By Hannah DiPilato
360 Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with Marco Shalma, founder of Round Seven Media and MASC Hospitality Group. He is responsible for beginning a food and culture festival in New York called The Bronx Night Market. In this interview, he talks about everything from advice for young entrepreneurs to his favorite food spots in New York.
How did you begin Round Seven Media and why did you decide to start this?
I started in 2013, which was after my education at NYU for undergrad and pursuing a master’s degree in film and tv. Marketing was my passion, and I wanted to run a campaign in a different way. I wanted to use the concept of getting people into the mix of the story and I wanted to get that into a narrative for clients in marketing. In 2013, I sold my shares in restaurant groups and I wanted to begin marketing for myself. I went around and started looking for clients in restaurant and hospitality for about 20 years, which I had experience in. With the explosion of Instagram and technology, it was the perfect time to explore marketing opportunities.
When the company started, the first thing was to go find professional people with a school of thought from film and writing. Our business is known for being a launch campaign for ideas, projects, etc. and we will build an online presence for our clients by finding the key demographic. We are focused on the launch period so our work doesn’t really go further than the six month period.
You also founded MASC Hospitality Group, what made you start another business as well?
MASC Hospitality is one of those situations that happened backward, meaning we first took on the Bronx Night Market project in 2017, which then branched out to many other events that were affiliated with the Bronx Night Market. At one point, we needed to incorporate all of these events, so we decided to create MASC Hospitality Group. If you think about it, MASC Hospitality is a company that basically creates different events while Round Seven Media is the one promoting these events. Sometime around 2018, I started taking fewer clients for Round Seven Media and started adding more of my own companies to Round Seven Media.
What is your favorite event that MASC Hospitality Group is responsible for?
My favorite event hands down is Bronx Night Market. The Bronx Night Market is my baby, it’s a proud moment for me because it came from a vision of bringing something to the Bronx community, my community, that is a prideful event and a reason to be proud of the borrow, without needing to commute to Manhattan or Queens to experience a festival that celebrates culture, cuisine and commerce.
We always say culture, cuisine and commerce because culture encompasses the diversity of the city with so many different flavors, cuisine because this is the grand unifier, everyone can enjoy a meal together no matter what skin tone or nationality and commerce is the idea of creating space for young entrepreneurs and small local businesses to present what they do to a large number of people and promote their business to help them move into the next stage of their success. This encompasses everything we are about, supporting small businesses, young entrepreneurship and of course, good, good food.
Have you encountered any problems while being a business owner for these two organizations?
When you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you always encounter problems. It’s always a matter of hiring the right people, navigating through resources, financing and funding, but mostly it’s identifying and understanding the demographic. I think for me, as a serial entrepreneur, a good idea is a good idea, but you need to identify your key demographic. You need to identify what you do and who it’s for. Then, you work for months or years fine-tuning to make everything connect and basically build a community around your brand.
For example, Round Seven Media is a brand that understands the power of our way of doing business. We are known as one of the top agencies in New York to run launch campaigns for brands because we are dedicated to doing that. With something like The Bronx Night Market, it’s about identifying Bronx-based foodies and people that want to explore offerings and now they have the opportunity to do that in a place where they feel safe, secure and happy. The event is really designed for the community instead of something that could be done anywhere else.
What do you look for in employees that you hire for your company?
We hire on a regular basis, we continuously hire for different projects on behalf of companies. When we finish a launch campaign at Round Seven Media, we like to hire people to replace us, younger people, hungry people that can do social media for those brands. When we look at hiring, the most important thing for us at the moment is consistency and the ability to have a follow-up and a follow-through. I think those are the three very, very important elements because in today’s field of business, having consistency and bringing your A-game every time is something that is critical to the success of any business. I’ve unfortunately had to work with people that can bring 120% one day and 30% the next day. This also has a lot to do with company culture and the idea that you need to create an environment that allows people to be consistent.
Another big part is the ability to follow up and follow through. I can’t even tell you how many times you will be doing things where you need to follow up with clients and partners and sometimes it even takes up to 20 emails. Each and every opportunity for you to accomplish something or to create something if you don’t follow through, you have failed. We are also looking for employees that are super savvy with communications and social media because this is becoming a crucial part of any brand. The ability to understand how media works and how to maximize these services is important to our brand.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs like you once were?
If I had to give one piece of advice to young entrepreneurs, it would be to not bite off more than you can chew: focus, focus, focus. I keep seeing a lot of young entrepreneurs that I work with trying to do too much. They try to put on six or seven different hats and be the CEO of the universe at the same time. I always say, focus on the one thing, take your time, become the best in your field and then explore from there. From what I’ve seen, the ability to focus and distill your message and brand into the simplest form and show it to other people such as the investors and partners, showing your dedication to a single idea is the most valuable.
