How Two Best Friends Are Changing Los Angeles With Their Creative Agency The Edit

Forbes Lifestyle 1 day ago
Katie Durko and Lauren Fortner
Katie Durko and Lauren Fortner

Los Angeles-based best friends Katie Durko and Lauren Fortner left their jobs - in fashion and celebrity partnerships - to found The Edit, a female-led creative social media agency. Launched against the sunny shores of California, they are both dynamic and well-informed, leaving clients immediately at ease after even the first conversation. The Edit thrives, offering approachability paired with results. Their clients reach 50 million people per day on Instagram alone, and nearly 90 million consumers per day across platforms. They know what incentivizes shoppers and what influences millennials. And their catchy can’t-miss content and clever tag lines have led them to become one of the most talked-about female-driven businesses out there.

1. How did The Edit begin and what does it offer that wasn't already on the market?

KD: The Edit is not your typical agency. We both love what we do and remain highly involved in all the accounts we work on. When a client signs with us, they know they’re going to get our full time and attention and not be passed on to someone more junior. 

LF: We both have over 10 years of experience in digital marketing and weren’t interested in putting our names on something and letting other people run it or do the grunt work. I will caveat that by saying that while we are hands on, fostering talent and ensuring our team members learn and grow is incredibly important to us. We are committed to building the next generation of digital marketers, but never at the expense of the client. 

KD: Right – and we can be scrappy and agile because we make the rules. There’s no concept too crazy or too big to try.

2. How has the offering developed since launching?

LF: Our content capabilities and what we’re able to offer our clients has really expanded as we’ve grown. We look at what works and where we’ve been successful and adapt from there. We live in a world where algorithms are constantly changing, so we have to be quick to change too. In terms of our service offering, when Katie and I decided to partner, we had experience in the industry but from very different perspectives. I specialized more in brand partnerships for talent, while Katie had more of an emphasis with brands, specifically in fashion. 

KD: Working together, we can offer full-scale social media marketing solutions, from competitor analysis and background research, to execution of digital plans and influencer events. We’re Facebook and Instagram partners and are constantly tracking emerging trends so we can be an initial adaptor to the next big thing. Recently we’re focusing a lot on video, AR, and animation, as we watch what’s trending on social, what’s working for current clients, and what’s not. 

An Edit event
An Edit event

3. Tell me about what a client can expect from start to finish when they sign on to work with you?

KD: We tailor our solutions and strategies to each client. Nothing at The Edit is a cookie-cutter strategy. When we sign someone, we make sure to understand exactly what they’re looking for. We define and set our KPIs together, so we can best track success of the strategy. Each client receives a detailed on-boarding with a deep dive into past performance, extensive research on current processes and a competitive analysis. 

4. What are some of the joys and pitfalls of working with your best friend?

KD: When we win, it’s twice as great and when we lose, it is only half as bad. We get to spend so much time together, both at work every day, but also in our personal lives. Having that shared history means we are often on the same page or know what the other is thinking; we’re in sync. 

LF: As female founders, we’ve encountered our fair share of challenges along the way. Having someone right there beside you to battle those roadblocks, who intrinsically understands what you’re going through, especially a best friend, is really important. One of the pitfalls of working with your best friend is that you don’t have the benefits of a more detached, professional relationship.

Poosh launch event
Poosh launch event

5. What might surprise people to learn about the pros and cons of working with your best friend?

LF: The cons are that it is hard to turn off our “work” brains when we’re hanging out. There’s a lot of crossover between work and personal life, but that’s the nature of this business. We won’t know where one ends and the other begins, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We joke about always keeping tabs on each other, and we literally do – thanks to Find my Friends. 

6. Would The Edit exist without social media? Can you explain?

LF: Absolutely. Social media is obviously a huge part of what we do, but the creative elements and the marketing campaigns and the strategy that drives our social can all be utilized and optimized in other channels. If social were out of the picture (but please keep it alive, Zuckerberg), we would adapt our creativity for other platforms. 

KD: A lot of what we do – from the content we create to copywriting and graphics – is just a different way of approaching more traditional advertising mediums. We also do a lot of influencer marketing and events, which while heavily steeped in social media, is not necessarily a novel concept. We’re always alert to how the digital media landscape is shifting- it’s a part of our job to shift with it. We know that The Edit will look very different several years down the line. We plan on evolving with the trends to best serve our client’s needs. 

7. What is something that might surprise people to learn about digital marketing?

KD: Digital marketing is more complex than people realize – especially social media which can get a bad rap. People think it’s superficial or lacks forethought, like we’re just posting pretty pictures from our cell phone, but digital marketing actually is incredibly analytical. There’s a lot of data that drives the decisions we make. Whether we post a picture with models or a flat-lay product shot is a decision backed by analytics with trackable performance metrics.

LF: As fast-moving and ‘current’ as social media is, there is long-term strategy and planning involved that’s critical to success. Unlike other marketing avenues, social media is incredibly public. The outcome and performance of our work is published for the world to see, so we have to knock it out of the park every time.

Poosh launch event
Poosh launch event

8. What are some of the most notable trends you are seeing right now and how do you capitalize on them? 

KD: Trends that we’re really seeing explode pretty rapidly now are the growth of comment culture, video, and Instagram group chats. When we see something on the rise, we make sure to scale and learn that skill set so we can integrate it into our existing plans. We want our clients to have the next big thing.  It’s important to keep up. Not all trends are for all audiences though.

9. What do you know now that you wish you had known starting out?

LF: There are a lot of unknowns when you start your own business. We didn’t quite understand how quickly things would take off, and initially we had a lot of trouble delegating. Even as we hired externally and grew our incredible team, we were still protective, so being able to release some of that responsibility and delegate was tough. 

10. What does success for The Edit look like?

KD: Success for us is making our clients happy. Of course we love when we sell out of a limited-time collaboration, hit a milestone million Instagram followers in 24 hours, throw a kick-ass activation to celebrate a product launch… All of those are incredible “wins,” but at the end of the day we want our clients to be happy.

11. Walk me through some of the key “pinch me” moments for the company?

LF: There have been several real “pinch me” moments. The first one was when we signed the lease on our first office. We thought it would take a lot longer to get to that place and we were just blown away by how quickly it happened. It made things real. 

KD: The second “pinch me” moment was probably when we signed on Kourtney Kardashian’s company, Poosh, as a client. We got an unexpected call on a Thursday, submitted a brief for consideration on Saturday, talked to her on Sunday, and were launching with her on Monday. So literally over the weekend, our lives changed.

12. Your clients reach 50 million people per day on Instagram alone, and nearly 90 million consumers per day across platforms - what responsibility does that place on them? And you?

LF: Social media, whether you love it or hate it, plays a huge role in today’s society. We don’t take it lightly that we have an enormous platform. We make sure that the content we produce is something we’re proud of. It has our name associated with i,t and it reflects back on us. It’s an enormous responsibility. 

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