experiences and campaigns all come back to the spirit behind them 一 whether that be expressing how you felt creating it or delivering on how you’d like it to motivate the audience that takes it in. Rather than keeping an eye on everything going on in the market or being solely involved with a single POV, it’s walking the fine line between both: knowing what’s out there, getting clear about what you have to add to the conversation and why. In other words: The future of branding is a mix of woo-woo and strategy.
10. Favorite outfit that makes you feel like a true boss?
TD: Jumpsuit. Statement bracelet stack. Ankle boot or espadrilles, depending on the season.
AD: Definitely starts from the shoe, up. I live in black boots, and LOVE a surprise like a metal heel or cutout along the way. When it warms up, I’m a mule girl all the way. Then, my signature look typically entails a cigarette pant and menswear-style button down or cashmere sweater.
11. How do you like to unwind after a busy work week?
Both: Yoga dates. Wine dates at The Wing. Couch / wine dates spent trading outrageous memes and links to items of clothing that would look great on the other person back and forth on our phones. (Can you tell we’re sisters?)
12. Any advice for the future girl bosses of the world, particularly those who want to work in creative marketing?
Both: People value consistency and clarity more than you’ll ever know — especially in creative fields, where things can feel so subjective. Be invested in your work, but just as importantly: Get clear on what success looks like (to your boss, to your clients, to anyone that matters) before running off in your own brilliant direction.
Do what you say you’re going to do. It’s always better to over-deliver than over-promise. Be willing to admit that the best idea in the room might (or might not!) come from the most senior person in the room. It’s fine to work your butt off, but be careful not to avoid letting your job / title / role dictate your sense of self. Celebrate your wins, even the small ones.
Follow Amber and Tiffany’s journey helping brands tell their most authentic story @contextandco.
Story by Michaela Felix
Photos by Namrata Kalani
Shot at Cafe Clementine in TriBeCa.