Ratelle: 00:00 This is Law and Wit episode 22, lessons from a red carpet showroom with Ashley Michaelsen. Welcome to law and wit: creative counsel for entrepreneurs. I’m your host, Brittany, Ratelle mother for entrepreneur and naptime lawyer and attorney for creative entrepreneurs. I’m here to share inspiration and action so that you can tackle your business blocks and confidently own your business in every sense of the word. Thank you so much for being here. Okay guys. Welcome back. I am so excited for our guest today, so I have Ashley Michaelson and she transitioned from her true love of fashion, design and marketing and age 21. She designed and developed her first clothing line in New York City and introduced the line into independence on the east coast and onto online retailers. She wanted to expand, so she moved to west coast and quickly started gaining traction by participating in the major markets there and now she’s transitioned into doing pr work and she now runs Ashley Michaelson AMPR, a unique pr boutique that’s based in the heart of Hollywood, California and she does all things in terms of marketing strategy, fashion show, design, brand development, production services.
Ratelle: 01:10 I mean the girl, the girl does it all if you have pretty things or in your looking to get your pretty things out there in the marketplace. Ashley is the girl that you want to talk to. I’m so. I’m so happy that she gets to join us today and share some of her wisdom with us.
New Speaker: 01:25 Yeah, they do so much for having me, Brittany. This is actually my first podcast ever. Oh Wow. Okay. Well, will we promise to be nice to, you know, this is super cool. I’m really excited to talk to you and kind of give you a day in the life. Awesome. Excellent.
Ratelle: 01:41 So, um, Ashley and I had the chance to meet at alt summit, which, um, it was my first time going. It wasn’t your, it wasn’t yours first time going this year as well as well, I loved it. Yeah. And I loved it too.
Ratelle: 01:51 Um, and the great thing about is you guys have had the chance to go to something like [inaudible] or something similar is that, you know, you get to meet just the most incredible people who are doing, you know, different things, um, and you just, you really get your eyes wide open, you know, they get your horizons are broadened in terms of how people are making money, you know, um, and how they’re able to combine their passions and monetize them and to build successful brands and service based businesses. I’m all over that, you know, this creative empire that now we have access to online. So, um, and that’s kind of what I wanted to talk a little bit about today is, you know, how do you harness that gifts in other people and kind of some of these promotion and pr strategies. Um, even if you’re just starting out as a small brand, you know, there’s, you get, we get the opportunity now to have a wider platform. Um, and yet there’s a lot of people out there, there’s a lot of noise, there’s a lot of content. So how do we stand out and make those connections that’ll really be meaningful. So, um, so I, you know, I kind of alluded to it, a little bit of your origin story, but I’m kind of fill in some of those gaps in terms of how you transitioned from, you know, doing your own fashion line, which is just incredible at age 21 that you would launch that, um, you know, how was doing
Michaelsen: 03:00 fashion into, into what you’re doing now? Well, I mean, even before that I kind of started out as modeling and acting. I was kind of born into it. My parents were, um, famous Kodak models, so I was literally born into the industry in upstate New York, Rochester. And although there was a market, there was a tiny market there. It wasn’t, you know, large enough for what I really wanted to do. So when I was old enough, I moved to New York City when I was 18, I went to fashion institute of Technology and then I continued to support myself modeling. But modeling never really fulfilled me completely. I always just wanted to talk more and save more and you know, talk about the editing and talking about the styling and, but I was just a mannequin. So I put inside, I would find this inner battle with myself being like, okay, you were hired just to smile and you can’t do anything else.
New Speaker: 03:50 Um, and so, you know, fashion had always really, really been my passion and I still enjoyed being on set, but it wasn’t really sure how to kind of do all of that. Um, so I, when I went to fit, I got a degree in fashion merchandising management, so it was not designed, um, but I still wanted to find a way to design. And so I met a designer actually in an elevator during the casting call and he showed me his showroom and he’s like, we’re looking for an assistant. I was like, great. I don’t know anything about designing but I go to fit, so he hired me and I kinda was like more of his news for a little bit, but I got to learn everything from sample making design, lane textiles, mass production to one side was literally like the manufacturer, if you will.
New Speaker: 04:38 And then the other side of his showroom was the actual showroom, meaning that the customer is instead them and sold them and everything. And this was way before social media as well. So I have to learn everything and alone stop shop on one side. Like I said, it was all the manufacturing sample, making textiles, fabrics, and on the other side was the sales and marketing piece. So I got to learn everything and kind of really see what I wanted to do. Um, and so I kinda stopped working for him for a second and I thought I could do it on my own. And I went out on like just bought a bunch of fabric, made some samples, had no strategy, no idea who are the selling to how I was selling it. You know, how to go back and buy the fabric to remake it if I had an order, like I did not think it through whatsoever.
New Speaker: 05:22 So after a year of completely like pounding the pavement way and like so frustrated because I just wasn’t, I mean I was 18, I was thinking I went back to him and literally like took my savings and was like, teach me everything from beginning to end in detail and I want to make my first collection with you, but I will pay you to teach me every step of the way. So that’s how I was able to kind of create my first line and that one obviously it was a lot smarter about and eventually got into boutiques on the east coast, the west coast. Um, did all the markets and um, did a lot of fashion shows. So the fashion shows I feel like is what really sparked my interest in the marketing side of things. I realized that I actually was very impatient with the design process and I just wanted it to be fish and put it on models and sell it. So that’s how ampr kind of came about. So it’s kind of like modeling and designing and designing inspired the marketing.
