Posts tagged with "branding"

Heather Skovlund computer illustration for use by 360 Magazine

CSR In The Digital Age: With 360 Magazine

By: Kai Yeo

“We’re all connected through culture. Basically, we all must learn to adapt. We learn more through traveling and seeing more. When you’re in a different environment, everybody must love and laugh and dance. I don’t need to know your language. But companies need to focus on connecting everyone through love, not war.” – Vaughn Lowery

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been around for years, with its’ roots being found as early as the 18th Century. In my CSR research assignment before, I wrote that “the key idea of CSR is for companies to pursue pro-social objectives and promote volunteerism among employees (such as through donating to charity and participating in volunteer work), as well as by minimizing environmental externalities.” As an international student trying to find my career path in the United States, I find that company CSR is one of the first few things I look for when finding a suitable company to work with: how genuine they are and how much they care for their employees. The process of researching and writing my essay on CSR in the modern day and CSR within my internship site provided me with the valuable opportunity not only to learn about an important business topic, but also allowed me to develop a better understanding of what it is.

For my CSR Interview, I got the opportunity to speak on the phone with my supervisor Vaughn Lowery. His career started from “humble beginnings in Detroit to a full scholarship in Cornell University under the ILR program. From there, he became active in modeling, acting, and producing screenplays.” Now, Vaughn is the publisher and founder of leading fashion and lifestyle magazine, 360 Magazine, which is also my internship site. His job involves fostering relationships within the community and being an editorial director that curates and oversees content for all columns of the magazine. The position also entails making sure that Apple News, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all other news sites are updated. As a pop culture and design magazine, it is important to constantly be up to date with relevant content and breaking news. Being a quarterly publication, 360 is also working on their summer magazine issue. Vaughn mentions that with COVID making everything digital, the team has been working on expanding the business: creating a self-publishing division, developing e-commerce, getting sponsors, and most importantly, waiting for things to start opening back up.

With a background in studying business and company culture, Vaughn says that his education helped him design a company culture that made sense, “Transparency, cool kids, intelligence. I wanted a space for comfort regardless of race, age, and religion. Education was not the answer to my business but a part of the process to help with preparing for my magazine. The most important thing is life experiences, there are no books on it.” Vaughn emphasizes sending people in his company for events and communicating with clientele because “you can’t speak about things you don’t know.” COVID has made jobs in the media a little more mundane, but he’s excited about things opening back up and is hopeful for the future. Without in-person experiences, it is hard to understand the inner workings of media companies with everything being digitally produced.

Vaughn defines Corporate Social Responsibility at 360 Magazine as “having an environment that is inviting and inclusive, especially showcasing inclusivity.” As a magazine that promotes culture and lifestyle, it is important that everyone he works with is aware of what is going on in the world that we live in and what is happening with minority populations. He speaks about being the only African American in a lot of his school and work experiences, and he created 360 with the ideal of having more minorities and women working in his company: “We all live in the same world… and some people don’t know that. But we need representation and for people to see us. It’s not on us to educate them, but it’s on us to speak up.” 360 avidly speaks up for diversity (#metoo) and openly supports nonprofit organizations.

When asked about how veritable he thinks big companies are with CSR movements, he says that they’re doing it for a myriad of reasons. Companies get away with more stuff as a corporation, “But the responsibility is about being genuine. The board of directors and Zoom calls and the whole spiel. If they’re trying to just make money, revenue principals are not true to themselves. 360 was founded on real culture. The diversity is important. It is what it is.”

“Your company diversity is a reflection of the world, we’ve been doing this since the start of 360, we’ve been ahead of the trend.” The magazine has always featured drag queens, people who are transgender, and minorities, “This is very important when doing events and stuff, it’s a big family. We have less than 50 people. And it’s important for our clients to know that we have each other and rely on each other. That we know how to respect one another and appreciate each other, despite all odds.” Vaughn believes that diversity and inclusion of people of color has always been important, and he emphasizes that 360 will keep pushing these agendas and morals as long as he’s the head of the company. I see this in his effort to get everyone together (even if it is just on Zoom for now) to celebrate big articles, book releases, sponsorships, and so on.

As I type this interview essay, I find two key points to really reflect on: 1) assumptions about company morale and 2) why diversity is so important to me.

1) I think back on everyone else I’ve spoken to during my time as an intern here with 360, and I find that these core values that Vaughn spoke about with me are reflected in all the conversations I’ve had with him and other employees. Coming from a very structured, patriarchal Asian background, I came into this internship thinking that it would be like all my previous experiences (they talk of diversity, but it’s never really executed once you’re a part of it – school projects, internships, part-time jobs, and so on). However, no one in the company has been curt or condescending when speaking with me, and they truly mean it when they point out mistakes and gently correct me. Maybe it is because of the way I was brought up, or the environment I was most familiar in, but these good intentions had me on my toes for the first couple weeks I was here, and I’m honestly still getting used to it.

