Kansas City-based storytelling startup Creelio is closing its doors after three years of helping executives write custom content. “We are proud of what we accomplished but not so proud that we couldn’t see the handwriting on the wall.” – Julie Edge
Founded in 2013, Creelio was born out of a 2012 Startup Weekend competition and led by Julie Edge and Steve Stava. The six-person firm company co-wrote blogs and content with more than 60 area executives, helping them to understand the value of creative storytelling within their businesses.
With many enthusiastic clients, Edge said that Creelio had found traction and a decent market. Although maintaining growth to scale was a challenge, Edge said she could’ve kept Creelio operational a while longer if it weren’t lacking a crucial component: her passion.
“We are proud of what we accomplished but not so proud that we couldn’t see the handwriting on the wall.” – Julie Edge
“I’m a big believer that life is too short to lead something you aren’t passionate about,” Edge said while reflecting on the company. “I loved helping our clients be successful in telling their story, but it wasn’t enough to outweigh the downsides of an agency format. Steve and I always adhered to the “Go Big or Go Home” philosophy. When it became clear that “going big” wasn’t working, it was time to ‘go home.’”
Edge said that she knew when launching Creelio that it ran the risk of becoming an agency producing blog and social media content. Revenue dictated where the company needed to go, but Edge and Stava both agreed they didn’t want to run an agency.
Regardless, Edge said the experience has been valuable.
“We are proud of what we accomplished, but not so proud that we couldn’t see the handwriting on the wall,” she said. “Steve didn’t want to run a technology platform, and I didn’t want to run an agency. So the best next step was to close up shop, and take what we learned forward to new ventures.”
Creelio will pass its clients and storytelling torch onto Fervor Marketing, a Kansas City firm led by CEO Mike Farag. Edge said Fervor shares her zeal for storytelling and values producing great content.
“We know Julie and the entire team at Creelio care about their clients in the same way that we care about ours,” Farag said. “We share the same viewpoint on real, authentic communication. We look forward to Julie joining our advisory team and helping Creelio’s clients create more impact than ever.”
For founders who find their motivation waning, Edge offered some guidance.
“I’d advise making sure that their passion stands at the core of their startup,” Edge said. “As a founder, they will spend so much time, blood, sweat and tears in their startup. Of course running a business means they will have to do some things they don’t love to do; that’s part of the deal. But if at the end of the day they find themselves struggling to sell what they do to their potential customers, then that’s a sign it’s time to re-think their direction and what they are building.”