Monday Moment’s Inside: A Gifted Society

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Extremely dedicated, talented, well-rounded and professional are the words I would use to describe Victoria from A Gifted Society.  I have had the privilege of knowing her for a few years now and I consider her one of the industries finest! I enjoyed interviewing her for NittyGritty!

Name and Company Name:

Victoria N. Koch

A Gifted Society

http://agiftedsociety.com

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Tell us a little bit about your background:

I was born and raised in Orange County, California and graduated from UC Santa Barbara. Around 19, I got really into fashion and writing. I started a zine on campus, which helped me get an internship at Los Angeles magazine. After interning I worked there part-time while I was in grad school at UCLA.  Eventually I became a freelancer and one story led to the next. For the next decade I wrote hundreds of fashion, food and celebrity stories for publications such as The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, InStyle, The Huffington Post, Los Angeles Confidential, style.com and C magazine.

How did you start your company and why?

I was primarily a print journalist and with the advent of digital content combined with the recession, there was a big shift. No one was buying magazines and newspapers anymore. Articles were getting shorter, advertisers began dictating some editorial content and I went through a lot of new editors in a short period. Rates were cut dramatically and even the huge publishing companies couldn’t seem to pay me on time. I figured that it was better to leave before things got worse and honestly I was exhausted. I sometimes interviewed 20 people in a week and often worked evenings and weekends covering parties and award shows, which was great in my twenties, but as I got older I found it a lot less exciting.

When I was a journalist, I had two copywriting clients on the side so when I decided to start my company a few years ago, I knew I at least had them to count on. I’ve always worked for myself, but with A Gifted Society I feel like I am running a real small business and it’s incredibly rewarding. I am busier each year and I feel lucky that I can choose who I want to work with.

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What is your company about?

First and foremost I am a copywriter, so I help clients with all kinds of writing, from bios and websites to email newsletters and advertising. I manage the social media presence for a few clients and also offer consulting services on everything from branding to photo shoots. I currently work with a diverse and inspiring group of brands and individuals who range from fashion and beauty to real estate and architecture. I also teach social media, blogging and branding workshops and offer one-on-one sessions via Skype, phone or in person in L.A.

What are the best and worst things about being a business owner?

Best: Freedom; not having to deal with office politics or petty drama; being around clients who are the best in their respective fields; I don’t have to buy “work” clothes.

Worst: Invoicing and general bookkeeping; no health insurance, paid vacations or 401K matching, but it’s all good because the benefits far outweigh any negatives.

What are the things you like most about your career?

I get to be creative every single day, I’m never bored and I have the time to do things that make me happy. I love that I can help businesses, both big and small, just by coming up with a concept, strategy or clever headline. My clients trust me to do my job, which I truly appreciate, and I still get a kick out of seeing something I’ve written on a billboard or in the pages of Vogue.

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What are some of your top sources of inspiration?

Art, books, music, travel, fashion, random Tumblr blogs, Los Angeles and my talented friends. I like being around people who pursue their dreams and don’t waste time living somebody else’s. I also find inspiration in companies and brands such as Apple, Everlane, Handsome Coffee Roasters and Ace Hotel, who are doing it so well from a customer and branding point-of-view.

What is a typical day like?

I wake up early and go to yoga or Bar Method and then I catch up on emails. Sometimes I have client meetings or presentations, but most days I am in my office writing and creating social media posts while Morrissey, Beyonce, TV On The Radio or Arctic Monkeys plays in the background. When I have downtime I read everything I can, including the New York Times and Jezebel, and get a lot of news from Twitter. I like to know as much as I can about what is going on in the world.

Since I work by myself, I like meeting people for lunch or a drink a few times a week. Most of my friends here are also creative entrepreneurs who have the flexibility to grab a meal and sometimes we end up chatting for two or three hours. I usually end the workday around five so I can meditate and then watch Anderson Cooper 360.

The best part of my day is when my husband comes home from work and we can hang out before I pass out at 10:30.

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What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

Getting published in the L.A. Times at age 22, traveling extensively and always listening to my gut. The latter is a huge part of any success I’ve had in life. And, it may sound silly, but the first time I could do 20 push-ups on my toes I was so proud of myself. But my greatest accomplishment is donating stem cells/marrow to an unrelated recipient seven years ago. He was dying of leukemia and I’m happy to say that he is healthy and now a father of two. They named their daughter Victoria, which is probably the biggest honor of my life.

What would be your advice to someone wanting to start a business?

Be fearless, motivated, organized and authentic. Do your homework and talk to anyone who can help or inspire you. Read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson and try to care about your product one percent as much as he did. Start small and build from there. Also, your logo, website, photography and social media presence need to be on-point. If you don’t feel confident doing it yourself then hire someone or do a trade. You really get one chance to make an impression so you have to make it count. Oh, and get a great office chair. Mine is the Think chair by Steelcase.