2) With the rise of Asian hate crimes in the past year, I find myself turning very reclusive and immediately trying to find fault with people when something brushes me the wrong way (though sometimes it really is a racist comment or remark). It’s been difficult having to correct people when they say my name wrong or trying to explain my culture when these simple things can so easily be looked up online. I’ve been very lucky growing up well-traveled and seeing different parts of the world, and I understand that not everyone has that privilege, but how far does “I don’t know” get you in the digital age? I need to work in a company where people are willing to learn and grow new perspectives, and I see this quality in Vaughn too as he speaks about his loneliness as the only African American in his industry when he was first starting out.

After 45 minutes of talking about diversity and the whole CSR conversation winding down, Vaughn tells me to keep doing what I love, “Understanding the industry through work experiences is how you’ll get in. It’s constantly changing.” He talks about learning to forecast and foreshadow and having connections at arms’ reach. By the end of our conversation, I felt that I learnt a lot and could have a clearer vision of what I wanted out of this internship. I’ve had the opportunities to go for company events (for brands including Lillet, Chinese Laundry, Rockstar Original, etc.), though I would really like to be able to go to a CSR event in the near future to promote these same values that I share with 360 Magazine.

To read more about Vaughn Lowery, please visit his Wikipedia and IMBD.

Nechelle Vanias Headshot 2021 via Jonathan Stinson at freedomunitedsocial for use by 360 Magazine

Nechelle Vanias Six Degrees of Influence Q×A

Nechelle Vanias is Chief Strategic Officer of the full-service digital marketing and talent agency, Six Degrees of Influence (SDI). Spearheading the agency, Nechelle looks to elevate professionally managed content. Through SDI’s three curated influencer content houses – The Vault, La Casita, and Twin Flames – the agency looks to offer a unique opportunity to both brands and content creators. 360 Magazine spoke with Nechelle about SDI’s approach to creating viral content, brand campaigns, Gen Z/Millennial trends, and more.

What void do the The Vault, La Casita, and Twin Flames houses fill in the professionally managed content collaboration house industry? 

Six Degrees of Influence (SDI) sought to create long lasting brands when developing The Vault, La Casita, and Twin Flames, not just an influencer hang out or Airbnb. SDI likens this approach some of the popular TV shows, like Love Island and Big Brother, where the audience falls in love with the show platform and may have their favorite contestants each season, but still come back to engage with the next season. In fact, SDI runs each of their content houses like a TV show production set replete with the same operations, including call sheets and writers’ room. This ensures a predictable, consistent and timely amount of content is produced for both the house social media channels and brand partners.

Six Degrees of Influence (SDI) uses a multi-channel content approach. What different channels do you use to promote content?

SDI employs social and live channels to promote the house’s content.  This includes live streaming fan events and on-site brand activations at the houses. The content houses’ reach is amplified beyond the house channels by hosting daily collaboration days with their influencer and Young Hollywood friends. [These collaborations] then create exposure for the guests’ audiences as well.

Is there a specific media channel that SDI influencers are currently focusing on the most? 

SDI knows that content creators can still earn more money that is relative to their follower count and engagement on Instagram and YouTube, than on TikTok. This is because Instagram and YouTube are established platforms from which brands have been able to experience quantitative conversion results over long periods of time.  Brands are still figuring out how to best use TikTok, thus while their marketing spends are increasing for TikTok. [However,] you can still earn more on the other platforms with less followers.  We have a creator with six five thousand followers on Instagram and earns $1,500 on average for one Instagram post, whereas her following of three hundred and fifty thousand followers on TikTok earns her $750 on average. Now, add in the fact that SDI has never seen followers move to other platforms in the way TikTokers are able to move their followers. Therefore, TikTok is still a large focus as it serves as an advertising tool to drive the growth of Instagram and YouTube. For these reasons, SDI focuses on Instagram and YouTube growth for the housemates, but certainly keeps TikTok front of mind.

What benefits does living in a content house offer influencers, as opposed to more traditional housing arrangements?

Collaboration amongst all creative types is a tried-and-true method of growing and being inspired.  Living in a content house offers influencers a tribe to go to for content ideas, support and camaraderie.  When run by SDI, that [support] comes with mental health check ins and encouragement. [Encouragement] is very necessary for influencers who are under an immense amount of pressure to maintain their brand. SDI also provides insight on platform growth, relationships with the platforms for exclusive campaign, and event opportunities, and secures brand deals for the housemates. Overall, in SDI’s houses housemates receive the support, resources and tools to grow their social platforms, increase their revenue potential and get a “masters” in the business of content creators.

Is there a formula/process that SDI follows when attempting to create viral content? 

In order to achieve viral content you have to put out A LOT of content. It is foremost a numbers game – the more content you deploy the more you increase your chances of going viral. The second most important process of creating viral content is to study data, so that you are putting out a lot of purposeful content with the intent to speak to a generation. Have your content resonate with [viewers] and have them respond with affirmation through their views, likes, shares and comments. SDI is a very data driven agency, so we are looking at what the data is telling us, what the comments of the fans telling us, what is trending in pop culture, what do we hear the talent talking most about, what is getting the views.  Once SDI has the “what”, we start looking at the “why” so that we can determine how to leverage the data to create viral content.

