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Daily Inspiration: Meet Adam Rachlitz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adam Rachlitz.

Hi Adam, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I get asked a lot from up-and-coming creatives on how I got to where I am, and I wish I had a straightforward answer, but the truth is I’ve lived a lot of professional lives – from advertising to working at Roc Nation, to designing clothes, and now Head of Creative at Stept Studios – but what I’ve always done is listen to the things that excite and fulfill me and follow it.

In my early years, I worked as a strategist and creative at ad agencies around LA. After a while, I found myself realizing that my job is fulfilling only when the things I work on have meaning. At the time, I was working on a toilet paper brand, and I was sitting in a focus group of middle-age people talking about how they wipe their a** and I was like what am I doing here. I quit a week later.

I wanted to work on stuff that brought people joy and found a cool niche in working with brands in the music space. This led me to an opportunity to help build a small creative team at the record label and management agency, Roc Nation.

But, after a while, I started getting burnt out on advertising no matter what the subject, and I started getting into making clothes. I loved the idea of making something tangible. So after my time at Roc, I started a small label called AO James. I made sustainable men’s clothing here in downtown Los Angeles and I fell in love with it here. I loved the neighborhood and the people.

The brand was fairly successful, it was featured in a number of publications and carried in boutiques but frankly, I needed more money, and I started freelancing again as a creative director in addition to making clothes.

The founders at Stept are old friends of mine and it was really one of the only places I was excited to work. At the time, they were just a production and post house but were getting asked to concept more and more. The work was great and they are just good people. After a while, they asked me to come on as head of Creative to help build a creative agency within Stept Studios and I was excited to do it. I actually sold all the remaining inventory to a boutique chain in Japan and closed the doors.

Now, after about two years at Stept, I’m incredibly proud of the work we do here, and we’ve been able to build the creative team from just me and a designer to more than 15 people counting Nike, Oakley, Diageo, Whoop, Marriott, and more as clients.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Everything has been a struggle, nothing has come easy honestly. When you move from one industry to another you start from scratch. Moving from strategy to become a creative director, from creative director to making clothes, from clothes building a creative agency. I’ve had to learn and grow as I go, but what you do is stay curious and learn from others and teach yourself (learned to sew on YouTube!!). Learn from all your failures. I didn’t mention it earlier but I started and failed at building an agency once before Stept and I took those learnings and applied it here with the help and guidance of Nick Martini from Stept we’ve been successful.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Currently, I work as a Creative Director and am the head of creative at Stept Studios. My goal for work is to simply have an impact on the viewer – the type of impact changes from project to project, but I want to do something that has meaning to the person watching.

I don’t care if they watch it once and scroll past; I just want it to have brought them a little bit of joy or inspiration. Even a little smile is all I go for.

I’m most proud of the work we’ve done for the Nike Football team ( They are so devoted to creating positive change in the football world and I’m so glad to be a part of that.

What’s next?
We have always created entertainment at Stept, and those stories were made with brands funding or participating. We are naturally evolving and finding opportunities to expand into longer formats, series, and even feature Doc’s. It’s an exciting opportunity to be able to create something that doesn’t have a brand metric tied to it but a human metric of enjoyment. Very excited about that.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

1. Nike “Stronger Than One” 2. Oakley NFL campaign, Photo by Miko Lim 3. aojames (Adam’s clothing brand)_Photo by Kelia Anne Maccluskey 4. Nike with Naomi Osaka, Photo by Courtney Sofia Yates

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