In March 2018, Nikki Davis and Matt Staley formed Musality LLC. Nearly five months later – one year ago this month – they purchased Cosmitto’s company assets from a private equity (PE) firm, merging Musality and Cosmitto to legally form a new business.
Nikki, who worked for the PE-owned Cosmitto as Account Director before becoming co-owner with her fiancé, Matt, sips coffee from a mug that reads Underestimate me. That’ll be fun. “I’m really excited about this year,” she says. “Stress wise, I knew the first one would be tough, but we made it. We’re doing really well, and people are happy.”
Matt, a man of few words, agrees – “Now it’s time to run.”
Since the acquisition, Nikki and Matt were able to broker a deal that allowed them to take control of the office lease, solidifying the company’s independence from its previous PE owners. While Cosmitto remains at the same address, the space underwent a significant transformation, benefitting from the addition of two added walls and frame changes, deep blue paint, updated furniture, and additional amenities.
Matt discovered W. B. Mason and the office finally got “the Keurig that dreams are made of.” The next item on their list will be to update the conference room table and continue upgrading the kitchen area. “The possibilities are endless,” he says.
“Last July, this didn’t feel like a creative space anymore,” says Nikki. “There was a lot of bad energy – a sort of cloud that hung in the air. Updating was important to us and our employees. When we invite clients here now, we want them to feel like it’s a more accurate reflection of who we are.”
Office improvements weren’t the only item on Nikki and Matt’s to-do list. One year ago, they announced their goals – establish a new voice and brand, help their clients get to know the new Cosmitto, build stronger strategic partnerships, give employees stability and specialization, and increase recurring revenue.
While some of those goals are what Nikki calls “forever goals,” – revenue, stability, and building partnerships – they’ve been able to accomplish all they set out to and more. An updated website is also forthcoming.
“It’s not a rebranding,” says Matt. “We’re just cleaning up the technical stuff, making it user-friendly and more our own. We’re also tapping our employees to dig into the design. People get caught up in the bells and whistles, but we just want to get our message out in a fun and functional way.”
The soon-to-be-married business partners put together a list of fresh goals for 2019-2020. They intend to develop additional services like web development, strengthen current services, grow the team as needed, and lastly, improve their sales process so the right clients can find them at the right time.
“There was some clean-up that had to happen the first year because when we bought Cosmitto’s assets, we bought some of its ghosts,” says Matt. “But everything from here on out, every decision we make is to benefit current and future customers.”
To kick-start their customer-centric initiative, the pair rolled out organized, quarterly check-ins with clients. “So far, we’ve gotten some incredible feedback,” he says.
On a more personal level, Nikki hopes to use the upcoming year to develop herself as a leader and business owner. “That’s another ‘forever-goal,’” she says. “We’re at the point now where I can hopefully relax enough to bring it to the forefront.”
As you might expect, Nikki and Matt have been busy buying, building, and running a new agency, but they’ve also been planning a wedding, and it’s fast approaching.
“We’ll take off a couple days for the ceremony in September, come back to the office for a full week, then leave for our honeymoon. There’s a lot of extra overtime happening between now and then.” She laughs. “Thanks, wedding.”
“It’s going to be awesome,” Matt whispers.
Naturally, the challenge of being new business owners and makeshift wedding planners has taught the pair a lot about time management and the importance of relaxation, but ultimately, Nikki wants to become more comfortable with the daily stress of running a successful company.
“Learning how to shut my brain off for an hour a day is difficult,” she says. “But I’m re-learning how to rest. I’ve been experimenting with different things like meditation and yoga.”
“Which, by the way, you’ve been skipping,” Matt says.
She shrugs. “I’ve had a busy couple of weeks.”
Matt, on the other hand, “will always have John Deere.”
That’s how we relax,” says Nikki. “Matt mows the grass and I drink wine and go to yoga… sometimes.”
At the end of the day, they both know mastering the art of relaxation is another “forever goal” for the list because while wedding plans are coming to an end, the business shows no signs of slowing.
After all, it’s time to run.