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Alum. takes on role of "digital nomad," starts own creative agency with another VCU graduate

Jun 12, 2017

Posted in: News

By William Lineberry

Emma Bryant and Corey Vaughn are always on the move, roving from one city to the next. The two aren’t roving for pure recreation. They are travelling and taking in new cities and cultures, sure, but what they are also doing at the same time can’t be said for many other twenty-somethings on a perpetual road trip: managing their own startup, Takeaway Creative Co., and putting in full-time work using their respective creative skills to aid small businesses.  

Emma (B.S., Robertson, ’16) and Corey (B.S., VCU, ‘17) did not want the typical life-work regiment. They wanted to work in their areas of concentration—Emma copywriting and Corey design—but they did not want to go about it in the normal fashion. They wanted something a little different, something where they would be able to travel while also maintaining a professional life.

A list of
A list of "menu items" Takeaway offers small business clients.

With this in mind, the two began to explore options shortly before Corey graduated with his degree this past May. It was in that search for alternative work lifestyles that they found something that perked their interest—digital nomads. They didn’t really know what the term meant at first, but they had a feeling they were on to something.

“We knew we wanted to be able to travel and create meaningful work at the same time,” Emma recalled. “So when we found out there was a whole community of people doing just that — it was the initial spark we needed to realize it might be possible."

Emma Bryant and Corey Vaughn have started their own mobile startup, Takeaway Creative Co.
Emma Bryant and Corey Vaughn have started their own mobile startup, Takeaway Creative Co.

In its essence the idea behind the digital-nomad lifestyle was and is simple: Work from wherever you can, whenever you can while taking in new people and new places. Corey and Emma found that hundreds of young professionals—the majority being creatives such as copywriters, artists, and various other freelancers—had taken to the lifestyle and it seemed to be working out well for a lot of them.

The two took the idea and ran with it. They established Takeaway Creative Co. with the idea of becoming a roaming business that would be geared specifically toward helping small businesses meet their creative needs.  

The idea behind the company is to give creative solutions “a la carte” to small businesses that need them and to give these businesses a chance to “take away” some new insight into how to better meet their needs, Emma said.

The solutions that Takeaway Creative offers come in the form of four categories (menu items): identity, strategy, web and print. With the respective categories, Emma and Corey hope to help small businesses construct better branding, create a more robust social media presence, develop websites and also help businesses create print marketing materials.

For a little over the last month and a half, Emma and Corey have been in the process of launching Takeaway from the road and have found that not being restricted to a specific time and location has enabled them to keep the proverbial blade of their creativity sharp.

“What I learned from my creative advertising classes was that it is always about getting out of your comfort zone,” Corey, who took several classes in the Robertson School while getting his degree, said. “So if we’re always roaming, if we’re always experiencing new things, we feel like we can do the best work that way.”

“I feel like not being tied down to a place ties into our mission and our reason for starting Takeaway,” Emma added. “It’s a spirit of entrepreneurship where you can do things yourself. We want to empower our customers to run their businesses the way we’ve been empowered to run our own.”

Each day is different for the two, but there is still some sense of routine for their work, each confirmed. While travelling, they set aside times to speak with clients and times to work on certain projects. Since launching the company, the two have been working from Paris. Their next stop is Belgium.

“It’s about finding those little points of repetition and familiarity,” Corey said in regard to the pair’s normal routine while travelling and working.

While working on Takeaway Creative Co. from the road, Emma and Corey have also maintained a personal blog to document their travels and to serve as a resource for other roaming creatives.
While working on Takeaway Creative Co. from the road, Emma and Corey have also maintained a personal blog to document their travels and to serve as a resource for other roaming creatives.

While travelling and working, Emma and Corey have also maintained a blog, “100 Days, 100 Cafes.” The nature of the blog is two-fold: On one end of it, the two document their personal travels and impressions of cities they visit; on the other end; they write pieces to serve as a resource to other roaming creatives treading the same ground they once did.

For now, the two are planning to continue and travel while also maintaining their work for Takeaway simultaneously with the goal of getting more clients and getting their name out there to eventually become the go-to agency for small businesses across the country. There are trips to Germany, Italy, and the U.K. on the books for later this summer.  

Reflecting back on her time in the creative advertising sequence in the Robertson School, Emma said she believes the School helped show her a different way to look at things.

“When I first came to the Robertson School, I had this mentality of doing everything by the book. And I feel like the classes and professors, because of how out there and interesting they were, showed me that you can think about things in a different way and still be successful. The School inspired me to think for myself and realize that I don’t need to do just what everyone else is doing.”


To keep up with Emma and Corey as they continue to build and grow Takeaway Creative Co., follow them on Instagram (@takeawaycreativeco).