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Replay: Polly Irungu Talks Creative Entrepreneurship and Creating Your Own Lane

We’ve all probably heard someone mention the concept of “having a seat at the table” at some point, right? It’s a great idea in theory, but in practice, a lot of people get left out. 

But in 2022, we’re building our own tables and expanding the party! That’s what Polly Irungu did when she founded Black Women Photographers in 2020. 

“I didn’t have a seat at the table,” says the photographer and entrepreneur, “And I wanted to create something for us by us to provide that seat at the table.” 

Black Women Photographers has grown into a non-profit and global community of over 1,000 women and non-binary photographers in a little over a year. So far, Black Women Photographers has partnered with a variety of companies and organizations, including Nikon, Phmuseum, Getty, and IWMF, to bestow grant money on talented members of the collective, as well as help them build stellar portfolios, and get amazing job...

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REPLAY: Phaon Spurlock on How to Target Your Customers and Grow Your Business!

Phaon Spurlock is his name and MARKETING is his GAME! And his game is always on FIRE! 

Oh yeah, he’s worked with some household name brands and successfully built his own brands, including Prototype MKTG, BKLYN LEAGUE, and LuxuriousPROTOTYPE. He’s been featured in (and writes for) Forbes and too many other magazines to mention. He’s even spoken at the White House. 

It was his passion for marketing that led him to start Prototype MKTG, a creative agency that focuses on digital, experiential, and multicultural marketing. So, when Phaon talks marketing, we listen. And we are not alone. When he led the How to Target Your DREAM Audience on a BUDGET webinar a couple of weeks ago, creative entrepreneurs from Ireland, Spain and Switzerland to Peru, Colombia and Mexico and many points in the U.S. tuned in to soak up some marketing knowledge. And WOW, did Phaon DELIVER!

Check out the replay here:

We spoke to him about all things marketing and he gave us some...

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REPLAY: Nopalera Founder Sandra Velasquez Says If She Can Do It, So Can YOU

Mexican-American CEO Sandra Velasquez is a bona fide, tug-at-your-heart, success story.

She launched her luxe cactus-based botanicals brand during the pandemic (when even her own parents thought she was nuts) and is now slated to bring in a sweet half a million dollars in revenue.

But things weren’t always easy for this single mama and lead singer. Sandra was a longtime musician who was juggling parenting, musical gigs, and her day jobs (PLURAL) when she discovered soapmaking and started dreaming of creating her own bath and body brand. She had her “a-ha” moment back home in San Diego eating her mother’s eggs and nopal (cactus.) Cactus has similar healing properties as aloe vera but was often overlooked—until now. Sandra recognized the power of this native, regenerating, and unsung plant and made it the centerpiece of her bath and body business, Nopalera.

She was ready to launch when the pandemic hit, but she pushed through anyway. And soon, ...

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The Creatives’ Guide to Leveling Up Their Finances in 30 Days

finance Nov 16, 2021

By Cherish Strickland, Senior Copywriter at Collective 

You have goals you want to achieve. And, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably achieved at least one – entrepreneurship. True commander-of-your-own future energy. For every barrier placed in your way, so far, you’ve overcome them. That’s simply what you do. 

What’s next?

If your eyes are set on growth, you can look towards your finances this month to see what money moves you can make to help get you there. All it takes is a little tax and financial planning – and a few people in your corner lifting you up as you go!

This guide will help you get ready with tips that can be implemented in 30 days. Or longer if you need! Because, again, you’re the commander of your own future. 

Week 1 – a new S Corp mindset

In week one, start learning about the possibilities for your business. One thing every dream requires is extra money. Even if you make the same revenue you...

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REPLAY: Shop Latinx Founder & CEO Brittany Chavez Wants You to Grow Your Business NOW!

When it comes to growing a business, Brittany Chavez has laser-focused vision. No excuses.

Don’t have a mentor to guide you? Create your own! 

No time or money to do focus groups? No problem! 

Make mistakes along the way? Correct your course.

Don’t know what you’re doing? Ask questions.

Brittany has spent the last five years building Shop Latinx, the first curated e-marketplace for Latinx creative entrepreneurs. Shop Latinx offers offers beauty, skincare, apparel, and lifestyle products to the fastest-growing market in the U.S., Millennial and Gen Z Latinas. She started it as a side-hustle, surveyed potential customers while driving them as a rideshare driver and has since built a team and secured funding. 

