our story

posted by

Catherine Clark
founding partner

our company was born out of a chance encounter between two entrepreneurial neighbors – a strategist and a creative – who shared a curiosity and saw the potential for a better way of doing things.

from the get go it was clear there was a spark, ignited by our desire to have a meaningful impact on the industry. we knew that seeing a challenge from our different perspectives produced more robust thinking and better-honed answers. that connection was the impetus to start clarkmcdowall. we had no formal business plan, but we had drive and an idea we truly believed in. and so, we set out to change the game.

making the East Village our home was a bold move at the time, but it was a symbol of our independent spirit. walking into an old junk shop on 11th Street filled to the rafters with bric-a-brac, we fell in love with what it could be. looking past the clutter, we saw a future. we handcrafted our own desks, painted the floors and walls (and repainted them upon realizing burnt orange and taxicab yellow form a headache-inducing combination), and opened up shop. as a symbol of how we operate, both partners have sat side by side from day one. the open, collaborative way we think is a natural consequence of how we work. it is the foundational philosophy for how our teams are constructed, the talent we hire, and the way we do business. conversation over presentation. relationships over transactions. ideas, not egos. these were early tenets that we still hold dear.

from these very humble beginnings and intuitive thoughts, cm has grown into a thriving business. each and every client has come from referral only, never a cold call (a fact that is both terrifying and exhilarating). we are extremely lucky to have client partners that want to reinvent their brands and challenge category norms—and our body of work is a testament to that.

after 17 years, that initial spark is still very much there, ingrained in the culture of the company. we see it as we watch the passion manifest itself in our team, witnessing their growth. it’s there as we stretch into new fields… knowing we have even more potential, more to achieve—more visions to turn into reality.