SDI creates custom designed campaigns for individual brands. How does SDI go about customizing these campaigns for each brand? 

We curate campaigns for brands that align with their overall marketing goals and what we know will be embraced by the creators. We speak the brands language, but live in the creator’s world, so we know how to create a win-win collaboration. We also leverage the unique setting of a content house in our campaigns.  Most specifically, the ability to do on-site branded activations and signage at the houses themselves.  For example, if it is a beverage brand, we might recommend a branded glass front refrigerator by the pool. If it is a clothing brand, we might recommend a branded master closet with signage that is full of the brand’s clothing. If it were a cereal brand, we might recommend a cereal bar in the kitchen.  All of these concepts would include intentional branded content created by the housemates, but also a more subliminal exposure in the background of content. [This subliminal exposure] has proven to be successful in traditional product placement [methods] used in TV and film. The possibilities are endless, and we look to get as creative as we can. [SDI] pushes the envelope [with] of out of the box ideas that deliver conversations and increase brand awareness.   

Who are some of the most popular content creators that SDI represents?

SDI works with many creators, and the most popular doesn’t always mean the most follower count.

Rave Vanias with 350k is a brand favorite, doing campaigns for brands such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, HP and Fenty Skin. She also pulls thousands of views when she goes live on her social channels. Her confident personality and accessibility make her a favorite all around.

Alessya Farrugia has strong numbers on all channels (2M on TikTok, 391k on Instagram, 176k on YouTube) and is another talent. [Alessya is also] a brand favorite for campaign activations on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.  She also is one of the few creators that appear on the gossip sites for her great looks, and not for drama.

Joshua Suarez, with almost 13 million followers on TikTok, is one of our largest creators. [He has] has great chemistry with his girlfriend, Star Abelar, who herself has almost 10 million followers on TikTok.

So many influencers audition to join content houses. What qualities does SDI specifically look for when finding influencers to represent your full-service digital marketing and talent agency? 

SDI is looking for creators that have a great work ethic and want to be great. If someone is doing this as a hobby, they are not a fit for the agency. SDI is looking to go on a journey with talent that are looking to take their careers to the next level, reach their full potential, and aren’t afraid to do the work that is needed to be great!  SDI doesn’t just sign talent with large followings, because we know that doesn’t necessarily translate into big money or meaningful careers. SDI is looking for creators that are coachable and passionate about their art because those are the ones that have the greatest potential impact on the industry!

SDI mentioned that their demographic mainly caters to Gen Z and Millennial fans. Which Gen Z/Millennial trends are SDI influencers currently creating content about? 

The Gen Z and Millennial generations are very confident in their self-expression, and SDI looks to amplify those voices. Relationships and connections are a main theme in the content we create – whether that be romantic, casual, family or friendly interactions. These generations are more connected [to each other than ever before] in history, thanks to technology and social media. So, [these elements] play a large part in their lives and create a universal theme with which they can relate and engage.  

Is SDI looking to create any more content houses in the future? 

SDI does indeed have two more houses in development for 2021, with plans for international expansion in 2022. SDI wants to create an international network of content houses that can incubate future leaders and give brands a platform to weave into the fabric of their customers’ lives.

Patrick T Cooper Press Picture via Patrick T Cooper for use by 360 Magazine

Patrick

From wardrobe stylist to CEO, Patrick T. Cooper’s career encompasses over 20 years in design. His prowess for defining creative strategies to fuel brands is what continually ignites Patrick. Innate artistic aptitude makes him a highly sought-after partner for Fortune 500 companies looking to garner consumer brand loyalty. Patrick’s diverse body of work includes corporate partners like Masonite as well as entertainment clients American Idol season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino, rock band 3 Doors Down, and legendary mogul Sean Combs. Patrick T. Cooper’s cutting-edge sense of style and genius allows him to envision beyond the predictable to create thought-provoking content that positively impacts diverse audiences globally.

As an African American man and LGBTQ advocate, Patrick is the epitome of the convergence of eclectic style, art, culture and people. As the official Chief Encouragement Officer, he’s committed to living authentically and celebrating originality. Patrick is also the Lifestyle Editor at 360 Magazine. Patrick’s mantra, “Being a trailblazer isn’t enough if we don’t encourage others to find and live in their purpose!”

Armon Hayes image via Armon Hayes for use by 360 Magazine

Armon

Armon Hayes is an editor for 360 Magazine and the creative director for Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA). Armon’s innovative eye for detail allows him to create long lasting partnerships with clientele as he helps them develop their personal brands. His design brand offers styling, design services, brand management, and lifestyle products. AOHSOA’s brand motto, “It’s not who you wear, how” encompasses the thoughtfulness with which Armon addresses each individual client to best emphasize their strengths and build their brands. This personalized approach to brand management and styling allows for AOHSOA to stand out in the field of design.

