We had the chance to connect with Rebecca Rochon, founder of Pivot and Pilot and were truly impressed by the ways she conducted her business. Her outgoing personality drew us to her and left us wanting to know more about how she became such a badass.
So we met over Kombucha and listened to her story.
Read more about how she went from being a storyboard artist to starting her own business in the interview below.
1- Where are you from/ where did you grow up? Any stories from your past that you'd like to share?
When people hear about my upbringing they are usually surprised by how stereotypically ‘Canadian’ it is. I grew up in a small town in Ontario in the middle of farmland. Everyone played hockey or figure skated on ice rinks over a pond, my parents put maple syrup in their coffee every morning, we get deeply emotional during Leaf’s Games… I could go on.
My family was also very business-oriented. I grew up watching my Dad start a business and his success was a huge influence. Back while I was still in university, I ran a small gardening service - Garden Girls. It was a small, simple business, but I got to work with my friends, set my own hours, and make more than I would have in retail. This was super exciting, and that feeling stuck with me.
At the time, I didn’t think of Garden Girls as much more than a fun summer job because my ultimate passion was for the arts. Before I got into design and marketing, I was an animator and storyboard artist.
Growing up, I always loved The Simpsons. I liked the way the show examined the world through a satirical lens and fell in love with the art form that allowed it to make edgy statements that a non-animated show could never get away with. I ended up pursuing animation at Emily Carr University and eventually made a short film. My film required a lot of collaboration from character designers, voice actors, other animators, and sound designers. Through this process I learned that I loved working with other creative people and that I was good at managing a team to create a finished, cohesive product. I knew that I wanted my career to be something where I got to work on a team to create something bigger or better than I could on my own.
2- What do you do/ what are you passionate about and why did you choose to do what you do? Any unknown facts about your line of work?
Well, my business card says ‘Founder/Creative Director’, but it’s a small team and I wear a lot of hats. I do everything from strategizing to designing to leading workshops to project management. At Pivot & Pilot we mainly work on branding, website development and video marketing, and I bounce between all three. I love what I do because it’s always changing - whether it’s learning about a new update in Google’s algorithms, staying on top of marketing trends or working with clients from various industries, we’re always doing something new.
Since it’s a creative line of work, we’re always pushing back against the stereotype that what we do is all fun and games, or that we’re just doodling all day. At the end of the day, we’re designers, not artists. We do apply artistic principles to our practice, but we ultimately work to provide our clients with something that solves their specific problems, rather than working towards self expression. I think it’s very important to understand that while we are pushing boundaries creatively to help our clients stand out, we are also doing something that is incredibly technical and business oriented. What we do is far more than just aesthetic.
Navigating the business of design is just as important as the craft of it. We have to be very good at solving problems, organizing project requirements, establishing goals, tracking metrics, providing iterations all while navigating many subjective opinions. We are always finding a balance between the clients’ tastes and the tastes of the audience that they’re trying to attract.
3- What was the driving force and inspiration behind creating Pivot and Pilot?
After I graduated, I briefly worked as a storyboard artist for kid’s television. Currently, the 2D animation industry is largely geared towards selling toys, and is struggling to compete with talent overseas. Because of this, the content was often uninspiring, and the workplace felt more like a drawing factory than a creative environment.
I wanted to create a career for myself that felt challenging, exciting, inspiring and that helped people.
During my time as a storyboard artist, my longtime friend and now business partner, Alejandro was feeling similarly. We both dreamed of starting a creative agency for companies that were excited about the idea of pushing boundaries, standing out and who believed in the power of strategic marketing.
We love Vancouver and thought, now more than ever is the time to start this dream business. This city is going through such exciting changes and growth - we want Pivot & Pilot to be a part of it!
4- Tell us about your team!
Where do I start? I have the best team ever.
My business partner and co-founder Alejandro Quinteros is incredible - I would truly be lost without his eye for detail and natural talent. There is so much to be said for going into business with another person that shares your vision.
Tim Lu, our lead developer, is a genius. He went through intensive training to study as a developer but what is incredible about him is that he is largely self taught. He joined us last year and transformed our entire company instantly. Alejandro and I were creating websites by changing the CSS overtop of templates to help them look different - this was a very limiting way to approach a website build. As soon as he joined us we were able to create faster, more customized websites that could do whatever our hearts desired.
Ian and Parnham are incredibly talented and skilled cinematographers. They specialize in creating the perfect lighting and motion in-camera, rather than relying on editing in post. Aside from their technical skillset, they’re fantastic with getting performances out of clients who aren’t used to the camera. They’re always up for a challenge and love what they do.
Erika and Andrea help us with our social media strategy. Erika is a great writer, Andrea has a knack for paid strategies and they’re both very fashionable.
Overall, we have a very supportive and fun atmosphere at Pivot & Pilot. When we’re approaching deadlines we hustle, but once we launch a project there’s always this intense relief that’s followed by an inevitable dance party and a few drinks!
5- Any new projects or future plans for Pivot and Pilot?
We are doing a pop up event with Soul Sugar Cotton Candy, where we will be giving away free cotton candy on lemon meringue pie day (or if you don’t have that marked in your calendar already, on August 15th). You'll also be able to shop a curated selection of luxury resale clothing and accessories from West Coast Chic and we'll have art installation by local artist Karlie Carpentier Rosin. All you have to do is show up and receive cotton candy - pretty good deal!
Here is the Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/
6- A quote you live by
“Whenever you leave behind failure, it means you’re doing better. If you think everything you’ve done is great, you’re probably dumb” - Louis CK
7- Your favourite lunch spot or thing to eat on work days
Recently, I’ve been really loving Tacofino and Joe’s Pizza. The branding in both restaurants is stunning and the food is delish.
8- Favourite snack
Any type of candy. If I have to pick something healthy, I would say dried fruit, but we all know dried fruit has about 1 degree of separation from candy. So I guess, I eat straight-up candy and “healthy” candy.
Published by: atelier in Coworking