“The artwork was inspired by the nature of Jeddah because it’s by the Red Sea,” Taher said. “For example, you have a falcon that’s in the ocean, a huge life-size falcon. You have Janet Eshelman’s mesh sculpture, which is called the ‘Net of Wonder,’ which moves through the air and is inspired by flight, air and nature. We have over a dozen sculptures with Arabic poetry and with gem-like tones, reflecting the corals and the colors of the Red Sea.”
Taher previously spent 10 years in New York and held digital marketing positions at TBWA/Raad, J. Walter Thompson Worldwide and Giorgio Armani. Taher will now be working full-time in her home country and says she wants the company to be known as a “change agency” and not a traditional advertising agency. She also wants it to act as a “gatekeeper” for Saudi culture stories that resonate with visitors and citizens alike.
The shop has an all-female staff (outside of Dean) of about 15-20 employees that live in the country and have backgrounds working for companies like Nielsen and Nike. While the agency will hire men if it is a good fit, Taher and Dean have been intentional about giving women opportunities. The country has a poor track record when it comes to women’s rights, but has made advancements of late. Women now make up 33% of Saudi’s labor force—nearly double what it was five years ago, according to a Reuters article from early November. Good Intentions will continue to be intentional in hiring women, operating under what Taher calls a “matrix” model—rather than a hierarchical one that she says is more typical of finance and tech industries.
Good Intentions is headquartered in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in the Jax district, which is becoming a cultural hub for creatives and media companies, Taher said. In April, Vice Media announced it will be opening an office in the same district. Taher and Dean were drawn to Saudi’s youth culture. A 2020 study revealed that over two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s population is under the age of 35.
“Saudi is a blank canvas right now,” Taher said. “There is no place in the world I’ve seen that has this canvas allowing the youth to have an opportunity to shape the future.”
As the agency grows it will look to form relationships with like-minded organizations, while offering freelance opportunities. “People want to be their own entrepreneurs and we want to help them do that,” Taher said. “They don’t have to be signed to us to be able to create with us. It can’t be a cubicle or a within four walls type of environment. Our office is going to be almost like an open gallery space where people can come and create.”