The Drawing Board

Someone once asked me what my favorite part of the creative process was and to that I answered ‘nothing.’

I don’t despise what I do, quite the contrary. Turning an idea into reality (or a close facsimile) is one of the most exciting things I can think of, especially when I look back at what I started with… nothing. A blank canvas, a clean slate, call it what you will. Every project starts there, and for me there's no other place I'd rather be.

Think about it, from here you can literally go anywhere. Perhaps you might decide to ‘this’ in place of ‘that’ or ‘zig’ where others might ‘zag’. The paths are many and the possibilities endless! That’s why I love brainstorming so much. There are no wrong answers, just ones that seem, for some reason or another, more true. In a way, it’s a lot like fishing, you wait (for what sometimes seems like forever) for a bite. And like fishing, the more lines you cast out, the greater your chance of catching the big one. But before you set your boat adrift among the hypothetical waves of your imagination, it’s important to carve out a little place where your thoughts can gather and organize. Socrates had his scrolls. Galileo collected manuscripts. We have our white boards. Way back in the early days of cycle 1, the freshly painted walls of our Launchpad office began to quickly subside into the ranks of obscurity. Research documents, Post-It notes and cat memes hung from every corner of the office with all of the spontaneity that might remind one of the set of the movie Se7en. It became apparent that our creative process, while spirited, could benefit from a little organization. You can imagine my astonishment when, following a simple ‘wouldn’t it be great if’ moment, Bill Hughes, the H in HLK, stopped by to tell us he’d ordered whiteboards for our office.

A critical part of working in a group is making sure everyone is on the same page. When balanced with regular time to regroup and reflect, collaboration can be a beautiful thing. Did the success of our team hinge upon and a piece of laminate and set of dry erase markets? Of course not, like most anything it’s merely a tool to facilitate productivity. But for me, nothing beats a creative brief, a cup of coffee and a good old whiteboard.

5 Bars to Get the Creative Juices Flowing

I decided to suggest a few of the best places in town to spend your Happy Hour while also feeding your creative inspiration. I bring you, five Launchpad approved bars in the downtown St. Louis area:

1. Taha’a Twisted Tiki

Photo by St. Louis Magazine.

4199 Manchester Ave | St. Louis, MO | 63110

The vibe: Say aloha to Taha's Twisted Tiki! This tropical oasis is a rum bar located in The Grove with a $4 shot menu to make you forget all about your worries at work. Looking for a more laid back? No worries! Taha's also has a variety of rum cocktails served in shark heads, Easter Island statues, and pineapple halves.

The Crowd: A mix of trendy Grove regulars as well as businessmen and women looking to kick loose and relax over some delicious run cocktails.


2. Planter’s House

Photo from the Riverfront Times

1000 Mississippi Ave | St. Louis, MO | 63103

The vibe: As the premium bar of Lafayette Square, the mixologists at Planter's House have turned bartending into an art form. This bar is equipped with fuzzy wallpaper and multiple cocktail menus featuring custom creations and creative takes on classics. Indulge in new and old favorites while soaking in the upscale atmosphere.

The Crowd: Anyone from hipsters to seasoned bar veterans. Everyone in the Lafayette neighborhood usually frequents this popular St. Louis favorite.


3. Three Sixty Rooftop Bar

Photo from .

Photo from

1 South Broadway | St. Louis, MO | 63102

The vibe: Sporting views of downtown, Three Sixty is a contemporary bar located in the heart of St. Louis. The rooftop bar is a unique venue with one bar inside accompanied by a DJ; and a second bar outside with fire pits, plasma screen TVs, and plenty of seating overlooking the city. Be sure to bring plenty of money if you come here because although their drinks are delicious, they are pricey.

The crowd: Get ready to see a huge following of Cardinals fans if you go on game day, but it's a great place to come out and get a drink with a view.


4. The Fountain on Locust

3037 Locust St | St. Louis, MO | 63103

The vibe: Embrace your inner kid with alcoholic milkshakes at the Fountain on Locust! Decorated with 1920's art decor and armed with a friendly staff, the Fountain is one of midtown's best kept secrets. The social servers will be happy to recommend customer favorites and even some off-menu items. The welcoming service, specialty drinks, and classic American eats will keep you coming back to The Fountain for years to come.

The crowd: St. Louis University undergrads and graduates can be spotted at the sweet bar, along with the occasional cute couple splitting a milkshake.

5. The Broadway Oyster Bar

Photo from .

Photo from

736 S Broadway | St Louis, MO | 63102

The vibe: A hometown favorite with an eclectic Cajun atmosphere, Broadway Oyster Bar is your destination for Mai Tais, Hurricanes, and their famous Horny Gators! This lively bar has a mouth-watering seafood menu and an outdoor patio where they play nightly live music. The Launchpad crew tried it out last week, and it made for a delicious lunch! The aromas of oysters, Mardi Gras décor, and happy bar-goers make the Oyster Bar a little slice of Bourbon Street in St. Louis!

The crowd: Anyone with a free spirit or a love for live music and great Cajun food!

Pitch Perfect

Once I joined the HLK team as an intern, I quickly learned the importance of teamwork, passion, and being punctual. When I first walked into the office, I was greeted by one of the happiest ladies I have ever met, HR Director Meredith Osborn. She showed me around the office, introduced me to my team, and briefed me on our first project. I had a team of people who were more than happy to give me a push into my role as the researcher. At first, I was extremely overwhelmed, considering I joined the team three days late. Nonetheless, I finally got to join team Nebula!

After three weeks of hard work and getting used to the company, it was time to present our first pitch. The afternoon before we presented, we all stayed extra hours in the office fixing every little detail in our project. Whenever we felt confident that our presentation was perfect, we found five more things to improve. Finally, around 7pm we all decided that it was "pitch perfect" and that we were ready for the morning. As I laid down that night, I couldn’t control my mind from racing. I was so nervous that it wasn’t going to be perfect or that something would go wrong. Despite all the nerves, I was so excited to be able to show our hard work to the On The Run team.

This was something that all my years in college and experience presenting led up to. This was our moment to show our mentors/client team what we could do as a team. We had an opportunity that most companies don’t give to their employees until they have been working for them for at least five years or more. 

The day of the pitch, I could tell that everyone was anxious and adrenaline was pumping. Miranda put on some music to calm our nerves and set the tone for our audience as they began filing in. Nelly's "Hot in Herre" (yes, "Herre") gave us the confidence we needed to let loose and have a little fun when presenting. We gave a fluid, strong presentation and took pride in everything we did. It was exciting to finally see all of our ideas come together in a real pitch. Afterwards, I was so proud of our team and the way we collaborated in three short weeks to produce a winning campaign. It was an amazing feeling to know we accomplished all of our goals all while being supported and encouraged by everyone at HLK.