A professional marketer for over 16 years, Kesi Gardner left Jamaica when she was 16 years old when her diplomat mother got a job with the United Nations.
After going to private school for a year, she dropped out and studied visual communication at one of the top-ranked art schools in the U.S., Pratt Institute.
With alumni like fashion designer Betty Johnson, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and film director/actor Robert Redford, Kesi learned the true art of storytelling through pictures. Her life goal was to become a children’s book illustrator and even interned at the famous publishing house Farrar, Straus and Giroux one summer.
She learned many skills at Pratt, including graphic design, painting, industrial design and advertising. She started her advertising career as a graphic designer at the now-defunct McCann-Erickson Jamaica, now called the McCann Group, a global agency in 2006.
“I want to show that you can still sell without the, buy now rhetoric”— Kesi Gardner
Having worked at some of the top agencies in Jamaica, including Advertising & Marketing and Whistling Frog as an advertising executive, she is ready to tell her own story and the stories of the companies she represents by launching The Storyteller Agency.co in 2020.
“My value proposition is that my agency will be fundamentally based on telling the brand’s authentic story. Consumers no longer want the hard sell. I want to show that you can still sell without the, buy now rhetoric,” she said.
She’s also started her own content platform, luxuryja.com, a site devoted to all things luxury in Jamaica–travel, events, the well-to-do and real estate.
Her love for the blogging and influencer community, called for her to also start, ‘Love Not Likes’ in July 2019, which creates curated experiences for bloggers to create content and connect with brands. She currently represents 10 bloggers, YouTubers and content creators who she will help to gain recognition in the new year.
Some of her accolades include being a juror and presenter for the Blog Awards in 2014 and named one of Digital Jamaican’s People to Watch in 2019.
What will set her apart from her competitors will be the use of non-traditional platforms like content creation, influencer marketing and native advertising. She also provides public relations services to individuals who need help with visibility at a local and international level.