Ratelle: 06:21 Very cool. Um, well I like that, you know, you, I mean as much as we’d like to skip ahead to the parts where we know ourselves and what our strengths are, you know, there’s usually a journey that comes into it and I mean, you, you know, found that for you, what parts of it that you, that you really liked and were able to hone in onto that? Um, and you know, I love the, you know, the, the, the, you know, raw energy you had as a young 18 year old. I mean you can feel that your passion with it. Um, and we all have that at the beginning of whatever it is that starting to drive us. And yet, you know, you got kind of knocked down by it, but you didn’t let it keep you down. You know, you decided I could still learn a lot and I still have some resources to, you know, grow from this experience.
Michaelsen: 07:01 Right. I know when I look back now, I’m like, oh my God, I was, that was crazy. You just, I mean, in New York City is not an easy city whatsoever. I remember the day I decided to move to California. I had all my samples from my collection, like ready to go. I did production and I was holding them in my hands and it just started down pouring all over me and Oliver my samples and I was like, I’m moving to California. That was like my moment where I’m like, I can do this. I know I can do it cheaper there. I know costs will be lower. It’s still be expensive. That’s not a cheap city either, but it’s better than that hat. And um, and it already worked at the cost and everything else. So I moved out, continued my modeling and was able to get signed in La and then really went full force in la.
Ratelle: 07:48 Yeah. I love that moment. I mean, I could see you on the street. You’re holding it. The skies are opening and you’re like, this is New York. The universe, higher power telling me it’s not your moment.
Michaelsen: 08:00 That was not my finest moment. I went home, hysterical, call my parents, so it was like my complete line as ruin. My samples are destroyed. Obviously the buyers aren’t going to want them now. And I’m like, I still was so passionate, but I’m like, there’s gotta be an easier way.
Ratelle: 08:17 Yeah. You know, you were ready to work smarter, not harder, you know, you’ve shown yourself that you could work hard, but now it was time to, to attach the savvy to it. Yeah. Okay. So you get to La and you kind of get plugged in there. Um, and when did you start moving from, you know, to selling your own line too? Uh, you know, working on and helping others.
Michaelsen: 08:39 So I had a great moment, a great first client and I will always credit them for everything because I’m starting out with modeling. I had modeling clients. Right. But it’s very hard to prove to someone who just looks at you as talent, um, or as a model, as you know, anything that has substance because it’s just, you know, you’re, you’re brought on just to kind of make it look better. And so, um, my first client actually had came to me and said, hey, do you want to do a campaign? We haven’t done one in a really, really long time, we’d love for you to be the space and can you help us out? When I was like, absolutely, sure. I’m like, well, do you have a photographer or do you have a stylist? You have any of those things? And then like, we don’t really have any of that set up, we’ll just, you can do it.
Michaelsen: 09:24 And I was like, fantastic. This is like a dream come true for me. And so I was able to hire the photographer, the stylist, the, um, you know, look at the locations to all the wardrobe. And I, you know, that was Kinda my first test of, you know, can I really do more besides, you know, designing and modeling and can I kinda put it all together in one package. So I executed that. We did a couple campaigns after that and I didn’t really see the image just go anywhere, so I kinda went back to them and I said, oh, what are we doing with this campaign? Where, where’s it going, what’s, you know, I kinda of did my part but I’m not a marketing person because I wasn’t at that time so I just feel like we spend a lot of money, what are we going to do? And there wasn’t really a plan. So I’m like okay, let me pitch you a plan. And I literally really pitched to my first client a marketing strategy plan of how to get these photos out and how to generate cell holes and how to build that emotional, like emotional connection with the end consumer. And that became my first client.
Ratelle: 10:29 That’s amazing. I love that. That you’re just like on the spot you don’t have a plan. Okay. Well how about this? Because it’s probably, it sounds like anything is better than what you have, which is Zilch, which is our plan is to spend a whole lot of money making, you know, a really beautiful styled shoot and then you know, build it and they will come that that was the plan. I mean, which is no plan,
Michaelsen: 10:52 right? There was the no plan plan. No, and they’re a fabulous brand, but, you know, they’re so they’re very, very sales driven and so, you know, marketing wasn’t needed for them. They’re already established. This was kind of like, you know, bonus in icing on a cake for them. And I was like, but imagine all those other cells we can do, you know, if we just kind of can connect to that end consumer because being completely retail driven in the big box stores, they’re not touching and communicating with the girl was actually buying product. So I’m like, let’s speak to her, let’s find a way. And so at that time, you know, bloggers, we’re just now coming up influencers. All that was just starting. And I, I, I’m very thankful of like I caught onto that trend very quickly and was able to utilize that as one of my strategies of let’s hire influencers is higher bloggers because people weren’t doing it at that time. So it was new and let’s drive the traffic to our big box stores. Let’s create these campaigns. It’s run some ads, you know, maybe more industrial magazines doesn’t have to be like our both necessarily, um, you know, it’s crawl before we walk type scenario. But yeah, and it was, you know, that client referred me to another client and that one referred me to another one. And honestly a lot of it has really been word of mouth.
Ratelle: 12:03 Yeah. Because when you, when you do a good job in serving your clients, happy clients are the best referrals. Yeah, exactly. I know that too, you know, I mean they beat out. Any other thing that you can be doing to, to put, you know, promote yourself, is that all stuff is all well and good. But at the end of the day, you gotta make sure your clients are happy with the work you did. So you were getting all of these sirens, what is going on in your neighborhood? The life in Hollywood boulevard. That’s what happens when I’m talking to like, you know. Yeah. Well that’s coast la girl who’s mean it’s not that amazing because that’s what happens. I’m going to conference
Michaelsen: 12:41 Paul and I’m like, let me meet you for a second because you hear the sirens. I lived in New York, so that’s why I kind of chose Hollywood and vine
Ratelle: 12:50 and they liked it. So you got your high ambient sound, you know? Yeah. You’re going to, you don’t feel like you’re living in a yoga studio. You didn’t go that far to California, California and yet I still have that New York City mentality. Yeah. Um, well I love that. Okay. So now that you’ve kind of transitioned in, caught us up to where you are now in pr, um, you know, what do you, um, what do you think is the biggest challenge, and I know this is a broad question, what do you think is the hardest thing as you are doing your job in terms of trying to draw pieces together, create that brand story, that marketing plan for people? Um, what’s challenging about that?
