Kirby Schultz Reflects on 30 Years of HS - HenkinSchultz Skip to main content

Kirby Schultz Reflects on 30 Years of HS

By January 15, 2021January 18th, 2021Staff
Joe Henkin and Kirby Schultz


It’s a word HenkinSchultz founder Kirby Schultz uses a lot. It’s a hard word to define. But then again, Kirby’s career path has been hard to define, too.

For the last 30 years, he has been at the helm of HenkinSchultz. But far before that, he was making his creative mark in a number of ways, powered by curiosity and exploration.

Kirby makes rock-and-roll artwork from Doritos, remodels his dream home to his exact vision, shoots photography and plays guitar, even composing original music. On any given weekend, he may wake up and go to Menards to buy supplies for a sculpture he sees in his head.

Kirby Schultz

That’s moxy, not in a showy way, but in a curious way. And much of that moxy explains his success in the advertising business. A proclaimed workaholic, Kirby has been one of the state’s most prolific commercial artists for over 40 years.

Mentors and Marketing Fundamentals

Kirby is quick to credit the many creative mentors he has met throughout his early career. But he doesn’t rest on those experiences. He maintains a child-like view of wonder about the world, and is always seeking ways to improve in both business and creation.

As the advertising business has evolved the past three decades, Kirby looks back to marketing fundamentals.

Kirby Schultz

“Pretty pictures aren’t enough,” says Schultz. “Understanding the ‘why’ of why we do things is more important.” That’s why Kirby regularly strolls throughout the office and pokes his head in on a designer at work and casually asks, “Why you doing that?”

He does that not just to inspire design, but learn as well. “You have to listen,” says Schultz. “We all learn from each other.”


Kirby says he became a better designer and creative when he understood the importance of storytelling. “If you can tell a relevant story, that’s when people take notice.”

And Kirby has an abundance of stories to share. Whether it be the airport delay that forced him and a colleague into a day of putt-putt golf, posing as golf inspectors or taking business calls at an arcade he frequented to refuel his creative juices, stories are essential to his work.

The HenkinSchultz story dates back to a couple red beers with Joe Henkin and a small office on Phillips Avenue. When asked why he started HenkinSchultz, Kirby says, “We wanted to communicate honestly.”

And honestly, 30 years in business tells a pretty great story, too.

30th anniversary HS

Related Blog Posts

HearSay with Molly—Content CreatorStaff

HearSay with Molly – Content Creator

Molly Lanfear shows no fear when it comes to her travels, the weather and how she approaches her job. We took some time to talk to Molly about her roots, her creative inspirations and how she puts them into every photograph and content creation project. Growing up in Buffalo, NY, how would you compare the weather?  When you grow up in Buffalo, you develop a "bring-it-on" kind of mentality about winter. Eight feet of snow? No problem. Four feet? That's just your average Tuesday. But the key is, it doesn't last. Buffalo has relatively warm winters, and when Lake Erie…
May 9, 2023
HearSay with Emily - Digital Marketing DirectorStaff

HearSay with Emily – Digital Marketing Director

The field of digital marketing is expansive and always changing, and when we need to know what’s next for our industry, we turn to our fearless digital marketing director, Emily Sorenson. She never backs down from a challenge (especially when it comes to cooking competitions at work), so we presented her with some hard-hitting questions to uncover more about her dynamic role at HS. Why do you like working in digital marketing? Oh goodness - that is a hard question to answer. I like to cook - so let’s think of it a little like planning a dinner. My favorite…
April 26, 2023
HearSay with Tammy - Graphic DesignerStaff

HearSay with Tammy – Graphic Designer

What design challenges do you welcome or enjoy? I think one of the challenges that brings me the most satisfaction is creating something awesome when there is minimal content or direction from our clients. Sometimes our clients just don’t know what they want or can’t put it into words, and, more often than not, we nail it! But sometimes we get, “That’s not even close…by a longshot!” (Emphasized by Tammy’s famous laugh) Besides design itself, what are some special skills you bring to your work? I would have to say…proudly…that I’ve been known as “the office physician.” This is probably…
March 15, 2023