All Articles Tagged "events"
Word? April Is National Garlic Month? 9 Random Or Crazy Holidays People Actually Observe In This Country
Americans like to celebrate everything. As my mother would say, every time you turn around, if there’s not a birthday, there’s a week, day or month dedicated to buying something, eating something or doing nothing at all. Sometimes the holidays and events have a good message behind them, as in one’s that promote awareness about health conditions or push the importance of loving yourself, but do we need a whole month to talk about how fab garlic is? That can go, as well as eight (the last one can stay) others that are a bit much in the random department…
Behind the scenes and at the forefront of their events, the Curly Girl Collective celebrates diversity. CGC is the brainchild of six women from an array of backgrounds – their professions range from advertising to computer science, and their ages range eight years – who’ve come together under the common goal of honoring the diversity of natural hair.
“I think of our diversity is what makes us work so well together,” says Simone Mair, Director of Business Strategy. “It makes us who we are.”
In the summer of 2010, Tracey Coleman (Director of Events), Charisse Higgins (Director of Public Relations), Simone Mair, Gia Lowe (Strategic Partnerships Director), Melody Henderson (Creative Director), and Julienne Brown (Marketing & Promotions Director), couldn’t stop talking about their natural hair journeys. Their mutual obsession led to small get-togethers in Tracey’s apartment. The face-to-face gatherings gave them an irreplaceable sense of connection that the online natural hair community, while overflowing with information, just couldn’t compete with.
Determined to make this sense of community available to a larger audience, the Curly Girl Collective was born. I caught up with the ladies behind the brand to learn how they’re bringing online connections to the real world.
MADAME NOIRE (MN): How does CGC carry out its mission?
CHARISSE: Curly Girl Collective is centered around events with a focus on empowering women. Our mission is to create experiences that celebrate natural beauty and creatively inspire and educate women in and outside of the natural hair community. CGC celebrates diversity and creates experiences that give women the freedom to be their natural selves.
MN: What was the catalyst that gave you the confidence to jump into entrepreneurship?
SIMONE: Our launch event was in May of 2011. To be honest, we really weren’t 100% confident that anyone would be interested in our event or even attend. Although a few of us had experience hosting smaller parties/events, we were jumping in head first with this endeavor. We had confidence in our skillsets and used our personal experiences to create what turned out to be a very successful event. It was scary. It was anxiety-driven. It was exhilarating. And at the end of it all, though exhausted, it was so rewarding!
MN: The natural hair phenomenon has spawned many new businesses and blogs. Why is an organization like CGC needed?
CHARISSE: A lot of businesses and blogs were founded for the purpose of promoting, creating and/or reviewing products to help women navigate the landscape of the natural hair community. And that’s great! But our goal is a little different. We aim to truly create environments that speak to specific moments in the natural hair journey, with the goal of leaving our guests empowered, inspired and truly in love with their natural beauty. From coveting another woman’s curls (which is a very real feeling), to the issues one encounters when a love interest doesn’t embrace natural textures, our events seek to speak to the spectrum of topics in the natural hair journey.
MN: The main goals of CGC are issue-based (acceptance; providing a platform). How do you monetize your initiatives?
GIA: We’ve spent the past two years creating the groundwork – valuable experiences that women look forward to attending. From here, we hope to attract sponsors that are aligned with our vision and in return we can introduce their brands to consumers in an intimate way tailored to their business needs.
MN: What are the main issues your target audience is dealing with? How are you addressing them?
SIMONE: Some of the more common issues we hear from our audience are frustrations with hair health, regimens, textures, etc. We also hear about frustrations with the perceptions of natural hair among loved ones, family, friends, business peers, etc. None of us are experts in any of the topics aforementioned but we listen to our fans and we do our best to create events that address those issues such as our last co-ed event, Mane Attraction, where we provided an open judge-free platform to express how natural hair has affected their relationships with their mates. Sometimes the resolution to a lot of issues is just communication.
MN: What’s the key to putting on a great event? How do you make CGC events memorable?
CHARISSE: It’s interesting, we really treat it like an advertising agency. We approach each event with the lens of a creative department, making sure our ideas are grounded in something innovative. With so many brands creating experiences now in the natural hair space, it’s imperative that we break through the landscape of meet ups, launches and seminars with events that push it a little further. And above all, our events are memorable because we make them fun–that’s really all that matters. At the end of the day, ladies just want to come out and celebrate the movement!
Chantelle Fraser’s life is anything but average. Her free spirit and business savvy have taken her from studying at the London School of Economics, to serving celebrities at private members’ clubs, to jet setting around the globe with high fashion models in tow.
