Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Ladies Who Brunch Business Conference at the glamour Le Fais Do-Do venue in Atlanta, GA. It was a 2 day conference (February 5th-7th), geared towards both aspiring and current female entrepreneurs looking to gain insight into building their brands, having business balance, connecting with others and more.
The first day of the conference consisted of workshops taught by Bianca Rush of Sassy Mitchell Hair,Nicole Garner of The Garner Circle and Dayy Jones of Bella Bar Tees. There were also Fireside Chat sessions which motivated and inspired attendees to take fast action on their dreams, revamp their current business structures and more.
In the evening, there was an amazing dinner followed by an intimate chat with keynote speaker and Founder of CurlBox, Myleik Teele. Myleik gave business gems. “A lot of times when you are here networking, you just have to be in the room, it’s not always about giving something to someone when you first meet them.” She also advised guests to use social media as a tool to be a platform, rather than gaining popularity or likes.
On Sunday, their signature brunch was held. Panelists included Jasmine Lawrence of Eden Body Works; Toya Wright, New York Times best-selling writer (Priceless Inspirations) and Garb Boutique owner;Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily; Ming Lee of Snob Life Studio; and Miss Diddy, The Brand Group LA. The panel was hosted by Ariane Davis of “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.”
Many women traveled from near and far; some flew in by way of NYC and others drove from Mississippi. They all were touched and inspired by the awesome experience. Bonds were created and lives were ultimately changed through the advice given to them.
The conference was sponsored by Black Girls Run!, Nissan Next, Bank of America, Mielle Organics, Sweet Bitch Wines, Myx Moscato, Eden Bodyworks and The Garner Circle. The conference was an amazing success! You definitely don’t want to miss the next one! For more information on the Ladies of Business Conference, check out www.ladieswhobrunchatl.com.
It's almost that time of the year that EVERY Fashion Guru Lives for: #NYFW! Every Fashion Publicist, Stylist and Designer runs around like a chicken with it's head cut off, stressing over last minute RSVPs and proper seating charts. Now, although I have represented fashion designers and stylists in the past handling their media relations needs, I didn't get the privilege of attending New York Fashion Week until February 2015. The experience was beyond memorable! Here are my 3 tips for navigating through NYC during Fashion Week
1. Be Intentional!- I didn't have a client attending any of the Fashion Week shows. I was headed to NYC for 2 reasons: It was my first time EVER in the Big Apple and I wanted to connect with some of my favorite editors that have been supporting PR Mentality and the various accounts that I service. It allowed me a little bit of room to breathe with no pressure of client expectations, demands and the hustle and bustle. Now, if you do have clients attending shows and various events, you definitely need to be attentive to their needs, ensure everything is together in regards to their wardrobe, itinerary, etc
2. Set Up A Deskside With Your Editor BFF - As I said, my intention was to connect with various editors. So I called ahead and sent emails to schedule a time that worked for me to go in the office. Desksides are a great way for you to get face to face interaction with your favorite editors, continue to build a rapport, and let them know about your clients endeavors in case they have a new story or piece that they are working on pertaining to that industry. Lucky for me, I was able to set up a nice meet and greet with one of my fave's Marianne Mychaskiw, Assistant Beauty Editor of Instyle.com
3, On Event Day, You Must Slay- Now just because I didn't HAVE to attend any events doesn't mean I was going to miss out on all the fun! I mean what PR girl would! So of course I attended the Tech Style event with my PR sisters Priya Williams,(www.prettimonee.com) and Keshia Jones of Brace'. Now, with NYC being one of the world's greatest fashion capital's, you must show up and show out! Black is the new Black and my all Black apparel worked rather nice for the weather and photo opps.
Now, disclaimer about the weather LOL! This Midwest girl turned Southern Belle by way of ATL was NOT prepared for that NYC Cold at all!! And I vowed to never return to NYC in the winter again!
