How Vannesia Darby Started Her Own Marketing Agency

Vannesia was an accidental entrepreneur, but has grown her company into what it is today with the know-how of leveraging social media trends and taking into consideration what her customers need before they know they need it.

How Vannesia Darby Started Her Own Marketing Agency

Vannesia was an accidental entrepreneur, but has grown her company into what it is today with the know-how of leveraging social media trends and taking into consideration what her customers need before they know they need it. Her philosophy has always been to listen and get feedback from customers and create something to meet the need. Vannesia created MOXIE Nashville to help creatives strategize and create digital marketing campaigns – and it all started with a business card.

Walk me through the history of MOXIE Nashville, what’s the origin story?

I worked in digital marketing at a major record label early in my career. The first time I was asked to travel with an artist, I realized that I never received my company business cards. When I asked if I could place an order, I was told that people “at my level don’t get business cards.”  I was shocked and a bit confused. How could I go on the road with the team and network with potential partners if I didn’t have a card?

Credit: Danielle Shields Photography

I decided to take matters into my own hands by tapping into my network from undergrad. I knew tons of creative people who created flyers and promo videos in college. My friend Moe is a graphic designer and I asked if she could create the card. I sent her the photoshop file of the company logo (which you should not do!) and shared some samples. Within a few weeks, I had almost identical cards as everyone else on the team. When I gave one to my boss, he chuckled and said, “You’re good. I’m going to act like I didn’t see these.”

During my time at the label, I was receiving a lot of questions about how I pivoted from a campus leader into the entertainment industry. I began contributing to popular blogs and sharing my early career lessons. Between my job and the writing features, people started knowing me for the work I was doing in the digital space and began asking me to do work on the side.

While in graduate school, I decided to quit my job and began doing the same thing I did at the label - but on my own terms. In 2016, MOXIE Nashville, a social media agency, was officially born!

In the beginning, customers asked for designs, marketing strategies, and more. I developed the agency by discussing the desired outcomes and needs with the client relative to their online presence and then hiring the same friends (like Moe!) to execute the design aspects. I was a strategist, a consultant and an iMovie video editor, but I didn’t even know the language of consulting back then. I just knew we got stuff done!

MOXIE was a side gig that was only supposed to last through my last year of graduate school, but I got caught up. And here we are six years later.

Credit: Danielle Shields Photography

What would you say is the biggest change you’ve noticed within the industry while growing MOXIE?

The biggest change in the digital marketing realm has to be that every social media manager has become a video editor due to the rise of reels, TikTok, and other video driven platforms. This is where a lot of things shifted for agency owners like me because we had to hire video editors who typically charge more in comparison to graphic designers.

This is also why I would never recommend building a whole marketing strategy on a single platform. Once a platform decides to amplify a single tool, everyone has to go with it.

Credit: Danielle Shields Photography
"Every social media manager has become a video editor"

Additionally, the content style changed. Highly produced content was replaced with more of a scrappy look. Videos with a static image overlaid on top of a moving background perform just as well (if not better!) than stylized content nowadays.

Listening and pivoting are part of the game. Clients, Platforms and the comment section all tell you exactly what they need from you. Every service and offer that MOXIE has released has been because of need. I let people tell me what to offer next because it helps to validate the demand.

"Kapwing is the gift that just keeps on giving."

How did you hear about Kapwing, and what do you use it for?

I actually didn’t have to go through too many different editors to find Kapwing - shoutout to SEO! I believe I Googled “free caption tool for video.” I’ll try any tool at least once, so when Kapwing popped up, I decided to give it a try!

Then I created a video where I really wanted that watermark removed, so I upgraded to the premium. I’ve just been recommending it to everyone. My team uses it too, and the team is made up of contractors, so they also use it for their other clients. Kapwing is the gift that just keeps on giving.

I mostly use Kapwing for repurposing content. Originally, I just came for the captioning tools. Once I found the additional tools like resizing and overlaying logos, I knew I had to stay! In the past, the resizing and subtitle tools were my favorite. Not to mention the new updates have really helped speed up my work. The resizing feature with the blurred background is amazing! This was something I was already doing manually, so seeing the new feature doing this automatically made me excited.

The smart cuts update was also really nice. I save a lot of time, especially with jump cuts, since that’s the editing style we use within MOXIE. I work with designers all over the country. The Kapwing Teams feature, makes it easy to just drop a file into Kapwing and collaborate. Even if the designer edited a video on a different platform, we can still make notes and comments on the video.

Another huge plus is the fact that Kapwing is a cloud based software. I can be anywhere and still be able to access Kapwing. My next favorite tool other than the blurring background in the resizing tool has to be safe zones. This is so important since I always accidentally add text outside of safe areas!

Kapwing literally has everything which is why I continue to use it every day. I’m very excited about all the capabilities and how you all continue to improve - thank you!


I had a great time meeting Vannesia and learning about her unique journey through the conception of and the efforts put into growing her business. If you also enjoyed this, be sure to keep an eye out for the coming articles featuring creators, the projects they’re working on, and how they use Kapwing to share their messages with the world!

Are you a creator who’s interested in being featured in a spotlight? Check out this blog post for more information on this series, and submit an application to be featured.