Design firms in the St. Louis area?

I recently moved out to St. Louis for a job designing outdoor sporting goods (tents, sleeping bags, chairs, etc.). I am making ok money but the boss is NEVER around. I’m by myself most of the time. He tells me to come up with something then splits, basically not too much dirction (he’s a very poor communicator). Then when I present the ideas I have come up with he just looks at them and doesn’t speak.

I wish I took another job. I would like to be around other designers. Not just sitting in a room by myself. Oh yeah, we have a secretary who thinks she’s a designer. “Full of dead end ideas!”

Anyways, long story short, when I do plan on leaving this “job” for a real one there aren’t too many design firms in the St. Louis area. My fiancee just got a great job with the chance of a extremely great promotion, so leaving isn’t a great idea. She just left the last city to come out here with me. I would hate to have her quit another great job so we could pick up and leave again. We are also planning on buying a house soon. Coroflot only has like 8 firms that pop up. So it looks like slim pickings.

Does anyone know of any other Design firms in the area of St. Louis? I feel that I am stuck in a rut and I am not learning anything but executing. I need to be around other designers so I can learn and understand how to improve my skills. I am not using any 3d modeling skills that I have acquired from school. I just sketch and finalize in Illustrator, so changing colors is easier. (There is a lot of color change with these jokers, they never know what they want) No offence to anyone in the cut-and-sew industry, but this isn’t for me. I want to design hardside products, exhibits, or the ultimate goal is a consultancy design firm. I feel that if I keep designing soft goods I will be stuck in this industry and won’t be able to break out.

Any help is greatly appreciated! I basically need a mentor to steer me in the correct path to achieve the desired goal.

P.S. How do those of you with jobs ask your employer to pay for your IDSA membership? What reasoning can you give besides, “it helps me with networking”. What can I say it will do for the company? Sorry for the typos, I was in a hurry!

Everyone must be busy this time of the year.

Hello from the land of STL,

I’m in school right now working on a Computer Science degree so I’m not really down on everything in STL, but here are some resources to check out.

Creatives on Call: They handle staffing for design firms and know everyone with a design department in this town. I would give them a call. They don’t like me cause I always turn them down, my school schedule is crazy.

St. Louis
200 South Hanley Rd.
Clayton, MO 63105
(314) 863-7223

The Creative Group: They handle staffing for mostly ad agencies but I’ve gotten some good freelance work through them. They make you do a bullshit skills test on outdated software but despite that I got extremely high scores on everything. After that they line up interviews and freelance gigs. The more open your schedule, the better the jobs.

One Metropolitan Square
Suite 1250
St. Louis, MO 63102-2733
Phone: 314.621.1121
Fax: 314.621.4621

Normally I’m not that hot on staffing agencies but in this town design firms are weird and often hidden. These two groups can hook you up and know just about everything thats going on.

If you like corporate work I would suggest checking out Anheuser-Busch or Maritz Marketing. They both have design departments mostly working on internal projects. Probably graphics intensive but you never know.

I’ve known a few people who worked for Cardinal Brands. They make non-glamorous office/school supply stuff but they’re in China and its good experience.

Send me a PM if you want my email address.

mmjohns, thanks for your help. I remember you helped me out before with STL.

I’ve heard good things about Metaphase, in STL.

Isn’t Swiss Army brands based there as well?

Hey there-
I work at the company that licenses the Swiss Army stuff. We also do a couple lines of footwear, as well as Callaway golf bags. It seems the pickins are few and far between in this city. I’ve heard decent things about Metaphase also, but the main product area with work available is footwear. One place is Elan-Polo Inc although I wouldn’t recommend working for them (I did unfortunately for 5 years), and Brown Shoe. I don’t know if Brown is hiring though. There is also Cerf Brothers who does bags too.

If you want to chat further, my email is
Cheers- Chris.
(I’ll hang if you’d like sometime…designers are too few and far between here)

Sounds EXACTLY like my beef with my current job. It sounded fantastic on paper when I first started, but I’m to the point now where I am also not learning anything new or getting any direction, and the communication with my boss/company owner is almost non-existent. Add to that my sub-par pay in a big city, and I have every reason to leave. Good luck in your search.