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Meet Kelly Bayett of Barking Owl in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Bayett.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in the valley in LA and music was the greatest escape. I went to shows constantly and was obsessed with all of the small venues where you could see incredible performances.

I started in radio and when there was a strike, I moved over to the music world and started working in music for advertising and film scores. While the film scores were more prestigious, the pacing and variety of advertising was really exciting to me. You could work on so many different genres at once and you met so many incredible people. I found a passion that I would have never expected.

Eventually, as a single mom with two kids and nothing left to loose, I left my job and started Barking Owl in my home with my boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband. Without any investors, a reel or even a bio you can say we built the company from absolutely nothing.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There are always challenges that you experience. Not having a reel was a huge problem. While people wanted to work with us, they had to convince their entire team that it was worth taking a chance on us in spite of not having anything to show. You just have to hustle and never ever give up. There is always an answer, you just have to find it.

I got pregnant right as we were expanding from 2500 square feet to 7500 and due the day before the studio opened. Making sure that we could generate the work that could fill the space while being pregnant and having an infant was really challenging. I had to start working immediately and brought him with me every day.

Other challenges are more heartbreaking. You have people that you love and grow attached to and for their own reasons they leave but that first one is so tough. Business is very personal to me and as a result those losses feel like the greatest.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are a company that does music licensing, original music, sound design and mix for all types of mediums and experiences. We are known for bringing a fresh take to different ideas. As a creative director, I have a really specific point of view. Storytelling is key for me. That every idea feels authentic and true to what is going on. I don’t like to rip off other artists and so we bring something new to the table. I am so passionate and excited about the work and I want everyone we work with to feel that.

Keeping our creative vision and not sacrificing for the easy win is one of the things I am most proud of and definitely sets us apart.

The project I am most proud of is Corazon. It’s a piece we did for Montefiore. It was about 50 minutes and starred Ana De Armas. It’s one of the most brave and powerful pieces of branding that I have ever seen. It’s an incredible film on its own and there was a digital component where you could hold your phone to your heart and it would read your heart rate. It would immediately ask if you wanted to become and organ donor and as a result they signed up tens of thousands of donors. When you realize that each body saves eight lives, you understand the impact that branding can have on the world and what we can do.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was really into music, riot grrls and theatre. I was incredibly quiet until about 7th grade and then I opened up but it took a very long time. People who know me now could not imagine that part of my life. Haha.

I have worked since I was 13 years old. I love the purpose and independence of a career. My favorite job was waiting tables at Follow Your Heart in the valley. I still go there, it looks exactly the same and it just feels like a warm blanket to me. It’s very comforting.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal Photo: Hannah Alter; Other images: Houston Fry

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