Michaelsen: 13:27 So I find that a lot of the clients have a hard time understanding the strategy or the vision of it because sometimes it’s so far fetched. Again, like if it’s a sales driven brand who’s doing really, really well, sometimes they don’t understand why do we need more. So sometimes the toughest challenge is really getting the clients to kind of understand your vision for that. You know, sometimes they come to me and they know exactly what they want and they want me to execute it, but most times they don’t know what they want and they don’t know what they want until it’s done. So it’s really one of those, you know, you don’t see results immediately. It’s not, you know, we put something up today, you get results tomorrow, a lot of the time span is, you know, two to three months to really start seeing the difference now.
Michaelsen: 14:11 Something like social media, you can see the difference. Maybe content creation or the aesthetic is more clean. That’s, you know, that’s instead, but to feel and see the growth and the engagement that takes time, um, along with, you know, being able to see the sales that are generating from marketing and sometimes it’s very hard to prove that your efforts are actually adding to the bottom line, you know, unless there’s something set up where they know exactly my efforts do equal that. It’s really hard to prove, you know, what, what of my efforts worked, which in which ones, what did that work? Was it the social media piece? Was it the blogger piece? Was it the, you know, um, celebrity placement piece. It’s, it’s really hard to kind of figure that out. And I have a challenge with that and I find a lot of other companies do as well.
Michaelsen: 14:53 You know, obviously brands like to say that they’re, you know, their product was on this celebrity or this and that’s kind of instant, right? But how much of that actually turned into cells is what’s hard to, you know, Peru. So a lot of my brands have kind of been like, well all we know is that we’ve done so much better since you’ve been on or sales have doubled or tripled. And so if they were going down we’d have a problem, but they’re going up. So I’m like, okay, great. And you know, I, my clients, I’m very relationship driven with them. Like I’m always available. It’s not one of those where, you know, you have to schedule a call three weeks in advance. Like I am like your best friend throughout the whole process as explaining and explaining exactly what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it and really making them feel comfortable about something that might be a little foreign to them.
Ratelle: 15:41 Gotcha. So, well, it sounds like, you know, you make the client experience a really important part, you know, and, and making them feel heard and that you guys are a trusted partner. Um, even though you know, as you said, that’s, I mean that’s a challenge for anyone who is working, especially in the influencer marketing space is still, you know, us being able to quantify what are we doing and how is it making a difference, especially when some of that is more of the softer brand, goodwill ambassadorship stuff, you know, name recognition, which maybe it doesn’t translate into a sale right now because maybe your brand is one of those that it’s a higher priced item that needs several, several touchpoints before someone actually makes a purchase. You know, and it’s hard to know how many of those are yours and how many of those are come from someplace else.
Michaelsen: 16:24 Yeah, yeah, no, definitely. You know, I always tell my clients I know for me personally and just kind of my peers, I often have to see something like three or four times to get familiar with it. If it’s a brand that I’m not aware of, and so I always kind of lead with that as well. Like if I were to see your brand in a magazine on a blog or on a billboard and then mentioned, let’s say in a podcast, I’d be like, oh my God, they’re everywhere, but I need to have that comfortability. And so because I am a little bit in the millennial world, I understand that that’s how we think and you know, we need to be able to see it everywhere because there’s this, there’s a sense of that like, oh my God, is there, I want it to. Or if someone has it, you want it, you know, it’s, I was in church the other day and the whole, the whole um, like syrups or speech sounds nice was about basically we want but we can have and they want something when someone else has it. And I’m like, that’s kind of true, but we don’t think about it that way. You know, if you were to see a pair of shoes flip, say on a rack and DSW, you may not of look twice because then when you see it on someone who styled it well and I’m walking down the street somewhere and you’re like, oh my God, that looks so cute. I just saw that shoe, but it didn’t look like that. Right. You know, it kind of, it just adds that emotional connection and adds that impulse purchase.
Ratelle: 17:44 Definitely. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s filling the whole brand story in terms of where the positioning in terms of what is this brand saying that’s the personification of all of that. More than just a product yet or service. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Um, so when you start with your clients, if they come to you enter, don’t have maybe as well a developed their brand, you know, um, and they’re looking for more of your visionary, um, you know, in terms of the visual or the aesthetic or content creation, um, where do you like to start with them? You know, do you do questionnaires? You just kind of like to talk about, you know, value. Would you go to the mood boards, are Pinterest, I mean people have different strategies. How do you like to start with clients?
Michaelsen: 18:24 Yeah, I mean for the most part a lot will and I like to have more of a one on one conversation with them and kind of just have them explain the business where it is right now, where they want to see it and what parts are missing and how can I fill in the blanks. So I mean, did they have services that we have is social media content creation management and product placement. So I have a showroom in a space full of apparel and a lot of shoes and all of those brands. Basically I work with. I house their product in my showroom and that I work with stylists and wardrobe teams on a daily basis to make appointments with them, to show them the latest collections so then they can get them on their celebrities. Are there magazines, are there red carpets? So first I really explained my services to them and they kind of explained, you know, what’s missing for them, you know, what’s the wood, and then we kind of figure out from there and how can it work.