As the CEO and founder of Flawless Entertainment & Promotions, Fraser gives major brands and influential individuals access to the power of beauty and entertainment to take their events to the next level. I caught up with the UK-born entrepreneur to discuss her organic journey to success.
Flawless was born when Fraser realized the models at the agencies she worked for needed help making ends meet between jobs. The company has since expanded to represent musical and specialty talent. As her business continues to grow, it’s amazing to think that it all started with a young woman making cold calls from her bedroom.
We started our conversation at the beginning of her professional life. After running an IT recruitment business while studying for her master’s degree, Chantelle set her sights on the entertainment industry.
Madame Noire (MN): When did you move to the US?
Chantelle Fraser (CF): The way I got to the States is an interesting story. After I finished my master’s, I started working at a private members’ club as a waitress part-time. I was working for Ronnie Wood [of the Rolling Stones]. It was great networking with lots of celebrities and interesting people. I met somebody who turned out to own a retail empire in England who went to the London School of Economics. He said to me, “Give me your resume. I’ve got contacts in the entertainment industry; I’ll try to help you.” It turned out he was moving to the States to conduct some business. He gave me a job as his personal assistant in the States.
MN: What were you doing before you started Flawless?
CF: After that [assistant] job ended, I got a job working at a modeling agency. I always knew I wanted to start my own business, but I thought the way to do it was to start small. I could have taken the corporate route, but realistically I’m not going to go work in a bank. So, I thought what kind of business am I realistically going to be able to run myself. I worked at agencies for about three years before launching my company [in 2006].
MN: What was the catalyst that made you start your business when you did?
CF: I initially thought I was going to end up owning just a regular, high fashion agency. But, I kept getting these calls from clients who wanted to book models for promotions and events. I always had to turn those jobs down because we were managing these models’ careers. In those days it wasn’t seen as good for their careers to be doing events. We’re turning these really well paying jobs down, but I’d listen to models and they’d be struggling so much because they’d be doing all these editorials that weren’t really paying a living wage. I’d see them out when I go to restaurants and they’d be hosting and waitressing.
I thought why don’t I just start a business where clients get to fulfill their needs: they have beautiful people at their events, promoting their product, making them look good, and elevating their brand image. And also I’m providing the models with extra income and a means to showcase their other skills, other than just standing there pouting for the camera.
MN: You’ve talked about the needs Flawless meets for clients and models, what need does it fill for you?
CF: I always wanted to be the architect of my own destiny. I’m a free spirit. I always believe in being unreasonable. I wanted to do something dynamic. Flawless was a way for me to live my dream. It was the perfect type of company that encompasses all the things that I love… meeting people, inspiring other people, managing people. I love casting models, making people happy, and growing something. It’s really fun to actually grow a business from a seed to making your visions come to life.
MN: Tell me about that first year operating out of your bedroom. What mistakes did you make and how did you learn from them?
CF: I was living in the moment. When I look back on it I think, “Oh my God, that’s so crazy!” The first month I started my business I didn’t have money to pay the rent. I had a roommate, it was a rent-controlled apartment, and I was like, “Damn, have I made a mistake?” But, for some reason I just didn’t have fear.
I was calling major brands – Playboy, Estee Lauder, high-net-worth individuals – telling them about my company. I didn’t have a website. I didn’t have anything. All I had was my voice, my charm, and my models, which I think were always of a very high standard. I was able to get business, and clients kept referring me to other clients. Eventually I grew myself out of my bedroom and into an office. One summer’s day, sitting there, I was lonely and said, “I think I’m going to get an office.” I think it was in the first six months I had an office in SoHo with a steady stream of clients and a couple of employees.
Urban professionals nationwide face a similar dilemma when they clock out after a day’s work – what to do with their few hours of freedom. Big cities offer plenty of options; but it can be hard for young, Black professionals to find the right fit.
This is especially true in Chicago, where the nightlife scene is marked by venues that shy away from encouraging diversity. One group of socialites decided to turn their weekend headache into a business opportunity. And they chose the biggest party night of the year to put their idea to the test.
Kisha Keeney, Diamond Ingram, Paris Tyler, and Lesley Martin met the way most young professionals working in the city do: through work, college, and mutual friends. They decided to try organizing events when they couldn’t find a personal, affordable party option to ring in 2012. They pooled their resources and respective networks. If their New Year’s Eve loft party was a success, it would be a sign to move forward with their business idea.
A success it was, and Posh Entertainment was born with Keeny as director of event coordination, Ingram as director of new business development, Tyler as director of operations, and Martin as creative director. The quartet hasn’t looked back since, planning events at top venues in the Chicago area that expose their clientele of African-American young professionals to new places, and show venues.
I caught up with the ladies to find out how year one of entrepreneurship was treating them, and what lessons they are learning along the way.
