South Bay Sweethearts Jm Marr and Tiffany Jones Follow Their Dreams and Help Their Community Thrive
- Written bySara Debevec
- Photographed byRuby Blue Marr
JM and Tiffany Marr are in love. You can see it in their eyes and smiles and in how they look at each other. It’s a kind of love that emanates and spreads to everyone who crosses the path of this couple—the founders of South Bay creative agency Ideas, Art & Code.
Tiffany and JM have more than 20 years of experience between them working with entertainment giants and brands such as Walt Disney, Fox Movies, Nestlé and Coca-Cola. Together they help clients—local and national—with everything from brand awareness to marketing and communications.
“A lot of people say, ‘How can you work with your wife?’ But we actually met at work, so that has been part of our dynamic. We are great partners,” says JM.
They were both interns at a video and multimedia company in Atlanta and would see each other in corridors and at holiday parties. “He was on the creative side, and I was on the account management and project management side. That’s where we fell in love,” adds Tiffany with a soft laugh.
After working at that company for a couple years, their career paths split. JM moved up within the company, and Tiffany worked for another agency in Boston. They eventually bought a home in Boston, but their dream was to start an agency in Southern California. In 2000 they sold their house, quit their jobs and moved to Los Angeles. At first they partnered with an agency that wanted a local presence, but when that agency was sold, they split off and created Ideas, Art & Code.
“Now we are fortunate to work with clients whom we love, know and can add value to.”
“We were building a business and building a family at the same time—that’s when we had Ruby and I was pregnant with Keaton [12 years ago],” shares Tiffany. “We were juggling both.”
At first they had an office in Santa Monica, but their home was in El Segundo. Eight years ago they moved their office to Main Street and haven’t looked back. They work with local coffee shop Blue Butterfly, local Realtors and Tower60 Foundation, to name a few.
“We have a deeper sense of community and belonging here in El Segundo that just didn’t exist for us in Santa Monica,” adds Tiffany, who also helps people from all over the country succeed professionally through her Empowerment Initiative coaching program.
“Since moving to El Segundo, our core focus in terms of clients, projects and vendors was to do great work with great people,” says JM. “In the early days of starting our agency, we had to take whatever work we could get because we were building an agency. Now we are fortunate to work with clients whom we love, know and can add value to.”
Right when the pandemic hit, Tiffany and JM felt the urge to give back to their community. They offered free virtual programs to high schoolers with courses in graphic design. Students learned the basics plus storyboarding and color theory. They also started a program in communications, teaching kids about public speaking, how to calm their nerves, how to be prepared for an interview and how to speak with college counselors. “Every student needs to know how to be well-spoken,” adds Tiffany.
The programs proved to be extremely popular—not only with South Bay students but also with inner-city kids. They plan to offer them again this summer.
So how exactly do they do it all? “A couple years ago, we committed to each other that we are each other’s ‘ride or die,’” says Tiffany, “no matter what happens personally or professionally. We only work with clients, projects and people we can have a ride-or-die attitude toward.”
If they have an opportunity to work on a great project that’s pushing them beyond their limits or where they don’t get along with the people behind the organization, they will simply recommend somebody else. That takes away a lot of stress and struggle from their lives and keeps them always open to new and exciting opportunities.