2 Minutes With ... Sophie Ozoux, Co-Founder of Kin
Sophie is a creative and strategy executive and entrepreneur. After 15+ years in advertising, Sophie co-founded Kin four years ago, a creative company that creates social change through culture with brands such as Delta Air Lines, Mailchimp and Ben & Jerry's.
Driven by her curiosity for people, culture and new perspectives, Sophie built her career in Europe and North America leading diverse teams and creating impactful global work for brands including Absolut, Apple, Facebook, adidas and Dom Perignon.
After successfully establishing the Paris and New York offices for the global creative agency Sid Lee, her passion for social impact turned into expertise on a wide range of issues from poverty, civil rights, the environment, diversity and education through work with The Honest Company, Clara Lionel Foundation, Global Citizen and SATURDAY MORNING.
Sophie is also a board member of ONE ACT AID, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing direct personal aid to Ukrainian refugees, a mentor for the D&AD SHIFT program, and an OWN IT collaborator, an initiative designed to increase the number of female and non-binary agency owners in our industry.
We spent two minutes with Sophie to learn more about her background, creative inspirations and some recent work she's admired.
Sophie, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I'm originally French but grew up in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Saudi Arabia. I now live in Venice, Los Angeles. I finally found my way back to the sunshine after experiencing too many Paris, Montreal and New York winters.
How you first realized you were creative.
I think of myself as a "frustrated creative" haha. I would always draw as a teen and wanted to go to art school but my parents pushed me towards a more traditional route. I found advertising as a way to mix creativity and business and use both my right and left brain. They were skeptical at first and thought communication was a very crowded space with limited opportunities. I just worked twice as hard to prove them wrong and keep that creative side of me alive and growing since.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
I had just finished my masters and was working for a PR company in New York promoting French wines and spirits, a very fun first job. But with the war in Iraq happening, the U.S. changed a lot of their immigration rules and visa parameters. Not knowing my own visa terms had changed, I returned to Paris after a year for a quick visit and got stuck there, not able to go back. My NYC life and dreams were abruptly interrupted, leaving behind a fun job, lots of friends, a cute boyfriend. It stung in the moment, but I've never regretted it since, as it led me to the people I so love today and a career I'm proud of.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
It's really hard to pick only one. I really admire multifaceted artists like Bjork, Pharrell, Donald Glover. I love Femi Kuti and Mulatu Astatke as they connect me to my African childhood. And an artist that has consistently put a smile on my face, warmed my heart and got me dancing is Stevie Wonder.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
Movie: I've recently rewatched Moonlight and was as in awe as I was the first time around.
Book: The Handmaid's Tale is one that I devoured and found disturbing, especially with everything going on in the U.S. these past years.
Show: The White Lotus, the characters are all so juicy and perfectly annoying, and I love how the social satire is woven in.
Your favorite fictional character.
It's very silly, the first one that comes to mind is Tamatoa, the crab in Moana. Maybe because the film was on rotation nonstop in our home for a year thanks to my son, but I just love Jemaine Clement's performance (from Flight of the Conchords).
Someone or something worth following on social media.
I've been captivated by A.I. generated art and this account is incredible, retro futuristic, perfectly fascinating and a tad creepy. AI is a fascinating space but it is raising a lot of ethical questions as well. If we're not careful, it may perpetuate a lot of bias and discrimination.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
Like many I paused, life got simpler for a minute, but very quickly I wanted to be in the action. Covid revealed so many inequalities that it was clear there was no time to retreat. Thankfully we’ve been very busy with Kin and a few proactive projects and this gave an outlet to my anxious energy.
One of your favorite creative projects you’ve ever worked on.
No doubt it is "Bloom Season," a digital magazine and community we created to support underrepresented entrepreneurs. Every edition is made by and for different communities. It is such an incredible experience to gather so much talent and create a bespoke team of 50+ writers, entrepreneurs, artists, illustrators, photographers and editors.
A recent project you’re proud of.
I'm so happy we launched "Give Where You Live," it is a social movement we designed with Mailchimp to increase visibility and donations to small local nonprofits. It’s another example of a long lasting platform we hope will have a massive positive impact. In this case, we try to address how the philanthropy model is broken. It is proven that local small nonprofits, because they know their communities the best, can design more relevant solutions with longer-lasting impact, yet less than 2 percent of donations go to them. We're trying to change this. We launched at the end of 2022 in six cities and are already seeing some early positive signs. We are now working on broadening the movement for 2023.
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
I've always loved the work of engaged artists such as JR, Ai Wei Wei, Anish Kapoor and their ability to move people deeply and drive powerful, impactful conversations at the same time.
Someone else's work you admired lately.
Beats by Dre, "You Love Me"—it is so rare in the U.S. to see such hard truths put out in the open so openly and beautifully. Really applaud the brand’s courage and Melina Matsoukas' craft.
Your main strength as a creative person.
My curiosity! I ask a ton of questions.
Your biggest weakness.
I can be very stubborn.
One thing that always makes you happy.
The sun. And of course, my amazing husband and my goofy and adventurous son.
One thing that always makes you sad.
Injustice. Inequality. And feeling helpless. More than sad, it makes me angry and leads me to action.
What you’d be doing if you weren’t in advertising.
2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.