entrepreneurs

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.

NNEKA ENURAH Creative executive.png

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

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. 

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Raphael Guien of Ortu leather

Entrepreneur Spotlight Raphael Guien

Cute LA had a chance to interview Raphael Guien of Ortu Leather. Located in the Fashion District of Los Angeles. It specializes in leather garmet production. He gave some invaluable knowledge on creating your own business, staying in top shape and being true to yourself. In addition, his passion and enthusiasm leap from his words. Enjoy!

Raphael Guien of Ortu Leather

// What's the inspiration behind Ortu leather?//

La Revolution francaise in L.A.! (laughs).

No, seriously... Well I think for one, growing up in Paris, early on, I was exposed to all kinds of fashion. There were lots of small underground boutiques, featuring local unknown designers and their creations. Designers were coming out with pretty edgy, sometimes provocative clothes. It was really special to witness  all this creation, this risk taking.  And I think that's how, early on, I got a taste for Fashion, "la mode" as we call it there.

I'm not a designer or anything but I think with Ortu leather, I wanted to recreate this sense of creative community. My vision was to build a leather contracting business that would serve and bring together an existing community of fashion minded designers and entrepreneurs, here in the Los Angeles Fashion District. And by bring together, I mean connecting the right people with the right project: whether it be a retailer for a fashion label, a showroom for a designer, or a costume maker for a movie studio. Of course, we weren't going to be the first leather garment production, we knew that. But, something I was big on, from the beginning, was to create this "lieu de vie," this place to gather, meet, create, exchange and make things happen. Not just some factory with a cash register!  Every day, we meet the most interesting people here at Ortu and we feed off each other's creativity.

And today still, this is very important to us. It's part of our DNA! That's why, every now and then, you'll see us hold open house days for fashion schools, and I make it a point to answer every single student's question. I've always had respect for those who want to learn or create, it's a positive thing and I want to help them in any way I can. Also, leathercraft is a noble art. You can't just cheat and buy your way into it, you have to really hone your skills, and it takes time, like every good thing. 

// How did you get started creating it? //

I think, from day one, we placed a focus on each other's strengths, and ran with it. As partners, Daniel, Frank and myself: we all bring diverse experience and specialties and complement each other really well.

For example, Frank has 25+ years of experience in the Fashion business, in Paris France first, then here in the Los Angeles Fashion District. He's collaborated with dozens of national fashion brands, launched his own labels and worked hand in hand with retailers like Barney's, Saks, Macy's, etc. He's been there through thick and thin and I think, better than anyone, he understands all the ingredients needed to launch a fashion line: production costs and logistics, showroom, trade shows, product placement, buzz and so on. That's where we stand out. We address what happens next: the "why", the "how" - We're not just here to make a sale, it's long term. That's why our partnerships typically last years. 

Basically, we care and we love what we do. So, when you ask how we got started... In reality, we simply started with our passion and knowledge. A cutting edge leather jacket, a happy client getting a sale and recognition... Then the thing feeds on itself: reorders, referrals, word of mouth. I'm sorry there's really no secret sauce to reveal here! It just takes a ton of dedication, patience and hard work.

Raphael Guien Quote

// What is the most difficult aspect of being entrepreneur? //

I know it will sound shallow to some, but I would say, first and foremost: always try to be profitable! I know that nowadays we're surrounded with billboards boasting the merits of such and such company that is donating a pair of shoes for each pair purchased, saving the world, lending to the community to create jobs, putting kids through school, etc. But these companies, no matter their message, their image, their brand. Behind the facade, the marketing. They have someone watching the numbers so they can stay in business. If your numbers aren't right, you will quickly run your business into the ground. I've seen it time and time again. It's never pretty.  I think another hard thing to do is constantly asking yourself the question: are the products or services I am selling viable? And if the answer is no, be honest with yourself instead of digging yourself into a hole you won't get out of. You need to think things through and always try to gain perspective and visualize how you can bring each project to fruition.

And I'd like to go back to the patience I was talking about earlier. I think patience is something some entrepreneurs are missing nowadays when they're hoping their brand will go "viral" overnight or when they throw a lot of money on the latest technology gimmick, or the wrong celebrity endorsement. There are a lot of vulture companies out there, preying on small businesses marketing dollars and promising the impossible. 

