Hannah Bernard & Samantha Ellis, 27 & 28
ROOTS + ARDOR
Life Story: Samantha Ellis and Hannah Bernard refer to meeting at a charity event as “serendipitous.” UBC grad Ellis was working in social media, and BCIT alum Bernard was doing freelance video. “We just immediately clicked,” Ellis says. “And it wasn’t long before Hannah said, We’ve got to do something together.” The result was social media force Roots + Ardor (“roots” because both are originally from the Prairies and it’s a reminder to stay grounded, and “ardor” because of their enthusiasm).
At first, all they had were their origins and their passion. “When we started, Hannah and I were literally the company; we were videographer and photographer,” says Ellis. Adds Bernard: “We’d be walking in, sweating. OK, done this shoot; now we have to go to the next shoot.” The hard work paid off. Since landing their first retainer client, Macdonald Realty, five months after incorporating, the duo have more than held their own in the competitive Vancouver PR industry.
But perhaps more impressive is the firm’s insistence on giving back, something that has its roots in the founders’ meet-cute. Taking on pro bono clients is a regular part of doing business (for charities like Backpack Buddies, One Girl Can and Raw Beauty Talks), as is holding monthly “Ment-her-ship” events to connect with the community (proceeds go to One Girl Can, which helps build schools in developing countries). “We’ve been really passionate about working with brands that we mesh with, as far as our personalities and our whole groundwork of social consciousness,” Bernard says.
Bottom Line: Roots + Ardor has four employees and some 25 clients on retainer.