Tag Archives: entrepreneur

05 Jun 2018

Member Spotlight: Erin Fredregill

ERIN FREDREGILL IS SEARCHING FOR AN INTERN*

*But she knows how to keep it subtle

Jenna Tico
6.4.2018

“I like that there are four letters: E-R-I-N, F-R-E-D.”

I’m sitting across from Erin Fredregill, previously known as Erin Min; additionally known as Erin Fred; and increasingly known as a powerhouse of marketing and content creation for a host of digital clients, some of whom might even appreciate her attention to symmetry as much as I do. Though it’s unlikely. “I like it too,” I tell her. “It’s almost like a mirror image.”

“Yeah, some people think my [full] name is hard to pronounce. And I’m like—it’s pronounced exactly like it looks! FRED-RE-GILL,” she giggles. “But I like Erin Fred.” In this, I’m suddenly aware that Erin’s attention to detail—and keen ear for a catchy title—are only a fraction of what make her a sought-after copywriter, digital marketer, and social media manager. It’s her sense of humor, the personality that shines through everything from event coverage to Instagram, that makes her stand out. In a line of work where the focus must remain on the client, Erin manages to find a delicate balance: inserting her voice whilst remaining subtle enough to let the creation speak for itself. Invisible, but integral. Trusting her voice as the vehicle for products that matter. “Clients reach out to me because they like my writing style, and they like the personality that comes through my content,” she shares. “It’s informative and professional… but still kind of fun, too.” Not to mention, fashionable. Five minutes with Erin is enough to know that writing isn’t her only source of stylishness—nor of fun. And with one year of business behind her, the fun is just beginning.

Speaking of fashion: Erin’s first foray into the world of art, an area initially deemed unacceptable by her family, was through makeup and clothes. “I’ve always wanted to do something creative,” she shares, “But my parents tried to limit that. Fashion and makeup was the closest, most accessible form of artistic expression for me.” A self-described “trailblazer” for her younger sibling, Erin reckoned with the “hopes and dreams” that her parents layered upon her, and used them to carve the path that would ultimately lay the groundwork for a successful professional—AND creative—career. Laid with a smattering of mixed attempts at eyeshadow (“I experimented with a lot of crazy makeup in high school,” she laughs. “I regret that now”); several sketchbooks gifted by well-meaning friends, and even one sewing machine, which her parents pushed her to return; the trail she blazed has been anything but boring.

Through it all, Erin’s commitment to maintaining a sense of humor—coupled with strong support from her friends, God, and husband—have given her a leading edge in creating scenarios where new clients feel at ease in communicating their stories. At their first consultation, which she always offers free-of-charge, Erin lets the client take the lead in expressing their digital marketing dreams; listening, of course, not only for WHAT they are saying, but how they are saying it. “The first meeting is me absorbing everything like a sponge,” she laughs. “[Asking] a few questions to figure out what someone wants their brand to be…which typically has a direct correlation with what they see, enjoy, and want,” which then equals her ability to translate those preferences into a tone when promoting their product.

With one client, for example—an eco-friendly line bent on empowering consumers to make conscious choices—Erin knows the products are “not as much about the way you look, but the way you feel.” An awareness, surely, that has come first through her own willingness to read between the lines; to sense what the client wants to say by the way they want to feel.

It helps, of course, that Erin is able to speak four languages: five, if you count translating the wide world of social media marketing. In navigating the first year of business ownership, Erin credits a newfound relationship with counseling—identifying what “triggers and motivates” her—with being able to assist clients in doing the same; not to mention, scaling her business to the point where she is almost ready to hire. For her array of clients—representing fashion, architecture, real estate, and more—Erin is dedicated to “creating conversation, and being part of the conversation”: using digital marketing, as well as her personal blog, as a means for making the social media sphere as authentic as it is effective. “People want to connect,” she says. “They want to feel like they are part of something bigger… and brands being more accessible on social media is a way of doing that.”