// What is the most rewarding aspect? //

Of course you don't go into business just to make money you usually have other bigger aspirations. The aspiration can be freedom, as it is in my case. I have big responsibilities and commitments of course, but I wake up feeling free. And that's the promise I made myself a few years back: to try and attain freedom. The freedom where you feel transcended. I don't believe in complaints or fatality. I remember coming to this country with $200 to my name. I tried and failed at many things and left countless jobs, unhappy and frustrated. But now, looking back, every experience had its value, and I know that it's possible! 

Another pleasure I get is seeing other people's dreams and projects come to life every week. Often from the most basic idea: a drawing, a sketch on a piece of paper that becomes a leather jacket on a retailer's shelf. Seeing people around you living from their passion, making a living. It's a good feeling.

Raphael Guien BTS of Ortu Leather

// Best advice for someone that wants to create their own business? //

For tips, I don't think I have any kind of magic potion so I usually like to keep it simple.

- Stay healthy!  I believe in staying on top of your health, otherwise you will limit your potential. To me this means three things: exercise plus healthy food and sleep. I want to give the best of myself all day long and not just business wise. I need to handle the daily stress, make important decisions. I like to compare running a business with running a marathon: it's very long, demanding and you have to be as consistent as possible in your effort.

- Have a plan. It's that simple: every time I start my day, I take a piece of paper and write down what I want to achieve. As I complete each task, I feel good because I know I'm achieving. The feeling of achievement is very important to me mentally. It's a strong driver. Otherwise, because it's my business and nobody's on my back, it's so easy to fall in the trap of answering every email and taking care of small issues, when in reality there are much more important things I should address. And that's how before you know it, you've lost a day that could have been a productive one.

- Build strong relationships. I found out early on that you can't go at it alone. It's not just you on top of this mountain. And that's why, for many years, I have built strong friendships and partnerships with fellow business owners and professionals. We all help each other, one way or another, all the time.  Plus business can come from unlikely places: I can't recount how many times I found myself doing business with a so called competitor. You need to keep an open mind so you can take advantage of opportunities.

I really believe in the theory that, especially in a place like L.A., everything you need is standing right in front of you, but you just don't see it. We all know a lot of people and by extension, we are already connected with the people that can push the right buttons and make things happen.

Well, before we finish, Tiffany, I want to really thank you for this interview, I enjoyed it very much and I hope that some readers will feel encouraged, get an idea, something, anything, from this!  

Follow Ortu Leather: SiteFacebook | Instagram 

What is a dream you have? Let me know in the comments!

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Jenn Busch of Ahimsa Clothing

Jenn Busch Ahimsa Clothing.png

I've always envied the people that are dedicated to yoga. It's actually a goal of mine. The benefits are endless and there's just a care free quality of it that I love. Cute LA had the chance to chat with Jenn Busch, founder of Ahimsa Clothing. A true yogi she blended her love by creating a clothing line with the goal of comfort and a mission of non-violence. Learn more about Jenn and the inspiration behind the name "Ahimsa."

Jenn Busch

// What's the inspiration behind Ahimsa Clothing? //

My intention was to develop a line of clothing that was an extension of my belief system, with the thought--- What we wear becomes an extension of who we are.  Teaching yoga since 1999 and practicing daily was instrumental in the development of my company. The name I chose is a Sanskrit word that is part of an 8 limbed path that forms structural framework for yoga practice.  Ahimsa is defined as the behavior to not injure any person whatsoever.  It is the act of kindness, friendliness and thoughtful consideration of other people and things. I wanted to share my strong belief in this while inspiring and encouraging other women to do the same… so why not do it through clothing… believe it practice it & wear it.

// How did you get started creating it? //

I started creating Ahimsa after I decided on the name and made a commitment to myself to persevere no matter what challenges arose. I researched for about 12 months through different global networking sites, met with many people in the same industry then chose  to partner with individuals and companies that would inspire me and help me grow. 

// What is the most difficult aspect of being entrepreneurs? //

One of the largest challenges thus far for me was gaining enough momentum to actually get my feet off the ground.. As well as the learning curve in areas I had no education in. Like Logistics! It's difficult to be a one women show learn all aspects of the business. 

// What is the most rewarding aspect of being entrepreneurs? //

I am lucky in this business,  a lot of the time I can choose who I work with.  I love to surround myself with like minded people whom inspire me and give me the courage and know how to move forward. 

Ahimsa Clothing

// What's the best piece of advice for someone that wants to become their own boss?//

Stay extremely organized, expect the unexpected, get lots of advice, educate yourself continually and take the time to reward yourself for all the hard work you put in..

Ahimsa Definition

Follow Jenn Busch & Ahimsa Clothing: Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Site

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