Armon describes his career aspirations regarding AOHSOA: “I’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur in the retail/fashion industry. In addition to feeding my own design sweet tooth, I enjoy developing design ideas and working with others to help them fulfill their own creative dreams. I have married these passions with the creation of Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA) in 2017. My brand offers not only a street-luxe clothing line, but also styling and design services, home and children’s decor options, and brand management–all with the goal of motivating and empowering other creatives to look, feel, and produce their best. Our goal is to express creativity through fashion, art, and lifestyle, encompassing all creative endeavors. The focus at AOHSOA is elevating our lifestyle and transitioning our mindset. We live on the cutting-edge and believe that the key to brand success is being a part of–and influencers within–movements of change. Our motto is “It’s not who you wear, how.” This approach means that personal style should transcend past fashion trends to reflect your personality and your brand: you. Whether you’re getting back into the workforce or celebrating a milestone, when you look good, you feel good, and the world around you recognizes such. With this in mind, anyone and everyone can benefit from my brand. My clients include individuals, retail clothing brands, non-profit organizations, an independent recording artist, beauty brands and a pop culture and design magazine. Through our products, events and services, each client’s brand has been elevated. In turn, clients have been empowered to dream, create and develop their potential as they share their gifts with the world.”

Armon originally worked his way up in the retail industry, and now has created his own brand. He explains his journey to reaching his current achievements: “To me, success is measured as any opportunity from which I’ve had to learn and grow. In 2015/2016, before creating AOHSOA, I had the opportunity to participate in a spring product review when employed by True Religion as a store director. This experience sparked ideas in me for my future and gave me a raw understanding of the inner workings of a successful brand. My creativity and marketing sense was ignited in a way that I still look back on with gratitude. This experience led me to working as the assistant stylist for Toure Designs’ fashion show in 2018. At the fashion show, I had an idea that I felt would elevate a look just moments before the model was to walk the runway: having the model walk while shirtless. Fortunately, it was a very well received style suggestion. In that moment, I learned to trust my instincts, which has helped, and will continue to help, my endeavors with AOHSOA.

“More recently, I worked on several projects with independent recording artist, LaJune. As her personal stylist and creative director for three years, this is truly a passion project. During the pandemic, we collaborated on two live performances and two music videos. Additionally, we worked on an editorial shoot featuring Land Rover’s Defender to be featured in 360 Magazine. More recently, I hosted my second pop-up shop activation, The Bodega. The relaxed shopping event featured AOHSOA trunk options, and introduced a new assortment of blouses & dresses called “Onesie”. The one-size-fit-most offerings were a success, selling out of samples and having many orders placed. 2020 highlighted my need to develop a multifunctional living space, which has been an integral piece to my growth and development as a business owner. With the help of talented friends, family and supporters, we developed a space for myself and other creatives to come to develop their art and conduct business, with a twist. This living space has proved successful for both LaJune, AOHSOA, and my partners, as they may continue working, producing and creating safely during the uncertainty. The space, #360TRAP, has led to invaluable collaborations and partnerships.”

“While the pandemic has weighed heavy on small business owners, Armon found a way to take advantage of his downtime. He continues explaining how 2020 affected his career path and personal vision: “The pandemic has helped me realize the need for businesses and artists to pivot and evolve in order to overcome challenges. It became important to use the down time of lockdown wisely so that I wouldn’t lose the momentum I’ve generated, nor plateau creatively. I found myself unemployed and unable to operate AOHSOA in the traditional way. However, I felt even more committed to making AOHSOA successful and on the front lines of a movement of change. With the time the pandemic afforded me to commit myself to this passion full-time, I developed my administrative and brand management skill set in preparation for a resurgence. Additionally, the social justice movement gave people like myself an opportunity to reflect on the times and ways in which we can impact the world and its ecosystem. AOHSOA is committed to progress in diversity and inclusivity – it’s who we are. Expressing myself creatively supported me with a clearer perspective, and more importantly, an outlet for my process. I began sewing more, creating merchandise, and focusing on building my inventory and my social presence through blogging. I strategized around ensuring AOHSOA could survive and thrive in a pandemic, and set goals for the next six months. After creating a space, #360TRAP, in partnership with 360 Magazine, I developed concepts and ideas that mutually benefitted my business and my clients. I grew my client list and increased sales by $515 over this time last year. I honed in on social media engagement, adding a layer to my brand by sharing lifestyle aspects via my blog. On the blog, I discuss all things fashion, music and lifestyle, with elements of design. I am also working toward evolving this business into a bespoke brand with customized curations, as well as capsule fashion.