She knows what it takes to build a business and the founder and CEO is happy to share her journey so that you can learn from her wins and missteps—and build your own success!

She wants you to know you are not alone. You got this! 

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REPLAY: Julissa Prado Talks Being a Self-Funded, Latina-owned Business

For Julissa Prado, starting a business was a childhood dream - and an act of serving her community. Growing up the Los Angeles native played with natural ingredients, creating concoctions for managing her curly hair and sharing her mixtures with other women in her neighborhood. Years later her company Rizos Curls launched in 2017, urgently addressing the hair care needs of women in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. 

“I love to always say that a business is simply a solution to a problem,” said Julissa during our interview last week. “Rizos Curls was literally my solution to my own personal problem of not knowing what products to use to style my own hair.”

Today Rizos Curls can be found on shelves at Target, Ulta Beauty, and Walmart in 57 countries, generating $1 million within its first year. 

We connected with the entrepreneur and beauty influencer during a live event, where she shared how she built a thriving beauty brand...

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We are looking for the next Latina mogul-in-the-making, and we've partnered with Eva Longoria, America Ferrera and a few other folks to help us find her.

First, some stats--courtesy of our friends at Support Latino Business:

  • Latino/x small business owners are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States
  • Latinas lead 44% of Latino/x small businesses that range from restaurants, online apparel shops, beauty and lifestyle products to financial services
  • Latino/x-owned businesses contribute over $800 billion to the American economy every year
  • These entrepreneurs are often unable to scale at the same rates in comparison to their non-Latino/x counterparts
  • The COVID pandemic has made this discrepancy even larger

This is why we are so proud and excited to announce JEFA NATION, a contest to support Latina entrepreneurship launching on the third annual Support Latino Business Day, which is today: September 14, 2021.

In order to be eligible,...

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REPLAY: John Lynn Wants You to Get Your Money

When it comes to funding a new business, John Lynn has a 360-degree view.

Started a business and got funding himself? Check.

Helped raise money for a venture fund? Check.

Selected start-ups for one of the best-known accelerators out there? Check.

Set up accelerators himself, and seen how hundreds of businesses lifted off? Uh, yeah.

In fact, over the last decade-plus, John has gone from entrepreneur himself (yes, he’s been there!) to becoming a guru in the overall accelerator space, helping grow businesses just like yours over and over again.

 John is the co-founder of Cela, which builds startup accelerators with the world’s most influential institutions, including investor groups, universities, governments, and corporations. John has spoken at theWorld Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as well as in multiple locations within China, throughout Japan, Haiti, Aruba, and the USA. His work has been published in Forbes, TechCrunch, and at the Nasdaq.

The bottom line:...

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REPLAY: Andi Smiles on Creatives’ #1 Money Mistake

finance founder interview Aug 24, 2021

A decade ago, Andi Smiles had a secret.

She was working as a bookkeeper, helping entrepreneurs and small businesses track and manage their finances.

But her own business accounts, she says, were “a hot financial mess.”

“I was undercharging, and just ignoring and leaving my taxes for the last minute,” says the Parsons Entrepreneur Academy instructor. “I used to get sick to my stomach filing my annual taxes. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, how much am going to owe?’"

So how did she get from there to becoming the financial educator, coach and all-round money badass she is today?

Andi will tell you that it had far less to do with numbers than with tackling her preconceptions, attitudes and mindset—an approach she brings to her no-judgements work with entrepreneurs today.

“Money is a relationship like any other,” she says. “If you have a friend and never call them, never text, never go out, how deep is that friendship going...

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REPLAY: Shobana Mani Talks Start-Ups, Mentoring, and Why You Should Launch NOW

There can’t be too many people in the world who’ve both juggled numbers as a managing director at Goldman Sachs and handsewn textiles for ateliers working with designers like Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler.

But Shobana Mani has.

“I've always been two things: a commercial person and a creative person,” says the Parsons Entrepreneurial Academy mentor.  “My grandfather was a dyer in India, so I grew up among textile looms and seeing saris woven in front of his house. But then I did my master's degree at the London School of Economics, and in my first career, I worked in investment banking.”

When, after a dozen years, she found herself drawn back towards creative work—dreaming of launching a sustainable womenswear brand—she approached it with the finance sector’s rigor.

“A lot of people said to me, ‘You already have this background, why don't you just start the brand?’ But I just don't believe in that. I...

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