Willoughby Aims to Change the Way You Experience the Working World

Written By

Megan Stephens



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Willoughby is not just a local brand innovation and design firm, but a place where curiosity about the world is treasured. Here, it’s about designing with purpose, meaning and beauty. “So core to our culture is that we believe design should be part of everyday life and that it can really change the way you experience the world,” according to Megan Stephens, president and partner at Willoughby.

Ann Willoughby

Founded in 1978 by Ann Willoughby, the company has grown and thrived as a woman-owned firm. Willoughby set out to create a work environment that would reflect her values and lifestyle, which happen to revolve around family and embracing working mothers.

In the ’70s, the work culture was much different for women after they had children. It wasn’t encouraged for them to work, and job flexibility wasn’t offered. As a mother herself, Willoughby wanted to develop a place where mothers (and women in general) could thrive and offer the female perspective to the design field.

With that being said, Willoughby believes in a gender balance and understanding and incorporating both perspectives. This can be a bit of a balancing act, but it’s something Willoughby has perfected over the years.

The design studio is focused on the core values of humanity. “We have a thing we call ‘be kind and candid,’ which is be kind to each other, but be honest with each other because that’s really important in the design world,” Stephens explains. “You can’t critique each other if you aren’t candid, but be kind about it.”

Along with collaboration and humility, Willoughby strives to promote curiosity, passion, sustainability, health, attention to detail and excellence in work service. The core values of a company never change, so Willoughby looks for what remains constant in its clients and creates a vision and brand around those qualities.

When a client comes to Willoughby, it partakes in a vision workshop to discover what really makes the company tick. This is the passion behind the company that Willoughby uses to create a design that is both a business solution and an extension of the passion that runs deeply behind its brand.

Read the full article at ThisIsKC.com.