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Meet Darlene Hollywood of Hollywood Agency

Today we’d like to introduce you to Darlene Hollywood.

Darlene, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
During the past 25 years, I’ve spent most of my career in an agency. About 10 years ago I went out on my own as a virtual consultant while my kids were still young. Over the course of a few years, my practice grew to include a team of senior freelancers who supported both B2B and B2C clients. Six years ago, I established Hollywood Agency to add depth to both the team and our capabilities. Since then we’ve grown to a team of 12 with bi-coastal offices in Boston and San Francisco.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
About a year in, we had our first and only brush with the closing shop. Our biggest client slashed their budget by two-thirds overnight. We were too new to the game to have a financial cushion. First I gathered the team outside on the gazebo overlooking Scituate Harbor and told them we had a month to turn it around. Next, I borrowed against my credit line to make payroll. Finally, I sat in my office and dialed for dollars until we had enough business to move forward. From that, I learned a lot about volatility and vulnerability.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hollywood Agency – what should we know?
At Hollywood Agency, we make brands famous. We’re a nationally-recognized integrated communications firm that partners with compelling brands whose culture and values mirror our own. We work with innovators in the consumer goods and services, technology and business industries and our clients include household names such as Samsonite, Fine Cooking Magazine and TOMY as well as start-ups looking to attain marquee status. We were proud to be named one of the fastest-growing private companies in Massachusetts for two years running in 2016 and 17, and we’ve earned more than two dozen industry awards.

What sets us apart is the creativity we bring to the table. Our clients are looking for communication campaigns that break through the clutter and we’re always looking for a new way to tell their stories. Aside from creativity, it’s our people. I’m lucky to have a team who loves what they do and the people they do it with, which in turn creates stellar client work. Real employee happiness is rare at agencies, sadly, so we’re unique in that regard.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think I’m very fair. And, being fair means you accept that others will make mistakes just as you do yourself. We’ve created an environment where it’s ok to make mistakes and, as a result, people take risks. Without risk, there’s no reward. Those rewards have led to our collective success.

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