Michaelsen: 19:13 I mean it really depends. Some are like, okay, well we don’t need the celebrity piece yet. We really just want to focus on the social media. So we just focused on that. Um, somewhere like our social media is fine, but we really need to get that. But it’s like we want to show that we’re proven, we want to be on celebrities and so then we just kinda work out a retainer for that. So it’s Kinda just a little bit of back and forth. I’m obviously, I, you know, I give them a proper proposal and things like that, but I won’t take on a client a if I don’t think I could do anything with them. I’m not here just to make the money because they’re going to be frustrated and I’m going to be frustrated and my anxieties already through the roof for everything. So if I have a client where I feel like I’m really not getting anything for them, I will tell them before they tell me like it’s not working out and you know, there’s, there’s clients that have low budgets, well, and I, and I will tell them with a low budget, there are things that you can do that eventually maybe you can set up the foundation and I can take it from there a couple months down the road.
Michaelsen: 20:09 Like a lot of people can handle their social in the beginning. It’s just a matter of making it look a little professional. Maybe you don’t post every day and post every other day. Um, you know, maybe you work on sweet and you just spend one day creating the content and you know, putting it up on hoot suite, that’s unbelievable because I don’t want to take the money if I know it’s something they can do now. If they’re like, we don’t get on social media, we don’t know how to do it. I don’t even know how to shoot a picture. I’m like, okay, great, I’ll, I’ll do it for you. No problem. But I really try to feel out where their strengths are. Do they have a marketing team internally? Had they always worked third congress? Do they have a, you know, an intern that could be good with something.
Michaelsen: 20:46 So I really tried to save that money throughout the process. If I can say, hey, can you delegate some of this responsibility to somebody that’s internal or shift their scope of work a little bit more because that will save you money and when you build up whatever that is, whether it’s your press or you are a social media, then pass it off to me type thing with smaller clients. I just always feel, you know, if they really have a plan that’s built out from beginning to end and they understand their finances and they know that, you know, marketing comes at the end in a way it’s like, you know, the product has to be designed, designed that has to, they have to do some sort of market research. They need to figure out their target market and then you know, a little bit of sales.
Michaelsen: 21:28 And then I feel like marketing kind of comes at the end, but you know, they really need to think that whole process through. And so I could just hate, you know, I remember when I was a designer being on the other end, I got into a showroom right away. I didn’t need to be in a showroom right away. Like I spent so much money being in one and all I got every month was who picked out my outfits but never wore them. So I would get like these recaps every month. Then it’d be like, Kim Kardashians pulled your item, or like Brianna pooled your item but it never got placed. So I’m like, well that’s really exciting. But
Ratelle: 22:05 it doesn’t actually mean anything. I can’t.
Michaelsen: 22:08 So I’m like, you know. So being on that end actually helps because, you know, looking back on myself when I was that age, I wish someone would’ve told me, you don’t need a showroom yet. Wait till you generate cells. Try to get it, you know, try to get it placed on some celebrities from word of mouth. Or you might know someone who knows somebody or whatever. The case is so I know that I kind of jumped the gun a little bit and so I try to help that from smaller brands, not jumping the gun so quickly. Strategy, but I’m just trying to be transparent.
Ratelle: 22:38 Hey, no. When we appreciate your honesty and you know, when you, when you’ve been on the other side of that, it’s hard not to be thoughtful and no. Yeah, you don’t want to waste anybody’s time or money. And again, because that doesn’t serve Edison serve anybody. It’s one of own. It’s not a good fit. So, um, so you said, you know, word of mouth, if you were, if you had just designed, you know, a fabulous diaper bag or some other, you know, some other killer product that you know was maybe more of like a lifestyle or you know, a baby brand, but that you wanted to start getting more traction on, you know, what would you do knowing now that you have the inroads that you do? What, what would you do to try to place it and get some buzz
Michaelsen: 23:15 that’s so specific
Ratelle: 23:18 you didn’t think you could think of if you have a dream product that you would maybe deal, then we can use that in our hypothetical.
Michaelsen: 23:25 Yeah. So the type of event, would it work to be in the showroom necessarily? Because a lot of those placements are very like red carpet and more editorial. But I think, and I think a diaper bag could end up in the magazine for sure. So I think the way I would focus on that and they would really make it social media driven and I really with a lot of bloggers and influencers like mommy bloggers and aligned to product that way as well. Um, I probably do a lot of popups, especially if the brand was an interactive, whether it was like a lot of pockets. So there’s like cool things that you’ve kind of show where you needed to be in person. Um, and like maybe even do some sort of fashion show type thing. Could be cool with it because I know it’s a diaper bag, but I think the idea is to make it a cool new innovative diaper bag is the way that I would want to take it. There’s so many like mommy bloggers now and it’s like moms are so cool.
Ratelle: 24:18 We like to think so, you know, a hair flip, hair flip.
Michaelsen: 24:22 Totally. Um, and so yeah, I mean I would, depending on the market you’re going after, if you were kind of going after that cool mom, then I, that would be a perfect fit for me because those are my relationships. I’m like I’m kind of aligned with the cool bloggers and the influencers and you know, things like that and understanding the aesthetics of social media and how important that is as well. And then, um, I probably would do outreach. So as opposed to you being in the showroom and paying a retainer fee, I would probably do outreach to very specific editors to try to get that bag in the and thinking as well.
