Written by Amber Hawkins @ambbamm_
Photo by Taran Walia Make up/Styling by Penelope Sloan
Penelope is an NFT Opportunity Creator, Crypto Enthusiast, Brand Strategist, Interior & Graphic Designer. She is an artist and director. There is no doubt that she is a serial entrepreneur with an innovative concept.
"I bring businesses new opportunities and strategies to grow. I connect dots, turn ideas into designs, and create strategic partnerships. I will design spaces, graphics, events, and experiences. I’ll design anything, really." - Penelope
YV: What inspired you to develop the idea for your consulting agency?
Penelope: I've always planned to eventually create a collective. In branding, so many different things need to happen from business planning, identity design, communications, media + content creation, space design, events, marketing, advertising... so having a strong team is essential as a brand strategist. I can do so many things, but I want to focus on being the creative director - so having the right team makes you a powerhouse.
I’m a natural connector so I’m always recommending people to work together. I want to build a team so that I can scale. I've had a blast as a freelancer sub-contracting a team when I needed to - so nothing is really changing except I want to formalize it now that I have so many dope people to call on for different phases of the branding journey.
Having the desire to help my clients through the brand strategy/design and early business development phase, as well as wanting to collaborate more often with all the awesomely talented people I have gotten to know and work with over the years is really the main reason.
I want to do bigger projects, be the creative director, lead the vision, and have other people help me execute and create.
YV: Knowing what you know now, would you have done anything differently?
Penelope: I would have been more focused on nailing down my own brand strategy earlier because I now realize how important it is, and how many businesses do not do the fundamental groundwork before they start doing things to design, launch or market their business. I’m now creating ‘Brand Bibles’ for my client, where all of the brand guidelines and information about their company can easily be accessed by anybody they want to bring onto their team or work with, like marketing or advertising staff, strategic partners, and creatives. I have everything in my head and I think most business owners do too. But the amount of clarity and ability to get stuff done faster when you have all the info you need to share with other pros at your fingertips has been super helpful.
YV: Can you describe a typical day for you?
Penelope: No typical days, lol! I love that every day is different and I get to work on so many cool projects but typically I time block in my Google calendar all my tasks and meetings… I wake up, have my espresso and biscotti, do a five-minute meditation, watch a YouTube video - something like impact theory or school of greatness, or something motivational! And I’m really into psychology and relationship expert type content because I am always here to learn about human nature. And then I jump on my laptop, iPad, and iPhone - usually all at the same time. I use my iPad to take notes and doodle while I am working on my laptop, doing emails, design work, or research… and obviously, my phone is there for conversations, and answering messages. I love to-do lists. So I usually make those and hopefully cross stuff off them every day too!
Let me tell you step by step what happened today:
Click link below
YV: What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on or are currently working on?
Penelope: https://www.behance.net/PenelopeSloan has been my most recently completed and fav project. It's my temp portfolio as I am building my new website.
Right now I’m most focused on two new clients, FLY NFTS and Little Haiti Coin, and my own rebranding/identity design build out for my new website for GemHouse Collective - which is the collective I plan to launch by 2022. The vision is: GemHouse Collective - A collection of human gems in the branding, design, and media space. We offer a full-service branding experience. GemHouse Properties - A collection of shiny spaces and properties available for short term rentals, digital nomad types (for us to stay in and also profit from) - I'm trying to turn all my expenses into assets :) And eventually, I would like to re-open GemHouse, which was the original brand I started as a coworking space with the aim to build a collective out of there. I opened pre covid and then covid killed it.
My dream was to create the Soho House of Vancouver. There are so many creative pros here but no cool clubs or hangouts like Soho House (which I love to visit while I'm in Miami and LA).
I'm currently curating and onboarding artists and creators to drop NFTs with @FlyNFTs. Her latest projects are working with @safex.io to do custom product development and @CaptainHaiti and @LittleHaitiCoin brand strategist + creative director. She partnered with NFT expert @israelswilson, the details of that project are coming soon.
