Mixte Communications is a California-based social impact communications agency that is changing the world, and it all started with a bicycle. Check them out in this month’s #RespondentSpotlight.
What do bicycles and social justice communications have in common? The Mixte Bike Frame: a historically symbolic and trendy city bike frame that was a critical element of the women’s liberation movement. The bike frame also served as the brand inspiration for Mixte Communications, a nationally recognized communications agency committed to fighting for social justice for over a decade.
Led by Principals Jamie Hampton and Karim Bouris, Mixte has become known for its values-driven approach and dedication to making a positive impact on the world.
Mixte was founded 11 years ago to fill a gap in the San Diego market for community-driven social justice communications. Like many companies during the pandemic, Mixte went fully remote, with large portions of its nearly 20-person staff spread across opposite ends of the country like Hawaii, Georgia, and New York. Today, Mixte supports advocates across the nation fighting for equality.
Founded by Jamie, Mixte is also led by her husband and fellow Principal, Karim, as well as Jamie’s best friend and Vice President of Communications, Mia Bolton, both of whom she met through Mixte.
Regarding company culture, Mixte strongly focuses on recruiting a diverse workforce and ensuring every employee feels a sense of belonging. The company practices vulnerability and emotional intelligence and is committed to fighting racism. Mixte puts its values into action with pro bono work supporting the San Diego County Black Chamber of Commerce and creating a "We All Belong" campaign to raise awareness about the increase in hate against Asian Pacific Islander communities.
Mixte's commitment to values is what makes it unique. The company looks for three things in its clients: values-aligned work, a healthy budget to truly make change, and daring, creative, respectful client contacts. If a potential client doesn't meet these criteria, Mixte will offer other agencies that might be a better fit.
Mixte Communications is not just about its values; it's also about the people who make up the company.
Jamie has a background she describes as "pretty traditional," growing up in a working-class family in rural Oregon. But her passion for making a difference in the world drives her and led her to found Mixte. Jamie recalls a moment commuting on her bike to her agency job in San Diego. She says she was stopped at a light and beside her was a big Honda Element. However, no one else was riding or walking in this community. When she got to work that morning, she started on one of her main accounts as public relations for Honda in San Diego. “I was helping to put those Elements on the road!” she exclaimed. That day, she made a plan to leave the agency and start the long path to eventually launching Mixte, never looking back.
Jamie continues to embody her outdoor spirit as an avid cyclist and outdoor enthusiast. She recently celebrated Mixte's 10th anniversary by taking a three-month sabbatical, a self-supported bicycle tour through six countries in Eastern Europe. Averaging 45 miles a day and 4500 feet of climbing daily, Jamie called it “the single-most challenging and rewarding experience of my life,” which she believes was possible only because of the team at Mixte.
When it comes to challenges, Jamie cites the amount of time spent in virtual meetings as a current struggle. But the rewards of her labor are seen in Mixte's team. Jamie didn't start a business to work herself to the bone; she started it to change the world. And one of the ways Mixte does that is by hiring exceptional people who can do amazing things. She also doesn't want to work her team to the bones, so this year the company started four-day work weeks to ensure each employee gets a long weekend to refuel.
She’s particularly proud of a paid apprenticeship program called Tracks that aims to create career pathways for folks who are underrepresented in public relations. Others have also begun to take notice, with Capital One recently selecting her for their Catapult Entrepreneur Program, which she’s using to focus more on her apprenticeship program.
Jamie also shared a personal project she worked on outside of work: building two standalone office pods in her backyard for herself and her husband, Karim. Jamie ran all of the electrical, Internet, and lighting fixtures herself and used items found at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore.
And finally, Jamie has a success story to share about Prosal. This last year, Mixte intentionally tried RFPs to create new relationships with organizations that don't know the company exists. Through Prosal, Mixte has met some fantastic organizations, and just last month, the company proudly accepted a new client that rivals some of the largest contracts in Mixte's history.
Mixte Communications is a company driven by its values and committed to making a positive impact. With a strong team and a dedication to social justice, Mixte is a shining example of what can be achieved when a higher purpose drives a company.