Front Range

Strange Designs

Weirder is better at Moxie Sozo. 

December 2012

Mannequin body parts dangle from the ceiling and taxidermic animals stare out over the 5,000-square-foot Moxie Sozo loft. The unconventional decor at this Boulder advertising and design agency is more than just founder Leif Steiner’s interpretation of macabre chic. “It’s reflective of our culture,” he says. “Most offices are soul-less. Our goal is not to be a polished workspace where someone wears a suit and tie. That’s corporate beige.”

Steiner started Moxie Sozo in 1999 as a one-man show. Today, his agency employs 30 people and has clients that range from Nike and Nickelodeon to Colorado Ski Country USA and Left Hand Brewing Company. Steiner, 40, attributes Moxie’s success to hiring “hyper-intelligent, hyper-passionate people who aspire to greatness.” 

He’s also found that this crowd responds particularly well to impromptu adventure. Once, on a Friday morning, Steiner showed up at work and handed out five packets that included airfare, a map, and some cash. The employees were to meet Steiner at a specific street corner in Tijuana at 3 p.m.—a test of their fortitude and problem-solving skills. Another year, a group of employees trekked through the Sahara. For Steiner, it’s just another day at work.