4. It's All About The Press- What kind of publicist would I be if I didn't book press for Fashion Week! Remember, I said I didn't have clients to ATTEND Fashion Week, I never said I didn't have clients working during Fashion Week LOL. My CBS This Morning segment for the beautiful Madisin Rian, model extraordinaire aired during the first few days of Fashion Week. As a publicist, you absolutely need to book press while you're at NYC Fashion Week or any fashion week/ major event for that matter. It's all about the contacts, contracts and memories you create! Remember, PR Girls Do It Better!
As you guys may or may not know I had the awesome pleasure of being a virtual panelist on Candice Nicole PR's PoweR Connection #PeriTalk. It was super excited and I wanted to share the amazing experience with my readers as well!!! As a publicist, I encounter aspiring rappers, business owners, etc who want to take their brand to the next level but don't quite understand the process and TRUST ME! It is a process! So without further adieu, here are my 4 Tips On "How To Work With A Publicist"!
1. Know What You Want- Be specific about what you want a publicist to do for you and your business. Do you research. Know the various services that publicists provide and how they can take you to the next level. Figure out what you need and how it fits into your overall marketing goals.
2. Have A Budget- Before contacting a publicist, you must have a budget! That's why you have to do your homework and figure out how much PR services costs. Typically for full service PR campaigns, you will be required to pay a monthly retainer between $2,500-5,000 per month. Most publicists require the retainer for the first and last month to be paid upfront.
3. Be Prepared- Once you decide on your agency/firm of choice, be sure to have your timelines for your product/service in order. Your website/rebranding phases should be complete, make sure that everything works as it should. Don't try to do test runs in the midst of your PR campaign. If you are in a product based business, make sure you have inventory set aside for media/bloggers as they will want samples to review,etc
4. Be available- Your publicist will need to be in constant communication with you especially when setting up interviews, planning launches,etc. Make yourself available for meetings and stick with them!
HypeFresh Magazine asked me for my insight on Meek Mill's and how he is hurting his career! Check out what I had to say!
I am pleased to announce THE DESKSIDE SERIES, where we will be featuring writers, editors and entrepreneurs to share their insight on how to build and sustain amazing brands/careers. First up is AllHipHop.com writer Shad Reed. Read below to find out what a day in the life of an entertainment writer is all about!
Where are you from?
I am from East Grand Rapids, Michigan. One of of the things in the entertainment world that it is most notable for is that American Pie is based on the high school there. And while EGR is home, I can’t not mention Nashville, Tennessee. I spent many years there too and you wouldn’t be interviewing me now if if weren’t for some of the amazing experiences that I had there.
What inspired you to write?
I would say the fact that writing was connected to so many things that I liked. Whether it was, among other things, film, television, comedy, or music, writing was something that was needed in all of those areas. Additionally, writing is obviously a very transferable skill beyond just entertainment. Even though I had a passion for the arts, once I combined that interest with the potential “real world” practicality of writing, I knew it was what I wanted to do. It allowed me to pursue my interests, but also gave me a useful skill set in case “the dream” didn’t come to fruition.
Describe a typical day for you.
Because I work another job and am going to school for my MBA, my days really do vary, so this is kind of a tricky question. Instead, and if it’s useful / okay, I’ll discuss my creative process. When I write, the process is never identical. I make a point of that so my writing doesn’t accidentally become something that comes across as if I’m just going through the motions. It would be a tremendous disservice to readers. And that’s the last thing I would want to do too. I feel so fortunate for the opportunity to write the way that I do; I want to make the most of these experiences so that I can help push something forward in one way or another. That being said though, with the exception of transcribing interviews, I always start long hand when I first begin a piece. And not to say that writing isn’t hard, it really can and should be sometimes and, just like anything, it’s something to work through to stay sharp in order to improve your craft. But I really try to not force something out; I feel like forcing creativity can be transparent and will make less of an impact than if something is created from the free flow of ideas.
How did you begin your career?
