Election Day is Near – What’s Your Coping Mechanism?


Confession: I have election anxiety.  True, it’s my own fault because I’m choosing to read election news and watch debates.  This refusal to opt out has forced me to come up with a coping mechanism: frying chicken.  It is soothing to coat the chicken with a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and whatever other spices inspire me in the moment.  Chervil, anyone? The talking points fade as I watch the peanut oil heat up.  A welcome peace calms me as the coating transforms into crispy brown goodness.  It doesn’t change anything about the world we live in, but it provides a few moments of calm.

Upcoming event picks
October 24 – Style Wars screening @ Roxy Cinema
Classic documentary on how graffiti art came to be

October 31 – Village Halloween Parade 
A night where the most creative and subversive dress up to play

November 9 – The Business of Comedy
A behind-the-scenes with comedic forces behind Funny or Die, IFC and more

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!


Florence Shin & Athina Wang, Covry

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

Interviewees: Florence Shin & Athina Wang, Founders

Company:  Covry

Launch Date: August 2015

Motto: Smile confidently

covry thursday interview eyewear

Pavo Beige

What inspired you to launch an eyewear company with high school friend, Athina Wang?
Florence Shin: Athina came to me with the idea a few years ago, and it instantly resonated with me because I’ve always struggled with being able to find stylish, comfortable eyewear. Frames were always sliding down my nose, hitting my cheeks and leaving embarrassing cheek indents. Together, we redesigned the standard fit and created Elevated Fit® eyewear.

How did you come up with the name Covry?
FS: Covry comes from the word cove. It symbolizes effortless beauty and calming tranquility to us. We wanted to create a word that we could give meaning to as we built our brand.


Describe a day in the life of Team Covry
Athina Wang: Honestly, every day is so different. We could be at the warehouse overseeing order fulfillment, running around the city for meetings, shooting models, or brainstorming new strategies and events.

There’s a lot of variety that goes into a single day, and I think that’s one of the adventures of being your own boss.

How do you juggle the creative and management skills needed so you aren’t screaming at the end of the day?
FS: Fortunately, Athina and I come from different areas in fashion. Even though we work together, we’re able to divide up the work to focus on tasks that we know and understand better. This allows us to make better use of our time and get more things done.


Nash Black

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Vincent Martell + Jordan Phelps, VAM STUDIO


Jordan Phelps and Vincent Martell, VAM STUDIO

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

Chicago based VAM STUDIO provides artists a community and platform to grow, fail and thrive.  The VAMUNFILTERED | Lucy Stoole video reminded me how important it is to give artists a space to work out the thorny bits that come with living a fully engaged meaningful life. Thank you to  Sam Bailey for introducing me to VAM STUDIO. And thank you to Jordan and Vincent for saying yes to a Thursday Interview.

Vincent Martell, Founder + Creative Director and Jordan Phelps, Founder + Art Director, VAM STUDIO

Describe the moment VAM STUDIO was launched.
Jordan Phelps: VAM started as an idea that Vincent and I had around 2011 when
he had returned from his studies in Europe and I had left school and began focusing on my acting career in Chicago. We attended the same school in 2008 and knew each other casually but didn’t study similar subjects and didn’t reunite until a few years later. Our first similarity was that we both had been drawn to arts of all kinds from an early age, so when we were beginning to establish ourselves in Chicago outside of school, we were both shocked at how few resources there were in our metropolis for new and emerging artists. There were local publications and art-houses that each had their own strong missions and
collectives, but none that attempted to unite the art community and share with the world what kind of creativity flows from the underground resources in Chicago. We ultimately wanted to represent our city by giving it the leg-up it needed, by introducing fresh faces to the limelight and bringing together opposing medias that normally wouldn’t have thought to collaborate.

Vincent MartellVAM was birthed out of frustration. All of the incredible artists and art spaces we admired weren’t getting the adequate amount of media they deserved. A huge majority of the artists we vibed with relocated to either the east or the west coast to find an audience that could truly hear them out. They didn’t have that luxury of getting great coverage in Chicago so we worked to make that obtainable for the underground freaks that we loved and supported. We saw the lack of cool media outlets based in Chicago and knew we had to fill the gap.

How was the Big Night Showcase at Glappitnova?
JP: I attended in support of Vincent speaking but was so glad I went regardless of being associated. There were so many great speakers and I was particularly keen on the impromptu talk sessions of unscheduled speakers and collectives. It was so great to see certain artists and producers taking the initiative to start their own dialogue unscripted.
I also highly respected how each and every member of Glappitnova made an effort to speak to all attendees personally and introduce themselves. Often times the people running the event tend to hide behind the scenes, but you all were the forefront of the event and it was very effective.

VM: Glappitnova was great. I think what the team at Glappitnova is doing is very important to the art community. I think we’re currently trying to figure out how we can get VAM involved in the next Chicago showcase.

Can you share how living in Chicago fuels what you do?
JP: Because of Chicago’s rich art and cultured history it’s frustrating to be shadowed by other major cities like New York and LA. Chicago’s been described as having a minority complex in comparison to those other meccas, but we really are the breeding grounds for AMAZING art that often gets picked up and taken to NY or LA in order to get “discovered” or “noticed”. Our mission is to put Chicago in the limelight so our favorite artists don’t feel like they have to leave in order to succeed. We are the heart of the country and the epicenter of exciting new talent and fresh ideas.

Vincent: I don’t feel like Chicago is being overshadowed anymore. I think the art community in the city has to create its own narrative. Fortunately, we’re starting to see a major push to make that a reality (we can call it a renaissance). Our team is constantly in the scene and in doing so we’ve witnessed a sort of evolution in the underground art
scene in Chicago. The potential in the city is what fuels us. Chicago is already on the map…It just doesn’t know it yet.

How do you connect with VAM STUDIO collaborators?
JP: In the beginning, a lot of our networking and connections were found through personal research. It wasn’t until about half way through our first year of launching that collaborations came almost fully from word of mouth and personal references. Any event we do, or any video or any article we publish has become a window into a whole new pool of names and faces that we are inspired by. We learn more and more as we continue our coverage about who to collaborate with, and sometimes more importantly who NOT to collaborate with. Another important mission of VAM has been to eradicate the commercial, corporate and unoriginal bullshit art often praised in the mainstream media. We’ve learned a lot about how to spot those certain entities quickly.

VM: We worked endlessly for a year before launching VAM to curate a list of artists, content writers, cinematographers, and editors that could represent our mission. We try not to collaborate with people whose work we don’t admire. We’ve done it once and we’ll never do it again. Thankfully, now all of our content is pitched to us by our audience. We
want it to feel like an organic resource for the people and by the people in the community.