When I used to work on movies, right after grad school, one of the exercises I had that influenced me completely was an exercise of writing a logline for a feature film. You have a script of like 90 pages that you need to turn in to a 25-word logline that will explain exactly what that movie is. It’s almost an impossible mission, but once you start on this, you understand how important the focus is. I now tell people you need to understand your business so well that nothing will get in the way. That’s how you get investors and money.
I know you’re passionate about food, what are some restaurants you would recommend to our readers?
It’s hard to talk about restaurants right now when the restaurant industry is suffering so much. Every day we see another one of my favorite restaurants closing down and the industry is struggling especially when it seems like the industry won’t open soon. I’ll tell you about food in general, as a foodie the most important thing for me is not chasing trends, but a restaurant that has a focused menu, where they know what they’re doing and they’re focused on creating the best experience with a sense of consistency. I know I probably sound like everything is driven like that, but honestly, it’s so important.
Before covid I used to go to a restaurant once a month in West Harlem that used to make the most amazing eggplant pasta, there was also a place I used to go with the most amazing salmon dish and I used to go to another place with the most amazing pad thai. That’s the best thing about living in New York, you get exposed to so much food and you’ll try a lot of trends, but at the end of the day, when you hit something that you know is going to be just as good every time you get it, it becomes the place you go for that dish.
The older I get I realize that’s the most important thing because I want to go back to the restaurant five years later and get the same food and experience. I’m hoping we’ll come out of this soon and be able to go and enjoy restaurants again. Even if you don’t like restaurants and you’re a great cook, you miss sitting down with your friends in a restaurant, eating some food, enjoying a bottle of wine and sharing a good laugh. It’s not about the food, it’s about the experience.
Where do you see yourself going next in your career?
At the moment we are trying to get back to normal life especially with Bronx Night Market and other events that we have. I’m working very hard to define what we can do in public spaces to help restaurants and other brick and mortar restaurants come back to life.
At the moment, I’m really dedicating a lot of my time to working with city and state agencies to create programming that will allow brick and mortar businesses to have more visibility as well as helping small businesses that began at home during the pandemic. I like to call these businesses “homentrepreneurs” and they will need a place for their businesses outside to get more traction in the community once the pandemic is over.
I am taking my experience within marketing and media, my ability to push forth different agendas and my ability to plan different activities to bring these skills to neighborhoods around New York and support these businesses and give a place for new entrepreneurs to grow outside of their homes. This is something I have been very excited about for a few months.
After Covid is over, are there any events you would hope for the MASC Hospitality Group to execute?
Help New Yorkers get back to normal as soon as possible. Possibly that will be creating open-air markets and events relating to many different niches, and just to let New Yorkers come to celebrate returning to normalcy. After covid, trying to figure out with different partners how to help businesses survive the next few months and thrive as soon as we get out of this crisis. This has been a focus for us to do. We have seen way too many friends of ours close shop and disappear.
Top venture capitalist and former Yahoo! senior executive Marvin Liao has joined the Advisory Board of global fintech fan investment and commerce platform FanVestor, the announcement was made today by company CEO Michael Golomb.
“Marvin’s expertise and proven track record are unmatched in the industry. He managed one of the most successful accelerators, maturing and investing in more than 400 start-ups,” comments Golomb. “This combined with his vast global professional experience working at Yahoo! spearheading the company’s expansion in all important global markets make him a valuable addition to FanVestor’s Advisory Board.”
On the Advisory Board, Liao joins recently appointed members former President/CEO, DASAN Zhone Solutions Yung Kim and former PINTEC executive Alan Qiu.
Marvin Liao is an investor, executive coach, and formal advisor to several large family offices. Previously, he was a Partner at Venture Capital Fund 500 Startups, running the San Francisco-based accelerator program, as well as investing in seed-stage start-ups. He has invested in over 414 pre-seed and seed-stage startups during the six years spent there.
Liao also spent over a decade as a senior executive at Yahoo!, boasting an extensive operating experience expanding businesses across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Liao presently serves on the boards of directors and advisory boards of several Internet advertising and ad technology companies around the world. He also is a mentor for a number of global accelerator programs.
FanVestor offers all-in-one commerce, auction, investing, and sweepstakes platform designed specifically to meet the needs of celebrities. Founded by Michael Golomb, an innovator in the world of business and fintech, FanVestor’s robust technology platform will allow current and former athletes, media and music celebrities, fashion icons, and artists to leverage their influence by offering their fans an opportunity to participate in their latest projects or charitable initiatives.
