Starting a Business in the Current Economy


Being an art director with a strong focus on the fashion industry over the past two to three years, the current state of the economy has affected my field quite a bit.

With retail in general, but fashion retail especially, being dramatically slow, the entire “food chain” is suffering. Advertising, art direction, design and production budgets over the past year shrank to never before experienced lows. This, of course, affects the agencies most, who have to cope with a traditionally high overhead due to a large number of employees (unfortunately taken care of by vast and multiple layoffs) and the hefty Manhattan office space price tag.

Having just founded my own small but fine design studio in March of 2009 in the midst of all this turmoil, I expectedly received many comments from friends and colleagues about my courage to undertake this venture at this point in time. Of course, not exactly knowing beforehand what I would get myself into, I was still determined to go ahead with my long-before-the-crash thought out plan.

Looking back on the first nine month of running my own company, the fact that I was able to keep my own overhead extremely low by working with a lean staff (one designer and one or two assistants, depending on the projects) out of a my loft space in Brooklyn, made my little enterprise very competitive, being able to offer similar service for a much better price then most of the bigger agencies.

Overall I feel this very state of our economy actually offers a wide variety of opportunities and chances. One just has to find or even create them! Exciting times, after all!

About The Author

Matthias Ernstberger is co-founder and president of Timko&Klick, a New York based multidisciplinary art direction and graphic design firm. Before founding Timko&Klick in March 2009, Matthias spent 6 years as designer at Sagmeister Inc., New York, and 2 years as art director at the fashion branding boutique agency Lipman. Please feel to contact Matthias directly at

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