CLT'S QUEEN OF MOSS
Meet Torrie Savage ’05, founder and co-owner of The Savage Way, one of Charlotte’s most unique creative agencies. Savage’s handiwork has been gracing the scene for nearly a decade, offering Clean Graffiti, an eco-friendly advertising alternative, and one-of-a-kind Moss Art that provide a fresh approach to market and promote brands. While the two mediums might seem a bit random at first glance, they’re both deeply rooted in art, advertising and mother nature.
Today, Savage runs the fully female-employed boutique firm, embracing the notion of creating the extraordinary from the ordinary. And she’s gotten quite good at turning heads while doing it. So good, in fact, she caught the attention of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones — but we’ll get to that.
Examples of Clean Graffiti and Moss Art produced by The Savage Way
AN ARTIST IS BORN
Savage grew up in Matthews, North Carolina, part of a family of artists. Her passion for art was cultivated at a young age. While Torrie enjoyed her own artistic flair, when it was time to choose a career path, she didn’t consider it a viable option. She initially enrolled at NC State, but didn’t find it a good fit. After two years, she found her way to UNC Charlotte, drawn to the beautiful campus and family-friendly environment that felt more like home.
She earned a degree in organizational communication and immediately put it to work, serving various communication roles at Blumenthal Performing Arts, Lowe’s Motor Speedway (now Charlotte Motor Speedway) and Whirlwind Creative. With each new job, she continued to expand her skillset. As her career progressed, despite enjoying the work, she was craving something more.
Savage in the studio where artists make the Moss Art.
A FORTUITOUS ACCIDENT
Desiring greater creativity, freedom and fulfillment in her career, Savage took a leap of faith in 2012 and started her own company. She co-founded The Savage Way with friend Paula Bartlett. With social media marketing still in its infancy, they initially focused on helping clients navigate this burgeoning field – counting local favorites Papi Queso and Heist Brewery among their first clients.
Business was booming. But Savage continued to hunt for a way to help stand out among an increasingly crowded landscape. Oddly enough, inspiration struck in the most unlikely of places: a dirty sidewalk.
“I was helping my dad pressure wash his sidewalk and the artist in me couldn’t help but draw a flower with my name under it. The moment I saw it I instantly saw it as an advertisement, realizing the potential. I pitched the idea of Clean Graffiti to OrthoCarolina, they loved it, and the eco-friendly, guerrilla-style marketing concept quickly caught on.”
Clean Graffiti: What to Know
- Eco-friendly outdoor advertising alternative
- Meet your audience where they are – the sidewalk
- Clean message, dirty sidewalk
- It’s just water; No paint, acid, bleach or epoxy
- Operating in 75+ cities
More than 4,000 sidewalks cleaned (and counting)
Want to know more? Check out the Clean Graffiti media kit.
While Clean Graffiti was gaining popularity and literally cleaning up the scene, yet another creative discovery emerged. A friend approached her with an odd request to create a logo out of moss. Reluctantly, she appeased the request, figuring it would be nothing more than a fun art project. However, at the completion of the project (like with the Clean Graffiti), Savage quickly recognized the marketing potential.
"It was like I was back on Dad’s sidewalk all over again, I realized immediately that Moss Art could be so much more. Not only did it spark my joy as an artist, it caught my attention for how it blended branding, art and sustainability.”
After eight years, Moss Art clients continue to clamor for their own moss look, keeping Savage and her crew busy.
Moss Art: What to Know
- Real plants, just preserved
- No maintenance
- Moss is for indoor use only
- Locally sourced when possible
- Create custom work across the country
Shop is affordable for residential homes
Want to know more? Check out the Moss Art media kit.
A look at some of the pieces created by The Savage Way for local businesses.
Additionally, the business recently launched a residential focus for the Moss Art, designed to cater to the average homeowner’s budget. Shop the online store on the website.
Pro tip: Sign up for The Savage Way email blast (located in the footer of the website) and get 15% off your purchase.
A snapshot of a few of the items available via The Savage Way's home line.
SEEKING THE GOOD
What started as a leap of faith has grown into a successful business, employing eight unique artists – all women. While Savage admits the journey wasn’t always fun or easy, she believes life always put her in the right place at the right time, allowing her to seek the good and create the successful business she has today. And the team’s growing client list includes some heavy hitters – from Bud Light and Diet Coke to Charlotte FC and the Rolling Stones. Told you she’s turned some heads.
Clean Graffiti of the famous Rolling Stones logo to promote the band's 2021 Charlotte concert.
“Getting the Rolling Stones contract was probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me. However, I’m by far most proud of the safe space Paula and I have been able to create for women artists to express themselves creatively. It’s incredibly satisfying to step back and see the quality of work and creativity we’re producing.”
MAKING NINER NATION PROUD
Students come to UNC Charlotte from different backgrounds and leave as alums on a variety of paths. What we have in common is that we all take a piece of Niner Nation on our journey and use it in a unique way. And when you think of it like that, we’re all striking gold.