- Starting a full-service digital media agency was nowhere near Alex Morrissey’s mind when he obtained his Industrial Design degree from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
- Now seven years in as a young entrepreneur, the Founder and Director of Esirom Limited finds fulfilment in providing a space where skills in the creative industry can be nurtured, while at the same time providing content creation and social media services to clients.
- “Honestly, starting the company was never a goal; it was something that sort of happened, so the main struggle was figuring out how to run a business – what are the rules, what are the laws for doing so. In school, I never did any business subjects, so it was all new to me. Also, starting a business when you have zero income is a challenge,” Mr. Morrissey states.
Starting a full-service digital media agency was nowhere near Alex Morrissey’s mind when he obtained his Industrial Design degree from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
Now seven years in as a young entrepreneur, the Founder and Director of Esirom Limited finds fulfilment in providing a space where skills in the creative industry can be nurtured, while at the same time providing content creation and social media services to clients.
“Honestly, starting the company was never a goal; it was something that sort of happened, so the main struggle was figuring out how to run a business – what are the rules, what are the laws for doing so. In school, I never did any business subjects, so it was all new to me. Also, starting a business when you have zero income is a challenge,” Mr. Morrissey states.
Through pushing himself to constantly evolve and gather business knowledge through networking, he would overcome this challenge to run a successful digital media agency that operates not only in Jamaica but also in Singapore and Indonesia with connections in India.
In Jamaica, the agency offers its services of social media strategy, online brand development, social media management, advertising and online campaigns, content creation through photography and videography, 3-D and 2-D animation and motion graphics.
“For Singapore, we basically do service work, so people contact us to do 2-D and 3-D animation services, and in Indonesia, we offer strategy, brand development and also photography and videography. In Indonesia, we actually have a small team of four persons there,” Mr. Morrissey says.
“Last year, we began working with companies in India through the Jamaica Promotions (JAMPRO) Business of Sustainability for Studios (BOSS) Programme. Through that programme, we were able to go to several conferences in France, the United States, Croatia, and India as well. On a trip to India in March 2019, I met with about 20 or so companies and we selected five of them to start projects with,” he adds.
These projects, he says included the development of an app, a software, a game and a website for internal projects at Esirom.
So easy was the process of communicating and working with the Indian companies, it resulted in a consultancy and partnership agreement between the entities.
The staff of Esirom would receive training from India in the areas the agency wants to explore and outsource jobs to India, while the Indian companies would outsource jobs to Esirom as well.
The Indian companies were so pleased with the partnership and work of Esirom that they nominated the agency for what would be its biggest recognition to date – the Global Entrepreneur of the Year at the International Business and Academic Excellence Awards in October 2019.
“In September, we found out that we were selected and would be flown to Dubai where the awards ceremony would be held. The entire team shared in the celebrations for the award even though only one person could go to Dubai,” Mr. Morrissey says.
“It was another good networking experience. Everyone there was carefully selected based on their industry. They had about 50 different types of awards, and they were won by people from all over the world. We were the only company that won from the North American region,” he adds.
Esirom Limited has won other notable awards for its work, including the Entrepreneur of the Year from Jamaica Chamber of Commerce in 2018 and the Caribbean Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards – Silver Award for Consumer Website in February 2020 for their work on the ‘Guinness Celebrates Dancehall’ campaign.
“The best thing is that we work with a lot of great companies that give us the opportunity to experiment with digital media because it is one of those platforms that you have to try things to see how people are going to react to it,” the Founder and Director of Esirom Limited states.
“Just because you like something internally doesn’t mean your customer is going to like it as well. Whenever there are new or emerging technologies that we learn at conferences, we apply it to those clients that are willing,” Mr. Morrissey says.
Some of Esirom’s clients include Reggae Sumfest, Seprod, Supligen, Smirnoff, Johnny Walker, Guinness, Baileys Irish Cream, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
While meeting the needs of its various clients, Esirom also facilitates giving back to the creative industry through its Bali fellowship.
“We actually select four Jamaicans and send them to Bali for two months on a cultural residency programme in one of the creative fields. So if they are writers, musicians, dancers, once it falls under creative and they meet the other criteria as well, they are eligible,” Mr. Morrissey informs.
He further informs that the fellowship is open to anybody in Jamaica between 22 and 29 years old.
“It is a self-directed programme, so we (Esirom) get you there because we cover your transportation and accommodation and we help you with some of the contacts based on the industry you are in. You then have two months to put together what your plan is and accomplish it. This would be the third year of the Fellowship with one person selected each quarter,” he adds.
The current Bali Fellow is recording an album and the previous Fellow wrote a short film that is now in production.
Being able to meet the needs of their various clients is something Mr. Morrissey says would not be possible without his creative local staff of 15. He adds that creating a suitable work environment with flexibility is also important.
“Up to last year we had 30 persons because we introduced a night shift to test the idea of having people in the creative industry who say they work well at night. They worked from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and we were able to do this based on the clients we had at that time. That’s just one of the things we do because we like to experiment as an agency to see if unconventional methods would work in the creative space for a company,” he says.
“When you work Monday to Friday nine to five, it is hard to find the time to get some personal things done. Internally, we have the option that if you work on the weekend, you don’t come in one day in the week so you get your time back,” Mr. Morrissey adds.
The agency allows staff to work in other Departments based on their interests without being totally bound to their job titles.
This allows for someone from the photography or videography team, for example, to work in social media or vice versa. This Mr. Morrissey says, helps to make the work environment fun.
For now, Mr. Morrissey plans to steadily grow his company and, among other things, expand into the South East Asia market by utilising the connections made through the International Business and Academic Excellence Awards.
“We also want to explore original content where we create our own TV shows, web series, short films and documentaries and put them out there. That is what we are going to be focused on for the next year. We just want to build out on that and make Esirom a more exciting place to come to work, because we are not just thinking about our clients but we are also thinking about our employees and what they want to do,” the young entrepreneur says.
Mr. Morrissey advises other young entrepreneurs and business hopefuls to “make a plan but prepare for that plan to change. Do not worry about the scary details, just break that plan down into smaller bits and tackle each one by one like a checklist and remember nothing is impossible”.