The company’s leadership team and Board of Directors is highlighted by COO Larry Namer, founder of E! Entertainment, and also includes former News Corp. executive Marty Pompadur, former CEO of Warner Brothers Music, Phil Quartararo, and former President of Korea Telecom, Yung Kim, and several other successful executives.
TRAVEL JOURNALIST THOMAS WILMER INTERVIEWS 360 MAGAZINE PUBLISHER VAUGHN LOWERY
Small to medium sized business often fall short due to high turnover. Vaughn Lowery, Publisher of 360 Magazine, provides listeners with first-hand knowledge on the ever-shifting world of digital publishing and content creation through a youthful lens. Likewise with his innate ability to be accessible, he speaks to working in tandem with emerging generations and how their input could be detrimental to the survival of a brand.
An Additional Conversation with 360 Magazine’s Publisher Vaughn Lowery
If Vaughn Lowery was asked what his idea of success was 10 years ago, his answer would be very different from what it is today. He may have said that success means doing what he loves to do, being accomplished, or having a certain amount of material things.
“Success to me now is having a purpose in life and feeling passionate and fulfilled by it,” says Lowery.
Lowery got his first taste of the industry while interning for Vibe Magazine while on Summer vacation from Cornell University. His sister drove him into New York City every morning to drop him off and always advised him to be the first one at the office. One morning Lowery found himself alone with the publisher of the magazine at the time, Keith Clinkscales, which gave him the opportunity to speak with him one-on-one. It was due to his sister’s advice that he got the chance to do what no other intern would normally get to do.
After finishing up at Cornell in just three years, Lowery became an executive trainee with Saks Fifth Avenue. He was able to get along with everyone in the office and was doing great when he was called into his boss’s office one afternoon.
“She told me I was in the wrong business; that I was very charismatic and should try acting,” Lowery says, “but, I liked the path I was on at that time.”
It wasn’t until Lowery was asked by someone connected to the talent industry if he was a model that he truly considered breaking into the talent industry. Shortly after taking professional photos and getting them out to agencies, Lowery ended up with Ford Models. From there he did photoshoots, tv commercials, and ad campaigns, all while still working in outside sales at Aetna US Healthcare. Once he began modelling full time his face was in the pages of GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Gap. By being around people of all different positions, primarily in the magazine publishing industry, Lowery came to understand how content was produced. It was right before the recession hit while he was living in LA that Lowery made the transition from modelling to the publishing industry.
It was his experience in modelling that inspired Lowery’s creation of the 360 Magazine. While working on any given shoot, Lowery was often one of just three or less black men. Often times he was the only black man on a set which drew his attention to the lack of representation in the media industry. Lowery’s goal for the 360 Magazine was that it would fill this niche and promote diversity across the publishing world, specifically the covers of its magazines.
For those wanting to work in the media industry, specifically in the publishing world, Lowery suggests starting from the ground up.
“Being self taught and learning as you go is something you need to be open to,” says Lowery, “Ask tons of questions, and learn everything you can from every position.”
Lowery warns that it’s important to be open and cordial to everyone, because you don’t know when your paths will cross again. Making connections and using them is how most people gain opportunities. He also adds that just by hanging out with people you’ll always learn something that you can apply to aspects of your work.
Things in the industry have been changing and becoming more digitally focused since the beginning of 360 Magazine’s launch. The magazine was started during a time of e-zines, so it’s not a surprise that the website came first. Lowery had experience with creating websites from a young age so the move from print to digital was natural for him. It was clear to him where the industry was going.
“Print was getting costly, bookstores were looking dilapidated and even Barnes and Noble was focusing on their version of the tablet, the Nook,” says Lowery, “All the magazines were looking alike anyway.”
Print was still important though. Besides the fact that advertising agencies want to see a physical copy of a magazine before working with them, print is taken more seriously due to its cost. Other companies will be aware that a certain magazine has the funds to support itself if they have a print copy to show for it.
360 Magazine printed their first issue in 2009, but it was costly. Lowery began thinking that there had to be some other way to work with print. It was then that he decided to do print on demand publications. 360 Magazine linked with Blurb, which allowed anyone to order a print copy of the magazine right from our website. They’ve been distributing to them for 9 years now.
The magazine’s estimated circulation, which is based on print, is 110,000 from print on demand. This number doesn’t tend to move much, but most people end up reading 360 Magazine’s online articles through WordPress.
When asked what makes a media contributor most marketable, Lowery says that in this industry you need a social following and the ability to network. Being accessible and having a portfolio of published work is a great place to start as well.
“Do it all,” Lowery says, “monetize, write, take photos, be on time, and take initiatives.”
The hardest thing about the industry in Lowery’s opinion is breaking into it and surviving on freelance jobs along the way. Writers should be prepared to sacrifice mentally, physically and financially. While working for a publication, Lowery says that writers need to do what they can to become a valuable asset to them. That way, a publication will be more likely to keep you on board and help you in the future.