What’s your philosophy of life?

Don’t talk about it, be about it.

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Check out http://agiftedsociety.com

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Monday Moment’s Inside: Zerxza

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Name and Blog Name:  

I’m Epp-Maria and my blog is called Zerxza (or Zerxzastyle ,  that would be the blog’s address: www.zerxzastyle.blogspot.com)

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Tell us a little bit about your background:

I’m a 20-year-old fashion lover and I grew up in Estonia that is a little country in Northern-Europe. My childhood has been one big bumpy ride – I grew up with my grandparents that were very controlling and old-fashioned so I was kept away from everything trendy, I couldn’t wear skirts/dresses, high heels, make-up, revealing tops, pretty much nothing. Deep down however I always loved fashion and envied the girls who could wear heels and make-up .. when I moved away from home after high school I finally got the chance to express myself and be the way I am – no more holding back! Also I met my boyfriend in high school and he has changed me a lot more confident about the way I am. Thanks to him I’m much more certain about what I do and I have to thank him for being the way I am right now!

How did you start your blog and why?

I’ve always loved blogging and writing down my thoughts – as a child I used to have diaries all the time or I just wrote short stories in the notebooks. When I got older and had a computer I blogged about my personal life but then due to life changes I stopped that. After moving away from home and being able to be free in terms of my appearance, the blog was kind of a “natural” thing to move to – somehow one day my boyfriend told me he’d like to take pictures of my outfit and there it started. We had no idea what we were doing but finding a reason and possibility to share my views in fashion was a big deal for me!

What is your bog about?

Let’s say my blog has a little bit of everything in it – it has been focused mainly on my personal style that I hope people find somewhat inspiring but besides that I’m trying to concentrate more on the fashion journalism part and write about different trends about my blog: like what’s in this season, what are celebs wearing etc. One popular section that is rather new in my blog is “Fashion rant” that means I write about some controversial trends in my blog from this funny/sarcastic perspective. People love to read articles that aren’t sugar-coated!

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What are the best and worst things about being a blogger?

Thanks to the blog I’ve got some great possibilities. First of all, what’s the biggest plus in blogging for me is the confidence and energy-boost it gives! If you are tired and don’t want to go out but you know there are people who want to read your articles and see updates from you, you just have to push yourself – blogging means you won’t have those sloth-moments and you are always motivated to keep going. Also, seeing pretty pictures taken of you, you just can’t help but feel very good about you! Now on the business side thanks to blogging I’ve met some great people and that is only priceless. But on the worst side I can’t really say there is anything. Yes of course there are negative/hurtful comments but it just makes you stronger as a person and I wouldn’t say it’s that worse. If you make it a positive experience, there is nothing bad that can happen!

What are the things you like most about your career?

I’m not that sure I can call blogging a career right now because I still need a day job to “pay the bills”. However, I definitely hope one day it will be a genuine career because the thrill blogging gives is amazing – the shooting, the events, the people – it’s all once-in-a-lifetime feeling!

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What are some of your top sources of inspiration?

I always love to say that inspiration is everywhere – you can find inspiration from the streets, from the surrounding you have (like seeing a very beautiful park and wanting to take pictures exactly there), but of course brands and other bloggers are a great influence. So overall I just like to keep my eyes opened in case a flash of inspiration passes by 😉

What is a typical day like?

All days are rather different but the most common one starts with morning coffee and a little breakfast that is sided by scrolling through my blogroll – I want to keep an eye on what’s going on in blogging world, what are other bloggers up to and what’s going on in fashion overall! Then we’re usually off to the city for some meetings (if we have any on that day) and then going to prepare the post by taking the photos for articles. In the evening I finish the post by editing pictures etc. It can all vary a lot but these are the basics of my days!

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What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

I wouldn’t say I have particular accomplishments since I’m still really growing my blog – it’s rather young and I try to be active with writing nice, informative articles. However, for me a great thing was achieving over 500 fans very rapidly and having some brands collaborating already. I only hope to grow it bigger every day!

What would be your advice to someone wanting to start a blog?

I’d say go for it! The only thing that can stop you is yourself by setting boundaries but if once you step out of those borders, you’ll be able to do great things! Blogging needs passion and commitment because it’s no secret blogging will become your life! It can consume your days like you can’t imagine so you have to be ready for that challenge. If you have the passion and thrive towards something, then just go for it J Everything else will come on the way!

What’s your philosophy of life?

My philosophy, if so called, is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson : “Wins the one who believes in winning”. If you believe in achieving something or if you simply believe in yourself, everything can become real! Be bold, be confident and smile!

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