Ratelle: 24:59 That’s really smart. Yeah. So, and so, I mean, yeah, the, the, the common theme that I’m hearing here is, you know, it’s all about relationships and really recognizing that um, people like to do business with people they know and they trust and only send them good things, useful things and they get how we’re all trying to make each other’s jobs easier, you know, so when you’re working with an editor or stylist or um, you know, uh, someone who’s trying to fill the pages of Huffington post or medium or whatever it is, um, you gotta be thinking about what makes this job easier to them, what’s, what’s going to be useful for them.
Michaelsen: 25:33 Yeah, exactly. And you know, you, you said it perfectly, it’s, you know, if it’s a product I can’t do anything with and it’s going to discourage me, my stylist, the editors, then it’s just nobody wins, you know, the brand is frustrated. I’m frustrated. The stylist is like, I can’t do anything with this editor is like, sorry, we don’t need that. So it’s, you know, I think there are ways around it as well. I mean, I do consulting as well, so there was a product that I felt had potential, but it still wasn’t, you know, it was still having difficulties, let’s say getting the right press or marketing. Then we would figure out how can we change this, how can we add some spice to it, how can we add talking points are different elements that make it super exciting for that next editorial or that next pitch or you know, whatever the market is looking for at that time.
Ratelle: 26:19 Yeah, no, I like that, you know, in terms of just trying to still keep it fresh and moving it around, you know, so you’re looking at different angles and try to increase that value for other people. So, um, so when you work with, you know, social media or bloggers have all the different types that we have now, do you, what do you look for when you are just on your own trying to go for people to work with? Do you have something that you like to see or the way that you like to be pitched? Um, if you get pitched by people. Um, do you have any tips for those bloggers that we have out here and our listeners?
Michaelsen: 26:52 Well, and, and the blogger side, and they’ve said this before, if it’s brand new one and work with they, they hope that you have already purchased the product at some point in talks about it organically and you know, put the Hashtag so then when the brands go and look for that, you know, that a lot of pop stuff under their name. So I mean that is the most organic way to kind of go about it because you’re reaching someone who naturally loves the product and they’re not just looking for some monies to promote it. Obviously bloggers need to survive, they need to be paid a totally back that up and appreciate that 100 percent. But I think that we do have to be careful of like, you know, what we are promoting and if we really are authentic and truly believe in it. Um, and so yeah, from our standpoint, I think if you’re already creating content around something you love and I think those, those companies will come and then you can pitch them afterwards.
Michaelsen: 27:42 And you can say, Hey, look, I did a shoot last week and I got this many likes and I got this many followers or this many comments. Um, it was a really great response. I love to do it again, you know, maybe with some free product. And then the third time I would then ask for compensation and that’s it. I’ve had the, I’ve gotten to the longer world personally, like myself, just influencing a little bit. And that’s what I’ll do. So I’ll literally do, I’ll take a bunch of brands that I personally love. I’ll do a shoot around now, but I organically like believe in. And then afterwards, once I see the response of it, I’ll pitch it to the brand and I’ll say, this is what I did. Um, there was a really good returns. There’s not a good return. They don’t pitch them. And I guess figure out why wasn’t there a good response on that one. Um, and I, I find that it just works out because everyone’s like, oh my God, we actually loved the brand. You’re not just looking for some money here and free for them. The first time and then the second time they come back around and say, okay, here’s my, you know, my rates, this is how it works. And going forward, you know, this is the expectation.
Ratelle: 28:42 I think that’s really smart. And then, you know, obviously it’s going to be a brand that fits into your aesthetic if fits into, you know, your voice. Um, and however you’ve decided on whatever platform that is, whether it’s instagram or youtube or whatever it is that you are exerting your influence. Um, no, I think that’s a really smart way of kind of building it because you are proving to the brand that you are already deriving value. Um, and that it’s going to be a good fit, a good partnership. Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Very, very cool. So take that tips away and, and you know, it doesn’t hurt if you have a beautiful showroom and pretty things to take pictures west. So, you know, just a little bit of modeling experience just a bit. Yeah,
Michaelsen: 29:20 right. Yeah. I’m really grateful for all of the things that I’ve been able to do and although at that time I probably was frustrated, you know, rather it was rain all over my samples or like just being a face and not having a say, but it’s, I think it all has got to this point of being able to open up this company. I can speak from those different angles now and like, you know, like we’ve said, it’s all relationship driven and knowing, you know, how a vlogger might feel or how a model might feel or designer. I’m really able to sympathize with that, you know, when it’s needed.
Ratelle: 29:58 Gotcha. Yeah. Which really helps you know, um, be a more thoughtful person in the industry for sure. Knowing the different sides of it. So, um, do you still, you know, do you get nervous about pitching? People are approaching people that you maybe don’t have a relationship with. Do you have any tips for psyching yourself up? You know, when you have to send them to make those harder phone calls or in person, you know, pitches
Michaelsen: 30:19 laid out beforehand. Like I said, a lot of it is done. I mean, you have the pitch, right, they see, yes, the pitch and then you kind of break down the entire entire marketing plan and how long it looks over, you know, how often. So they really know what’s going to happen in month one and two, what’s going to happen in one, three and four, what’s going to happen once kids that sex, um, and you know, longer contracts as well. So there’s, there’s really, you know, kind of holding their hand and walking them through the process before it even happens. So they’re kind of, they know what to look out for and I’m kind of familiar with it. Um, so I feel like the, the translation or the transition, I’m sorry, between, you know, going from potential client to client has always been really well.