In the VAM STUDIO universe, money is……
JP: A resource. It does not dictate our company, it is not the driving force of our company and it is not our mission to require it. It is, however something that we can use to pay forward. In a lot of ways, without the official status, VAM operates like a non-profit. All extra proceeds from a successful event or donation or sponsorship gets put back into the communities and artists we support. We have always made it our goal to make every collaborator feel that they are being compensated in some way, however much or little we can offer gets put back into those hands. I think VAM has learned how helpful funding has been from outside sources, not only to relieve our personal pockets in the maintenance of the company, but also to see who is truly invested in our work and how those who can support CHOOSE to support us. We have never been one to rely on money to make a project happen, we were doing those projects anyway even when we didn’t have the funds, yet we’ve also learned when it is appropriate to reach out to others for support and
when to ask for help.

VM: A tool to be used to benefit your community. We turn down sponsorships and corporate money if we feel like it can taint our brand. We’re not afraid of walking away from a paycheck or network if it means we can keep our integrity.

I think it’s also important to note that everyone gets paid in VAM; our writers, our production team, our graphic designers, and all of those involved in orchestrating our events. We don’t believe in “volunteering” your time with us and that’s one really huge asset that separates us from every other creative space or media outlet in the city.

If you believe in their work and you think the mission can benefit from their talents…fucking pay them.

How can anyone who loves community, collaboration and creative chaos
support what you do?
JP: Being so diverse in the content we produce really allows for audiences of all backgrounds to appreciate what we do. I don’t think we’ve ever asked anyone or expected anyone to like EVERYTHING we produce. I think there’s beauty in the fact that one feature can make you laugh and the next one make you cry, or angry, or annoyed or whatever. As long as there is some reaction to our content, negative or positive, and we’re creating a dialogue that’s healthy and informative, then our job is accomplished. VAM is all about community, collaboration and is definitely creatively chaotic!

VM: The best way to support our mission would be to check out our work at vamstudio.net. We work around the clock to develop content and it’s a pretty rigorous process because what we’re doing at VAM is preserving and documenting art. We’re down with anyone who wants to witness and be a part of it.

Stay connected to VAM STUDIO on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter , Vimeo and Tumblr.

Top photo credit: Greg Stephen Reigh

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

October 10 #FeelGood List: Roxy Cinema, Brand Partnerships with Spotify, Public Speaking and more



Getting in the mood for Halloween.  Costume ideas wanted!

Public Speaking Class: How to Tackle Your Fears and Talk Like TED

Salsa Party @ Brooklyn Museum of Art

Behind the Creative Curtain: Brand Partnerships with Spotify

Roxy Cinema: De Palma
7:30 pm

The Combine: Open House at NYU

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

Carla Ashley, IamCarlashley.com



***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

Does he like me?  What if she doesn’t want a second date?  Why didn’t she text me back?!!! 

These are a few of the questions that usually bedevil daters.  Very few of us have a dating life that isn’t romantic swooning coupled with bouts of doubt and anxiety.  So who amongst us couldn’t benefit from having a compassionate insightful sounding board? Carla Ashley is here to share how she became a  dating and relationship advisor that helps many love wisely.

Name:  Carla Ashley

Company:  Iamcarlashley.com

Launch Date: April 11, 2016

Motto: Love Wisely

Theme Song: Kelly Price –  It’s My Time

Describe your path to becoming a dating and relationship advisor.
I grew up knowing I wanted to find true love. I just had no clue how to go about finding it, the process of dating that is. I pretty much winged my early 20s assuming every guy I would come across was looking to marry based on my own upbringing. “Dating and courtship go hand in hand and you date only with the intent of marriage.” – My parents. Boy was I wrong! Everyone out here DOES NOT have that mindset, but to find love you have to find someone who IS on the same page as yourself.

It took a lot of trial and error which as you can guess led to much heartbreak due to my own hopeless romanticism. I had to change the game plan and start to date wisely. I’d been keeping a journal since my middle school days and noticed the trend that most of my entries were centered around my dating/love life and the lessons I’d learned from each experience. These entries became more elaborate into my adult dating life as you can imagine and with the birth of social media in the past decade I had begun sharing more of my personal life with my close friends.

Before I knew it, I was receiving texts or random inbox messages from friends that had either known me personally or friends I simply connected with through networking who were asking me to provide them with feedback on their own dating dilemmas. The advice requests would pour in in spurts. Sometimes a random person in public, once a lady in the post office and another time my neighbor in passing, would approach me saying that they need someone to ask advice about regarding the person they’re seeing and I looked like someone they could talk to. It was odd, but I welcomed their story and provided what help I could give.

My dating experiences have ranged greatly and one day I just decided to embrace why this was all happening to me. The lessons from each relationship, the random requests for advice, the heavy journaling…it was all a part of the bigger picture, my purpose…to use my lessons to help others.

How does blogging enhance the insight you provide to your clients?
Blogging has been the bridge connecting me to my audience’s hearts and emotions. I receive messages sporadically from readers who have let me know that they appreciate my openness to share my past and some of my current experiences and feelings. I focus on building a level of trust by showing both the pain and the strength of each dating experience I have conquered and how it has helped me get to where I am today…Able to help others from the lessons I’ve learned.

What are your go-to resources to building your business?
@Womeneur – I follow this page on Instagram for tons of business building support, tips, and encouragement.

Copromote.com – A true God-send! I was told about this app/website recently and it’s aided greatly in gaining exposure for my social media content.

Suits & Roots Community (Facebook group)- A network of other entrepreneurs who support you, share advice, events, and open discussion on various ways to grow your business. Entrepreneurs of all phases of the success scale are there to ask and offer assistance where needed.

Best life advice you’ve received from an unlikely source?
“If you put as much effort into building a business as you put into finding a boyfriend you’d be a millionaire.”

This was a funny but relevant piece of advice given to me by my mentor when I was 20 years old. Love and relationships are my passion, learning about them, how each individual plays a part in the unit and how decisions affect each party involved. I didn’t understand her words of advice until I started my business of helping others through my content and direct advising and it helped me realize that my business would not be what it is today had I not put the years in to learn through every relationship. I just had to now begin balancing dating experiences with turning them into productive volume for the world to follow. I’ve made mistakes in love and learned so much from them. Now I’m teaching others to “Love wisely”!

While I’m not quite a millionaire yet, but I’d like to offer fee-based services in the future. For now, all of my direct advice is provided in exchange for word of mouth.