“As a precursor to World Blood Day and my birthday in June 2021, AOHSOA hosted a pop-up shop called the Bodega that featured several clients and sponsors. These collaborators included Respire by Design, The 6th Clothing Co., a local NYC tattoo artist,  Chinelos Tacos NYC food truck, CocoOil, and Zavor. The event was a direct response to realign and reconnect with my community post-isolation. I continued to develop concepts for LaJune, including a streetwear collection of merchandise for her third EP, Mind. The merchandise collection is titled #mindmerch, and has been made available to her fans and supporters of AOHSOA. Our partnership, live performances, and music videos led to a collaboration with Viacom and a video shot at Smash Studios. These challenging times have taught me to pivot (sometimes at a moment’s notice), adjust, and be consistent in executing my plans. Having a network of talented supporters and friends has allowed for delegation and shared responsibilities, and most importantly, resources. All of these efforts resulted in a 47% increase in site sessions over 2020, with 51% representing unique visitors retaining 38% of existing traffic. As we enter the fourth quarter of this year, at my digital shop we anticipate an increased in traffic shy of 26% of last year’s visitors. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, I committed myself to elevating my brand with proven success. I embrace future challenges with an open heart because I know they will only make me smarter and stronger.”

Armon continues to work to grow his innovative, fashionable design brand, Ace of Haze Style of Ace. Through conducting SWOT analyses and evaluating his business practices, Armon looks to the future with determination and his signature creative flair. He is committed to inclusivity and actively works to pay forward his successes. Armon looks to use the platform AOHSOA has granted him to continue to pursue his own dreams, and help others do the same. He looks to not only building his brand empire, but also giving back to his community through charitable endeavors and his design abilities. Through creating opportunities for and mentoring the next generation of future fashion entrepreneurs, Armon aims to aid other young creatives in finding their own personal brands.

In describing his brand’s business model, Armon remarks that ” I believe that newly formed corporations should add activations for their diverse team members to feel comfortable and accepted no matter their color, creed, belief, sexuality or religion, and I aim to have AOHSOA be a leader in this effort. I want to position my organization to reflect the “Ballroom” culture within the LGBTQ community, by fostering a movement in life & style and allowing creatives a safe space to hone their skills and talents while they build their network. I am also looking forward to becoming more active in charitable endeavors, specifically working with kids/teens to help them find their brand within.”

Follow AOHSOA on Instagram and check out their website.

Armon Hayes image via Armon Hayes for use by 360 Magazine

Kelly Dooley shot by Baz for 360 Magazine

Kelly Dooley QxA

Here at 360 Magazine, we were honored to speak with the athleisure pioneer and cannabis queen, Kelly Dooley. With her impressive, luxurious brands–Luxe Branding Haus and BodyRock Sport–Dooley stays busy revolutionizing how athletic wear can empower her customers. When she isn’t designing her avant-garde, fabulous pieces, Dooley can be found working with lifestyle and luxury cannabis brands, as well as involving herself with several real estate and technology projects. Dooley is a trailblazer who sets forth on her dreams with determination and undeniable spunk. We sat down with Kelly Dooley to speak about her recent sports bra design for Britney Spears, her best solutions for combatting stigma surrounding the cannabis industry, and how she finds inspiration.

What was it like creating a bra for superstar Britney Spears? How did you feel when you first found out about the project?

When I first launched BodyRock Sport in January 2010, I had an insatiable desire to beautify activewear for like-minded women that combined fitness and fashion in a way that had not been done before.

The moment that I found out that Britney Spears was rocking my $20,011 Eternal Love Sports Bra from my most popular Zip’ Up collection with the Jessica Moto leggings from my Show ‘Em Some Swagger collection in her comeback “Twister” music video was absolutely surreal. My baby, BodyRock Sport, was on fire. I was breaking all the rules and taking names–one celeb at a time. I was empowering women to love the skin they’re in, while pursuing my dream with reckless abandonment in the heart of New York City.

I neither made the sports bra nor the leggings specifically for her, but due to the intricacy of the design­–which included black and silver French silk and a diamond-eyed skull tassel attached to a solid gold zipper pull–and based on the purposely inflated price, I knew that the design would inevitably adorn an A-List celebrity. Britney was on my manifestation list and my dream came true with Godspeed. I was honored and proud of myself for achieving my goal. 2012 represented a dramatic turning point in the overwhelmingly lackluster world of athleisure, and I–the avant-garde, fabulous, over-educated and extremely quirky SoCal girl–was being heralded as one of the pioneers of the activewear industry.

I knew that my Dad was beaming down at me from heaven with pride. I recall getting hundreds of Google alerts because the music video went viral–not only because of the extravagant sports bra that she wore– but also because Britney Spears finally returned to the stage with a vengeance after overcoming her former hardships. She was also often seen out and about in Los Angeles rocking some of my other sports bra designs and booty shorts. Every now and then, I spot her in the tabloids or online wearing a design that I created a decade ago. The surge of gratitude never dissipates.

At the time, luxury activewear was virtually impossible to find so I felt passionate about innovating the industry that so desperately needed to evolve. Believe it or not, the first sports bra EVER was not even invented until 1977. The design looked as though it had been produced solely for hospital patients–not for vivacious women, like me, who prioritize both their inner and outer beauty. If wanting to look and feel my best makes me narcissistic, then I will unapologetically own that title. My entire squad of customers, all of whom represent a constellation of stars, are stellar in their own ways.

