Director of Production | Billie
New York, NY
by Mara Serdans
Do you have a side hustle? Tell me about it.
Haha I would love to get life coached by the people with time for a side hustle!
What's the last song you listened to?
"Bang Bang," by Nancy Sinatra
What do you think about when you're alone in your car?
What’s for dinner? I’m only half kidding..but I think about food a lot :) And after binge watching 'Great British Bake Off,' I've actually been baking quite a bit. For me, “car” typically means “subway” and these days I’m not riding public transportation at all. In my downtime I’m dreaming about how to leave the city and where to go during this time of quarantine...and if Mary Berry would approve of my pastries.
What inspires you?
From a very young age I loved to draw and paint – art was my meditation and my passion. And I love to see what masters in their craft create. Similar to music, when I see art I like, it moves me. And in an age where we’re over saturated with content, to see something that elicits a truly emotional response excites me. I think this is partially why I love to travel. Observing how even small things like color, texture, light, fashion, etc differ between cultures is invigorating. I also love to create. Whether it be for work or for pleasure, being involved in the process of making something, especially in collaboration with others I respect, energizes me.
You've been given an elephant. You can't give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?
Can you release it into the wild? Does that count as giving it away?
What's your favorite board game?
I’ve been oddly playing a lot of digital Clue with friends and family during quarantine. Why? I’m not really sure…
In-N-Out or Shake Shack?
HOW DEB ROSEN FOUND THE PERFECT RECIPE THAT BLENDS ART AND COMMERCE.
If you know Deb Rosen, you know this woman is a passionate creative warrior. One could say it is coded in her DNA. Whether it was summers spent working at the Rothko Chapel in Houston or challenging herself with making eclairs during isolation, her innate creative eye and prowess laid the groundwork for her current position as Director of Production at Billie.
“Art was a part of my life but I didn’t know how to translate it to a career path until a friend suggested I look at advertising…as it was a merging of art and commerce.”
Deb majored in Advertising and Graphic Design at the University of North Carolina and always thought she wanted to be an art director. After learning more about the demands, it became clear to Deb that it wasn’t the career path she desired. “If I had to use that passion day-in-day out for my job I was worried about losing it…I didn’t want to taint what I loved about art in the first place.” And thus, her career path took a necessary turn.
Her career began at Chiat\Day LA working in account management, a position that enabled her to interact with various agency departments, including Art Production. She was instantly intrigued by the department’s role as it engaged both critical and creative problem-solving skills. Nearly a year later, Deb became an Art Producer thanks to her creative drive, business skills, and willingness to change her career path.
Chiat’s supportive production team opened doors for her quickly and she excelled in the position. She worked on domestic and international productions, with top tier artists and athletes, including big brands like Gatorade. Chiat was known as the bootcamp of production, and it prepared her well for her next role as a hybrid Art and Print Producer at an agency known for its run-and-gun work environment, 72&Sunny.
After three years, with the opportunity to work at a creative, envelope pushing agency, Deb moved East to pursue her dream of living in the big city as the newly minted Director of Art Production at Wieden + Kennedy, New York. Your life is a series of decisions and moments. This East Coast move would propel her career, and influence her role within the agency and network.
Surprisingly enough, the department had no full-time staff so Deb was charged with building it up and played an integral role in changing its perception at the agency. It was no easy task, but over the course of five years, Deb created respect for the department and helped educate coworkers about its role and value within the agency. She helped elevate the work to a point where campaigns such as Equinox “Commit to Something,” Equinox “Made Me Do It” and OKCupid “DTF” earned top awards and attracted new clients. She was particularly proud that these campaigns were spearheaded by the art production department and were a true testament to their collaborative nature.
Equinox leaned towards socially driven, content-based campaigns versus traditional TV spots. This brand gave her a taste of what she craved in her future collaborations. For Deb, change was coming.
When a fellow co-worker, Jess Shriftman, left for Billie, she began to relish the idea of working for a small company in its infancy – one that she could potentially help shape and build from the ground up. It would also mean an evolution in her career to move in-house.
“Instead of having to talk to the person, who talks to the person, I’d be the person who’s making decisions. But I knew that if I was going to go in-house at a brand it would have to be something I felt passionate about. I’d have to feel good about what I was putting in the world and ideally have a personal connection to the brand in some way.”
Since taking on her role as Director of Production at Billie nine months ago, Deb feels at home. “I love the brand and everything it stands for. It’s very forward-thinking in terms of how we market and talk to women.” And you can see it in the brand’s visual design – strong, bright colors, futuristic vibe and bold personality.
The team at Billie is small but nimble with less than a dozen employees in the marketing department. As a one-woman show in the production department, Deb is responsible for creating all content - often taking on the role of a line producer. It plays up to her creative spirit and she enjoys the flexibility and less process-oriented nature of working in-house. “I like the challenge of trying new things and to creatively problem-solve. It feels really collaborative. I play a heavy hand in who we partner with and what it translates to.”
“At Billie everyone has a voice. I constantly remind myself, I’m not just making the work. I’m a decision-maker and it’s not the set-up of a traditional agency, which is really nice. ”
There’s no denying that Deb’s tenacity and passion for giving art production a voice are key ingredients to her success. Couple that with her creative DNA, willingness to evolve, and you’ve got an award-winning recipe that would win over the toughest judge, perhaps even Mary Barry.