Madame Noire (MN): What made you take the risk of launching this business?
Lesley Martin (LM): So many times we let haters dominate the social scene. We are not open to supporting one another and building a foundation of positive interaction in our city, which leads people to have cliquish behavior. We really wanted to launch Posh because it was what Chicago was missing. We all believe Chicago is filled with a ton of amazing talented people and is an amazing city which so much our demographic has not discovered yet!
Kisha Keeney (KK): We all have a different reason for starting Posh, more than anything it’s the desire to work for ourselves that drives us. We each have our own individual goals and skills that really help us continue to evolve as a group.
MN: What is Posh’s current focus?
Diamond Ingram (DI): We focus more now on individual events and helping clients bring their ideas to life while creating a lifestyle and experience for all people.
KK: Our focus is to continue to get more clients; we want to gain enough profit so we can do this full time. The only way we’ll be able to do that is if we have enough clientele to support that goal.
MN: Where do you want to take Posh?
Paris Tyler (PT): We enjoy hosting our own events but want to work with businesses and individuals to make their ideas come to life. We currently have our website being built, which will include a blog where we will talk about Posh Picks around the city. We want native Chicagoans and even people who are new to the city or visiting the city to see this as the hub of what’s happening in Chicago. We also are planning a couple of events so that we can finish out 2012 strong.
We have an opportunity to expand into Atlanta next year. We’re making sure that we have home base in a good place so that we can move forward with expansion, but we want to also have hubs in NYC and LA.
KK: Long term, the sky is the limit. We definitely see this developing into a boutique agency that provides a variety of services to include but not limiting talent management, corporate event development, and media provisions.
DI: We would love to get more into corporate events, conferences, and fundraisers. We want to expand our philanthropic efforts and volunteerism.
MN: What separates you from your competition?
KK: We focus on our brand, and we don’t offer events on a weekly basis. Our goal is to keep it fresh and creative, and most of all keep our customers wanting more!
PT: We want to create the Posh lifestyle that we think that our peers are living or folks will want to live. We’re learning and researching new ways to stand out from the competition. Not just through the venue and the DJ, but what guests can walk away with or experience while there. The industry is so saturated and we want to have long-term success.
MN: How long did you plan before launching?
PT: We thought long and hard about the name and what it would mean. We made sure that it would be a reflection of our own personalities and the events that we wished to create. From there we began the LLC process, writing of the business plan, and implementing operations and procedures that we may have learned on our individual jobs to help with how we operated.
What surprised us was the number of resources we each bring to the table. We know so many people in different industries and fields that we knew we could tap to help our launch and growth. Their response was so positive, and it definitely reassured us that we were making the right move.
You know what time it is! Style to Steal or Girl, Stop time! We’re lucky this week to have so much to work with when it comes to the fashion choices of our favorite celeb women. And the trend seems to be that it’s time to pull those legs back out from hiding! Let’s take a look at the week’s best and worst ensembles to figure out who should stop it, and who we want to steal from ASAP.
Doing media rounds at fuse Studios this week, Ashanti showed up in this skintight, long-sleeved dress and got lots of attention. The color-block dress was a mix of black, orange, tan and baby blue, and she accessorized the look with bow-accented strappy black stilettos, sparkly bracelets, a few bold rings, and some HUGE statement earrings. I think homegirl should have stayed with one shade for her jewelry, but I have to give her credit: that dress looks great on her little figure. Plus, the makeup is looking fun and fresh. Steal!
Happy Friday Madames! It’s the end of the week, so of course it’s time to take a look at all of this week’s fashion choices from the stars. Per the usual, we’re going to figure out whose style picks we would steal, and which sistas we would beg to stop. Let’s get it!
The very lovely Jennifer Hudson arrived at the Rainforest Fund event in NYC this week in this flowing Reem Acra gown. The nude dress had an ornate gold bust and midsection, with a flowing floor-length skirt. Love the small but intricate necklace and bracelets, as well as the large cocktail ring. And her hair is looking very on-point as well. Love the color, love the look on her, so I’m going to have to steal it!
It’s the freakin’ weekend! Well, it’s not yet, but I’m just setting a scene, so bear with me. Anywho, say it’s the weekend and you and your girls are about to hit up the club. If you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself at an upscale club or bar where people do more two-stepping and mingling then they do bustin’ out splits on the dance floor and fighting. But alas, in the quest for good nightlife hangouts, you will find your share of shady clubs, and ratchet things will happen inside. Some you can control, others, beyond your control. A majority of the things on this list have happened to me or at least to people I’ve been out with and I wouldn’t want them to happen to you, our wonderful readers. So here’s a list of embarrassing and terrible things that can happen at the club that are in no way things you wind up laughing about later.