Fast forward to 2017 and what news would you love to be sharing?
I currently have my E-book for sale on my site, “You’re online dating profile- 6 Tips to attract quality potential candidates”. (Free for all blog subscribers upon email request to Carlashley@Iamcarlashley.com) In 2017, I’d love to be able to say I’ve delivered 100+ copies!

I’d like to do more guest writing for digital magazines, bloggers, and other markets within my niche. I’m working on content to be featured within The Urban Dater soon, so be on the look-out for updates and notifications by following me on my social platforms!

In early 2017, I’d love to welcome my 100th Blog Subscriber as well as my 200th Blog Subscriber this time next year and I believe it can happen.

A bigger audience and more advice requests!!! Advice requests help me gauge what my audience needs to hear most from me. I would like to begin work on my first paperback book in 2017 and partner with a publishing company and with so many great and triumphant experiences to share, my audience requests can definitely help me narrow down which points to reference most!

Shout-out time! This is your chance to spotlight your collaborators and community.
So far I’ve collaborated with Lacy Colson on a piece, “A letter to my strong single black women”. Lacy currently writes for Urban Image Magazine.

My biggest supporter has been Kendra Marshall, Singer, Songwriter, Music Producer, and Blogger of Modern Diversity. Both are entrepreneurs within their niches and I owe a huge thanks to them for their work, support, and exposure of my content and my vision.”

If you want a taste of Carla’s dating wisdom, connect  via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

Denequa Williams & Akenea Dillon, LIT Brooklyn

thursday interview lit brooklyn candles

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

Happy September, Thursday Interview faithful and newcomers!  Although summer brain lingers, I am happy to kick off the fall season with Denequa Williams & Akenea Dillon, founders of LIT Brooklyn.  Their Interview gave me motivation on a day when I needed it.   I hope you find common ground and inspiration in their story of how LIT came to be.  Enjoy!

Name: Denequa Williams & Akenea Dillon, Founders

Company:  LIT Brooklyn

Launch Date: December 5, 2015

Motto: Keep it lit!

Theme Song: Jay Z- Forever Young

Describe the moment that LIT Brooklyn was born
Akenea Dillon: It was a random Monday morning in October (2014) and Denequa had called me really early. We were having regular conversation about how we can’t wait to be like the women who inspire us. We wanted the freedom and happiness that these women possessed while following their dreams. In mid conversation Denequa was like “Let’s start a business!” I laughed because it was really random but I wasn’t opposed to it. I said what would our business be? She said “Let’s make candles!” It made sense because we both love smell goods and have invested in many different candle brands in the past. I replied “That would be lit!” She asked what would we call it?  My reply: “LIT”.  The rest is history.

What are the most surprising lessons you’ve learned as a new business owner?
AD: Having a business is still relatively fresh as we launched a little under a year ago and since then so much has changed from our initial packaging to our social media content to the scents we come up with. There is always a lesson to be learned.  One lesson that I can think of is that it took trial and error to learn is that simplicity is key. Another one is that sometimes you have to take a step back and take yourself out of the equation. We make candles and while we are making something we love, we want to make sure that our customer loves it too. So I may hate a particular scent but that might be the very scent that our customers are obsessed with. Also don’t doubt your influence. It’s been really humbling to hear people say “I love your candles, I saw it here…” or “such and such gifted it to me.” It never fails to surprise me.

Denaqua Williams: Some of the most surprising lessons that I’ve learned as a new business owner is that you really have to prove yourself for people to either want to work with you, or even support your product. It’s also a common misconception that a lot of new business owners feel that you don’t have to put in the work to see the results. You have to eat, sleep, and breathe your business if you want it to flourish. The passion has to be there.  We live in a time where everyone wants instant gratification without completely and thoroughly understanding the amount of work and time and effort and loss of sleep that goes into running a successful and effective business. Another surprising lesson that I’ve learned is that your relationships with people are going to change. Having a business is like having a baby, and just like a baby, you nurture this business, you give this business your undivided attention, and the people around you who don’t get your vision, won’t understand, and that may cause your relationship to wither. Everyone around you is not going to get your vision and that’s okay because it’s not for them to understand.

candles LIT Brooklyn thursday interview business


Tell us the LIT Brooklyn process for creating the kind of scent combinations that make me wish my computer screen was scratch and sniff.
DW: When it comes to creating the scents for LIT, that might be the most tedious but fun part of it all. It’s a lot of trial and error. We spend a lot of time experimenting. These scents are intoxicating, they are all reminiscent of something that we love. I love all of the scents that we created, but my ultimate favorite scent thus far is “HOME”, we named it “HOME” because that’s what it reminded us of. The lemony scent with notes of vanilla is to die for.

How did LIT get involved with Curl Fest 2016?
DW: We’ve always been fans of CurlFest, since it launched. We keep up with their events through social media, and when we saw that they were looking for vendors, we reached out and were able to be a part of the epic event. The feedback that we received from everyone who came up to our booth was spectacular. We would definitely do CurlFest again.

candles brooklyn thursday interview love

Will LIT candles be available at any pop ups for the upcoming holiday season?
AD: Ideally, we will be a part of a few pop-ups or events for the holidays. We have some things in store for fall and the holiday that we are finalizing right now. (Stay tuned to our social media) I can tell you that you will definitely see us in a few beauty subscription boxes and hopefully a few holiday gift guides. The best part about the holidays is that we get to celebrate LIT’s birthday (December 5th) so an event for that is in the works.

Fast forward a year from now, what news would you like to be sharing with your fans and collaborators?
DW: A year from now, I hope we have become an international brand. I hope to share that LIT has its own store front. I hope to share that we are being carried in major department stores. I hope for us to be featured in magazines that we read. I hope to share that LIT has expanded carrying more than candles.

Shout out time!  This is your opportunity to celebrate the people who have made the LIT launch and journey a joy.  Don’t be shy.
DW: I am happy to celebrate those close to us that keep us going, and that push us to exercise our complete potential. My boyfriend Khiry is stellar, he helps keep me motivated. Every business owner needs that one person in their corner that is there to remind them why they started in the first place. Things are going to get rough, but the most beautiful moments start to unfold right after you cross over that rough patch. Another person in particular is Evanka W., our brand manager, she came on board a few months ago. A close friend to us both, she plays a significant role in our growth as a company. I would also like to thank our customers who have remained loyal to us from the very beginning, we are very gracious to them for supporting us and believing in the product that we created. And overall, just thankful for everyone who supports us in any way possible. Being a new small business, people are often hesitant, but words can’t express my gratitude for the amount of support and love that we receive on a daily.

