How I Started A Creative Agency That Specializes In Branding?

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Lauren Michelle
Team Size

2 – 5

Revenue

Not Disclosed

Location

Los Angeles, CA, US

STart Date

2011

My interviewee today is Lauren Michelle, a founder of Elle Branded based in Los Angeles.

Lauren’s business – Elle Branded – is all about digital marketing and branding services for everyone from large corps to small businesses. She started her entrepreneurial journey as an executive assistant for an entertainment company. After managing several online accounts for different personalities, she became a hotshot in the field of social media. As an innovative strategist with extraordinary vision, she decided to get paper credentials in order to get higher paying contracts.

She is a woman entrepreneur making her mark on the world one at a time. Apart from building a fully functioning business, Lauren has trained and hired several women that are really making impacts in the field.

In this interview, she shares how she started her branding business, how she grew her team and her plans for the future.

INTRODUCTION

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND THE BUSINESS YOU STARTED?

I started working in the social media management field while working as an executive assistant for an entertainment management company.

As social media grew, my position grew and I eventually started managing the accounts for several of the personalities represented. From there, I started interning for a successful PR rep and learning more about the field.

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I then started working for an agency that had major corp clients after which I decided to go back to school at Northwestern and complete the Integrated Marketing Communication program with a concentration in Social Media.

I realized that in order to gain the higher paying contracts I needed more than just an experience. I needed paper credentials as well.

THE JOURNEY SO FAR

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS NAME?

My business is named Elle Branded because it’s a play on my first initial and the ‘elle’ in Michelle, as well as my way of addressing the lack of female voices in some of these marketing departments.

PLEASE DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF LAUNCHING YOUR BUSINESS.

I had been freelancing for a while and I left a really toxic work environment and decided to bet on myself.

I started with a few smaller clients and grew from there. Once I had a steady stream of clientele, it was time to grow my team.

I first hired interns and that’s how my assistant started. From there, the ones that worked well were promoted to other positions as we hired new interns each semester.

I now have a graphic designer, photographer, videographer, editor, and VA’s on staff.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT AND YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE ALONG THE WAY?

Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge was getting my contracts legally sound. I started with a contract template I googled and used, and it had loopholes that bad clients exploited. Now, I have a lawyer I consult with for all the agreements.

Biggest Achievement: I am most proud of the fact that I have not only built a fully functioning business that supports my lifestyle in one of the country’s most expensive cities, but I have been able to train and hire other women to be able to make their voices and talents known in the field.

HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS?

I have been lucky. Most of my business has come from word of mouth referrals from satisfied clients. Since we have expanded, we have decided that in 2020 we will start advertising.

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE BUSINESS?

My vision for the future of the business is to do more speaking engagements and go into high schools and speak to those students about the possibility of a career in digital marketing and social media.

RECOMMENDATIONS & FINAL THOUGHTS

PLEASE RECOMMEND ANY RESOURCES AND TOOLS THAT YOU USE TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS.

  • Squarespace – for website
  • Namecheap – for domain
  • Square – for accounting
  • Adobe suite – for design, never rely strictly on Canva

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?

Do it. Or Don’t do it.

Don’t let social media fool you, it’s hard.

 

There’s nothing wrong with not being a business owner.

 

FYI…your favorite social media entrepreneur still works a day job.

Violeta Semenova

Violeta Semenova
Founder
theBizLadies

Welcome to the Biz Ladies interview series!

If you’re new to these series, I interview women entrepreneurs on how they started their business, what was the idea behind it, how they got where they are, the struggles, the reality and more.

By sharing their stories, we want to inspire other women to get started.

If you are interested to share your own story on the Biz Ladies LET ME KNOW!