What is your artistic process in creating a new piece? More specifically, how did you come up with the design for the iconic bra?

My creative process is very Faulknerian in nature. I instinctively follow a stream-of-consciousness approach for everything in life when it comes to creativity­­–whether that be a sports bra design, a customized piece of furniture or a lavish dinner for a loved one. I go with, and grow with, the flow. My overarching objective in creating extravagant sports bras was two-fold.

On the one hand, I knew that I capitalize on the white space in the activewear industry by targeting my demographic, which had been egregiously disregarded for so long. I could not comprehend why bras like the one I envisioned in my head had not yet existed!

On the other hand, because I got my M.A. in Media, Culture and Communication Studies with an emphasis in social media and luxury consumption from New York University in 2008, I knew that I could strategically leverage social media at a time when Instagram was still in its infancy and when Facebook was ubiquitous, still existing as the epicenter for digital communication. Therefore, my ridiculously expensive, bespoke sports bra designs had viral appeal that would boost my website traffic; thereby introducing customers to my other eclectic, yet more affordable, designs that ranged from $44-$85. At the time, these prices were considered outrageous since the median, high end sports bra price industry wide was around $30.

Each design that launched was inspired by women who have inspired me. These woman include my Mom, who is my hero; my bestie Jasmine Kingsley, who is a queen in her own right currently dominating as a lawyer for HUDL in Lincoln, Nebraska and raising two beautiful mixed children with the love of her life. Further, the ZuZu Bra was named after my beautiful hair stylist and make-up artist, Zuleika Acosta. She now owns hair salon in Brooklyn called ZuZu Studio. I am so proud of all of the dreams that she manifested with unwavering intention since the second I met her while getting my hair styled at Bumble and Bumble’s styling bar at Bloomingdales on 59th in New York City back in 2010. Even Angelina Jolie, when she starred in Tomb Raider sexily clad in black leather [has been an inspiration].

Every creation that I created was different, just like the plethora of exceptional women who inspired the design. [These creations] empower women to love the skin they’re in. [The designs] encourage them to fully embrace their femininity with just enough bite to remain authentic in a society that has successfully brainwashed females into idealizing an unrealistic standard of beauty. [This unrealistic standard of beauty] exacerbates mental health issues worldwide by diminishing self-esteem, which has proven globally to be utterly detrimental.

There were seven staple collections based on women’s respective needs, dubbed: (1) Dim Your Headlights; (2) Keep ’em in; (3) Lock ’em Down, (4) Show ’em Off; (5) The Empower ’em Collection, which was marketed as the world’s most fashionable mastectomy bra endorsed by Giuliana Rancic; (6) Yogansita; and (7) Zip ’em Up. I also had an assortment of booty shorts, capris, cycling shorts, gloves, leggings, moto-jackets, swimwear, and tops.

The Zip ’em Up Collection was hands down the most popular collection. From that collection came The Sophia Bra: a pink, ditsy, floral Supplex adorned with a gold zipper. [The Sophie Bra], embellished with a combination of gold studs and Swarovski crystals on the piping, was the star of the show. The same month that Britney Spears reminded the world of who she was by wearing The Eternal Love Bra, The Sophia Bra got confirmed for Oprah’s O List, which was another goal that I was determined to manifest.

Where do you usually find inspiration for designing with your company Luxe Branding Haus? 

The world is my playground. I’ve had the unique privilege of living in Southern California, Boston, New York City, and studied abroad in 8 different countries, from middle school through graduate school . I travel all over the world as an explorer.

This montage of vivid experiences has helped me develop a global perspective and a sophisticated eye that is heavily influenced by architecture and interior design. Luxury fashion from the world’s most reputable brands, [including] Louis Vuitton, sets the precedent not only for customer service. [Vuitton’s] artful, fashion-forward yet elegant design, and overall quality [sets the standard].

[Dooley finds inspiration] by being a voracious reader with a monomaniacal desire to eternally innovate, whilst blazing a purposeful trail in every industry that I strut my fancy feet into while living a life of purpose. More than anything, it’s my heart and hustle that sets me, as the founder, apart. Coupled with the juxtaposition of luxury design, social media marketing, and postmodernism, that is what makes Luxe Branding Haus such an avant-garde and purpose-driven company.

Rather than thinking outside-the-box, as many creatives are naturally inclined to do, I design as if there is no box– because the norm does not interest me. Basic [fashion]–such as Coach, Lululemon and Michael Kors, for example– are of no interest to me. In a world of disempowering monotony, standing out is an absolute anomaly and is a surefire way to create positive change in a world that is controlled with fear, rather than trusted with faith. Why blend in when I was born to stand out?

We all live in the same world, but not on the same frequency. Luxe Branding Haus follows the same luxury strategies invented in Europe and [has been] developed worldwide by predominantly French and Italian brands. We have several lifestyle and luxury cannabis brands launching in California this year as well as several game-changing real estate and technology projects. [They] are going to influence each respective industry indefinitely through integrated, cause-based marketing and other non-traditional strategies. [Through these projects, Dooley aims] to create positive change in a world that so desperately needs authenticity, genuine inspiration and a resurgence of utilitarian principles that will make the world a better place.

