Former Water's Edge talent band together to build new firm post closure

Following the closure of local creative agency Water’s Edge after 28 years in operations, the agency's former creative partner, Andy Lee and its client services director, Michelle Tee, have teamed up together to establish another integrated creative agency named W/E + Partners. The new agency is said to be a fully integrated creative agency that provides branding, advertising and digital solutions across touch points that are relevant to the consumer journey. It is added that it currently serves "a wide spectrum" of client accounts from financial services to real estate, according to a press statement. 

Lee (pictured left) and Tee (pictured right) have previously been with Water's Edge for more than 20 years and 10 years respectively.

Their main purpose of starting W/E + Partners was to leverage Water's Edge's ethos and culture, while maintaining the close relationships they had fostered with its clients over the years.

In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Tee said W/E + Partners is currently working with the same group of clients it had with Water's Edge. It is understood that key clients of Water's Edge include local bank DBS, POSB and AIA Singapore. 

Along with Lee and Tee, 10 former team members from Water’s Edge remain within the team as it now operates under the banner of W/E + Partners. This also includes its creative director, Julius Sim. The agency said in a press statement that as since they have been working together at Water’s Edge for almost 10 years, the "close-knitted and familial culture" of the agency ensures continuity in building the long-term relationships and value that its clients are familiar with.

Although Water's Edge's founder, Tan Sin Kuan, is no longer with the new agency, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands that he has given Lee and Tee his blessings to establish W/E + Partners.

Together with a wider collective of partnerships that W/E + Partners had formed, the agency said it aims to provide a holistic offering to its clients beyond creative marketing services, by lending more specialised expertise ranging from public relations to digital strategy.

Tee said with W/E + Partners, the team is excited to continue the same legacy with a fresher perspective. According to her, the agency is turning the leaf to a new chapter in a bid to create more impactful work with its clients, because it acknowledges that things need to be done differently in this challenging economic climate, but "with the same passion and commitment that we had been delivering over the years".

Lee added: “It had been a privilege to have worked at Water’s Edge for the past 20 years as it was at the agency that I had forged very good long-term relationships with clients who had also become friends over the years. I am humbled by the support from clients and colleagues that enabled me to continue this journey to create meaningful work together.”

Tan Hau Keat, head of customer value management at AIA Singapore, congratulated Lee and Tee for establishing the new agency. "Having been their long-term client, I know that they will continue to provide that excellent service and great ideas that we recognise are signature to the ethos of Water’s Edge," Tan added. 

Water's Edge ceased its operations at the end of 2020 after 28 years. Its founder Tan Sin Kuan told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE previously that this came as the agency had a tough going since 2015, amidst the economic slow down and trade wars. The agency eventually closed due to "extraordinary losses" in 2019, followed by COVID-19 and the lockdown in Singapore which caused many key projects to be stalled. In August 2020, the agency had to downsize its team to a minimum crew which sole purpose was to honor its commitment to clients, to ensure ongoing projects continue and obligations are met so client’s interests are not compromised. The downsize then eventually led to the agency closing its doors.

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Local SG ad agency Water's Edge shutters ops after 28 years