After more than a decade in business, a successful Whitehorse marketing firm is closing up shop.
Dee Enright has been the owner of Outside the Cube since 2008. When she first came to the Yukon in 2005, she was still working for a big marketing agency down south. But she took over Outside the Cube, she said, to prove that “you didn’t have to be in Toronto or Vancouver to be a ‘real agency.’”
Now, though, she’s getting ready to pack her bags and move to Prince Edward Island, where she plans to run a bed-and-breakfast and enjoy her semi-retirement.
“I’ve been thinking about this over the last year or two,” she said. “You just know the timing is right.”
Enright’s departure will mean the end of Outside the Cube, at least in its present form. She said she talked with her senior management team about the company’s future, but none of them was ready to buy her out.
“Running a business is not easy,” she said. “That wasn’t something they wanted to take on.”
Still, she said she feels good about the decision. “There’s no big hit,” she said. “I didn’t have a plan to get rich off it.”
Enright said some members of her 15-person team will find work with other firms. Others will likely freelance and take some of Outside the Cube’s existing contracts with them.
Over the years, Outside the Cube has pulled off some of the territory’s most recognizable marketing campaigns.
Most recently, they’ve helped produce the Yukon Now tourism commercials, which feature the work of local filmmakers showcasing the territory through their own eyes. The first winter commercial was broadcast in February 2015, and the Department of Tourism and Culture has recently unveiled five new ads.
The project recently won the 2015 Explore Canada Award of Excellence for most innovative PR campaign.
Outside the Cube also helped showcase Canada’s Northern House during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and negotiated with Amazing Race Canada to get the show to make a stop here during the 2014 season.
And in 2013, the company won a Canadian Marketing Association award for a campaign that screened images of Yukon wilderness onto the sides of buildings in Toronto.
Still, the Yukon isn’t the easiest location for a marketing agency to thrive. Wages are higher here, and it’s harder to stay on the pulse of changes in the industry.
There also just aren’t that many clients here. About 60 per cent of Outside the Cube’s contracts come from the government, and Enright said the company wouldn’t have survived without taking contracts from Outside.
But Enright said she’s proud of the work her team has done, in spite of those challenges.
“Eight years ago, I saw real opportunity,” she said. “I really felt there was tremendous opportunity here in the territory. I think we’ve grown a lot over the last eight to 10 years.”
For the moment, business will continue as usual. Outside the Cube isn’t taking any new contracts, but it will continue to work on existing projects until it closes its doors on March 31, 2016.
Echo Ross, an account manager with Outside the Cube, called the closure “bittersweet.”
“Obviously it’s emotional,” she said. “I’ve worked with a lot of great people.”
But Ross said she hasn’t been left in the lurch. She plans to keep working for Softball Yukon, one of Outside the Cube’s clients, on upcoming national and world championships.
And she understands why the company has to close.
“Without Dee (Enright)… it wouldn’t be the same,” she said. “From my perspective, she’s definitely the brains behind the operation. She’s able to run a team, and she’s able to make the hard decisions.
“She is Outside the Cube.”
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