A strong, women-owned business.
Twenty-five years ago, at a time when women-owned businesses were few and far between, the friends decided to go into business together--from their home offices in two different states.
"We knew we had complementary skills, with Nancy's background in market research, product development and direct response and my copywriting and creative experience," says Fitzgerald, Managing Partner of their brainchild, The Ivy Group.
Pam Fitzgerald and Nancy Davis know the essence of enterprise: they've lived it.
Fitzgerald would continue to work from Charlottesville, where she had recently moved with her husband, and Davis would stay based outside Philadelphia, where the two initially met.
"You hope for success, but it’s the hours you put into your enterprise that ensure success," says Fitzgerald. "All new businesses face challenges, but we knew we had to be nimble and work twice as hard, at a time when there wasn’t much support for women-owned start-ups. And we were working remotely--communicating via telephone, fax and FedEx--before people had even given telecommuting a name!"
Today, The Ivy Group employs twelve, features a library services division--Ivy Library--and continues to operate from the two cities, specializing in marketing research and strategy, branding, advertising, web, video production, public relations and social media.
Even in a recovering recession, the firm has managed to increase staff and upgrade facilities--The Ivy Group's Charlottesville headquarters moved its offices from the Downtown Mall after the company bought its own office space on Market Street in September.
We’re extremely versatile, especially considering the size of our company. It's the range of projects that keep it as exciting as that first year.
Their secret? It’s all about building relationships.
"The economic downturn affected many of our clients," says Fitzgerald, "but we've been fortunate to have a strong, loyal base--people who believe in us, come back time and again and refer business."
Early on, they saw the potential of the Internet.
"We knew that we had to evolve with the technology," says Fitzgerald. “In fact, we are constantly in the process of reinventing, innovating and upgrading our technological expertise.”
By 1998, The Ivy Group had already included web design and solutions in its service offerings. Today, marketing programs bolstered by web-based technologies and social media are a major focus.
On any given day of the week, Ivy Group staff can be developing a social media plan for a bank, consulting with a high-tech start-up on its product promotion strategy, designing print communications for a not-for-profit, managing press relations for a national campaign or building a college website--all while the firm's principals are across the country guiding a metropolitan public library system through the strategic planning process.
To learn what The Ivy Group can do for your business, call 1-800-IVY-1250.