Angelique and I met at media mixer hosted by Emerging Market Views, a digital news platform focusing on emerging and frontier markets. We were there to support a mutual friend Dawn Kissi, the platform’s founder. We started chatting about entrepreneurship, co-working spaces and creativity. Once I heard about her work, I wanted to include her on the Thursday Interview. Enjoy…
Name: Angelique Ellyn Anderson, Artist, Founder / Creative Director of LIQUE Story Studio Inc.
Launch Date: 2016
My current project(s) are…
…developing children’s book apps utilizing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. I have 2 other picture-book app projects which include journey, seek and discovery experiences for VR headsets.
I love getting up in the morning to…
…work on my projects. Now that I work independently for myself I can focus on developing my own successful dreams instead of someone else’s.
The main challenge(s) to being a creative entrepreneur…
…is being able to maintain that independence financially so that you can focus on development of your own products; and to obtain those necessary funds and resources to help you grow until your business can stand on its own. Having to stop and start by working for someone else so that you can raise money to continue your own growth is frustrating and can kill a very viable product.
My go-to networking groups are….
…the New Media Center by IFP in Dumbo, the VR Lab at ITP-NYU sponsored by Hearst Corporation, UnityVR user MeetUp group and the Children’s Book Illustrators Group (CBIG) for Julie Gribble’s Kidlit.TV, and Viridian Artists Gallery in Chelsea, NY.
Here’s why you and everybody you know needs to see Hadestown…
…I became a passionate supporter of the folk opera, Hadestown, 6 yrs ago, when I first experienced Anais Mitchell and Michael Chorney with their band performing it in the park. I approached them afterwards about developing it for stage on Broadway. Their CD was just being released. So here they are, years later, performing Hadestown, Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop, NYC. My passion for the musical, Hadestown expands by working with the producer to procure investors for the Broadway production.
Shout out time. This is an opportunity to salute your collaborators and supporters.
I thank my mom and Pat Cummings, who got me started with Children’s Illustration, storytelling and book making; all my CBIG members for being such a dynamic support and resource in the industry; grateful for Roxy Munroe for being an inspiration and a dynamic force in the industry of book, storytelling and app-making; Julie Gribble of KidlitTV for being a steadfast supporter and gracious friend; Steve Sandberg, genius musician and best friend; choreographer and colleague Annetta Sawyer for ultimate support and of course the New Media Center by IFP in Dumbo, Brooklyn for being a resource of knowledge and support.
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.
What advice would you share for anyone who wants to produce and market a web series? Don’t sugarcoat.
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?
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.
Name: Melissa Archer, Actress
Motto: Say what you mean and mean what you say
Being featured in two films (Coach of the Year and South 32) in the Soho International Film Festival is….
…This is truly exciting! I am so blessed to have both films in the festival, but to also have one on opening night, and the other the following night which is a Friday…that’s amazing! I’m really proud of both films.
I started a production company because…
…The reality is, I can’t sit for too long. Ha! I started the company because I woke up one morning with a feeling of, “this is what I have to do.” I want to make stuff happen. I love acting, but why not combine acting into being the boss? I wanted it to be a collaborative effort for the company. I feel creative minds together can create bigger. It just so happened that my now producing partner, Sonia Blangiardo, had a similar thought around the same time. We got together for lunch and said “let’s do this.” I was already working with Jessica Morris on a writing project, so it was a no-brainer, she was my first call. Sonia, went to Brandon Goins and then later Theresa Cicala. Sonia, Brandon, Jess, and I all got together shortly thereafter, and “Viral” was conceived.
Filming the ‘I am woman, hear me pee’ scene in “Viral” was…
…Too much fun! It was like midnight or something, and all I could do was be silly. In between takes, I’d do funny dances with the panties still sitting around my knees. Such a blast!
My definition of a kick ass day must include…
…Getting at least one priority done, spending time writing, and if I get to work on something tech related, it’s icing on the cake for me. I haven’t worked on one in awhile, but I do get into kind of a meditative state when I fix an iPad or iPhone. So if I can include all the above, and maybe a trip to the beach…that’s a kick ass day haha.
I need you to know the following about superfood Hacker’s Brew…
…Hacker’s Brew is my other baby. I’m so fortunate that I get to be a part of this company and product from the ground and watch her grow. I work with the best team, here in LA and all the way to NY and Russia! Hacker’s Brew works…you have energy all day, without feeling jittery, and man, can I focus. I’m also proud to say that the ingredients are all there for effect. Meaning, if it’s in there, it will do something. It’s also not just the focus and energy, but I actually feel good after I drink it. It lifts my mood. I first learned about Nootropics last year, and starting them, turned my life around. I could literally feel the fogginess that I always felt, lift, and my energy levels increasing. My productivity started to increase. Then I was a believer. It’s been so fun and rewarding working with everyone to bring a delicious brew to life, and be a part of helping others get shit done!
These are my collaborators and conspirators…
…I have so many hahaha! Of course my Steel Penny team, my Hacker’s Brew Team, my writing team, my friends, my BFF, my family, and if she were alive, my inspiration Lucille Ball.
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
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.
Summer 2016, let’s do this. And here’s to the week ahead…
Monday, May 16
Books + Booze: The Mystical Atheist in Jewish Fiction
Tuesday, May 17
PRINCE SO COOL, AIN’T NOBODY BAD LIKE HIM
Mapping Resources for Immigrant Artists
Thursday, May 19
SPENT Launch x Lindsay Goldwert
Saturday, May 21
Essex Street Market Block Party
Business StartUp & Quickbooks
***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
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 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!