When she’s not working on projects for clients, or contributing to her list of potential blog topics (“It just keeps growing!”), Erin can be found taking photos or spending time with friends; as a major extrovert, she credits the Impact Hub’s coworking environment with helping feed her need for socialization. “There are people I have fun with, and then people who are mentor figures… who I can talk to after I’ve had a meeting, and they give me their advice. I went from having no friends to having too many friends,” she laughs. And if her dream of opening an authentic, modernized Korean restaurant in Santa Barbara ever pans out… well. She’s likely to have a few too many more.

When I ask her what her favorite Korean dish is, she looks as though I’ve asked her to list the state capitals, backwards, in some elusive sixth language. “DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE,” she begs, before opening her laptop to seek the correct translation for her perfect Korean dish. It’s a true testament to Erin’s perfectionism, a necessary and much-appreciated element of her work as a copywriter, that she is still searching for the translation a full five minutes later—and when she can’t find it, emails it to me later that night. Perfectionism and follow through. I don’t have an eco-friendly fashion line, but if I did, I know who I’d go to.

One year into her business, Erin has already come a long way in understanding what makes successful entrepreneurship. “I have learned more than ever that it is all about self-awareness,” she shares. “But I think everyone knows that.” I tell her that, in fact, most people don’t. One doesn’t need to look far into the barrage of careless media marketing out there to know that Erin’s is a true gift. “Ok, maybe not,” she grins, before going back to her search for the perfect recipe. This commitment to thoroughness comes through in everything from her photography to her blogs, which she encourages people to sign up for via email alert: something her soon-to-be intern might help to create. “I have too much I’m doing!” she fake-moans.

However, if Erin’s style of digital marketing is any indication, we will hardly know the search is happening: we will only observe, baffled, the way her subtle call for employment has snuck its way into our psyche. Which is all part of the dance of digital marketing. “There is so much noise online,” she explains. “So many people on their soapbox…it’s about figuring out how each client, in their own respective industries, can manage to stand out. Be relevant, engaging. Not just being sales-y, because no one wants that—that’s not what social media is for.

“It’s like if someone at Impact Hub came around with a press kit and details to buy a car,” she goes on. “Like, ‘hey—we’re selling this right now, it’s a huge deal.’ That’s no way to start a conversation with someone you’ve just met!”

I feign shock. It’s not? We both laugh. “I’m trying not to add fluff—[I’m trying] to add value. There are constantly new ways of connecting, and promoting without seeming like you’re promoting.”

Wise words from a wise woman, who brings joy, humor, and true insight to each project she takes on… and to each day that she spends as a member of the Hub.

Now let’s find her that intern.

 

Written by Jenna Tico

04 Apr 2018

Member Spotlight: Rodney Loehr

Make water, don’t take it! 

You know that impure plastic bottle of water you see people downing at the gym, or grabbing off the shelf at the supermarket, that eventually makes its way in our oceans? It takes a lot of energy to ship and manufacture that one liter of instant gratification. Rodney Loehr created a way to take water, sustainability, independence, and gratification to a whole new level.

AquaViable imitates nature by condensing humidity found in the air and produces water the same way clouds do in the atmosphere when it rains. This cutting edge technology creates water 10x more pure than premium bottled drinking water, providing freedom from chemicals, heavy metals, hormones, and other contaminants.  It also reduces the waste of plastic water bottles. These machines have the potential to produce up to 900 gallons of water a day! AquaViable not only improves our health but our environment and independence as well.

The Impact Hub opened their doors to founder Rodney Loehr before they opened to the public, so he could begin working on his prototypes for AquaViable. He thanks The Impact Hub — particularly what he called “The billion dollar table” in the communities kitchen — for all of the quick connections, help, and support, it was able to provide.

Rodney and his business partner have since turned their team of two, into a business with a sales team, a warehouse crew, and much more. He has expanded across the state of California, and is talking to people all throughout the country. AquaViable is on fire, or should I say on water, to make the world independently healthy!

Interviewed by Brooke Lyn Landon.

