Category Archives: Business

Cookin’ Up Kicks: Vanessa and Angela Simmons


Lately I’ve been involved with a promotional team whose current client is the Pastry Brand by Vanessa and Angela Simmons. The Pastry brand has garnished continuous success, bringing consumers vibrant and eccentric fashions that can be worn by particularly anyone whose style is similar to the Simmons girls. Its fun, fresh, edgy, has a lot of energy and is clearly not for the dull or faint hearted. Check out this video as the Pastry Brand team mixes business and the moonwalk…lol…love these girls!!

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Naana B. Dares to Take You There

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What’s a plush fall coat without a coordinating handbag? That’s right nothing. So if you haven’t heard Naana B. has launched their collection’s line of handbags, evening wear and day wear for Fall 2009! The Naana B Collection is available for viewings/inquiries at the blink PR Showroom in Soho New York.

“A woman designing for women, Naana B. takes the uniqueness and artistry of handbags and clothing to a new level. The line reflects the free nature of the designer’s life and adventures. A self-confessed dream chaser and globetrotter, the designer Naana B. began her artistic journey creating steel sculpture and paintings at Columbia University, later inspiring a long lasting love affair with clothing and accessories. After crafting and learning the elements of design, the line Naana B. was conceived! Handmade and produced by women artisans in Ghana (www.rcempowerment.org) proceeds from all sales go to the Rural Communities Empowerment Centre in Ghana”  (Courtesy of blinkpr).

And please visit www.naanab.com

Travel on A Budget

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For all you “globetrotters” that love to travel even when summer’s over,  will find “Travel Happy Budget Low” by Susanna Zaraysky a fantastic and resourceful read. Author, Susanna Zaraysky has created a literary lane for herself by documenting her travels and adventures that take readers on fascinating expeditions near and far. Here’s what she told FBE about herself and other piece of work “Language is Music”:

FBE: How successful has your book been?
SZ: The books, Language is Music, and Travel Happy, Budget Low, will be published at the beginning of June 2009. From February to April 2009, I ran a contest where people could read my books for free online. I had over 114 people sign up to read the books for free.

FBE: Was writing always your passion?
SZ: I think writing was always something I liked. A few years ago, I was going through my boxes of childhood toys and items and found a children’s book I wrote in the 5th or 6th grade.

FBE: When did you see writing as a career?
SZ: The career chose me! I often wrote travelogues about my international adventures and would write short prose or poems and send it to my friends. I even wrote out poems as invitations to events I was planning. For years, my friends would reproach me for not publishing my work or writing a book. In 2005, I became allergic to myself and to my job in wine marketing and knew I needed to follow my passion. Yes! One can literally become allergic to one’s job. I developed allergies to wheat, citric acid (no tomatoes), dairy, chocolate, corn, and grapes. I was in the Italian wine and food business and could not eat most Italian food or drink the wine.

I was at an Italian wine tasting event for work and the speaker was talking about how Italian wine was losing its sense of terroir, its roots. I thought about what my roots were and decided to write a memoir about my life in different languages and cultures. I wrote that book, One Eyed Princess in Babel, but couldn’t find an agent or publisher to take it on. So, I decided to write two smaller books. Language is Music is about how to learn foreign languages using music and other media. Travel Happy, Budget Low is about how to travel the world on a budget. People always asked me how I was able to speak seven languages so well and travel to over 50 countries on a budget. I figured that I’d first make my presence with those books and then get the memoir on the market.

FBE: How did you come up with the concept and title of your book?
SZ: I came up with the idea and name for Language is Music after listening to the audiobook version of Dr. Oliver Sachs’ book, Musicophilia.
For Travel Happy, Budget Low, I was searching for a name for a while. I wanted to call it Budget Globetrotter, but that website was already taken. My mom said the book title needed the word “happy” in it. So, I came up with this name. It sounds like a title for a Chinese movie!

FBE: Are you self published or do your work with a publishing house?
SZ:I will self publish under my business name, Kaleidomundi.

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August-Black with Taylor Spellman

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Thanks to the determination and artistic eye of one young and chic interior designer, what we think of as the typical “Bachelor Pad” will soon become obsolete (well, in New York City it will be). FBE got the opportunity to talk to Founder and CEO of August Black, Taylor Spellman. She’s putting an inventive and affordable spin on making any ole’ pad into a home. P.S. She’s only 25!

FBE: Tell the FBE world who you are?
TL: Taylor Spellman

FBE: And where are you from exactly?
TL: I am from Wethersfield, Connecticut and my company August Black, is based in New York City.

