I had the pleasure of interviewing a role model of mine – Dani Roche, owner of Kastor & Pollux, the full-service digital and experiences agency.

At just 16 years old, Dani ran an online vintage clothing store that she promoted through her very popular online profiles, like Lookbook. Ever since then, she’s been working in the creative field, landing projects with huge companies like Topshop and Samsung. Now, alongside her Kastor & Pollux team, she’s creating incredible social and digital campaigns.

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How did working at MTV shape your career path? What’s the most important thing you learned there?

I started working at MTV right after finishing a super serious graphic design degree alongside some super serious graphic designers. In my final year, I spent a lot of time questioning my place in the design industry and what my future could look like outside of a traditional agency. The “institution” breeds a very streamlined post-grad path that is deeply linked to the program on your degree.

I’ve always been keen on making things and exploring new mediums – from drawing to painting to sewing – and I was certain that the aforementioned “post-grad path” wouldnt reflect the expectations for a graphic design grad. However, I assumed my time would be spent holed up in a studio producing as much work as possible.

Thus, I headed into MTV – my first “adult” job – petrified. As the Editor of MTV’s style vertical, FORA, the scope of my work ranged from managing contributors to writing and photo/video shoot production. While the job inherently called for good taste and an eye for design, my time spent was centred around administrative stuff that required me to optimize a completely different side of my creativity… something that is invaluable when it comes to running my own business.

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How many peeps make up the Kastor & Pollux team? Do you work collaboratively?

Kastor & Pollux’s Toronto studio houses myself and two full-time staff, but we work with a variety of collaborators and contractors within the city and beyond. Throughout every project, I try to ensure that the team dynamic remains super fluid and collaborative. While each of our “jobs” come with individualized responsibilities, we all help each other out.

As a team leader, I think it’s important to promote transparency in project workflow – from strategy to execution – in order to get the most authentic output.

 Does social media use for work have any negatives? Do you ever feel the need to detox?
I feel it’s all relative. I’ve spent so much of my life online – I grew up on forums lol – so to me, apps are just a direct extension of that. That said, I never feel like I’m missing out on something if I don’t check Instagram for a day, but I definitely recognize the importance of these apps to my company and the scope of my work.

I think it’s about perspective. While Kastor & Pollux isn’t dependant on one particular channel, my usage of all these platforms combined can definitely get overwhelming. The digital landscape as a whole is just so all encompassing.

With all these projects, do you have any tips on time management? And self-management? 
I’m a really big fan Google Calendar. I’m a really organized and analytical person, but I’m terrible with task management systems. Google Calendar helps me outline and definite my tasks on a day-to-day basis – I essentially treat it like a neverending to-do list, which is scary but also kind of exciting, albeit a really accurate analogy for my life. I like Google Calendar because I can book in meetings and block out my day in colour-coded blocks, and if I skip something, I just drag it to a new day and pretend it never happened lol.

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From Snoop Dogg to soda pop your references are fun and relatable. When you’re working with big companies, how do you pitch your vision? How can you make someone “get it” so to speak?

I’ve had the privilege to collaborate with brands who are open and receptive to my often off-kilter ideas. I always make sure to ask a ton of questions before I actually put together a strategy.

I find that once I’m confident enough about a brief, I know how to approach the project in a creative way that will still suit a need. Once this happens, I can speak passionately about my idea – when you really believe in what you’re saying or selling, chances are, the person you’re talking to will believe in it too.

DANIBIANCA

What’s Ephemera Magazine? I heard something about pizza, I want to know more!

Ephemera Magazine is Kastor & Pollux’s first (and not last) foray into publishing. I’ve always loved print media, so the opportunity to be able to promote and support print projects is really exciting for me. I feel like our generation spends so much time on the Internet we forget how nice it is to actually have something tangible to hold and flip through. Issue 1 of the magazine was designed, curated and edited by one of my oldest friends Maegan Fidelino.

On the pizza front.. pizza is a good food type, and was also the catering during the issue launch event back in October!

The visuals I see from Street Dreams Mag are incredible. You were working with them at some point, what was your involvement?

I met their team when I was working as the Channel Editor of The Creator Class. In 2015, I had the pleasure of co-producing a few of the inaugural SDM episodes on The Creator Class channel; and through long days of planning and Skype chats, we ended up getting pretty close.

It’s been over a year since I met them, and it’s been amazing to see how much progress and groundwork they’ve made during that time. It makes me so proud to see the work they produce, and the dedicated community that they’ve fostered in the process.

Follow Dani on Instagram

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