Is your personal style reflected in the pieces and styles you do for other people, or are the designs more-so dependent on the individual?

My designs are, often, heavily dependent on the individual. I have styled countless men and women over the last 13, years and I treat each project differently. To me, the human body is the equivalent of a blank canvas to an artist. Take, for example, Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” from 1665. The combination of paint that he used and the brushes that he chose to create that world-renowned masterpiece is the same refined yet free-flowing process that I utilize when it comes to my designs. The only difference is that consumer products and humans are my canvas, and luxury design is the vehicle through which my visions come to life in full form.

How can the stigma surrounding the cannabis industry be best combatted?

Clinical trials, the decriminalization of cannabis, education, and luxury branding­, in my opinion, will play the most fundamental roles in de-stigmatizing the cannabis industry. Luxe Branding Haus is revolutionizing the cannabis industry. I am so excited for the slow trickle of our diverse assortment of brands, all of which will resonate with different demographics. At the same time, [these brands will aid in] educating and enhancing the lifestyles of our vast clientele and hopefully helping them achieve true bliss through holistic health via cannabis­–which is THE TRUTH–the universal panacea for virtually every ailment. All our brands are tied to a cause with the intention of boosting morality by imbuing the industry with pay-it-forward principles that will help mitigate some of the issues that have been so detrimental to humanity. My most fervent philanthropic passions are domestic violence awareness, mental health awareness, social equity, and suicide prevention.

How do you see the LA cannabis industry evolving in the next few years?

The LA cannabis industry will gradually commoditize and therefore become ubiquitous and normalized. Once cannabis goes federally legal, consumers will need to be more educated than ever to avoid being manipulated by the sociopaths who lead big pharma, one of the most evil juggernauts in the world. [Big Pharma] takes more lives than it saves lives, and that does more harm than good.

Do you have any other exciting projects coming up in 2021?

2021 is stacked with a vast array of blessed projects, and I could share all my secrets, but I’d rather wet your palates. All I can say is to be sure to prepare your tastebuds for the most luxurious branding and the most superb quality in the cannabis industry.

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CBD Health illustration for 360 Magazine

How to Become a New CBD Oil Distributor in the UK

Ever taken a look at the burgeoning CBD market in the UK and wanted to see if it was possible to become a distributor? It’s now possible to sell the best CBD oils in the UK.

CBD oils in the UK have blossomed in the last decade, with more and more people making and selling them. But how difficult is it to get started in the industry? How does someone become a new distributor?

First Steps to Becoming a CBD Oil Distributor: Legality

The first–and frankly the most important–thing a new CBD oil distributor needs to know is the local laws regarding the sale and possession of CBD oil. While most people are familiar with the legally permissible quantity of THC in CBD oil products, those planning to become a distributor need to know a whole lot more.

For instance, CBD oil distributors are likely going to want to advertise their services somehow, mostly through internet ads. Unlike many other industries, the sale of CBD oil is heavily restricted when it comes to advertisements.

Prospective distributors can’t ever claim specific medical benefits surrounding CBD oil, nor can they hope to get away with making statements that cannot be substantiated with scholarly evidence.

In advertising and selling, CBD products are held to a much stricter standard than most products. Ensure that you have a complete understanding of the laws surrounding advertisements and storage of CBD products.

Building a Brand: How to Become Recognized & Known in the CBD Community

While CBD oil products used to be a pretty rare sight in the UK, there are now more brands than one could have imagined.

This is great for the consumer but is actually a big issue for new distributors, as it means that there is a tremendous amount of competition. Not only is there plenty of competition, but many of the most successful brands have existed for years now. This means that they are recognized and expected to be of consistently high quality.

As a new CBD oil distributor, the way to overcome this is with diverse, innovative packaging and strong brand awareness.

This is the kind of thing that requires a considerable amount of research and effort to get right. Any new entrant into this industry requires super strong branding and in-depth knowledge of social media.

Consider launching a variety of social media platforms, as well as hiring someone to manage them for the company.

It can be especially difficult to run a distribution company while also managing a social media presence, so hiring someone to take care of that for the company could be a big help.

Furthermore, try and build up the brand’s image any way possible; if customers don’t recognize the brand, then they won’t be likely to buy from it, no matter what it is selling.

Perhaps the Most Important: Only Sell Great Products

The most crucial part of becoming a new CBD oil distributor, and indeed starting any business in any industry, is to sell only high-quality products.

There are all sorts of lower quality, cheaper alternatives out there for CBD products, but they won’t help you build an exciting and successful brand.

After all, studies have shown that stronger and better quality CBD oil products tend to offer a much better effect. This is well-known to consumers, and so people won’t be inclined to come back to a CBD oil brand if they don’t feel like they can trust what’s being sold.

There is a lot to learn and understand about building a brand, the legal issues of cannabinoids, and the logistics of CBD in the UK. However, it all comes secondary to the quality of the products being offered.

