Jade Watson Has Built SickBird Into A Powerhouse Production Company
By MeiMei Fox
Digitally-native production company SickBird Productions partners with brands, studios and talent to launch original content. Their work includes three Facebook Watch Originals for The Shade Room — The Shade Brunch, Thick House and Love Locked — ten Snapchat Discover series, three of which are SickBird Originals, and branded content for TikTok including Noah Schnapp company TBH. In just three years, SickBird has generated millions of dollars in revenue and tens of millions of views across various platforms.
The company’s founder, Jade Watson, is just 26 years old. She founded SickBird in order to empower women and BIPOC content producers, which she realized were lacking in the space. Her goal is to adapt emerging media and technology to create authentic content that educates and excites next-gen audiences.
At 23, the Toronto native successfully pitched the idea for her company to the US Embassy. Watson then proceeded to build an impressive client roster by fostering personal relationships. With her team of young and diverse creatives, she has captured the coveted attention of Gen Z and millennials by putting the audience first and applying best practices of data analytics in a production company environment.
SickBird recently announced the launch of a TikTok creator incubator to test how audiences respond to longer form content. The company identifies emerging talent with highly engaged followers and provides them with the opportunity to shape, record and release original podcasts and digital series, giving the talent a shared ownership of the intellectual property.
Kicking off this incubator launch are two SickBird original podcasts — Petty Crimes, co-hosted by Ceara O’Sullivan (@CearaJane – 540k followers) and Griff Stark-Ennis (@griffstarkennis), Rebranding, hosted by Daniel Bennett (@Dxnielbennett – 485k followers.) Coming later this year is Greener Grass, hosted by Watson herself.
“I always knew I wanted to be a producer and make interesting content,” Watson said in an exclusive interview for Forbes. “Personally, I believe content is our window to the world. When I was growing up, I always retained information best through watching documentaries and shows. I became obsessed with the possibility that that could be my job.”
The gap in the market is what inspired Watson most in founding SickBird. “I am constantly inspired by wanting to see more female and POC creators and business owners as decision makers in the industry,” she explains. She is proud of getting SickBird to a place where the company can independently fund its own shows and develop its own IP. Now, Watson says, the challenge is to grow while maintaining quality. “I never want to be one of those companies that just crank out content without thought.”
To young people looking to tap into their life purpose, Watson offers this advice. “For a lot of people finding your passion and purpose is difficult. It’s important to try many things to see what you like. Sitting around and waiting for something to happen is never the answer.”
Watson offers her own career path as an example. She started out in New York but was unable to stay due to her visa expiring. She had to move back in with her parents and start from zero. During that time, instead of sitting around, she made finding a new job her job. She worked full time sending her resume to people on LinkedIn, studying the career path of people she admired, researching other companies she found interesting, and getting herself into a routine so she didn’t feel out of control of her own life.
Ultimately, Watson says, she found success with SickBird by keeping operating expenses extremely low and hiring diverse people who are passionate about their work. “My team genuinely enjoys the content we create and finds it entertaining. It seems so simple, but I know it sets us apart.”
Photo Source: SICKBIRD