February is one of my favorite months of the year. I have so many wonderful things to celebrate in February. My first daughters birthday, Valentines Day, our annual Work for FREE promotion and the month in which Anna Goodson Illustration Agency was founded.
Seventeen years ago this month, I decided to start an illustration agency. What was I thinking? I had no idea what lied ahead. I was young, ambitious and very passionate. I was also a bit naive, which in hind site was probably a good thing.
I never really realized just how hard it would be. In the beginning, no one knew who I was and when you are a complete unknown, its hard to get people to believe and trust in you.
So if you can imagine, I had a hell of a time, trying to get illustrators to represent. It seemed like every time I approached someone they turned me down for one reason or another. I spent months trying to find illustrators that would take me on.
Finally, after several months, I managed to put together a team of about 6.
I could never promise that I would get them work but I did promise them that I would work my but off. This still stands true today.
Mid way through 1996, someone came to me and told me that I needed to get a website for the agency. I had no idea what they were talking about but I had a vision and believe that having a website was a great thing to have.
Back then, almost non of our clients even had access to the internet, let alone an email address. I still felt it was a good thing to have, even if I wasn’t completely sure why.
My office was in a second bedroom in an apartment that I shared with a room-mate. There was no air conditioning, so in the summer, I worked in my underwear and bras. I made so many phone calls to clients, that I would get pimples down the side of face. I barely made any money and accumulated a big debt.
My parents who were concerned, would give me rolls of toilet paper and canned tomato soup when I would go and visit. My father always told me that if it didn’t work out, I could also go back and work in advertising.
Going back was not an option for me, neither was failing. My dream was to have one of the most respected international illustration agencies in the world and I was not going to settle for anything else.
For the next 5 years, all I did was work but my work was also my passion, my love and my hobby. I ate, slept and dreamed about the illustration industry.
Soon, all the hard work, dedication and passion would start to pay off.
Our agency grew and so did our international reputation. Clients and Illustrators alike, started to seek us out and our services. We were working regularly with some of the most prominent magazines, advertising agencies and newspapers in the USA and in Canada.
The debt I had accumulated was finally paid off and I no longer need to go to my parents house for food and toilet paper.
Sylvie Hamel joined the agency in 2001 and with her help, my dreams for the agency started to become a reality.
We have been so fortunate to represent and work with such talented illustrators over the years. Many of them have been with us since our humble beginnings.
As much as things have changed over the years, many of the important things have remained the same.
We love what we do and really care about the people that we represent. We also really care about the illustration industry and do our best to help promote the idea of commissioning original illustrations.
These past seventeen years have been amazing!
There is however nothing more gratifying than to know that because of our hard work, many, many illustrators have been able to make their dreams come true.
Thank you to everyone who has been with us, supported us, worked with us, hired us, laughed with us and cried with us, these past seventeen years.
Look out, we’re only just getting started!