Susan Weeks & Katie-Marie Rutherford, Co-Founders, Ruthless & Wellington
How did Ruthless & Wellington begin?
Susan – “We began Ruthless & Wellington in September of 2017. But we’ve been working together now for over 7 years. We met at an ad agency in Richmond, VT where Katie led the creative team and I led the marketing team. We had an awesome way of working together. We both left the agency around the same time and found ourselves wanting to keep working together doing what we love.”
Katie – “So we spent the summer working on a business plan and decided to go for it. The plan was to focus on what we do best—branding and design.
Susan – “We are super service-oriented. We want it to feel special and be fun. We’re not trying to be all things to all people. We focus on design because we believe it’s a powerful strategic advantage for our clients and their businesses.”
What’s been your biggest win in the past year
Susan – “We really can’t point to any one thing. It’s been more of a series of wins. One of our main goals at the beginning of last year was to expand our client base and build our portfolio of work. We decided at the outset that we didn’t want to limit ourselves by market segment or industry. We ultimately just want to do work we’re proud of for people we admire. And this year we’ve able to do that. We love our clients and they inspire us to do our best work because we want them to shine and be successful.”
Katie – “Right. Building awesome relationships. Doing work we’re really proud of.”
The team & the future?
Susan – “This year is about refining. First year is done. We stayed in business! Second year is about building our relationships and strengthening our vision. We like being small… being selective.”
Katie – “Yeah, and being small gives us the opportunity to expand our partnerships. There are so many talented like-minded people right here in our community. We like getting the chance to assemble custom teams tailored to our client’s needs.”
A lean, mean, two-woman machine. What are your roles like?
Katie – “As co-founders, we’ve been able to leverage our individual strengths so we cover off on a lot of roles.”
Susan – “We complement each other really well. I lead our client-services and the strategy side of things while Katie leads the creative side. We have such a strong collaborative relationship and since I have a background in design too, I’m able to participate in the creative process alongside Katie.”
Katie – “It amazes me how well matched we are for what we do. Between the two of us we can accomplish a lot.”
Lunch break! What are your favorite eats in BTV?
Katie – “At our last job, we were usually stuck eating at our desk (or not at all!) so in starting R+W, we made a pact to make time for quality lunch breaks. We try to use that time to connect. These days we’ve been frequenting the salad bar at City Market. ”
We all know startups consume us whole. What do you do with precious free-time when you find it?
Susan – “I love all things art and design. Spending time with family—my hilarious teenager Jasper and my awesome husband Dave who is our number one fan. Going to museums, galleries, seeing local art and music. Or going up to Montreal, where there’s so much amazing food, wine, and culture to explore.”
Katie – “Susan and I have so many shared interests! Music, museums, culture, traveling— exploring new territory here in Vermont and abroad. In the summer I’m all about splitting my free time between hiking, running, biking, and paddleboarding. Being able to get out in nature and disconnect… those sorts of things are like active meditation and allow me the space to make new connections and let my mind wander.”