FLY NFTs: We are a Miami-based Creative Agency that caters to NFTs and the digital space. With a team full of fly creativity and several years of experience in the Crypto Digi world, FLY NFTs helps you to launch your NFT project and bring value to your digital art. We create, plan, launch, promote and manage your project. I am an artist-curator and strategic partner, bringing the talent and doing brand strategy/helping them plan what's next, manage the artists and do concept dev, and right now we are planning artist showcases and launch parties for The Miami Crypto Exchange event as well as Art Basel.
Little Haiti Coin: (www.littlehaiticoin.com) is a social good crypto project that allows you to invest in Little Haiti, Haitians, and human value. You buy the coins and they sponsor cleaning up Little Haiti, as well as provide coins to residents there and in Haiti. Those coins can be used to exchange for products in Little Haiti, and help create a decentralized value exchange via their tokens, that is not corruptible. It's a peaceful but revolutionary way to put wealth back into the pockets of Haitians, protect their culture, protect them from gentrification, and include them in the wealth that will be created as developers move into Little Haiti (there are two major devs coming soon: Magic City Innovation District and Eastside Ridge.) Little Haiti based businesses to get the first shot at the sub-contracts for the development coming up. I love what he is doing and think it's so important. I am helping Captain Haiti create a stronger social media strategy and with content creation and planning. I do several consulting calls a week with the founder to help him strategize and prepare him for everything great that’s coming his way. YV: What challenges did you have to overcome at the start of your entrepreneur journey? Penelope: #1 above all else, I've overcome a ton of limiting beliefs!! Which challenges have I faced... um all of them, ha! I started my business when I was 22 years old, with student loan debt. It was a lot of work to get people to take me seriously on the Interior Design side because trusting a newbie Interior Designer with a large budget or a large Reno is scary. That's actually why I started doing a lot of graphic design because it was supplementing my income and I was able to get a lot of smaller projects from entrepreneurs (trying to make something happen for themselves because of the 2008-2010 recession) doing things like business cards and logos, while I built my interior design portfolio starting with home staging and then moving to smaller Renos and then finally Custom homes and full-on commercial projects. I've tried so many things and pivoted. Even getting people to understand I could do both graphic and interior design..people would be like, but wait, how? The creative process is the creative process. That is what I am good at. I can design anything!
I've had to overcome undervaluing myself and finding the confidence to charge based on my value. I've had to learn how to say no to projects that don't want to pay me properly or give me equity. I want to deliver only high-quality work and I learned that when they can't pay me what I need, then I stretch myself too thin by taking on more clients, instead of feeling secure and like, they can wait while I hyper-focus and deliver top-notch work for the clients I have now.
I've had to deal with sexual harassment, my first mentor turned business partner (a 56-year-old man) fell in love, and when I told him I would NOT be into anything but a business relationship, he got really weird and I had to dissolve that business, and start over. I've also had men dangle high-paying jobs in front of me - but only if I would have sex with them-kind of thing. One builder even drove me to a motel after I did a 6-hour design consult. That made me decide to focus on Commercial Design with business owners instead of creepy old man builders in Surrey.
What else? I've been broke. I've been taken advantage of, scammed. I have failed so many times in so many ways. I've had to start over multiple times. I opened my first designs studio on a month to month lease, they told me I would have around two years before they asked me to move out to tear down...then they came to me 6 months after opening and told me they got their demo permit approved way faster than anticipated. That was a hard time, taking the L, starting over. Same with Gemhouse. Put my saving into it, opened, ran it for a bit and then Covid closed us.
No regrets though! I have had a lot of success and freedom and worked with so many great people. Lessons on lessons that just added to my value as a consultant now. When working with start-ups, I've been there, tried it, done that, and learned how to do it better and better.
The marathon continues! I hope you enjoyed getting to know me. If you read this article and want to connect, find me @nelavisoin and or @penelopesloandesign on Facebook + IG / and @nelavsion on ClubHouse Many Blessings xP
Photos were taken by Judy Mixi