 

11 May 2017

Homegrown

 

Luscious rose petals caress one another in the display case, filling the room with a heady scent. The client’s anticipation is palpable as Rita Tate unveils several mood boards, each showing a possible design for the floor-to-ceiling floral showpiece she’s been commissioned to complete. It is time to make a decision.

As the client passionately debates the subtleties of ruby versus blood red roses, she glances up at the small chirp of Rita’s cell phone. Glancing down at the caller ID, Rita sees her daughter’s name flash across the screen and excuses herself. Her role as a mother takes precedence over any business transaction.

“Every time I say yes to one thing, I say no to something else.”

A love for the interplay of design, beauty, and nature is what initially attracted Rita to the floral design industry. With experience as a floral buyer for a high-end grocery chain and as an artist, she finds comfort and joy in using natural materials to make a space beautiful and inspiring.

Flame Floral Design Studio, Rita’s homegrown business, specializes in creative, eco-conscious events. The flowers she uses are seasonal, sustainably grown, and she recycles or reuses all packaging materials.

The process of owning and growing a business, even one she feels intense passion for, has not been easy. As a female business owner and mother of two beautiful daughters, she recognizes the very real struggles of ‘having it all’.

Rita, like millions of women worldwide, met the man of her dreams and found herself in the midst of a challenging situation: balancing the desire to both start a business and start a family.

As Rita said, “Life is scattered. It’s hard to be both a mom and a business owner. Often everything falls on the same night and you have to make a choice. You can’t be in two places at the same time. And at this point in life, my girls are my priority. Nothing comes before them, even if it may slow the growth of my business. These years are too precious to miss.”

Rita recognizes her privilege of having a husband who is working and can help support the family, but even with that blessing; she intrinsically understands just how much time and emotional energy a business can take. It’s no small task.

With societal pressure at an all-time high for women who want both a successful career and a family in the US, it is no surprise that increasing numbers of women are aiming to run their own businesses rather than work on someone else’s schedule. It seems to be one of the few ways to have both a healthy work and family life.

In Rita’s case, she’s made her decision to make her daughters her top priority. “Even if it takes more time to get to where I want to be in my business, my kids matter more.”

At Impact Hub we have a number of female entrepreneurs working to balance the home and work life. It’s not always easy, as we can see from many of our peers, but if we choose our priorities and allow ourselves, without guilt, to make decisions based on the welfare of our families we can go far in both business and life.

Flame Floral Design Studio

Written by Kathryn Arthur
01 May 2017

Funk Zone Murals R. Nelson Parrish, An International Artist

If you’ve ever watched the landscape whip past as you are moving at high speeds – whether driving, skiing, surfing, biking or racing – you will understand the inspiration for R. Nelson Parrish’s work. Parrish expresses the blur of movement murals he has created around town, including in the newly opened Funk Zone location of Impact Hub Santa Barbara.

In the new Impact Hub location, you will find his art subtly worked into the walls, with two eye-catching murals that draw you in and add color to the space. Viewed from various angles, the murals appear differently. Their boldly colored horizontal lines and a color pattern representative of Santa Barbara’s sky, mountains and ocean add a striking dimension to the Funk Zone facility.

Nelson said Impact Hub co-founder, Dan Ferrick and director of corporate partnerships, Donna Compaglia, were inspired by the look and feel of his work around town and commissioned him to create the murals. “The aesthetics of the rugged natural beauty of Santa Barbara’s mountains and ocean as well as the chic feel of its urban center are apparent in the work. We wanted something that connected the space to our unique and beautiful surroundings.”

“All of my work, particularly when it comes to commissions, are collaborations between me and the collector,” Nelson said. “It is more about me being a storyteller.”

In developing the Funk Zone murals, Nelson was tasked with creating art that was inspired by “living in Santa Barbara, the air, mountains, and beach aesthetic.” He also recognized that the floor plan is reminiscent of a clock, which seems fitting considering many entrepreneurs work at all hours. Parrish said, “[The murals are] also about your hustle; you’re constantly hustling, but if you do what you love, you never have to work.”