AD: Thank you to all my family, friends, believers, and yay-sayers for all the support and well wishes. Before the launch, they were the ones to encourage us in the ways we needed and for them, LIT is grateful. For our launch in particular, it wouldn’t have been the dream it was without our friends Marva & Miriam from the space, Ode to Babel where we had our launch party, Eshama John who has blessed us with visuals of our product from time to time, Deasia Rumble, Endeshia Bryan, Gigi Gray, and every amazing person that helped make our launch extra special. Most importantly thank you to all the people that invest in our candles, our customers. Thank you for believing in our product and spreading the love with your friends and family. We couldn’t keep it LIT if it wasn’t for you all.

Want to keep your world LIT?  Stay connected with Denaqua and Akenea on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

Julie Reif, Founder of The Blog Bar & Cardrella and Daville

the blog bar thursday interview

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers,  business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.


Name: Julie Reif

Companies: The Blog Bar, Cardrella and Daville

Launch Date: August 19, 2015

Website:  The Blog Bar

Blog: 8Balloons.com

Motto: Hustle Beats Talent, Hustle Isn’t Defined By My Environment

I love all things digital but still take the time to send letters and cards just because so I can appreciate your love of all things paper.  Can you share the eureka moment (or moments) that inspired Cardrella and Daville and 8Balloons.com?
I was preparing to write a book at the time and I had writer’s block and needed to exercise my writing skills with something I loved. During 2009, blogs were becoming large and I had such an appreciation for them and wanted to have my own. So I started exercising my writing skills by writing about paper daily on my blog, 8Balloons.com. I then realized quickly this was very niche and I may be onto something. My blog continued to become larger and only a year ago did I decide to share my own designs. It was a small but yet successful project and fun!

What are three life lessons you’ve learned (so far) as a creative entrepreneur?
This is difficult to put into three lessons as I feel this a 24/7 way of life.

1)    There is no such thing as failure. I know this is cliche but really there is not. You should feel gratitude for the fact you are following your passions and having the opportunity to see the ups and downs of your passion projects. Most people don’t get to that level.

2) Gratitude. Always have gratitude. It changes the energy around you always.

3) My hustle isn’t defined by my environment. No matter if I am in New York City or the smallest suburb, I don’t let it hinder me or make or break me. There’s something called the internet and I work with as much as I have at my fingertips. Always have. Everyone can. So no matter if you’re waiting to make your dream come true by “getting out of wherever you are” There is always something you can be doing from where you are.

4) Hustle Universe Enterprise. These are the three words I live by. I find every avenue at my fingertips I can use to make what I am working on get one step farther. I always put it in the universe because positive vibes attract positive reactions and I always think enterprise (business) with everything I do. If anything that day does not fall into those three aspects, I don’t  do it.

Your motto is Hustle Beats Talent.  There’s gotta be a story behind that. Spill.
I don’t know if there is a story behind it, it’s just how I have always felt. In actuality, my motto is H.U.E. Hustle Universe Enterprise. I keep the hustle mentality for everything I do, I place it in the universe, and I always think enterprise. How can I make something bigger than myself, How can I make a product helpful to others. Talent is great, but you can’t rely on just that.

Share why you had to launch The Blog Bar.
I realized bloggers were missing so many online resources. We didn’t have a digital planner at our own fingertips and ironically most bloggers were still using pen and paper. As much as I am a fan of pen and paper, I wanted to give all bloggers access to the opportunity to have a planner that was dedicated to their needs. From there, I quickly learned we needed an online community to connect with other bloggers to not just collaborate with but to have a bigger network of like-minded individuals, and to share our content for others to discover and grow our influence.

What are your go-to resources for managing your businesses?
My needs right now are very technical and all about project management, so I have been using Asana, Google Documents, and Basecamp.

What’s on your weekly must read blog list?
I am a huge fan of Product Hunt and always find new products that not only help me but inspire me. I read the NY Times, Huffington Post, CNN. And throughout the day check out my TED app to learn as much as I can.

What’s next for The Blog Bar, Cardrella and Daville and 8Balloons.com?
The Blog Bar’s new launch is around the corner and I am as excited as Jessie Spano from Saved By The Bell for it! It will seriously change how we blog! Cardrella and Daville is finding its way into a few shops in NYC and Florida and can be found online. No new designs until the fall. As for 8Balloons.com, it is in full force with many amazing interviews with designers throughout the next few months with my fellow blog partner Andrea.

Shout-out time! This is your chance to spotlight your collaborators and community. Don’t be shy.
My network I collaborate with is extremely tight and also have become my best friends and family. They don’t all know each other as some work within greeting cards and others within the tech aspect, but they are familiar with each other and connected.

Diamond Donatello is one of the best greeting card designers there is and more importantly all around amazing artist. Her cards are pop culture and hip hop inspired and you may have seen them in stores like Urban Outfitters.

Andrea is my co-blogger on 8Balloons.com and she is well known for her 365 Days project, where she writes a beautiful card a day and shares her curation on Instagram, @dreyray. She has also created a stationery subscription company called qandaletterbox.com. Everyone I work with has created their own passion projects.

Andrea Grbavac is a close friend, great copy writer and my co-author on our book Blog Boss.

Britney of seamsandsprinkles.com She is a contributor to The Blog Bar and her blog is one of my favorite reads because of her positivity and did I mention all her baking recipes!

Ray of afewhungrygirls.com This girl has been a contributor to The Blog Bar since day 1 and I have loved seeing how far she has grown with her food and fitness blog and her business.

Stay connected with Julie on Instagram and The Blog Bar on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Photo via.

Kim Goulbourne, Bourn

kim bybourn thursday interview


***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers,  business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

Thank you to Museum Hue’s  Monica Montgomery for introducing me to Hashtags Unplugged, an art exhibition paying tribute to 10 memorable hashtags. Exploring the exhibit online made me super curious about Kim Goulbourne,  the woman behind the project.  Here is her Thursday Interview.

Name: Kim Goulbourne, Maker, Designer & Developer

Company: Bourn

Launch Date: November 2015

Current Projects: Founder Mantras, daily mantras, quotes and words to live by for founders by founders; Hashtags Unplugged, an art exhibition paying tribute to 10 memorable hashtags and SendThanksto, a platform for sending thanks to the people in your life.

Motto: I can and I will.

Theme Song: Lose Yourself, Eminem.

Describe the moment when you knew branding and web design spoke to you.
Back in high school I had a group of friends that designed flyers for parties and I always wanted to be a part of that. I think it was around that time I told my mom I wanted to go to college for Graphic Design. Generally I was always interested in art and creative expression but I never knew what medium I would end up choosing until sophomore year of college when I took my first Web Design class. I haven’t looked back since.

