Fant Expands Farmhouse With New Space, Staff

By Andy Meek

For media, Web and strategy firm Farmhouse, 2013 has proven to be a breakout year.

FANT

That’s according to Ben Fant, who started the marketing agency in 2007 out of his home, in – where else – an 1800s-era former farmhouse. The firm recently moved into a larger space Downtown at 97 S. Front St. to make room for more staff, and recent projects it has taken on include work for restaurateur Taylor Berger’s new enterprise Tamp and Tap and the Cooper-Young restaurant Ink.

That higher profile work, the growing volume of work and the move to a new space to accommodate extra staff means Fant’s role is changing. When he started the firm, he’d previously worked as a photographer who made what in hindsight probably seems like a natural progression into his own agency work.

“That kind of thing lends itself to a little design and layout work,” Fant said. “And then that lent itself to the Web.”

That was the starting progression for what would become Farmhouse, the early days of which saw Fant working out of his home.

The firm’s newest additions include a creative director and an intern. In total, Farmhouse – which specializes in brand development, sales generation and Web design – has five employees on its roster.

The company’s logo is a rooster silhouette. And its website beckons clients with the opportunity inherent in the notion that “in business, every sunrise brings both new challenges and new opportunities.”

Because of recent developments surrounding his firm, Fant said he can feel himself growing into more of a manager than operating as the one-man show that had been the norm for a few years now.

“This has grown because I’ve always tried to find a way to say ‘yes’ to my clients,” he said. “That was advice I got way back. I also want to keep my client roster low. I’m not looking to do lots of plug-and-play requests. We’re small – no account executives. I’m it. And I want to grow with clients long-term.

“People come to us for things like branding and websites. We do everything except videography in-house.”

At the moment, the firm’s clients include mostly small businesses, some nonprofits and businesses in the hospitality industry.

For client Evelyn & Olive, a Downtown Memphis restaurant, the business had two things to deal with when working with Farmhouse and before opening its doors. It was near another successful lunch spot, and the original storefront was lacking curb appeal. With Farmhouse’s help, the business painted its façade and window graphics different colors, so that the contrast would stand out more, and a sidewalk sign was included with a sign facing the street to cover all angles.

Farmhouse also has created a design for the Memphis Food Truckers Alliance. And Farmhouse turned to the T.S. Eliot poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” as the inspiration for Tamp & Tap’s brand identity design.

There’s a line in the poem that mentions measuring out “my life with coffee spoons,” so the firm focused on a turn-of-the-century design while keeping a current branding to emulate a coffeehouse from Eliot’s era.

Other clients have included SRVS, Grant & Co., Belz Inc., the town of Collierville and The Barnett Group.