Elise Nelson & Wilson McDermott
MARKETING MASTERS, SOCIAL MEDIA MAVENS & JOHN MAYER FANS
Elise and Wilson began their marketing agency, First Serve, during the pandemic, when they saw the need in the market for a boutique agency to manage the social media accounts for growing businesses who didn’t understand or know how to manage platforms like Instagram.
Close friends and both recovering corporate workers, they seized an opportunity to work creatively together, address an underserved market with a niche set of services and skills and have a blast while doing it.
Elise is our Pisces, born on March 16 and Wilson is a lovely business partner compliment as a Libra (September 21).
Birth Chart Analysis
Elise’s Midheaven is in Gemini, clearly making any profession in communications a natural fit for her. She brings an effortless curiosity to her work, and is genuinely intrigued by a diversity of subjects (likely her clients’ businesses!) With her IC in Sagittarius she is wise beyond her years, naturally intelligent and capable. With Mars conjunct her IC there’s a naturally strong leader in her as well; a take charge attitude that creates confidence in those who have to rely on her.
Her 10th house is partially occupied by Cancer, lending her a helpful quality in the workplace as well. She’s ambitious and nurturing all at the same time. She likely understands that for business owners it’s not only about the dollars and cents, it’s also about the pride and effort that has gone into growing something they want to see succeed.
Wilson’s Midheaven falls in the strong Leo, making any career that’s forward-facing, or about public appearance, a natural fit for her. With a slice of the structured, perfectionist and goal-driven Virgo in her 10th house as well, she likely brings a sense of organization and attention to detail to every project.
10th house Virgos require mental stimulation and variety, much like that of a Midheaven Gemini, so both Elise and Wilson do well to work with clients in varied industries. They both are naturally able to understand the nuances of different professionals and companies.
They also happen to be very funny and a blast to hang out with!
Read on for their full interview and to see where John Mayer (almost) came into the mix!
Who or what inspires you the most in your work?
W: Do you mean who or what distracts me the most from my work? That would be my three small children
E: Wilson gave me the push I needed to do this but it is also inspiring to see how many people have a need for what we offer
W: My honesty. And my appetite.
E: Ability to listen to others
W: Overalaysis. And my appetite.
E: I have a hard time saying no
How did you two come to work together?
W & E: We met on the tennis court, hence our business name First Serve. It turns out we had crossed paths on many occasions, and even came to discover our grandmothers are friends!
When did you know that your passion was/could become your career?
W & E: When we were getting individually inundated with requests to help with social media
Why is cohesive branding and marketing so important these days, and who, in your opinion, needs the most assistance with it?
W&E: Everyone turns to the internet/social media when they need anything, nowadays. If you want your brand to stick out and get noticed, it has to look good. If you want it to look good, a cohesive layout is paramount. Pick a look and stick with it- consistency has always, and will always be, key. Everyone could use help with their branding… it took us weeks to settle on our own logo and aesthetic! And that wasn’t without the help of family and friends in the graphic design and arts field. The more input the better.
Most famous person you’ve met:
W: Bruce Springsteen
E: Donald Trump
What does First Serve do better than anyone else?
E & W: We’re truly a boutique business in that we are there to hold the hands of our clients and walk them through the process. Our goal is to help them reach their goals. If they need us to handle everything for them, we cover them completely. If they are uncomfortable with the social media platforms, but looking to learn more, we teach. And then everything in between. Our logo creation and page layout/design is one of our strongest suits… we love finding a way to set each account apart from their competitors and peers alike.
Is there one achievement/award/campaign you’re most proud of, and why?
W & E: I think both of us would agree that motherhood is the hardest and most rewarding thing we’ve ever done.
What is the most important thing companies (and individuals) should consider when it comes to branding?
W&E: Consistency is key. Establishing your aesthetic and using it across your branding will set you apart. Also, don’t be so serious! People like to see raw & real moments, be yourself!
How has the concept of marketing evolved over time, specifically for women, in a way you think gives us more or less opportunity?
In the days of Mad Men, everything was done in person. All of the prep work was done up front and then presented to a group for approval. It’s so different now- so much more streamline, and we are all afforded the opportunity to communicate freely with our clients which allows for a lot more efficiency and a better end product. Women never really played a large part in the presentation portion of things back in those days, but they were still heavily involved behind the scenes. I’d say we’ve definitely worked our way to the forefront, and deservedly so.
Worst rejection you’ve ever experienced:
W: John Mayer, 2009
E: That reminds me. . . I tried out for an Oscar Mayer Weiner commercial when I was little, I didn’t get the job
What has been the most surprising about running your own business?
E&W: How hard it is
Closest you’ve come to death?
W: I was very sick when I was 10- misdiagnosed and allegedly hours away from death.
E: When my car spun around during a snowstorm and I was facing I-84 in the wrong direction
Prior to now, best job you ever had:
W: Sales Trader at KBW
E: Account Executive @ NBC in Boston
Favorite show currently or last show you binge watched?
W & E: We both just binged Firefly Lane, it was cute
Song on repeat?
W:Kill the Lights, Jess Glynn
E: Anything Kygo
Books on the bedside table?
W: Maybe someday
E: Just my phone & remote
Current indulgence/guilty pleasure?
W & E: Playing paddle
Most useful business resource:
W &E : instagram
Favorite part of your job:
W: Getting to work with my friend, and making my own money for the first time in a while. It is very empowering.
E: Of course laughing with Wilson everyday. Also making my own schedule and meeting fun new people along the way!
Most challenging part of your job:
W: Trying to juggle being at home with the kids and accomplishing all of the tasks at hand. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.
E: Finding the perfect balance between work, life & family life. Since we don’t work traditional office hours it is hard to turn things off!
Have you ever disliked something and changed your mind?
E: I hate changing my mind, so I try not to.
Best parenting hack:
W: Locks on doors
E: Hire the babysitter
How do you take your coffee?
W: Decaf, a lot of sugar and regular milk
E: Iced with whole milk, or hot with a little half & half.
If you’re in need of some social media guidance or marketing assistance, these are the women you want to know!
You can reach them through, obviously, their instagram account, @firstservemktg or through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.