What can a company expect when they become a Bourn client?
I enjoy collaborating with young makers/creators and small business owners who are looking to establish a web presence. When they partner with me I strive to create an online experience that embodies their personality, work and core values.

How did you connect with hashtag godfather Chris Messina and artists for the Hashtags Unplugged exhibit?
Finding the artists for the exhibit was simpler than I imagined since there are a few websites dedicated to artists. I submitted a Call For Artists on the NYFA website and Art Slant. I had no idea what kind of responses I would get, if any, but luckily I got quite a few to choose from and they all turned out to be amazing people who created beautiful work.

When it came to contacting Chris Messina I knew it was a long shot but I also knew I would be a fool not to try. I found his email address and sent him a heartfelt email that he responded to more quickly than I expected. It was the perfect match and I was thrilled at his enthusiasm for the project.

What is the best life advice you received from an unlikely source?
“Before you start any new venture, imagine the worst case scenario. Once you get comfortable with that, you can do anything.” – Jena Steinbach of Little House. Not a totally “unlikely” source but this quote came from one of my recent projects, Founder Mantras where I collect quotes from fellow founder and independent creators. It came at a time when it was exactly what I needed to hear to move forward.

No business owner is a solo act.  What are a few resources that you rely on to build your business without getting overwhelmed?
I’m a huge fan of Evernote for my notes, Trello for lists and to-dos, Dropbox, Google Drive and Github for my design, dev and other files. Typeform for quick questionnaires and surveys, Mailchimp for my newsletters and Cloudpeeps for freelance writers.

How can the Thursday Interview community support what you do?
Keep me on my toes and never be afraid to tell me how you feel about my work. Since my studio is still its early stages I rely heavily on the support of friends, family and the community to keep my fire burning.

Thank you, Kim, for being such a fun, insightful  interview.

Stay connected with Kim on Twitter and Instagram and all things Bourn via Twitter.

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!  
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

Jessica Henderson, Actor


***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers,  business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

A Twitter like on a round-up post on web series created  by women introduced me to Jessica Henderson and Growing Down. The friendship chemistry between the characters hooked me from the first episode.  At the time, I added Jessica to the Thursday Interview invite list. I’m glad she said yes. Enjoy!

Name:  Jessica Henderson

Company: Growing Down

Launch Date: Summer 2016

Motto: “Grab Life by the struggle”

Every production has a team — how did the Growing Down team come together?
The idea of Growing Down sprung from a failed web series that we tried to launch the previous year. The project failed honestly because I didn’t know what I was doing and I, Jessica Henderson must learn all lessons the hard way.  But Arielle (co-creator) and I weren’t willing to give up on the idea of creating something. So we bought the script, and assembled a whole new team. The script was strong, but it needed to be edited. So Jeff Davis came on as our writer. Mind you the inception of this series was over 5 years ago now! While we loved the scripts, we had no idea how to bring it to life. As it happens Jeff is also apart of a production company here in New York, so with the funds of a humble Indiegogo campaign we began to look for a crew which was mostly influenced by Flash Films  (the production company) and friends! We brought many people on set who were simply willing to help.

What’s the story behind the show’s tagline “Grab life by the struggle”?
Well first see above, the start of this project was a struggle that we decided to turn around. Also isn’t it how you existed in your 20s? I think the idea of the series is pushing to explore; and this is unintended. In life we push to create, earn, be, whatever, but many times we push and find out we pushed in the wrong direction. We didn’t like the idea of a series where you magically got it right on the first try. Our characters are not caricatures, they’re closer to real life. And in “real life” one does not always succeed on the first try. But the women in our series are not just sitting around complaining about their situations, they’re fighting against them and thru them. That’s where the humor comes from, the fight against the struggle. I guess to bring this analogy full-circle, the “situation” of the motto is our bull’s horns…. Like a joke, it’s never quite as fun when you spell it out…

The production process for the show from idea to YouTube was…..
Girl……….BYYYYYEEE……ROUGH. Like most zero-sum-budget productions, money is always our enemy. We found out quickly that this is not everyone’s passion project, i.e. not everyone was willing to work for free. The first season we pushed to shoot our 3 episodes in one weekend and then took an excruciating amount of time to bring it together.

There were a lot of key learnings there for us, so season 2 (while still a growing phase) is in a better place. We know where some of the hurdles will be, and we know how to get our videos finalized quicker! Those past struggles and those that are inevitably in our future will help us as we tackle this season, three, four, and beyond.


Growing Down cast

What advice would you share for anyone who wants to produce and market a web series?  Don’t sugarcoat.

Why would I sugarcoat?! You can’t! The most important thing to remember while producing a web series is to do it out of love! (I know that sounds like a quote off Pinterest) but I say this because more often than not, a web series also implies low-budget, and low-budget work is HARD. So you have to love what is hard to do. Also, PLEASE have something to say! Find a topic you’re passionate about, and start!

It doesn’t have to be as technically proficient as our work (or perfect), just start putting your thoughts out there. The most important thing we learned is consistency. We’re having to correct this mistake now and learn from it in a very hard way.

Fast forward to a year from now, what do you want to be sharing about Growing Down and your career?
I have to laugh at this question because my career is Growing Down. I have dove in and fallen head over heels in LOVE with this project. Meanwhile my parents are asking when I’m going to settle down and get married! …I digress. A partial reason I began this project was to crush a few stereotypes. As a black woman in the arts, I can not indulge another underdeveloped stereotypical role; you know the ones.  By early 2017, I want this web series to help other women, people of color, and young artists to find the courage to create, and if you have something to say FUCKING say it. Don’t wait for someone to offer an opportunity – create it! I believe that a web series is a tool to create your own brand and ultimately gives you more control and access to a career. Also I’d like to have filmed a third season by that time and have our viewership tripled if not more. Right now my goal is to keep this train moving and bring those inspired on board!


This is your chance to shout out to crew, collaborators and supporters
O my! So many people. Where do I start?

  • My family
  • Arielle Yoder (co-star/Creator)for grabbing my hand and jumping of the cliff with me. Also telling me I’m funny.
  • Jeff Davis (writer/director) for introducing me to Flash, developing the script of season one, directing,writing season two, and occasionally telling me I’m pretty.
  • James Monahan (co-producer) for collecting all my thoughts, dreams, hopes,and plans then putting them in a google doc.
  • Hannah Suesy (Production Coordinator) for staying on the phone till early hours in the morning, talking me thru EVERYTHING
  • Alex Nader (AD)- for being the boss bitch that she is.
  • Peter Westervelt (DP) for believing in us enough to donate his time and expertise.
  • Lauryn Hamel (co-star) for agreeing to be a part of this crazy process and her friendship. Also telling me I’m funny.
  • Alex Rose for living with me thru season ONE
  • Malloree Hill, Zach Nelson, and Eric Lommel for talking photos for us on a billions separate occasions.

