ENTREPRENEUR SPOTLIGHT: MARIA HUNT

Entrepreneur spotlight Maria Hunt - Unicorn Moms.png

Cute LA had the chance to interview Maria Hunt. She's an entrepreneur and founder of Unicorn Moms. Unicorn Moms is a community and app of over 70,000 women that can connect and support each other. Maria is not a stranger to start-ups and tech. She has worked with well-known tech companies including MySpace and Brandish. Happy that she was able to take a break from her busy schedule as a mom of two boys and a boss to chat with Cute LA!

Read On To Learn More About Maria Hunt And What It Takes To Become An Entrepreneur. 

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// What inspired you to start Unicorn Moms, the app and UniCon? // 

I was in a few online mom groups, and they were all the same: judgmental, mean and catty. When I asked a question or asked for advice, instead of helping me, the replies were generally mean and judgy.  So, I decided to start my own group. A group that was different -- different in the sense of support, kindness, empathy, compassion, and laughs. I wanted it to be a platform for moms to post without fear of being judged. A place where our goal is the same, to help and support one another through more than just our children's struggles. Our own personal struggles; our marriages, our confidence, our depression, our insecurities and most importantly our loneliness. Motherhood is isolating and lonely at times especially if you feel you don't fit in. A group, where at the end of the day you feel good because you have all these women behind you telling you you're beautiful and that you're doing a great job. This mom thing is hard and you can lose yourself in it. This is why I created this group. We have Unicorn Moms all over the country so it was only natural for me to create an app. The app helps moms find other moms in their cities for adult playdates. UniCon came about because I wanted to meet more of these amazing moms, for the past 2 years, I have seen them post in the group and have gotten to know them (and met a bunch), but wanted to actually meet more of them and give them an experience they deserve.

// What separates you from other mom groups? //

We pride ourselves in the way we run our group. We have a very strict screening process you have have to be a mom, and we actually have to creep your profile to confirm that in fact, you are a mom.  We have strict rules you must follow, and if you don't, we remove you from the group.  We rally together when one of our own is in need and we laugh our asses off throughout the day when we can relate to a funny meme or post. A mom about a year ago posted this: "My husband, changed a poopy diaper this morning. For his bravery and commitment, a celebration in his honor will be held this evening at our home. As many are expected to arrive, parking may be limited; valet will be available to the first 500 guests. A five-course meal will be served at 9:00 pm along with a champagne toast at midnight. Snoop Dogg will perform directly after the toast and an early bird caviar and seafood breakfast buffet will begin at 0400. No video or flash photography will be allowed. Please RSVP below. I am truly honored to have a role in planning this cherished event." Posts like these are frequent in the group and they give us life. 

// What were the first steps in launching your own company? //

I didn't set out to start a company, I started this group because I needed it. I needed it for my sanity and my soul. I started to sell car decals of our logo to help identify each other, and it just evolved from there. Everyone thinks when you start a company that it's easy and that the money starts rolling in right away. It doesn't. I started this venture with my laptop, my business partner, and a vision. Oh, and of course, some cash, and we just took it from there.

// What are the most difficult & most rewarding aspects of your career? //

The logistics have been the most difficult.  I have six amazing admins that help with the group, but all the other stuff it's just me. The most rewarding aspect is hearing the stories of these moms about how this group has helped them. That to me is why I do what I do period. There is no greater reward than helping someone, and that's my goal in life. I received this email from a UM's husband and it just validates what I do: "I don't know who you women are or how my wife came to join this group but I have to tell you all thank you. My wife has suffered from major depression when our son died and even though she was having good days and starting to come around this group has helped her so much. She has less "bad" days and she is always laughing at some of the posts she sees. I don't know what you have said to her or how the hell you lovely ladies did it but I get to see my wife's beautiful smile and hear her contagious laugh. She doesn't get overstressed when our son's boneheaded teacher says anything about our son's reading level and she has started to become herself. So I just want to say thank you, beautiful women, for giving her so much support. I am proud to be a unicorn husband!"

Maria Hunt quote

// What advice do you have for someone wanting to become an entrepreneur? //

Believe in you and your mission that's the most important advice. You are your biggest cheerleader. Surround yourself with people who are happy for you and encourage your success. It's hard as women to do this but it really is important. Many women do not want to see other women like them succeed, and it's sad. You have do what you love and believe in your brand. Also, listen to your audience/customers to give them what they want. This is how I grew this business, the group told me what they want and wanted to see and I gave it to them. 

// What's next for Unicorn Moms? //

We are focusing on expanding and growing. We are also working on releasing the app on Android before the end of the year and taking UniCon across the county. Who knows? Maybe a clothing line, Unicorn Moms wine, etc... So many things I want to do. The sky's the limit. 

// Anything else you want our readers to know about you? //

I love to give back and help out local charities. I'm very passionate about that. I have a huge platform, and it would be a shame not to use it for good. We have worked with a lot of charities over the last 2 years including Ronald McDonald House, Baby2Baby, Good+ Foundation, and Prom Dress Project. We will continue to help and give back. 

