Creative leader Margo Neely on following your gut

"I had a million people telling me 'no.' But I never listened."

Margo Neely, the CCO and founder of eponymous agency Neely and Daughters, has worn a number of creative hats over the years.

Find out what Neely says about working across media sectors, what it was like to create the successful television series "Ladies Revenge Club," which won New York Comic Con’s Best of the Fest, and how still manages to stand for everything she believes in.

How did the concept of "Ladies Revenge Club" come about?

It was an outcome of my personal experience and trying to do my thing in a male-dominated world and field. A lot of people are very serious and militant and I thought we need to poke fun at all this because it’s so absurd. 

We thought we would make people laugh. But, people were very offended. So there was a lot of backlash that I didn’t expect. But then things panned out well. It won a ton of awards. It was a huge success.

I co-wrote it with a very successful writer and storyteller who I had collaborated for many years. I executive produced it, directed it, designed it and edited it. I really did put my heart and soul into it and it was the result of many, many years of 18 hour days 

Do you have a background in editing?

I taught myself the technological aspects. I was always an artist but also self-taught. So most of the things I do, I’m self-taught in. If I decide to do something I doggedly pursue it and make sure it’s done properly.  

And how did Neely and Daughters come about?

Before becoming Neely And Daughters we were ‘Neely Air’– a 21st century production company that crossed all lines. My goal 2005 onwards was to have a production company and create works. I knew streaming was the future I understood the model at the time.  

I was so successful with what I was producing and creating that people started approaching me with work. And I said well this is a business opportunity for me and I started to produce the type of work I would produce for myself for companies and private entities. 

What’s your creative process? 

It’s both direct and amorphous. I try to filter things through humor. And also through a sense of what makes people feel superhuman puts them in connection with their deepest wants and then I create from that place. 

And often the idea comes like a download, a complete thing. It’s then my job to externalize what I know, see and hear internally. I’m also a very focused person so once I get that download I sit, generate and bring people into being a part of the vision. 

Tell us about your latest project. 

I’m currently working with the idea of crossover, wearable technology. 

TR808 is a digital tap shoe. It is a drum machine inside a sneaker. It’s been seen by 6 billion people around the world it has 54 million fans worldwide. We’ve had 350 articles written about the work. So it’s already a success. 

You seem to have a very clear spiritual philosophy in place. 

I’ve always been extraordinarily spiritual, and I always think that I have a mission to connect with people and create things that will improve people’s lives. 

What’s your mantra in life and in business? 

Just be you. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing to be because we’re living in a time where everything has to fit in a box. People ignore what’s in their gut - the drive that should be directing all of our lives. If you can follow that drive and be honest about who you are and what it is you’re after you will be golden. Your journey might be hard but ultimately living your truth you will be content. I had a million people telling me ‘no.’ But I never listened. If I had listened and I would’ve stopped I would’ve been untrue to myself. 

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