Hailing from Minnesota, Chris Raih spent his early advertising days at Fallon Minneapolis, where he cut his teeth on accounts like United Airlines and BMW. He then joined Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, where he was a key account player for Nike and met creative partner Brian Ford. In 2006, at the age of 28, Chris co-founded Venice, California–based creative agency Zambezi (www.zambezi-la.com), with nothing more than a cell phone and a Gmail account. Since its beginning, Zambezi, a full-service agency focused on passion brands, has tripled in size, and opened an office in Shanghai, China. Its client roster includes Champs Sports, VitaminWater, and the LA Lakers, among others. In 2011, Advertising Age awarded Zambezi the title of “Small Agency of the Year” in its region.
Please enjoy the following excerpt from my interview with Chris Raih for Advertisers at Work:
Tuten: What’s a typical day like for you?
Raih: On the personal side, I have a three-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son at home. They are up bright and early. My wife and I kind of have a negotiation at 5:45 each morning as to who is going to get up with them when they start squawking. Today it was me, which has brought on the need for mucho coffee. Let’s see. A typical day is that I am always checking e-mail immediately when I wake up. I check e-mail as I watch Sesame Street with the kids. This morning I knocked out about an hour of e-mail. We have clients in China, and typically there are a dozen or so e-mails from them when I wake up. We also have a number of East Coast clients and they are all up early. Each morning, I at least get the mission-critical e-mails answered before I even brush my teeth. Then I will make my way in. We don’t have any kind of strict 9:00 to 6:00 schedule here at Zambezi, but usually I am at the office by 8:30. If the gods be good, I usually find about an hour or so to do housekeeping and organization, and then typically start a barrage of meetings or calls.