Follow Unicorn Moms: Website

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ENTREPRENEUR SPOTLIGHT: NNEKA ENURAH

NNEKA ENURAH Entrepreneur spotlight

Cute LA had the chance to interview Nneka Enurah. She's a Creative Executive who is paving the way for women in Entertainment. She has worked with well known brands including Popsugar and Fox. Happy that she was able to take a break from her busy schedule to chat with Cute LA!

Read on to learn more about Nneka Enurah and what it takes to become a Creative Executive. 

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// What inspired you to become a Creative Executive? // 

During my college years, I discovered that I loved anything that would allow me to express myself creatively. I had a passion for telling stories and connecting with people so I wanted to pursue something that would allow for that. After interning at Fox Studios in LA I knew I wanted to work in the entertainment industry.

// What separates you from other Creative Executives? //

I think it can be easy to stick with what you know. Deviating from the norm is harder than going by an established routine or trusted method. I’m all about telling fresh stories and showcasing new worlds. That means not always going along with what the mainstream claims to be buying. I think amazing stories with strong characters can and will always find a home. New platforms are emerging every day. You just need to know where to look. 

// What were the first steps in launching your career? //

The first step is learning everything you can from the people who know the industry best. I enjoyed working under other execs and seeing how and why they made the creative and strategic decisions that they did.  Secondly, the entertainment industry is constantly evolving. The way consumers engage with programming today is not the way it was 20 years ago so it’s also important to continue learning about your industry and new trends. Thirdly, you need to hustle.

Talent is great, but if you aren’t working hard and getting results, it’s hard to advance. From there I think it’s all about seizing opportunities when they arise. In order to do that you need to have worked long enough to recognize them when they come along. For me it was when I noticed more and more platforms emerging as buyers for content. My company had the resources to produce for established names in the industry, so why not partner with new digital networks and platforms as well.

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// What are the most difficult & most rewarding aspects of your career? //

One of the most challenging things about the job is how much time it can take to fully develop an idea. There a a lot of steps that must be taken before you can successfully sell a show. There’s a bevy of research, brainstorming, writing and producing that goes into getting a project ready to be pitched and hopefully sold. It can take anywhere from months to years sometimes and it takes a certain type of person to handle the work that comes with creative development.

The most rewarding aspect is when you get to tell an amazing story. That’s what drives every great creative. Getting an awesome story out there for the world to see and knowing that you played a part in that. It’s an amazing feeling.

// What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into this field? //

Make sure you learn all that you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions or take a risk every once in a while. 

// Anything else you want our readers to know about you? //

It’s exciting to be a woman of color in the creative space today. With the success of shows like “Insecure” and “Atlanta”, more and more diverse stories are being told and it’s empowering to be apart of that narrative. I’m eager to see what the future holds as audiences continue to demonstrate an appetite for these types of stories.

Follow Nneka: Twitter | LinkedIn

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3 MUST HAVES FOR BRUNCH

3 Must Haves For Brunch

Where should I do brunch? I didn't know I would become one of those people. You know the annoying one that people make memes about. Since "bitches love brunch." Apparently, we do. We really do. To not fall completely into the stereotype. I only have brunch once a month with friends. One of my favorite places to have it is TART Restaurant in Los Angeles. But there's a lot of fantastic brunch spots in SoCal.

I love a good brunch. It usually leaves me buzzed the whole day. Though it doesn't seem like an event that people can mess up. They still manage to fail when it comes to planning a good brunch with friends. I've compiled a simple list if followed will yield beautiful brunch results.

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Location, Location, Location

When picking a brunch spot you want to find one that has a great ambiance. Here in Los Angeles where the weather is great. It’s always a nice touch to have a brunch where you can sit outside or have a killer view. It makes the brunch lively and makes for fantastic photo opportunities. Because do you even brunch if you don’t put it on the gram? Put into consideration where everyone is coming from. Everyone needs to take a lyft or uber when partaking in true brunch fashion (drinking).

Good Company

Now it’s time to pick your brunch gang. In keeping the stress levels down. When it comes to splitting the check, I always keep the group to 4-6 people. Any more and it can become a hassle to find a table to fit people at a popular place. You also want to make sure you pick fun people to enjoy this brunch with. Good stories, laughter, and fun are a must! So try to avoid that friend that complains when her water slices aren't cut to precision.

Bottomless Drinks

This is my number one! Not all restaurants have realized that bottomless drinks are a must. You don’t even have to do them all day! A lot of restaurants put a time limit of 1-3 hours for the bottomless drinks. Now, when picking your place you might have to try a few places until you find your “Home” brunch spot. I love TART because I’ve been a few times now. Each time I’ve gotten a wonderful waitress that has HOOKED IT UP. Always topping off the mimosas and giving more. That is what you want! If you’re paying $25 for bottomless, you want that champagne and OJ flowing.

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Those are my tips on creating a fun Brunch experience with friends. This will help you build a tradition that keeps you connected and making memories.