As I sit here and write all this…. I think about how grateful I am to be able to write this many people’s names down!

  • The rest of the crew of season one, that got paid pennies but still helped (Alec, Diana, Adam Deen, Roxanne, Ariel, and Eric). The rest of the cast of season one (Alexandra and Adam). THANK YOU!

  • Lastly my friends: Jophie, Libby, Channing, Katie, Kim, Chris, Alex Nader, Frankie, Jordan, Josh, Emily, Bree, Grace, Hannah Driscol, Sebastian, Tash and Nicole.

A huge thank you to Jessica for sharing her funny without sugar coating.  You can stay updated on new Growing Down episodes and Jessica news via YoutubeFacebookInstagram  and Twitter.

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!  
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

the #joy list and events for the week ahead…


Whitney Museum, June 17, 2016

The photo is a casual reminder to take in the beauty that just is. I took it in a moment of pause between the overwhelm of the  Danny Lyon: Message to the Future and Stuart Davis: In Full Swing exhibits.  Both exhibits take viewers through so many emotional journeys because Lyon and Davis ability to take life and filter it through their talent.  If you go, I suggest listening to the interviews with various Lyon photo subjects.   Pumpkin Renee, Kathy and Billy are worth it.  On to the week ahead…

Tuesday, June 21
Make Music New York 

Wine & Live Music

French Wine: Discoveries from the Astor Cellar

Wednesday, June 22
Colonnade Row: Birth of the Gilded Age

Thursday, June 23
Designers + Geeks: Design & The Bottom Line

Out of Line: The Illustrious Blacks

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!  
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!


Alissa Nichole, GloriJoy


***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers,  business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

This week, I invite you to spend a few moments getting to know Alissa Nichole. She’s an artist, personal stylist, digital designer and the founder of the newly launched site, GloriJoy.

Name: Alissa Nichole

Company: GloriJoy

Launch Date: April 22, 2016

Motto: I don’t get ready… I stay ready.

How did you make the shift from web designer to personal stylist to launching GloriJoy?
Ultimately, the shift was because I needed a change AND more creativity in my life. I taught myself Photoshop and HTML back when I was middle school and, fortunately, was able to make a career out of it after graduating from college. Fast forward to now; that basically means that I’ve been doing the same thing for about 20 years. In a nutshell, I’m grateful but bored.

I was often teased when I was younger for not having the latest, expensive fashions. During my early 20s, my fashion sense changed drastically.  After my first real job out of college, I was able to update my look in a way that fit me. Actually, I still didn’t have the most expensive fashions… but I found my sartorial niche through a lot of trial and error. While all of this was happening, someone noticed my “great sense of style” and asked me to dress him for a special event. That led to my first personal styling job. The odd thing is, that I didn’t think too much of it when the job was complete… I went back to the grind as a web designer. I guess it just wasn’t my time yet.

A few years later, I realized that I was really itching for a change. I thought back to my experience of acting as a personal shopper & stylist. I decided to start taking Image Consulting classes at FIT and Personal Styling and Styling classes at School of Style while still working my day job. In fact, I’m still working on building my personal styling business so that it’s something I’ll be able to do full time.


GloriJoy ties into this in a bittersweet way. My grandmother passed away in October of 2015 and I needed an outlet to deal with the grief. In my styling courses and through my fashion experimentation, I realized that accessories are great to really make an outfit POP. I ended up merging the two ideas together. I wanted to keep my grandmother’s memory alive but I also wanted to create something stylish and useful.

So here we are. I love the creative high… and I love challenging myself. Each of these things (design/styling/jewelry) are most definitely connected creatively… but the challenge had been how been figuring out how I can pave my own way with them.

What are your go-to resources for building and managing GloriJoy?
I’m the type of person that wants to do EVERYTHING myself but I’ve been learning that for my sanity and to save time, I need to outsource. Since I have a background in web and graphic design (specifically in e-commerce), I’m able to build my own web pages and design advertisements for GloriJoy fairly quickly… but my secret to saving time is this: I use Fiverr to get a lot of things done. Something broken on my page that I don’t want to spend hours digging through code to fix? Fiverr! Need to vectorize some images? Fiverr!

I also ask my mom for help, being that she’s also a creative and she understands the direction I’m moving in.

I’m also a big fan of Google and YouTube. Many times I have an idea for a new technique or project and I want to see if it’s already been done, so I can either learn the proper way or pioneer it. I also make sure to keep active in certain Facebook groups, mostly geared towards blogging, style, e-commerce and travel. It helps me keep up with the latest news, trends and also gives me the opportunity to connect with fantastic people.

Lastly, the kindness of strangers has been a HUGE resource for helping me to build and manage GloriJoy. Being that I’m do-it-all-yourself type of person, this is all very new for me. Earlier this year, I set out to find my tribe and ended up connecting with a lot of like-minded women. They’ve been super nurturing and just generally super awesome and just started promoting, supporting and helping with GloriJoy straight away. I’m very grateful for that.



How does your Brooklyn love inspire your creative life?
Brooklyn is such a huge melting pot of cultures… there’s so much to see, do and experience. I refer to Brooklyn as gritty but pretty… you have concrete, sharp lines and tall buildings but then you have colorful graffiti, green spaces, warm and welcoming nooks. I absolutely love that special contrasting nature that Brooklyn has. Here’s where the “but” comes in: While living in and loving Brooklyn has inspired my creative life, I would also say that it’s more me wanting to explore life beyond Brooklyn. I’ve been a lifelong Brooklyn resident and sometimes a change of scenery is necessary for me.

I grew up in Farragut Houses, where my grandparents lived… definitely gritty. The pretty part of all of this was that I spent a lot of time in my maternal grandparents’ care while my mom worked and went to school; they were a big influence on my life. My grandfather was very handy and sometimes a little creative with his fixes; my mom and I still joke about him saying “put a piece on it” when it came to fixing things. I’d like to say that’s where I get my ability to find creative solutions for my work. My grandmother, is the reason for GloriJoy (Gloria Joyce). She was a seamstress… and more than that, she encouraged my creativity and was very instrumental in me reaching higher heights. Both of my grandparents were.

Being an only child, I happily used my imagination, and that imagination often led me to wanting to explore. I’ve wanted to travel since I was a little girl. I’m not quite sure where I got the travel bug from, but it bit me BIG TIME. I haven’t been EVERYWHERE (yet), but every new place I visit gets me even more curious about the different cultures, food, flavor and music that’s out there. There’s so much more out there to learn about and explore.