FBE: Tell me a little bit about your company and how you derived at the name (very unique)?
TL: The concept behind August Black is that in New York City men don’t get married until later in life so for years, they’re left on their own to decorate. These guys went to great schools, hold high-powered jobs and make a lot of money…yet their apartment is never at the level it could be. These men are not going to hire a full interior design service as its much more than the guy actually needs or wants. However, they will come to August Black, the male friendly solution to an apartment in need of a discerning eye.

To come up with the name I worked with a branding firm called Great-Monday. ‘August’ actually means “inspiring awe or admiration” and “occupying a high position or rank”. A lot of my clients currently hold a high position and rank and if not yet, they’re certainly on their way.

FBE: What’s your background in interior design?
TL: I actually do not have any formal training in interior design. I came to New York as a dancer to attend The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and later graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center with a Degree in Business.

FBE: What drove you to launch “August Black“? and What were you doing before that?
TL: Prior to launching August Black I had helped countless friends spruce up their places. I was designing so many homes for free that I finally had that light-bulb moment of wait…I could be making money doing this. It was then that I launched “August Black“.

FBE: Do you have a team or are you working independently?
TL: I have a team of over 20 people that work for me as independent contractors. Painters, builders, electricians etc. Outside of that, I have two interns and I recently signed on a full time partner.
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SCOTT CREATIVE

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Meet William Scott. He’s the 25 year old owner and CEO of Scott Creative,a creative services/design studio. William spoke with me about his life as an entrepreneur, his company and why “Print is not dead!”

FBE: And where are you from?
WS: I’m currently living and working in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s a wonderful city to live in with a booming art and music scene, great food and a Midwestern outlook on life that anyone can appreciate. It would be nearly perfect if we could just skip over those winter months.

FBE: What’s the concept behind your company?
WS: I founded it with the belief that all businesses, regardless of size, can benefit from the power and influence that visual communications bring to the table. While you can see firsthand the effect good design and branding plays in larger businesses and organizations, using effective visual communications isn’t always a priority for the small business owner.
This happens for a lot of reasons, but I believe that the two main factors for this are ignorance on the business owner’s behalf, as well as the assumed cost for these services. Scott Creative aims to educate small business owners about the influence effective design plays in their marketing and branding strategies as well as offer a cost-effective alternative to larger advertising agencies and firms.

FBE: When was Scott Creative launched?
WS: I started thinking about trying my hand at freelancing a little over a year ago, but at that point was afraid to take the necessary steps. I don’t think freelancing is something you can just ‘dabble’ in: it has to be all or nothing – it’s the only way to gauge your success. I had a comfortable nine to fiver and things were going well. Then, last September, the small publishing company I was working for had to make cutbacks, and there went my job. About two weeks after, I started my own business and I haven’t looked back since.

FBE: Like many creative people, inspiration can be pulled from anywhere, where do you pull your inspiration from?
WS:I found inspiration in a lot of areas. There are a wealth of incredibly successful designers and artists worldwide who had the courage to work for themselves, set their own rules and see how things work out. Look at Shepard Fairey, for example; the success and attention he’s received in the past few months. He started from close to nothing and today he’s one of the most influential, successful designers of our time. There’s also Modern Dog Design Co., with similar beginnings and dozens more worth mentioning. It’s success stories like these that inspired to take what’s essentially a leap of faith. Either you have the right attitude and skills to run a creative business, or you don’t, but there’s really only one way to find out.

FBE: Why the name Scott Creative?
WS: I realize it’s not the most intriguing name, but I wanted something simple, something with a ‘less is more’ attitude, something that would draw attention to who I was and what I do. ‘Design’ can be many things, but ‘Creative’ says something a little different. I think it defines me as a person as well as the services my business provides.

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Avant Garde PR

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When you hear the word avant-garde most times you automatically think “fashion”, so it is only right for this PR firm that specializes in fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands to be named just that. I had a talk with the 24 year old owner of Avant Garde Public Relations, Annette Richmond and here’s what she had to say:

FBE: So I hear you’re from the Bay Area, where is your company based?
AR: My company is based in Marin County Ca.

FBE: What’s the concept behind AGPR?
AR:   Avant Garde Public Relations specializes in working with emerging designers and brands. AGPR also works with established brands looking to reposition themselves in the market place.
Working with emerging designers requires creativity. Some of my clients have small budgets but amazing products. We are constantly looking for innovative and cost effective ways to create buzz, launch products and promote events.

AGPR prides itself on being a boutique pr agency. We have close relationships with all of our clients, touching base at least once a week. AGPR is very selective about the designers and brands we represent and TRULY love the products and services we promote.

FBE: Do you have any training in media relations or fashion?
AR:   No, I do not have formal training in media or journalism. I attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising L.A. and graduated with an AA in Product Development.

