February 26, 2021 | By Allie Bigler

Davies Allen, P.C. Interviews Emily Hickey, Co-Founder of Chief Detective

Meet Emily Hickey, Co-Founder of Chief Detective, a specialized, boutique Facebook and Instagram growth agency. Emily and her team go shoulder to shoulder with founders and growth teams to create step function changes in their businesses using Facebook and Instagram. “We work with two types of companies: one is large retailers, and the other is high growth startups. So we’re a scale shop. We’re very in the weeds in the way that we do that – we get very involved with their entire funnel and help them optimize every aspect of their ecommerce funnel.” Emily went on to say, “We do most or all of our clients creative – so half of what we do is managing and optimising ad spend, and the other half is developing our client videos and creative assets of all kinds – which is a never ending process.” Chief Detective is based out of Colorado, but most all of their clients are in California and New York. 

Emily spent 20 years between New York and San Francisco building startups. She’d get put into venture backed companies by the investors to help founders grow their companies. Emily spent many years raising money, developing forecasts, and hitting forecasts. She’s worked across pretty much every marketing channel out there. When Facebook came along Emily, and two people on her growth team immediately thought Facebook was going to be the greatest performance marketing engine in the history of the universe. Through a variety of events, they all ended up leaving that company around the same time, and they’ve been building businesses on Facebook ever since. In 2017 Emily and Co-Founder Zack formed Chief Detective. 

Believe it or not, Chief Detective was named after a corgi. Emily was visiting her aunt one day, and her aunt’s corgi was barking at the door. Emily’s aunt responded to the barking dog, referring to him as their chief detective, and it just stuck with Emily.

When asked what the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in this industry have been, Emily said the whole thing is challenging, “It’s very high pressure – in most cases we’re responsible for a huge percentage of our clients’ revenue and it never stops.” Emily went on to say the creativity of it is challenging – Facebook is very competitive – they have to punch through the noise for their clients and find new ways to talk about products; it’s intellectually and creatively challenging. As for the rewarding side of things, Emily says the most gratifying part of her job is being a part of a company’s growth story. “I’m very competitive, our entire team is very competitive – we love scoring goals for our clients. Our whole job is to sit in a chair and make money for our clients and drastically change their business, and that is extremely gratifying.”

Along with being good at what they do, Chief Detective also cares about their clients. With COVID-19 hitting the retail world so hard, their services were as needed and as important as they ever have been. “So many of our clients have big retail presences that were shut down, and they were cash-constrained because of that or because they were concerned about their future fund raising – it was not clear what was around the corner, so we voluntarily slashed our invoices for all of our clients during that time to contract with them out of partnership.”

When it comes to working with Davies Allen, Emily says it’s been terrific. “You guys are as strategic of partners as we could’ve ever asked for. Davies Allen is able to help in a lot of different ways. You’re extremely responsive, you’re very thoughtful and proactive about helping us optimize the sort of mechanical side of our business. You’re just ‘A’ tier partners, we are extremely grateful, and I also just consider Brynn a friend. She’s wonderful to work with, and I look forward to our calls.” 

For aspiring entrepreneurs, Emily recommends understanding what you’re truly good at – if you were lined up next to 100 people in the world, think about what you’d be the best at. “When I changed the focus of my work, from being a sort of jack of all trades in these startups, to just purely focusing on growth, that’s when I started to succeed.” According to Emily, if you have total clarity around what you’re really good at, and build on that – there’s going to be no stopping you. 

A huge thank you to Emily Hickey. You can check out Chief Detective here: chiefdetective.com or visit them on Facebook @chiefdetectives.