What are you learning about the GloriJoy community?
The GloriJoy community is the world… it’s global. Like the world, it’s full of people that are unique and different… and their style reflects that. But this particular community really appreciates things that are a bit off the beaten path. It’s like when you’re having one of those moments where you’re feeling weird and you say to yourself, “Am I the only one that likes XYZ?!” and the response is, “No! You’re not! We’re right there with you!”

I feel like some of my pieces have an extremely personal aspect to it, and I like to think that when someone admires or purchases a piece, they just “get it”… in the sense that they understand the memory, feeling or emotion the piece captures and they’re able to connect it to something in their life.

What do you like, hate and love about launching a new business?
What I really love about launching a new business is the feeling of accomplishment that comes on after the launch. You’ve spent months getting everything together, learning, researching and now the big day finally comes… how exciting! And I’m not even talking about people coming up to you, patting you on the back and telling you congratulations… I’m really talking about that inner satisfaction where you’re just blown away that you just pulled off something so huge.

The thing I hate about launching a new business is that sometimes your expectations don’t match up with reality. You expect to make certain numbers, you expect for certain people to purchase from you, you expect for everything to run smoothly and sometimes none of those things happen. But that’s something I have to work on for myself… letting go of my expectations.

When I mix the love/hate aspects of launching a new business, I realize that I really like learning, even though it can be stressful. I feel like after the launch is when the real work begins; you may see that eventually you want to (or need to) implement new ideas or go in a different direction and it’s your job to figure out how to get there. Then the question becomes, “What do I do next?” Basically, you’re launching your business several times over, if you really think about it.


This is your chance to shout out to the GloriJoy collaborators and supporters – don’t be shy! 
My mom. She’s the OG of jewelry making in my life and introduced me to wire wrapping. She also helps me out a lot with some of the production aspects of GloriJoy.

My cousin Dawn, who is beyond supportive and is always there when I need her… she keeps me crazy and sane at the same time.

Amber (of the Fab Life Project), Danielle (of She Dares), Veronica (of Black Adventuristas) for showing up as their authentic selves for the first ever GloriJoy photoshoot… and also being an inspiration to never stop being a boss. They are my crew of lady bosses!

Kim McCarter, my business coach. She’s been working with me on developing my personal styling business but she drops some gems that can be applied all across the board.

Ayanna Dutton, who has been helping me with my marketing strategy. She gave me food for thought, which has been a life saver!

Megan Elle Mason, a fabulous event planner. Big thanks to her for providing encouragement, allowing me to bounce ideas off of her and giving me some great ideas as well.

Patrice of Looking Fly On a Dime, for being a huge GloriJoy supporter and inspiring me to level up.

Zaida Grunes (of Taproot Organics) and Sabrina Espinal (of Sabrina&Company)… I’ve watched these two ladies from a distance… and have asked questions on occasion and they’ve come through with answers! They are totally badass and inspirational.

Beyond the GloriJoy website, you can also connect with Alissa and GloriJoy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Would you like to be a Thursday Interview feature? Share your info here and I will contact you.


Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!


Nisha Garigarn, Croissant

nisha - croissant
***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers,  business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business

As an enthusiastic coworking fan,  I was giddy with joy when Croissant app co-founder Nisha Garigarn emailed about being featured on the blog.  What’s Croissant? Keep reading.

Name: Nisha Garigarn

Company: Croissant

Launch Date: July 1, 2015

Motto: Enjoy coworking anywhere

The logo is adorable — yes, I want to butter it up.  Why the name Croissant?
We used to work from coffee shops all the time, and bought coffee and $5 croissants to not feel guilty about staying there all day. It’s so silly that we forced ourselves to buy food that we didn’t even want to eat.. just to have a place to do work! Now, instead of doing that, you can use our app Croissant instead :-).

What inspired the Croissant team (including you, Adam Chew, David Idell and Zoltan Szalas) to create the app?
The four of us were actually working together on another project at the time. We lived in different parts of NYC, so we’d arrange to meet at a coffee shop in a central Manhattan location. But every time we showed up, there were no seats available, or no outlets available… or the chairs were super uncomfortable. It was almost impossible to find a free table for four in Manhattan! We considered getting coworking memberships, but at $400 per person, it was way out of our budget. Especially since we would only get access to one location. We basically created Croissant because we were frustrated by the workspace options available. We wanted something affordable and flexible.

Describe the moment you knew Croissant would be a necessity and not a luxury.
When we first launched our app on July 1st with just three locations on the platform. Nonetheless, we started to see signups and friend referrals coming in out of nowhere. That’s when we started to realize that people really needed something like Croissant, and it really resonated with them!

Can you share the networking groups you find valuable to your professional and personal lives?
I am a part of Dreamers//Doers. It is a highly curated group of entrepreneurial women who are doing a lot of inspiring stuff. Being a founder gets lonely sometimes and it is amazing to be part of such a supportive group of people who understand what it’s like. Topics range from how to get press, to conference opportunities. I have met some incredible women there!

How does the company source the spaces that receive the Croissant seal of approval?
We want to make sure that on top of having the basics (WiFi, comfy seats, plugs, coffee), that each space also has a strong sense of community. With Croissant, our members aren’t just looking for a table. They are interested in plugging into these communities of startups, entrepreneurs, creatives, freelancers and people that you want to surround yourself with. One of the most unique perks of being a Croissant member is being able to plug into 30+ different communities at your leisure.

How does Croissant build community with its customers and spaces?
On our app, we have a community board where members can post. It’s a great way for members to spread the word about events or anything to their entire Croissant network. We also have an event calendar to encourage members to join in to some of the various events hosted at the coworking spaces (many of which are free!). In the near future, we plan to add more community features on the app, to enable even more interaction!

Freelancers can get their Croissant in NYC, DC and Boston — where will Croissant be available next?
We just expanded to DC and Boston, and we are so super excited about it! We are eyeing other domestic hubs like SF, LA, and Chicago next.. and after that, the world!

Croissant is available on iOS and Android. You can also connect with Croissant via Twitter and Facebook.

Would you like to be a Thursday Interview feature? Share your info here and I will contact you.


Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!



Grant Trahant, Causeartist

causeartist_logo (1) (2)

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, small business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.


This tweet

made Causeartist follow me.

Of course, I followed back. And I invited Grant Trahant to do a Thursday Interview. Keep reading for the Causeartist story.

Name: Grant Trahant, Creative Director/Editor

Company: Causeartist

Launch Date: December 2013

Motto: We are not defined by our mistakes, but defined by our purpose.