What are your favorite places to brunch? Let me know in the comments!

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ENTREPRENEUR SPOTLIGHT: JEN BETTS

Entrepreneur Spotlight PR Boss Jen Betts

Cute LA had the chance to interview Jen Betts. She's the President of Innovative PR and owner of Live Loyal PR. She has worked with some of the biggest brands and celebrities. Always staying on the cutting edge of digital trends and providing true ROI. Happy that she was able to take a break from red carpets, high profile events, and celebrities to chat with Cute LA!

Read on to learn more about Jen Betts and what it takes to become a PR boss. 

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// What inspired you to become a publicist? // 

I never was motivated to be a publicist. In a way, I always was one. I have been throwing parties since I can remember. I was social chair of my sorority and was on Panhellenic for Cal State Long Beach. I was always social!

// What separates you from similar publicists/PR firms? //

My original company is called Live Loyal and that is what I do. I see a project through and meet all brand/client desires and needs. I also give them a certain secret business tactic that actually gets the client results. I think there are a lot of PR agents out there that say they are driving ROI. I feel that after taking 8 emerging brands global, I am truly doing just that.

Jen Betts President Innovative PR

// What were the first steps in launching your own PR firm? //

This all started while I was getting my Masters at Cal State LA. Going out in LA was usual for me. Born and raised in this city, I went out all the time. I was clubbing nightly and a celebrity friend turned me onto a very well known event agency. It was then I went in for an interview and interned for years. Because I was still a nurse at Cedars and getting my masters. I would work red carpets and doors at night. I mingled, hustled, and found the love for PR. I worked there for several years and then opened up my own agency - Live Loyal PR. Live Loyal PR soon merged into a company called Pivotal PR. In 2016, after conquering many notable worldly events, global clients, and creating some of the biggest brands, I decided to create Innovative PR & Media.

// What are the most difficult & most rewarding aspects of your career? //

I have three:

Employees - I am invested in my team, and loyalty is taught. I make great publicists and when it is their time to leave it is hard. So that rotating door is hard, it is an obstacle I tackle every year.

Competition - I am constantly evolving. Trying to stay creative, aware, and INNOVATIVE for my clients.

Digital Forum - trying to conform PR tactics with this ever changing communication landscape.

// What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into this field? //

Learn to stay cool in a crisis, always: ALWAYS have a backup plan! 

// Anything else you want our readers to know about you? //

In addition to my company, I am a writer for seven media sites and own four of my own blogs. As mentioned, I also have a career as a nurse and I am a mother to a beautiful son. 

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Contact me, if you'd like to suggest a kick ass person for Cute LA's Entrepreneur Spotlight. 

ENTREPRENEUR SPOTLIGHT: LIZA GLUCOFT

Cute LA had the chance to interview entrepreneur and producer, Liza Glucoft. A strong woman about her business. She has produced content for popular digital platforms, Who What Wear and POPSUGAR. Boosting an impressive resume. One of her shinning achievements is launching Thrive Market's video marketing channel to an audience of almost 1 million. Honored to get to know the story behind this producing rockstar!

Read on to learn more about Liza Glucoft and what it takes to become a digital producer

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// What inspired you to become a producer? What made you want to work in digital media? //

I was always a producer without knowing it. In high school and college, I used to write my own plays and produce them. Then my first job out of school was as Coordinator of Production at FX Network. I learned all the ins and outs of TV production. From there, I went to work at Who What Wear which is where I learned my love of digital production. I just love that you can have an idea today and make it tomorrow. TV and film are such longer runways, and there are so many more layers of approvals to get to make something. Digital works more quickly, which is more exciting. There’s more room for possibility, trial, and error.

// What separates you from other producers in the field? //

I know exactly what I want the episode to look like the second I step onto set. A lot of producers don't shoot with the final edit in mind.

// What were the first steps in launching your career? //

Working at Who What Wear was a big turning point for me. That is where I discovered my love of digital content creation.  My career took as shift away from TV and film and focused on digital. It’s a medium where you have the opportunity for trial and error and can turn projects around quickly. TV and film have such long runways and there is often much less opportunity to take risks and explore your creativity.

// What are the most difficult & most rewarding aspects of your job? //

There can be a lot of restraints with budget and resources. There are also a lot of moving pieces to keep straight. It's most rewarding when you get a thank you note from someone you worked with, someone recommends you for a job, or when you finally ship the episode. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing something amazing you poured your heart and soul into. And believe it or not, I pour it into everything I do!

// What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into this field? //

Keep doing. Keep making. You have to create the work. When I left my job at Thrive Market I had no resources. I shot a show on instagram and taught myself how to edit. You have to always be doing, creating and learning.

// Anything else you want our readers to know about you? //

I’m planning to write a book! I put out two articles recently on PopSugar - "Tips on Finding a New Job" and "How Can I Reach New People?" that were, in a sense, the start of this project. Stay tuned for that in 2018.

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Contact me, if you'd like to suggest a kick ass person for Cute LA's Entrepreneur Spotlight.