brand strategist/advisor, oceanparkstudio
Santa Monica, CA
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I'm a brand strategist and a problem solver. I create brand platforms (www.oceanparkstudio.com) and find resources for my clients by day. I collaborate with a super-talented friend on an online store (akogaretradingco.com) and am exploring licensing opportunities (www.countthechickens.com). All the projects and ideas inform each other - contacts and friends made through one avenue become collaborators in another. It makes for a wonderful quality of life.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
A serpentine path, for sure! I worked at a museum, a construction firm, a magazine, a university, an architecture firm -- and that was all in my 20s! The lesson learned is that job #1 is to solve someone's problem. I've worked on my own for the past 10 years - that's been a gift in terms of being able to choose the projects and the people who enrich my life - and I hope, I enrich theirs.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
I think we bring the best of ourselves to our work and our lives (at least we try to!), and the trick to success is finding a good fit for both parties. Some people have great ideas and lack the persuasion to "sell" them, some people don't do enough homework, some people don't understand the value to the client. I've found that if I am clear about what I can, and cannot, do, and stay true to my principles, I attract satisfying work and cultivate happy clients - and that's a good life!
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
A branding strategy for an online food company, including packaging and sales strategies, a brand for a charitable foundation, the interior design for a media company and the remodel of a retail store, launching a new apparel company . . . whew!
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I studied art history in college, and am a bit all over the place, depending on the context. Professionally I prefer clean, minimal, uncluttered. Raw materials, earthy, unpretentious. In the right context, I appreciate romantic, wild, overgrown English garden looks, and in others, a filtered, dreamy 70s California beach vibe.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
Hands down favorite is being handed a blank sheet and asked to create a brand. What is its story, what's the mythology, who should it appeal to, what should it look like, how should we talk about it. A childhood spent reading too much primed me for being able to weave a story around the smallest bits of originating information.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
I'd like more time to read industry publications, work on my blog, explore new stores (brick and mortar as well as online). To me, looking and thinking are the best education, and I never have enough time to look and look and let what I am seeing marinate.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HOUR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Manage social media accounts for me and my clients! The concepting and tactical approach should come from me, through thoughtful observation and research, but the everyday application of it - I need help! Also, I'd love for someone to do my grocery shopping.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
To slow down, breathe, and relish being alive, regardless of how busy I am. In spite of how busy I am.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Taking the time to focus on MY business, not just my clients' businesses. I have a cobbler whose children have no shoes problem!
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I'm looking for opportunities to contribute in a creative and meaningful way to a launch (whether of a new company or a new product / service at an established brand). My favorite projects include renovating a showroom on Robertson Blvd, imagining a brand new tile brand and collaborating on its coming to life, developing the brand identity for a start-up apparel co targeted to millennial men. I'd like to be a part of long-term growth - be there at the beginning, and stay connected as a brand develops and matures.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?
I've been fortunate. Anytime I can work with someone with energy and drive, who communicates clearly, understands that logistics and 'reality' enter into any project, and is open to brainstorming and pushing each other toward making the best decisions, I'm happy!
WHAT IS YOUR RATE?
My clients range from national brands to local start-ups, and my pricing reflects that. I've done run-and-gun writing gigs for trade, and I've managed national media buys and creative concepts for a percentage. A fair fee is some balance between the value of my time and input, and the client's revenues.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Email is a terrific beginning. A scope of the project, some background on the principals, and a sense of what the objectives are --- although my clients tend to gravitate to me because they don't really know what they need, and they storytell until I have an "aha" moment and tell them what they need! An invitation to coffee is usually the only way to know if the two parties will be a good match.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Swim, read poetry, eat ice cream
This member profile was originally published in August 2016.