Michaelsen: 30:59 That’s when everyone was like super excited. You know, they can’t wait and you know, that’s when my anxiety comes in because I’m like, okay, they need to be happy. Um, and we need to make sure that they’re happy, you know, throughout the whole contract. Not just in the beginning, but all the way through. Um, so I mean so far I’ve had really, really great clients and good experiences and I can tell right off the bat usually. I mean I’ve had one client before, we’re like, we could make it past one month and it was really just because they couldn’t give me the product I need it so I couldn’t do anything with their brand and the communication was just like, just so off. I mean, every time I tried to call they weren’t available or like their email wasn’t working, like weird, bizarre things. So I was the one that I was like, okay, I just, I don’t know if I can, you know, do anything for you. So if I start feeling those, like I really go with my gut and my instinct right away and like I wouldn’t be the one to say no before they say no to me because I already know what that kind of gets going to look like. Exactly. So,
Ratelle: 31:56 um, so as you started building your, your business, you know, did you have people that either in person or kind of online or um, you know, mentors that you were looking for in terms of being, you know, your own business owner and providing your own client base service business in this area? Did you have mentors or especially if there’s any women mentors that were, that were really important to you?
Michaelsen: 32:20 I haven’t and I’m frustrated with that because I still want one, like I want one right now. Um, which is funny because that all summit, there was a mentor, um, segment and I was like, sign me up because I want one. You know, there’s, there’s always been aspects of, you know, women wear. I like with her, with what they’re doing and I believe in it and, but I feel like what I’m doing is kind of a little bit scattered but still under one umbrella that it’s hard to find one person that’s doing that exact thing. I will say like, I am grateful for grateful. I look up to women who are able to transition no matter what that is. Whether it this transition from their day job to being a creative or an entrepreneur or transition from modeling to business owner or transition from one industry to another one is so scary and so difficult.
Michaelsen: 33:08 So that’s something I really, really admire. Um, and I mean we have a ton of examples of it. I can’t think of like on the top of my head right now, but I mean I’d even say bloggers in general right now, I mean a lot of them have gone from, you know, having a nine to five jobs and then transitioning and being full time bloggers and I’m like, that is amazing and that is so scary and so rewarding for them. Like I mean I’ve just always like super excited when I hear those types of stories. So I definitely admire that. I just still have one person in particular, but there’s definitely like little bits of, of people that, you know, I’m completely inspired by women in general and just, you know, we are taking over and I love it. The future is female and all that. Yeah,
Ratelle: 33:55 I agree with you that it’s always inspiring to see. Um, and I think that’s really smart what you said in terms of, you know, taking pieces of other people and admiring parts of their story and just, you know, the, the bravery, the courage they are to show up in ways that are meaningful to them, um, to not be confined about, you know, traditional ways of this is how you have to do this, this is how you have to earn your money. That’s just how you have to move and your careers. Um, because, you know, it’s, it’s a brave new world is 2018 and you know, people are fulltime youtubers now, you know, who make funny videos. I mean that’s a real gig for some people. That’s all they do and they’re fabulous at it. So, um, yeah, I think you’re right that you shouldn’t limit yourself too much. Um, in terms of what your potential can be.
Michaelsen: 34:38 Yeah. And I wanted to talk about all summit for a second because I think what I loved about that so much is it was a bunch of women entrepreneurs who at one point or another, like we don’t really have a job title. And I think that’s amazing because like when I tried to explain to people what I do, sometimes they’re like, well, what is that like? And I’m like, there’s, I mean I do have a title for it, but I struggled with that for a while. I mean I used to be, you know, people ask them what do you do? And I’m like, I just social media and then I model and sometimes they do this and I do that. I’m like, Oh man, I look like a crazy person trying to the whole world. So I’m like, okay. I opened up a MPR and all of those side jobs became services. And then for me in my mind I was able to comprehend also like, okay, like I felt like I was just all over one day I was the stylist, one day I was a blogger and one day I was like designing, um, and it, it kind of tore me apart because I’m like, who am I? Like I felt like I had no identity because I was like all over place. But what’s
Ratelle: 35:38 great is I feel like,
Michaelsen: 35:45 but what’s great is I feel like those different career choices now don’t have to have titles and they’re still now recognized and people are, I mean, that’s their full time job. It’s not their side hustle anymore. It’s a real job. And so it was really cool because meeting all those girls that hold summit, I didn’t even know a lot of these quote careers existed. I was like, oh my God, you can do that all day and make a living off of it. And I felt like when my parents would talk to me and they’re like, wait, you do what? And you actually make a living off of it. And that was me asking the girls that all summit. So it was just eyeopening that really you can make anything your own and make anything your business if you’re passionate enough about it.
Ratelle: 36:27 Yeah, no, I totally agree with that. So I think it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s really helpful to start. Yeah. Do collaborating more. Meeting in person, you know, if you can meet online, if you can’t, people, because it does open your eyes that there’s um, you know, there’s a lot of creative talented people out there who are finding ways to give value to other people and um, although it might make hard to when they have to do their business cards, you know, oh, well, like, you know, if it’s meaningful to them and they’re doing a good job at it and they’re helping other people than um, you know, I say move forward, move forward with that. Or have five different with five different titles. Exactly. Alternate alternate routing strategy. So, all right, well I wanted to, um, I want it to kind of wrap up with, I like to kind of have some, you know, hard little tips, you know, some pithy tips at the end because I know sometimes it’s, it’s really helpful after listening even to now a podcast that talked about lots of different things. You’d be like, okay, then what are my takeaways? What am I actually gonna do with this information? So, um, I kind of wanted you to talk about maybe some promotion mistakes that small brands make, you know, um, if a person is unfortunately not at the point right now where they can hire someone brilliant like you who can do all these amazing things if they’re still, you know, running this kind of promotion game on their own. Um, what’s kind of the four top mistakes that maybe you see people making that they should avoid?