Ultimately, the work Parrish completed in the new space helps bring Impact Hub and the local Funk Zone scene together in a way we couldn’t have imagined previously. Reflecting on his past 10 years of being an artist in Santa Barbara, Parrish said, “I’m very lucky to be a working artist in Santa Barbara, this is the best job I’ve ever had.”

To learn more about R. Nelson Parrish work please visit here

 

Article written by Ray Estrada, edited by Kathryn Arthur

31 Mar 2017

Member Spotlight: Justin Richard, Convert Marketing

 

 

It happened much faster than expected. Just 17 hours into the Kickstarter campaign, portable cooler company Maluna reached its goal of $150,000. A few days later, the crowd-funding had rocketed to $324,289 – and there were still 11 days left.

Impact Hub member Justin Richard is the man behind the soaring numbers. His secret? A Facebook campaign.

Justin, who founded Convert Marketing, worked with Maluna founder Scott Hoyt to create a funnel marketing plan for his specialized coolers. “When I first met Scott in September 2016, it was him and a prototype,” Justin said. “We took it to a whole other level and created a company.”

They ran their first Facebook ad on January 15, 2017. Scott worked to create engagement through daily posts. They saw the strategy begin to pay off as people pre-ordered multiple coolers at a time. Even though business was looking good for Justin and Scott, that wasn’t enough. “We didn’t take a break; we just kept going.”

Soon engagement rose to a whole new level as fans began setting up their own gatherings to unwind and drink beer together. Since Scott was the one doing all the posts, he was gathering a huge fan base personally as well.

Justin credits some of their success to being at Impact Hub: “Something’s always buzzing. Being around other entrepreneurs rubs off.” Plus, he simply enjoys coming to work, “I think I like every single person I have met here. Everyone’s competitive, but nobody beats anyone down.”

He also loves the access Impact Hub provides to all levels of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors, and the pleasant surprises that sometimes arise by rubbing elbows here. At a recent lunch, another member shared that he would like to invest in Justin’s company, even though Justin hadn’t actually been seeking investors.

At last count, the Maluna strategy has brought in 1,548 backers, each pledging various amounts toward coolers and accessories. Product delivery is scheduled to begin as early as May 2017 for their 40-, 50-, and 70-quart coolers.

In Justin’s eyes, Impact Hub is integral to this success, and has allowed Maluna to follow their dream. He encourages anyone else with a dream to join too.

 

 

Article written by Ray Estrada

24 Feb 2017

Member Spotlight: A Solar Ray of Hope

Member Spotlight: A Solar Ray of Hope

Impact Hub member Megan Birney was sitting in a small room furnished with two wooden desks in Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal, a rural village on the northeast coast of South Africa. School schedules, health posters and a school motto adorned the walls. Among other purposes, the room served as an office to the principal, Mrs. Zikhali. Intelligent and generous her tough streak came through as she spoke in passionate yet matter-of-fact terms about the challenges her children faced. Located in a remote area, the school faced crippling poverty. Clean water, safe housing, and adequate child care were daily hurdles. Amid these struggles was an unlikely ray of hope: Santa Barbara-based nonprofit Unite to Light.

This was why Megan was here. Unite to Light had distributed solar-powered reading lights to the school so each student could have one at home, giving them more hours in the day to study and learn. As the organization’s new president, she wanted to get a firsthand look at the program’s impact.

Mrs. Zhikali was sharing impressive stats, like the fact that student test scores had risen 30 percent since receiving the lights. But there was much more at stake than test scores. She had started to describe the work the school did to provide help to families typically affected by fire when she paused mid-thought: “Actually, ever since we’ve been handing out your solar lights, the number of homes burning down in the community has dramatically decreased.”

The power of what her organization was doing had never struck Megan so forcefully. “It was at this moment that I knew the work I was doing mattered.”