FBE: What made you decide to launch your firm?
AR:   People have always told me that I would be great in PR. From retail to trend forecasting, I’ve had a lot of jobs in the fashion industry. When I decided to move back to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, I found a job with a new fashion pr firm. It was a startup and I was the first employee. I soon found I had a knack for it, I was pulling in new clients, full of ideas and persistent-which is MOST important in PR. Very unexpectedly the owner of the firm and her family decided to move and that was all the motivation I needed. I wasn’t ready to stop, I’d fallen in love. For me AGPR is the perfect mix of everything I love; fashion, beauty, magazines, styling, event planning, fashion shows and so much more.

FBE: You must have a great team behind you. Who are they and what are their roles?
AR:   I’m VERY blessed to have some solid people in my corner. For the most part it is a one woman show, but I lean on a few people for feedback and small projects. Eddy Smith is my graphic designer and one of my closest friends. From websites to postcards and promotional materials Eddy is always my go-to guy. Amy Malmgren who has a degree in Public Relations helps with press releases, strategic planning and events. Elizabeth Hall started as an intern and is currently enrolled at FIDM SF. From fundraisers to fashion shows Liz is almost always available and eager to learn.


FBE: What inspires the type of pr work that you do?
AR:   I love fashion! I love every single one of my clients and their products, that’s very important in PR, to have a personal connection. People know when they are being “sold to”.  My company keeps me busy with so many different types of things from contacting the press, photo shoots, fashion shows, trunk shows, writing- I love it all! I think I would get bored any other way.

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Wearing Your Faith On Your Sleeve: Faithful Fish

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Chelsea pictured with Tim Gunn from “Project Runway”

It’s not easy for a young person to “wear their faith on your sleeve” but this young lady has no problem owning her faith and letting the world have a piece if it. Chelsea Eubank, owner and founder of the clothing company, “Faithful Fish” has endured alot of pain during her 21 years on this Earth. Ironically so, her tribulations have served as the driving force having strong faith and being very successful. Here’s what Chelsea had to say about how she’s walking by faith and not by sight with “Faithful Fish”:

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FBE:  Where are you from and where is the company based?                                                                                         

CE: FROM ATLANTA AND WE ARE BASED IN ATLANTA

FBE:
How did you derive at the name “Faithful Fish”?                                                                                                        

CE: MY MOM ACTUALLY CAME UP WITH THE NAME

FBE: What motivated you to launch a clothing line?                                                                                                          

CE:I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IN LOVE WITH CLOTHES. WHEN I WAS 17  I LOST MY 41 YEAR OLD UNCLE, GRANDMOTHER WITHIN 4 MONTHS AND THEN 3 WEEKS LATER MY FATHER PASSED AWAY ON THE PHONE WITH ME. I WANTED TO WEAR SOMETHING PREPPY AND TRENDY TO QUIETLY SHOW MY
FAITH AND THERE WAS NOTHING OUT THERE.  I WENT TO MY MOM AND TOLD HER I
WANTED TO START A CHRISTIAN CLOTHING COMPANY.

FBE:  Did  you design clothing prior to the launch of “Faithful Fish”?                                                                            

CE: YES,WE DESIGNED THE LOGO.  MOST OF THE LINE I HAVE DRAWN OUT IS NOT EVEN BEING
SOLD, WE STARTED VERY SMALL.

FBE:  Who works with you?                                                                                                                                                              

CE: I HAVE A FINANCIAL MANAGER, IT COMPANY, RETAIL SALES PERSON, PR COMPANY AND A RETAIL/ONLINE CONSULTANT.

FBE: What inspires your designs?                                                                                                                                                 

CE: I GIVE BACK A PORTION OF SALES TO CHARITIES AND THAT IS A BIG DRIVER FOR ME.  I ALSO WANT YOUNG PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND BEING FAITHFUL CAN BE COOL AND AND FUN. IT NEVER HAS TO BE IN YOUR FACE.
 

FBE:  Who is the typical “Faithful Fish” consumer?                                                                                                                

CE: I SEE FAITHFUL FISH IN THE FUTURE AS BEING SOMETHING LIKE RALPH LAUREN.  CLOTHING FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE.

FBE: Has your line been featured in any national publications or on television?                                               

CE:YES, COSMOGIRL, I WAS JUST IN SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE, IGNITE YOUR FAITH.  THE ATLANTA JOURNAL DID AN ENTIRE PAGE IN THE SUNDAY PAPER.

FBE:  Who or what personally inspires you to push forth with your career?                                                           

CE: MY FAITH AND MY MOM

-Read more to see Faithful Fish clothing-

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