Michaelsen: 37:51 I think that people really have to come up with a business plan that has a lot of financials involved in it and it doesn’t have to be for anybody else like yourself. It’s just somebody to kind of keep yourself on track and something to kind of go back to you and keep you in your lane. Um, I find a lot of people kind of like, you know, get super excited about whatever they’re creating and they want to go straight to pr and straight to marketing and straight to, you know, whatever the case is. And it’s, you know, by the time they get to that point, they ran out of money because it wasn’t thought through all the way. So my biggest tip would just really be like make a internal business plan with your financials as well and it doesn’t have to be this crazy extensive thing.
Michaelsen: 38:31 It can be on Microsoft word and it’s just kinda like this is what my business like in the next six months and these are the elements that I need in it and this is how much I have for each one. And even if you don’t have that money yet, I mean you can take your full time job and try to budget that, put yourself on a, on a budget, don’t go out as much, don’t dine and get your groceries and you know, you can, you can really rearrange something enough if you want it. And I know that everyone may not have that luxury, but I’m saying even if you have a job minimum wage somehow, I think that might be a way to save even $10. You know, a month, whatever the case is. But you have to be practical as well, right? It’s, if you’re trying to build some crazy business and you know, you can only save a little bit per day, you’ll maybe that’s a business to save for later and you kind of start smaller. Um, you know, a lot of times when I’ve had, you know, I was thinking about a new business plan right now I have the crazy extensive, like I’m going to need so much money to do it and then I have the one that can kind of like a little bit start tomorrow, but it’s not going to be as grandiose. It’s not going to put the ads amazing. So it’s like these two little business plans that I have and one’s crazy and one’s kind of like, I can hopefully do it.
Ratelle: 39:44 It’s the bare bones version. But yeah. You know, it’s a place to start. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I know your know your starting point and make sure there’s a byline in there for legal. So shameless, shameless pits, but make sure you are thinking about, you know, what needs to go on your website and your contacts and if you have a name that you absolutely love and would just die if someone else took it, then we should probably get that protected. So that doesn’t have right? Yeah, exactly.
Michaelsen: 40:12 Yeah. And that’s really, that is really, really, really important. And I feel like sometimes that’s something that I have skipped over and it has. So we probably should talk after this all for the podcast and it’s important and that is something that you should put in your budget as well as you know, you have to stay protected and you have to understand that, you know, sometimes that’s the thing that you forget about because you get so wrapped up that you know, you don’t even think like, oh, someone could have taken that name or I should have trademarked that because you’re just so caught up and you know, being a new business owner. So all those things need to be taken into effect. And you know, speaking to other people that have done it. I mean, really, you know. Yes, networking is great, but I also think if you’re going to network, you know, go to wherever that place is with like three people in mind that you want to meet and exchange business cards and like really strategize your networking, you know, don’t just go there and kind of hope someone is going to stumble upon you, go and do your research and find some common denominator between you and that person, whether it’s similar hometown or you both know so and so.
Michaelsen: 41:13 Whatever the case is to have an easy, like, you know, intro when you meet them and then you know, you just have to play your alter ego on if you, if you know, if it’s hard to kind of approach people and just do it, you just have to do it.
Ratelle: 41:26 Yeah. We just, you know, you follow the five second rule, you know, whatever you need to, but just put one step in front of the other and just start talking,
Michaelsen: 41:34 start to scary. I still have issues with that at times where I’m like, just go talk to them. It’s not that big of a deal, but I find if I’m not rehearsed a little bit and I didn’t study them, that’s when I get intimidated as soon as I look them up a little bit, but they’re about. I’m like, they’re just human, like us as well and I feel more confident because I know I can crack a joke about something, but it’s really. If you don’t really do your research, I think that’s when you can become a little bit intimidated by these types of opportunities that can happen.
Ratelle: 42:05 [inaudible] I think that’s what, that’s really smart advice. So. Okay, so I like that, you know, have a business plan, have a, you know, a networking plant, a relationship plan, especially if you’re going to have the opportunity to do something in person or if not online, I mean the same principles apply in terms of do some homework, new, know a little bit about someone and be able to ask interesting questions or crack a joke or have something that makes it sound like, you know, you’re not sending a form email because we’ve all gotten those
Michaelsen: 42:30 and you know, that’s straight to the, to the trash band guys. So don’t, don’t waste here. Don’t waste your time and your sense of that. Yeah. Okay. Do you have one more, one more tip to finish out with us? Yes, I would say because I was so key. So you know, with all this, you know, being an entreprenuer and everything else, it’s so easy to crash and burn and it’s so easy to get exhausted and lose all your energy and become numb to everything that’s going around about you. And so like personally, like I am working on self care and self love and I’m having to do meditation I’ve never done in my life and go to yoga and literally make sure I get three meals in a day no matter what. And it’s so hard. My boyfriend every day is like, did you eat three meals?
Michaelsen: 43:18 And I’m like, I’m willing to. I’m getting into stuff that you don’t want to eat, you just get so caught up that you just don’t think about it and it’s not worth sacrificing your health because you cannot do anything without your help. So you know me, like I struggled with a little bit of stress and anxiety and so I have to figure out what does that outlet, you know, to make that better for me. So I think balance is key. Whatever that means to you, whether it’s, you know, doing something social once a week to just get out there and be, you know, not think about business, whether it’s family time, whether it’s reading a book, whatever that is. I think it’s so, so, so important.
Ratelle: 43:53 That’s awesome. No, I think those are all really great tips and all things that, you know, they, they sound cliche that we need to hear them, but here’s the thing, we all need to hear it and we need to hear it again and again because I’m, like we said, it takes all of us as humans, especially now we got to hear it a lot of times before we really start believing it and um, and making it a habit until it’s a practice and then, you know, it can really make a difference in our lives because you’re right, if we don’t take care of ourselves, then how can we expect to be doing any of the things that we want to serve in the people we want to serve. Being there for the people that we love, we just can’t do it. So.