If a new CBD oil distribution brand doesn’t offer great stuff, then people won’t be inclined to try it, nor will they come back after giving it a chance.

It can be really difficult. In fact, it seems almost impossible, but becoming a CBD oil distributor in the UK is certainly possible if the brand focuses on selling only the best stuff they can find.

 

Dr. Seuss illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The Controversial Career of Dr. Seuss

By: Carly Cohen

The American children’s author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker, the brilliant Theodor Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss has been extremely well known ever since he started his books and films. The books and films are classics and bring joy and childhood memories.

Dr. Seuss was born on March 2, 1904, and released his first book in 1937 called And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. In total, he has written over 60 books and sold over 600 million copies throughout his career. In his early career, he attended Lincoln College at the University of Oxford for English literature, but left without receiving a degree and came back to the U.S. After moving back to the United States, Dr. Seuss began to send his work to different advertising agencies, magazines and publishers. In 1927, his first cartoon was published in The Saturday Evening Post.  His career was long, successful, and brilliant.

In the latest news, Dr. Seuss will stop being published due to “hurtful and wrong racist images.” In his books and cartoons, there has been ‘insensitive’ imagery that is causing this news. Dr. Seuss’s enterprise assured consumers that the books which are no longer being published are a part of the plan to “ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprise’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”  The decision of this issue most definitely was not easy for the Dr. Seuss organization. Since this is such a serious and sensitive issue, it required for the organization to think it through, bring in experts, and spend long hours deciding on what is best way to maintain Dr. Seuss’ name and be sensitive to all of his readers.

Not all of his books will stop being published, but they still will all be carefully inspected. The confirmed books that will no longer be available for purchase are McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, The Cat’s Quizzer, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, and If I Ran the Zoo. The Cat In The Hat has also been under discussion concerning discontinuation, but will be fully examined before any decisions are made.

In The Cats Quizzer, the Japanese character has a bright yellow face and is standing on Mt. Fuji. If I Ran A Zoo shows examples of orientalism and white supremacy. Another issue with the Dr. Seuss books has been that a majority of the human characters are white, which makes it appear that Dr. Seuss focuses on white men and women.

A school in Virginia has already banned the copies of these Dr. Seuss books, and others are having similar discussions.

Even in death, Dr. Seuss receives backlash from his work along with many other brands such as Aunt Jemima pancake mix and Uncle Ben’s Eskimo Pies, which also had to change their branding due to racial issues. Brands from this point on need to pay close attention to their advertising to ensure that they’re being inclusive of all audiences.

football, NFL, sports, laces, pigskin, leather, game

Football Is Back And So Is Branding

With major league sports back in action –  along with college football –  sports fans have found themselves with a welcome commodity – choice. Social media is tracking what are proving to be the most effective and strategic ways to compete.

According to international social media analytics firm Talkwalker, Anheuser Busch (AB InBev) has made the most noise with sports partnerships this summer, as their beverage brands are trying to make the sports comeback resonate with fans stuck at home through experiential marketing. 

#ultracourtside

AB InBev tested virtual experiences with Michelob Ultra’s partnership with the NBA – the beer brand sponsored a digital experience that live streamed fans onto screens at the game so that they could “attend” while watching the action at home. The ad experience, and with it the announcement that Michelob Ultra is the new official beer of the NBA, garnered the brand 24,300 mentions in July with campaign hashtag #ultracourtside, generating 70,000 mentions since the season kicked off, Talkwalker reported.

$18 Nachos….and a brand boost of 550%

Another brand, Babe Wine, is producing football-themed candle scents so that fans can feel like they’re at the game – “Jockstrap,” “$18 Nachos,” and “Hashtag Field Goals” (aka Turf scent) – are among some of the varieties available. The move caused their online mentions to increase 1,200 percent in the last week, and engagement with the wine brand online has increased 550 percent, according to Talkwalker. This is the largest spike that Babe has seen since October 2019, following the announcement of the partnership that made them the “official wine of the NFL.”

#showtimecam brings Bud Light engagement to 266M

Bud Light is also getting in on the action with the launch of its “Showtime Cam” at last Thursday night’s opening game. The stunt enables fans who can’t be at the game to interact with players through live-streaming video in stadiums, creating a way for viewers at home to celebrate exciting moments along with their favorite teams. NFL fans can enter the #showtimecam contest by tagging Bud Light in posts for the chance to have their Tweets and videos featured during the regular season. The Showtime Cam premiered on Sept 10 during the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, and by the following day it had 3,000 engagements and a potential reach of more than 266 million. Now, with a few more games under its belt, Bud Light’s marketing stunt has racked up 4,200 engagements since then.

About Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a social listening and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication efforts. We provide companies with an easy-to-use platform to protect, measure, and promote their brands worldwide, across all communication channels. Talkwalker’s state-of-the-art social media analytics platform uses AI-powered technology to monitor and analyze online conversations in real-time across social networks, news websites, blogs and forums in 187 languages. Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide.