Visual Communications Grads Start Management Company Together
Alumni Hannah Roeloffs and Matthew Alexander (A.A. Visual Communications, 2019) recently launched Visualize Creative Agency, a full-service public relations agency focusing on influencer marketing and management. They met while attending FIDM. Hannah grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and attended Lincoln Southwest High School where she started a FIDM Fashion Club and applied through the Junior Advantage program before moving to Los Angeles at 18 to attend FIDM.
Matthew’s path was a little different. Born in North Carolina, he traveled extensively while young due to his work as an actor and model, and attended K12 Private Academy, an online school, to keep up with his studies while on the road. When it came time to pursue a degree, “I chose FIDM for my education as I could not decide on fashion/interior design as a major and then I saw what Visual Communications was, and I was sold on it as I wanted a taste of everything in the industry.”
After graduation, the friends embarked on different career paths, but kept in touch. Hannah went into influencer marketing and managing, while Matthew focused on creative direction, styling, and public relations. Just a few years later, they’ve combined forces and skill sets to start a business together. We checked in with them to learn more.
Please tell us about your new venture, Visualize Creative Agency.
Hannah: Visualize Creative Agency is a full-service public relations agency where we specialize in all things influencer marketing, public relations, earned media, event planning, and more! We also have a talent management division where we work with a lot of influencers.
Matthew: This new venture is an exciting continuation of our journey. With my background in styling, creative direction, and events, and Hannah’s in influencer marketing, creative direction, and public relations, we are able to complement each other and have a beautiful mesh. We wanted to come up with a full service creative agency and with our different backgrounds it just makes sense. We’re able to bounce ideas off each other and have all aspects of creativity and business covered.
What inspired you to start Visualize?
Matthew: What inspired us to start Visualize was the various powerhouse people in the industry who would tell us we could do it better. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to always be uncomfortable in what you are doing. Would you rather settle and be comfortable in growing your career? I always apply this idea in situations as it shows you are growing, changing, and adapting; moving forward and bettering who you are & what you want to become.
Hannah: I always knew I wanted to own my own company, but I honestly didn’t expect to earn one so early in my career! One day when Matthew and I were talking we realized we both specialized in different aspects of the industry so we were inspired to start something amazing together. We have had such a wide variety of experience in the industry, and launching Visualize was a perfect next step to fill a gap in the market that we saw where no small detail will be missed in our work.
Matthew: Visualize is so special because our brains work in such unique ways making the details always matter. We are always trying to think in a forward motion to come up with the latest and greatest.
How did the two of you meet?
Matthew: Hannah and I met in drafting class at FIDM in one of the beginning quarters. We hit it off and became friends, but more so towards the end when we were in our portfolio class. One of our professors asked if we had what it took to do something in the industry if we were to start tomorrow, and we were the only ones to say yes immediately, then second guessed ourselves since we were the only ones in front of everyone and it was more so a trick question to see who would be bold enough.
Tell us about some of the work you each did before this joint project.
Matthew: I had a full circle journey before starting Visualize. While at FIDM I worked at a PR firm learning the business and events side of the industry. I worked on multiple awards shows, including the Grammys®, Oscars®, and Emmys® in creative direction and talent management. I then went on to help Jeremy Scott with his Moschino show at Universal Studios in 2020 (I helped with creative direction and model styling), which led to me meeting Gwen Stefani and Katy Perry who were both backstage with their stylist team Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn. I got to talking to them, which is how I started working with them and their many clients, including Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum, Camila Cabello, Rita Ora, and Hailee Steinfield to name a few. I had some amazing and crazy moments being on the set of music videos, red carpets, award shows, and even Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl performance! It’s all a grind and it keeps me going. I then went out on my own as I have always wanted to be my own boss, so I started working with other celebrity clientele, who had heard of me through the grapevine. That led me to this point!
Hannah: Prior to this project, the bulk of my experience was in influencer marketing and management. I worked at an influencer marketing agency, running marketing campaigns with Victoria’s Secret, Bumble, Olay, and more and partnering with some of the most established influencers at the time, including David Dobrik and Erika Costell. I was a creative director for a YouTube channel with over 6 million subscribers and helped them increase their audience by another 2 million in a year across YouTube and TikTok. This position helped me grow as a leader and understand what it takes to lead a team and expand a business. I was able to meet so many people in the industry and collaborated with David Dobrik, FaZe Rug, Ben Azelart and more. During this time I also launched my own online clothing boutique called ILLIE Society. I then worked at an agency where I co-managed some of the fastest growing influencers in the industry, including Markell Washington, Michael Sanzone, Kayli Boyle, Aaron Maternowski and more! I use every position I am in to grow and learn as a professional. I have so many big visions for the future and cannot wait to watch them come to life!
How did FIDM help prepare you for your career?
Matthew: Truly, all aspects of FIDM, the classes, teachers, and fellow peers, all prepared me to be in this industry as you can apply everything you learn to real-life situations.
Hannah: FIDM taught me so much about the importance of networking, getting involved, going the extra mile, and hard work! I am so grateful for the years I spent there. I would not have the job or the career I have now without FIDM. I got my first internship, part-time job, and full-time job from connections I met there. I learned the importance of details and how important it is to go the extra mile to stand out. So grateful for my family at FIDM and how supportive they are of alumni now! As a FIDM Social Ambassador, I got to experience the ins and outs of that industry. I visited the BuzzFeed headquarters, Reformation headquarters, and Colourpop headquarters and met their entire teams. I was also able to volunteer with a variety of YouTubers and influencers including James Charles, Nikita Dragun, and more.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Matthew: Always be kind to everyone! You never know when you might need to ask for a favor or reciprocate in kind. Help each other in whatever way you can. You never know how you can inspire people. Never give up, never stop believing. All it takes is one person. You never know who you might come in contact with. It could be a friend from the past, or a stranger you meet on the street. That could be the start of an amazing journey!
Explore Hannah and Matthew’s new company on Instagram @visualizecreativeagency.