Michaelsen: 44:26 No, I know. And you’re. Yeah, you’re so right. Like those are cliche. When I used to hear them, I’d like viral, but now I’m like, no, they were so right. It just, I was too stubborn to take it in. I mean, I hear meditating for years and I’m like, oh, I have to meditate, like that’s crazy. And then today I’m like, Oh my God, I did it for four minutes and I’m just excited for minutes. But yeah, it’s, it’s Cliche, but it’s true. You just, you really have to do it.
Ratelle: 44:51 It’s true. So, all right, well if people want to know more about you and what you do and I’m sure they do. Um, where can they find you? How can they connect with you
Michaelsen: 45:00 on social media? Of course. Instagram, it’s Ashley Dot Michelson and then my website is Ashley Michaels and Dot Com, but I’m going to be switching that around so I’m actually launching a blog myself in August, so you’ll be able to kind of get to know more of me and less of the business. Ashley, I’m very fun that ty will. Thanks so much Ashley, for joining us today. It was a pleasure to have you. Great. Thank you so much Brittany. I appreciate it.
Ratelle: 45:27 That wasn’t so great to have Ashley on. I think it’s so fascinating to hear the different things that people are doing in the creative fashion world, the promotion world, and even though I am a pr girl myself, got my Undergrad in public relations. I had no idea that that was the way that red carpet showrooms and getting product on celebrities. Um, I didn’t know that that was the way that works. Um, and uh, I loved the, Ashley shared a little bit of insight into that world, but also kind of spoke to some of us who were not in that world and probably might not ever be in that world. And yet we could take advantage of, um, a lot of the lessons that she’s honed and been able to bring some of those disciplines together or promoting yourself of being business savvy and strategic. You know, I’m making your social look, professional batch processing.
Ratelle: 46:15 I’m writing out a business plan. Uh, you know, she, you know, talk about, um, getting out there and just meeting people. Don’t hide behind your computer, you know, make the tough conversations and the introductions and get out there and be a people. Um, you know, a real face that people can interact with because people were not interested in your products and they’re not interested in your service, they’re interested in you and they’re interested in what problem you’re solving. And so the more you can hone in on that and then I really think you’re going to be able to build a successful brand and do whatever it is that you want to do. I’m also nice shadow about the self love and the balance. Um, and certainly, uh, we all know that those are important things that if we don’t take care of herself, if we don’t put that oxygen mask on first, then it makes it really hard to take care of other people.
Ratelle: 46:59 Um, and uh, you know, we can’t fill ourselves drawing on an empty well, which does nobody any good. So, you know, I’m cute. Sunset motivational posters aside, um, take care of yourself. Okay, and make sure that you’re not burning the candle on both ends and that your hustling and hustling to what end, you know, make sure that those goals that you have, that there is a purpose to them. You know, I want to make this amount of money this year because, um, or why is it because want to travel is because you want to spend more time with your loved ones, you know, be thoughtful about what your goals are and if the way that you’re achieving them is actually the easiest way or the best way. Um, and most successful way to actually get to the end goal behind it because for most of us, I know, um, the, the money is actually not what it’s about, you know, money is energy and it’s um, other things, you know, we want to serve people.
Ratelle: 47:52 We want to reach more people. We want experiences or a certain lifestyle for ourselves or our loved ones or employees or something else. So, um, so just dig deep there. You know, those are some of my takeaways as I was listening to me to this episode. If you want more resources for me, sign up for my newsletter, BrittanyRatelle.com/newsletter, and you’ll get a free legal checklist that kind of gives you a bird’s eye view of some things that you might need to be thinking about for your business. I’m also tune into my feed on instagram and you’ll get some tips there. If you’re listening to this on Friday, you have a few more hours jumped on and enter my free trademark given giveaway. I’m giving away a free trademark. It’s a thousand dollar value, um, at least is where my trademark packages start. So I will take care of the government fees. rate
Ratelle: 48:38 I will give you the full white glove client service that I usually offer to all of my entrepreneurs, um, for whoever the winner is. So enter in on that posts on Instagram, you’ll see it’s a hot pink post. Um, and you can tag friends for different, for additional entries. And the other news, uh, actions. If you can leave a podcast review, I’d really, really appreciate it. Um, I read all those reviews, they make my day and then make it easier to other people can find this podcast. So I know that there are other hustling entrepreneurs out there, people who have their side gigs I’m getting going or maybe have gotten going and would love to have some more inspiration and tips, things right in their ears as they’re going about their busy days to try to get them excited and moving forward and whatever they need to in their business, um, and whether that’s a business issue or a legal issue to have some, some ticks and tricks and have someone in their corner who’s written for them.
Ratelle: 49:31 So that’s what I hope to be here and build here, is to help build more confident, um, female entrepreneurs. That’s my whole shtick. So if you can help me accomplish that mission, um, maybe share this episode with a friend or if there’s another one that you’ve listened to that you think, oh, you know what, I should, there is someone who would probably really appreciate that or would find it really useful. Please share it with the friend, you know, send it directly from the APP, whatever it is you’re listening to, or screenshot it or send a text message or share on your social to those that follow you and are interested in what you’re learning and digging. Um, I’d really, really appreciate it. And, uh, and leave a review if you can take a few minutes, but I really appreciate it and it lets other people find the podcast. So thanks so much for being here and supporting long wit creative counsel for entrepreneurs. Um, I hope that you are owning your business in every sense of the word because you are a true business owner and I will catch you on the flip side. Thanks.