As the principal explained, mass fires are common disasters among the impoverished in South Africa. Huddles of shacks, often built with cheap timber, are practically touching one another. For those fortunate enough to be able to afford fuel, kerosene lamps are used for lighting. A single one of these lamps being knocked over or set too close to anything flammable quickly spelled disaster for all surrounding structures, rendering hundreds of people homeless in a matter of hours. This occurred on an all-too-frequent basis. Unite to Light’s solar lamps gave a simple, life-saving solution to the problem.

The seed idea for the organization began in 2009 when a Ghanan professor visiting the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) lamented that students from rural parts of his country were unprepared for the mental rigors of university. Noting the health dangers and financial barriers of burning kerosene, the common source of evening light for these remote areas, he mused that students would have more time to study with access to safe, affordable and reliable light.

The IEE team immediately recognized the potential to make a big impact, and soon partnered with UCSB’s Engineers Without Borders to design and develop just such a product. By 2010 the simple yet efficient solar-powered lights were ready. The group formed a nonprofit to carry forward their mission: bringing light to those without access to electricity. Barely six years later, over 75,000 lights have been distributed to 65 countries.

Megan took on the challenge to lead Unite to Light in August 2016, attracted to the simple business model the organization uses to provide aid around the world. With a background in sustainable energy, nonprofit work, and solar finance, this seemed like a natural – and meaningful – evolution for her career. Her passion for this work comes from an innate interest in making the world a better place through sustainable programs with tangible results. “Our non-profit community has so much knowledge and passion, but we often don’t know how to capitalize it. I’m a huge fan of finding ways to monetize good work in order to spur more good work.”

One of the ways Unite to Light does this is through their Buy One, Give One program. For every light they sell, one is given to someone in need. Corporations like TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker are doing this with increasing frequency, but as Megan shares, it is rare for a nonprofit to implement such a business model. “Historically we have depended on grants, donations and government contracts, but it is increasingly important for our sector to diversify income sources and create sustainable business models.”

By utilizing the Buy One, Give One model, Megan is able to focus on the mission and vision of Unite To Light. The elegant simplicity of this model is that it directly involves the consumer in the change Unite To Light hopes to bring to the world.

As Megan works to provide light to the most vulnerable populations worldwide, she is also shaping a self-sustaining nonprofit. The more successful she is, the more lights are distributed. Little more than a quaint novelty to many in the U.S., Unite to Light’s solar lamps create, at minimum, a healthier, safer surrounding for each recipient. At best, they are a bright pathway to a better life.

 

Written by:

Kathryn Arthur

Lead Host

Impact Hub Santa Barbara

01 Feb 2017

Member Spotlight: A Step Up

Caleigh Hernandez, Best Foot Forward

She felt the legs of the plastic chair bend under her weight as she shifted down in the seat. The beads of sweat that had accumulated on her brow and skin left her feeling irritated, sticky and uncomfortable. Thanks to the heavy humidity hanging in the air, she knew the feelings would not go away anytime soon. As she sat waiting, her tired brain grappled with annoyance over how little they cared. Couldn’t they see that she had been working her tail off for weeks to create a program that would help change their lives? Didn’t they want things to improve? Wasn’t that the entire reason she and her team were here in the dusty, hot humidity of a Ugandan village?

Frustration and anger commingled into a bitter cocktail as the hours ticked on. Ugandans, especially those in rural areas, were known to show up late, routinely arriving long after the appointed time. But hours had passed since the community group meeting was supposed to begin, and Caleigh had the sneaking suspicion that no one was coming.

Exasperation over the past few months of hard work was steaming out of every one of her sweat-drenched pores when finally a man from the village arrived. He had come just for her. The rest of the village was attending to a more important matter: the funeral of a well-loved member of the community.

That’s when the realization hit her, and all the accumulated indignation vaporized.