Describe what (or who?) inspired you to launch Causeartist.com and the Social Good Shopping Guide & Directory
Really what inspired me were the brands and social entrepreneurs who were putting out amazing high quality products with a social impact component to them. I didn’t see many media outlets talking about them, so I wanted to be the one to do so.

What are the challenges you face balancing being a founder and graphic/web designer for small businesses?
Time. Balancing time is the most crucial thing. Prioritizing your time and projects are the most important thing I have come to learn. Quality or expedience is also a challenge. Sometimes you have fast deadlines and need to understand that the quality is more important then the deadline sometimes.

Are there any recent social good launches that excite you? Why?
I would say LSTN headphones excite me the most. They make high quality and ethical headphones that give the power of hearing to a person with hearing issues with every product sold. I have a huge love for music and I think their social good model will make a huge impact in the marketplace as well as in people’s lives.

Any future collaborations planned (maybe a Causeartist + Be Social Change networking night?)
I definitely have some in the works at the moment that I can’t quite discuss yet, but they will definitely help in making people more aware of high quality and ethical content and products.

It’s April 2017, what news would you love to be sharing about Causeartist.com?
I would love to share that we are the #1 magazine/marketplace for social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, and impact shopper.

This is your chance to shout out to your Causeartist.com community….show your love!
Our community is awesome. We have people from all around the world who are discovering and sharing stories and products of social impact. It is great to see a community of like-minded people wanting to innovate traditional business and tradition consumer habits.

If you want more Causeartist in your life, you can connect via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Subscribe to the Thursday Interview newsletter

Would you like to be a Thursday Interview feature? Share your info here and I will contact you.

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Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

Sam Bailey, Filmmaker


Ashleigh Lathrop (Devin) and Sam Bailey (Bea),  You’re So Talented

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, small business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

When Hollywood content disappoints, I know how to seek out a web series that entertains and enlightens. You’re So Talented is a definite add to the yes list.  Because I was hooked from the first episode, I knew I had to feature filmmaker Sam Bailey on the blog.  Enjoy and support, people.

Name: Sam Bailey, Filmmaker

Company: Our Names Are Sam

Launch Date:  2015

Motto: Better an asshole than a chickenshit (words of advice from a mentor)

I heart Bea. Even when she frustrates me.  How did you develop the character and what do you have planned for her?
Bea came from a really low place in my life. I was going through a lot of uncertainty-both professionally and personally. Because of that, I think she personifies all of my insecurities as an artist and as a young black woman. I would write these little sketches based off real, awkward moments in my life and then build from there. She totally frustrates me too, but I think what saves her is that she always has really good intentions. In the second season, Bea is a lot more focused on her career and her friends-trying not to get distracted by boys this year. Sometimes she’s successful. But without those distractions, she’s forced to deal with herself in a very real way. You’ve gotta watch to see what happens.

Sams 5

Our Names Are Sam

How did you connect with your creative partner Sam Lee?
Sam Lee and I were kinda traveling in the same social circle for awhile. When I knew I wanted to start filming You’re So Talented, I reached out to her because she has an extensive background in editing and filmmaking. She ended up making original music for the series with my cousin, Alistair Slaughter. Through that process we realized we worked really together and had the same values when it comes to storytelling so it was just a natural progression to make our partnership official. She’s an incredibly intelligent, competent and genuine artist-I’m hella lucky to work beside her.


Gabe Franken (Jesse), Ashleigh Lathrop (Devin) and Sam Bailey (Bea) – You’re So Talented

 Watching You’re So Talented introduced me to Open TV, “a platform for indie arts and artists and believes television must be open to diverse identities and their experiences.”  Did they approach you or did you pitch the show to them?
I initially approached Aymar (creator of OpenTV) to do a write up on the series once our 1st season trailer was released. We ended up getting coffee and talking about this new platform he was working in which became Open TV. Once again, our values just really aligned so when he asked to premiere YST it was a no-brainer. He’s been really essential to us gaining a larger audience and helping us with resources we wouldn’t have without him.

What do you love, like and hate about what you do?
I love pre-production: creating a world that these characters get to play within is the best. I really like being on set and working with the same group of dope artists. I hate figuring out budgets. 🙂

When can we hope to see Our Names Are Sam short Raina’s Not Here?
We are planning to enter the festival circuit so it should start popping up around fall/winter of this year.

Shout out time.  This is an opportunity to salute your collaborators and supporters.
I work a lot with Vincent Martell and the talented folks at VAM Magazine, The Goodnight Ladies , Alistair Slaughter. Senyo Ador is our producer for Raina’s Not Here and he’s been amazing to work with-he’s a gem. Mateo Gonzales has been my cinematographer from the beginning and I’ve grown so much as a filmmaker because of our work together. In general, I think Chicago has been such a support system for me so I’m always trying to give back that love.

Beyond bingeing on seasons 1 and 2 (do it!), you can also connect with Sam via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Our Names Are Sam on Instagram.

Subscribe to the Thursday Interview newsletter

Would you like to be a Thursday Interview feature? Share your info here and I will contact you.

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Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

October 3 #FeelGood List: Where the Jobs Are, It’s Brewing in Brooklyn, How to Become a B-Corp


page-blankA rainbow in Soho. A cast iron frying pan filled with frying chicken. A dropped cake, on a city sidewalk. Capturing life as it happens is reason #3 why I love my smartphone.  When the mood and light hits,  the camera becomes my best friend to transform a fleeting moment into a memory.  But during a recent visit to MOMA enjoying  Bruce Connor’s Cosmic Ray video, understanding Faith Ringgold’s Die and becoming unhinged by Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency and Kai Althoff’s vision of the world, the camera was present but I did the capturing.

Here’s to a week ahead where you are present to capture all the possibility you can…

How to Become B-Corp – Using Business as a Force for Good

The Stoop Series: It’s Brewing in Brooklyn

Vice-Presidential Debate 

Media + Tech, Where the Jobs Are

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!


September 26 #FeelGood List: New York Nonprofit Mixer, Dumbo Dance Festival and more


Last Friday, I attended #PurpleReigns at The New School. The evening featured various academics sharing how Prince and his genius in music and presentation impacted their lives and our culture.  I didn’t take notes because I wanted to be in the moment. What I do remember is how each speaker allowed their joy to overtake the heartbreak and the wonderfulness of being with fellow Prince fans.  They love dancing without reservation.

Enjoy the week ahead!

2016 Presidential Debate
Because it’s important to be an informed voter.

Make It In Brooklyn Innovation Summit

NY NonProfit Mixer

16th Annual Dumbo Dance Festival Opening Night

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!  
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!