I would say I began my career when I took an internship at Billboard Magazine my Junior year of college down in Nashville. As a keepsake, every intern got to write a single song review. After I submitted mine, I was asked to do more. Once that happened, I definitely caught the writing equivalent of the acting bug.
What do you think about the music industry today?
I can’t be mad at it. In all honesty, it isn’t the music industry that I looked up to as a kid in the mid-90s to the mid-00’s, but change is inevitable and it’s something every industry deals with. With the Internet, social media, etc. playing the role that it does, I think, to some degree, it’s all uncharted waters. The music business will always be around; it’s just a matter of what business model to follow. And I salute everyone who is trying something new for the greater good of the industry - from Trent Reznor giving his music away for free to Jay Z and his Samsung deal to Beyonce dropping her album out of nowhere. It is all very exciting, and I’m both eager and curious to see what happens next.
What do you love about music?
From an artistic standpoint, I love the freedom that music provides. It’s a form of totally free expression that allows someone get their feelings out no matter what the occasion. Plus, the idea that you can affect someone’s life with a note or a lyric is really intriguing to me. Then, from a listener’s perspective, music, in my opinion, provides a way of communicating that is truly unique and can cross all barriers. And in a world that seemingly focuses on differences more than similarities, I think that music proves all people have way more in common than we are sometimes led to believe.
Who are some of your influences, both musical and literary?
Musically, some of the artists that have really influenced me are Nas, Tupac, Eminem, Scarface, Run-D.M.C., Ice Cube, and Jay Z. Hip-Hop speaks to me more than any other genre, but that’s not to say that other styles haven’t connected with me either. I’m a big fan of Ray LaMontagne. I listen to Aaliyah frequently; I think her music is incredible. I really like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And as far as literary figures that have made an impact, I’d have to say Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, comedian/author Patton Oswalt, and screenwriters (both of whom are also film directors) Quentin Tarantino, and Kevin Smith. I don’t want to forget the legendary George Carlin either, in addition to being a hilarious comedic icon, his intelligent and clever grasp of American culture and language was fascinating. His books and albums have definitely made me go, “Wow, this is amazing!” many times.
What's next in your career?
Hopefully, being able to continue to write and report about subjects that are of interest to me and to be able to make a living wage doing it. I really don’t know how far out there that still is (and it could be quite a way), but I do know I am closer to it than I ever have been. My friend and I are officially launching a documentary production company at the top of next year called Damson Dog Productions. Our aim is to bring the approach/stories of old shows like Behind the Music, Diary, etc. into today’s Internet generation and get people interested and investing in artists again, instead of just their latest song, movie, or product. I also have a book, Perfect Imperfections, that I’m working on and hope to finish by the end of this year.
What's the best part about being a freelancer?
In my opinion, I think the best thing about it is that you never know where it is going to take you or who you’re going to reach since you’re covering a variety of topics. I’ve honestly met some of my favorite people in the entertainment business whose work I really respect. And just to have them say that they like my stuff is an incredible feeling. But, and even more importantly, I get the opportunity to pay it forward to a very wide and diverse audience since I write about different subjects. Not to sound cheesy, but writing gave me hope at a time when certain things in my life were very uncertain. And so, if my words can in any way, shape, or form, give someone hope or improve his or her life for the better by picking up a pen or sitting down at a keyboard, I’m cool with that. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
Any words of wisdom to impart on an aspiring writer?
The best advice that I can give, and this is just based on my experience, is to just write. Just write and get your thoughts out - even if they don’t entirely make sense. I remember Sean Connery’s character in Finding Forrester saying something like “You write your first draft with your heart and your second one with your head.” Even if no one reads it when it’s done, or even if you don’t make it to the second draft. I can all but guarantee you will learn something every time that put something down on paper. I believe that if you keep up with that, everything else can eventually fall into place... you’ll build confidence, develop a voice, find an audience, get writing opportunities, etc.