Regardless of whether she or other development workers thought they knew what it was the locals needed, they didn’t know. They would never know. The only people who knew exactly what it was they needed were the people themselves. She would never be able to do what was best for any people outside of her own. Instead, she knew she would have to defer to the community to find out what it was they needed. This realization led to the way she now runs her business, Best Foot Forward.

Best Foot Forward sells beautiful handmade leather and beaded shoes sourced from the coast of Kenya. When Caleigh first came across the shoes, she recognized the quality and beauty of the products and realized that she could sell the products in the US.

With her experience working in development in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, Caleigh was able to find the artisans who designed and made the beautiful leather shoes. Recognizing that those making the shoes were primarily female and being paid a fair wage, and knowing that empowering females is core to community growth and poverty alleviation, she built a partnership with them and launched Best Foot Forward.

As a for profit company, Best Foot Forward sources the beautiful handmade leather shoes from Kenya, pays a fair wage to the artisans, and sells them at a markup in order to make a profit. This fully covers her expenses. What’s more, enough is left over to create a fund that is directed back to the artisans themselves to cover needs they recognize as being most important to their communities.

Caleigh now lives in her hometown of Santa Barbara, CA and works out of the Impact Hub space. She spends her time developing her brand and spreading the word about the beautiful products she has to offer. Not only does her work give buyers a beautiful pair of shoes, but it also gives hope to those who make them.

 

Purchase Here

Written by Kathryn Arthur, Lead Host at Impact Hub Santa Barbara

01 Dec 2016

Beyond The Hub: When Mentoring Becomes A Friendship

 

“As we carefully pried open the hive together, we forgot all about market strategy and startups. I could see David sharing in what I call the ‘Bee Zen’ experience. In that moment, he felt the same connection with the bees that I did. As we peered into the hive, I found the queen I had rescued recently, with the first few eggs of a new generation, and I knew that the little colony was off to a good start.”

Kelton Temby, the creator of the EyesOnHives Honey Bee Health Monitor, left rural Australia to become a medical robotics engineer. His dream was to help doctors treat patients remotely. However his passion and talent for remote data collection and observation soon led him down a different path. When he discovered a bee hive in his garage in Santa Barbara, he found himself drawn toward urban beekeeping, a natural fit since he’d grown up on a farm as a third generation beekeeper. From there,  it was just a matter of time before he fell in line with the old family business and founded Keltronix, a company dedicated to accelerating the transition to sustainable agriculture.  

With a new product in the works with EyesOnHives, Kelton reached out to Impact Hub mentor David Kramer to get market strategy advice. An active angel investor with a long history of business and startup success, David felt like the perfect fit.

In a half hour session at Impact Hub, David quickly zeroed in on strategic questions and key points about the market for backyard beekeepers, and explored the five-year plan for EyesOnHives. This work led Kelton to quickly realize that focusing on commercial beekeepers would be his fastest route to achieve the company’s mission, and that the time to start was now.

After their mentoring session Kelton felt both inspired and excited to move forward with his project, and was thankful that David had taken time to help move the Keltronix vision forward. On an impulse, Kelton ventured an invitation. “I asked if he was interested in getting in the bee suit for an introduction to the bees in my apiary. To my surprise, he said yes!”

As it turned out, David had been curious about bees since his childhood in South Africa, where he had a friend who was into beekeeping. As an adult, he was eager to finally learn more and get involved.

At the apiary, Kelton was pleasantly surprised by the way David so quickly acclimated to the beekeeping experience, describing David’s reaction to the bees as “priceless.”

The day raced by as they inspected a ‘nucleus’ hive to check on the queen, brood, pollen, and honey stores.  They documented the data in the EyesOnHives app, and explored the results of the assessment. Their day wrapped up  finished with a tasting of hand-harvested honey, where Kelton and David leisurely conversed about the future of beekeeping and EyesOnHives.

Reflecting on the day, Kelton shared how grateful he was for the unique experience. More than just a one-time business mentor, David was now a supporter of both Kelton’s company and the larger beekeeping community. And this, Kelton noted, is the true power of the Hub: building new relationships to create real-world impact.