As for internship positions at 360 Magazine, Lowery aims to teach interns everything that he didn’t learn. He’s assigns articles for interns to write, pushes them to network, has them do coverage and teaches them how to get published or to self-publish.
“We teach interns how to be resourceful and find themselves in the organization,” says Lowery.
When interns can bring business to the magazine, the magazine will bring business to them. Special assignment opportunities are available for interns who finish their program and are still looking to remain involved. Lowery says that while the magazine is specifically looking to groom editors, that if a publication wants to really pop, then they have to have a revolving door.
When asked what goals he has for the future of 360 Magazine, Lowery responded that he aims to keep it three dimensional with podcasts and web series.
“I want to be able to put the brand out to different countries and places in America,” says Lowery, Local presences would strengthen us.”
He also says that he’s interested in the possibility of a reality spin off or docu-series, as well as introducing more formal programs for educational purposes.
Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. (NASDAQ: SOLO) (“Electra Meccanica” or the “Company”), a designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles, has appointed Joanne Yan to the Electra Meccanica Board of Directors. Ms. Yan replaces Dr. Robert Tarzwell, who has resigned as a Director of the Company. “Dr. Tarzwell joined our Company’s Board of Directors in 2015. He has been an active and valued director who has made a significant contribution,” stated Jerry Kroll, CEO.
Ms. Yan brings 25 years of experience in advising and managing both publicly traded and private companies. She serves as the President of Joyco Consulting Services, which she founded in 1994 to provide consulting services in the areas of corporate structuring, business development and strategic planning initiatives.
Ms. Yan has served on the Board of Directors of several public and private companies, including the Zongshen Industrial Group, Electra Meccanica’s strategic manufacturing partner. Recently, she led a transaction that enabled a Chinese company to acquire a 49% interest in Harbour Air, the largest sea plane operator in North America.
“We are fortunate to have Joanne Yan join our Board of Directors,” said Steven Sanders, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Electra Meccanica. “Ms. Yan is a strategic decision maker and investor with extensive business development experience. Her activities in the cross-border investment and M&A space, including the significant role she has played in our relationship with Zongshen and others, make Ms. Yan an ideal fit for our Board of Directors. I look forward to her contributions during this exciting time for Electra Meccanica.”
“Ms. Yan’s appointment to the Electra Meccanica Board of Directors is a testament to the strength of the relationship between Electra Meccanica and our manufacturing partner, the Zongshen Industrial Group,” said Jack Austin, Independent Director on Electra Meccanica’s Board of Directors.
“I am very pleased to accept my appointment to the Electra Meccanica Board of Directors,” said Joanne Yan. “I look forward to working closely with the board of directors particularly at this exciting time in the Company’s development as it initiates deliveries of the SOLO EV to customers in 2019.”
Dress for Success Worldwide announces the addition of two talented leaders to the Dress for Success Board of Directors- Chief Executive Officer of M Booth, Dale Bornstein, and Chief Operating Officer at Etsy, Linda Findley Kozlowski. These powerful women join an already impressive roster of board members, offering new perspectives and an array of skill sets derived from more than 25 years of experience in public relations and international marketing industries.
In 2013, after a 25-year career at Ketchum, Dale Bornstein took the reins of M Booth and led the firm’s drive towards integration and expansion, deepening and building new capabilities and recruiting best-in-class talent, resulting in the agency’s most successful period of client acquisition and revenue growth. Dale believes that people who live inspiring lives do inspiring work. This philosophy is at the core of M Booth’s employee-centric culture, where staff are encouraged to pursue their passions and apply that inspiration to driving client success. The firm has doubled in size under her leadership, attracted diverse talent and won every major industry award for both the agency and its clients. Dale has been named to PRWeek’s “Power List” twice over the last two years and the agency has won over 40 industry awards since 2015. She is currently serving a three year term for the Public Relations Council (PRC) where she helps champion the SHEQUALITY
Linda Findley Kozlowski
Linda Findley Kozlowski, COO of Etsy, the global marketplace for unique and creative goods, also brings 25 years of experience in operations, strategy, marketing, business development, public relations and customer service. During her time at both public and private companies, she has proven her ability to scale organizations, expand into new markets, introduce products, manage change, improve processes, increase efficiency, and adapt within complex and rapidly changing environments. An accomplished technology, small business and consumer product executive, she has overseen growth initiatives in almost every region of the world including Europe, Asia, Latin America, Russia and India.
About Dress for Success:
Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to 160 cities in 30 countries. To date, Dress for Success has helped over 1,000,000 women work towards self-sufficiency. Visit www.dressforsuccess.org to learn more.