As an editor of this magazine, I have the pleasure of meeting talented writers, creative visionaries and big-hearted humans who make giving a priority. When I met Ansley Pridgen and Melissa Touchton of Swell Media at a Polo in the Pines planning meeting, I knew their energy and experience was about to take the event to the next level. I caught up with Ansley and Melissa to thank them for their valuable contributions this year and to find out what makes them tick.
SGC: You are quite a formidable team. How did you meet and why did you decide to go into business together?
Melissa: We met at a creative entrepreneur conference called the Southern Coterie. We realized we were both from Atlanta and decided to meet up for coffee. Over an hour-long coffee date, we talked about our businesses and realized that we would both love having a partner. Ansley has a background in business and design and I have a background as an influencer. We play off of each other's strengths well and are able to balance the workload together. It’s also so beneficial to have two creative minds working together when you’re trying to develop new, exciting marketing ideas.
SGC: As a boutique digital marketing agency, you focus on branding, original content creation, social media management and digital marketing. How can you help a small business stand out in today's saturated market?
Ansley: Social media and digital marketing are always changing. It’s hard for a small business to stay on top of all these updates, so we keep things current for them. We have seen how social media and email marketing can take a business to the next level, in terms of awareness and sales. Each business is unique, so we market each of our clients tailored to their brand identity and target market. We can help with creating new branding or building a new website to completely managing their email marketing, influencer outreach programs and social media.
SGC: We love local start-ups. Why did you choose Atlanta for your HQ?
Melissa: We are both native Georgians and love Atlanta. Ansley lives in Buckhead and I live in Lawrenceville. We love the energy of Atlanta and are driven by how fast it’s growing and all the creativity here. There are some amazing companies located in Atlanta and we are so inspired by all of them. We love working at Brash Coffee in the Atlanta History Center and Dancing Goats on Peachtree, which is actually where we met for our first coffee meeting together after the conference!
SGC: Lifestyle Publications has been the media sponsor for Polo in the Pines for seven years and your firm has been KEY in moving the event into the next tier.
Ansley: I was introduced to the event’s founder, Tina Fowler, from a friend whose cousins were the event’s honorees two years ago, Lilia and Seville Sullivan. I felt a deep connection to the cause because my father has been battling Multiple Myeloma for the past five years. After years of revolutionary, experimental and aggressive treatment, he has recently gone into remission, thankfully, due to cancer research similar to what Polo in the Pines works tirelessly to fund. If we don’t continue financing research, we won’t develop these amazing new treatments that are curing cancer around the world.