Category Archives: Entrepreneur

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!!

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

The City is Mine

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The future was upon those the Taj Lounge on September 19th. With a futuristic/robotic theme 8 of New York City’s finest up and coming designers were brought to all that witnessed it. “The City is Mine” Fashion Show had attendees on the edge of their seats as the models strutted the artistic visions of Deon Halil, Envius Couture, Rico Flores, Molie Guablue, Brazillian Alex, and Melyssa Nycole. The show was headed by the Designers of Unleashed introducing CEO Shaleese aka yaedon marie. The signature piece that kicked off the show was created by designer Blondina. All proceeds from the show went to the American Diabetic Association. For more information on the show and the designers of unleashed check out www.modelmayhem.com/yaedonmarie, www.designersofunleashed.blogspot.com or email at donyae1972@yahoo.com if you are an aspiring model and would like to be in one of her upcoming shows. Stay tuned for more and see you at the next show!

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Signature piece by Blondina

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Melyssa Nycole

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Unleashed fashions by Jessica

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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Behind the Strings: DBRMusic

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Photo by Juliante Cervantes
“Believe in yourself, someone else, and the promise of tomorrow’s potential.” -Daniel Bernard Roumain

 

Born in Skokie, Illinois, this composer and founder of DBRmusic.com, became a member of his elementary school’s orchestra program, playing the violin at just 5 years old. “It was just something I wanted to do…I was fortunate enough to have a family that was very supportive, specifically of playing the violin. My mother and father came to every concert I did as a young child,” expressed Daniel. His career later took off as a an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music where he studied music. As well as, completing his masters and doctoral work at the University of Michigan under the guidance of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom. FBE spoke with Daniel Bernard Roumain about his successful career, making history in music, and DBRMusic.com.

FBE: In what genre would you classify your music? Or would you say you’ve musically created a lane for others to emulate?
DBR:
A friend of mine who once worked at Sony Records called my music New Classical Soul. I’m not sure if I agree, but I appreciated the sentiment. Somethings and some musics are so complex that as soon as you try to define them, they change. I want to keep changing. The world may not ever need another composer, but it will always need change.

 FBE: How does your Haitian roots impact you as an individual and your music?
DBR:
I’m not sure that the intersection of melody and rhythm, an important and ever-evolving aspect of music, has its roots in Haiti and my parent’s record collection.

FBE: Explain to me some of the things that encourage you to follow your career goals
DBR:
I recently got married and my wife and I are expecting our first child. It’s a blessing to be able to work for your family in the confident hopes of feeding, clothing, and making them proud.

FBE: I’ve heard that you did some work with LadyGaga. Who else have you collaborated with?
DBR:
I’ve collaborated with several orchestras, ensembles, and symphonies. As for well-known artists, I’ve worked with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Philip Glass, Savion Glover, Bill T. Jones as Music Director of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, 2 Live Crew, Cassandra Wilson, Vernon Reid, and DJ Spooky.

FBE: Now I’m sure you’ve been featured on a national level in the media, can you name a few of the forums and/or publications?
DBR:
I’ve been featured in several…ranging from Esquire Magazine, ESSENCE, and XXL Magazines to the Financial Times. Regarding TV, I was featured as “America’s Assignment” on CBS Evening News, to highlight one. This past June 24th, PBS aired a story about my work with the Young Composers Development Program.

FBE: Who/What influenced the launch of DBRMusic.com?
DBR:
My business partner and marketing genius, Rika lino, of Sozo Media. She’s responsible for the genesis of my website as well as a hefty part of my career.

FBE: What would you say has been DBR’s biggest accomplishment?
DBR:
I am convinced that the most important work of any living composer may be the contributions of time, service, and education towards the development of new audiences. Indeed, the converses, freely, with his or her own community.

FBE: What future events do you have coming up that you want viewers to know about?
DBR:
I was recently awarded a commission for a full orchestral work by the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium. So in 2010, you’ll hear my premiere being performed by several American orchestras (Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, New Jersey, New World, Philadelphia Richmond, Rochester, and Virgina).

*38 year old Daniel is currently residing in Lexington, MA and encourages viewers to checkout www.youtube.com/user/dbrmusic

DBR can be contacted via his website www.dbrmusic.com and/or  myspace (www.myspace.com/dbrmusic) where you can join his mailing list!

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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