We had the good fortune of connecting with Max Lefeld and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Max, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
I guess several things. I have learned so much, It has actually changed me for the better. First of all, to believe in yourself, to stay humble and rooted, thankful. To never let success get to your head. I have said it all along my 17 years since I opened Co.Jones Creative that “we are a start-up everyday” because every day we have to win to keep our client’s confidence and trust. I started back in 2004, and since then, I have never taken my eyes off the helm. We are a small business by design, we openly criticized bureaucracy, those who point fingers and delegate. Co.Jones is a small shop where we are responsible for the good things we do, as well as the mistakes we make. I have learned to be thankful for my clients. They have given us the opportunity to work with them. I have also learned that running your own shop is tough. Actually I have a heart attack to prove it. But I never feared away from it, and even after the heart attack, I came back and it’s been a decade since it happened and that also taught me valuable lessons. But, back to your question, I have learned that I really love what I do, and I will forever be thankful of my many adventures in advertising.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
About Co.Jones (pronounced Company Jones, not Cojones:) We are an independent, flexible advertising & creative shop delivering insights, ideas and initiatives to connect with the Hispanic market. Founded in Dallas in 2004 by me. Prior to going on my own, I was Executive creative Director of two of the largest national Hispanic ad agencies, and before that, Creative Director at Leo Burnett Venezuela, in charge of global brands like Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Procter and Gamble. In 1995, we (me and my wife, Marian) decided to explore new opportunities, and accepted an offer to move to the US to be the creative director of a national Hispanic agency with an office in Dallas. It was a risky move, because I was leaving a promising career in a larger agency for a career in a smaller agency, but in a larger country. I came motivated to learn and probably take my experience back home one day, but politics in my country made us delay the return, and at the same time new roots were growing in Dallas. We had two incredible daughters Bettina and Tatiana, and then Marian (my wife) started studying and excelling at SMU, and Co.Jones was also getting started. We, as a family, were all going after new dreams. Growing and learning, but never losing sight of our beloved hometown. But at the same time, living in the present and trying to take in as much experience as we could. And here we are, 25 years later, still dreaming with a return, but forever thankful for what Dallas has given us. We didn’t lose our country, we won another one. Regarding what do I want people to know about my brand? That Co.Jones is about being flexible, open to changes. and fearful. Co.Jones (Cojones) It’s the name of the company but also the philosophy, the vision and the mission. It’s about believing in yourself and going after your dreams not afraid of the results, but instead, fueled by the enjoyment of doing what you love the most.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Whenever friends or family come visit, we take them to the many great art museums the metroplex has to offer. Our local museums are world class. After visiting museums, I wouldn’t mind enjoying tapas at my favorite Cafe Madrid. I have been a customer for 25 years and counting, and still recommended like the first time. I’m also a big fan of areas like Bishop Arts and lower Greenville. As you can tell I like supporting small businesses, because I know from experience the value of repeated customers and good word of mouth.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have made great friends throughout the agencies that I have worked. There’s even a Max born in Dallas and named after me. That tells you the level of friendship we have made and how our roots have grown locally. But if there’s someone I need to recognize is my dear friend Karla Armendariz, who has worked with me for over 20 years, in different agencies, and decided to come and join Co.Jones when this was just a small desk with a big dream. Karla has been through our ups and downs and we have found a way to always laugh despite the struggles of a small business. Besides, Karla, we have a great team that became a family. We don’t work together, we enjoy and respect each other’s contribution. The work we have done at Co.Jones has only been possible with the help of all the incredible people that have worked with us.
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