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Meet Asha Spacek-Hobbs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Asha Spacek-Hobbs.

Hi Asha, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I got started by helping a designer friend <more than 12 years ago>, start his business. I love storytelling, bringing out the best in a brand/talent, and [somehow] I am able to get a very vivid and intuitive creative vision for others’ ideas, rather quickly- after first listening, and fully understanding their short and long-term goals.

Without realizing all the industry protocol verbiage at the time, before I knew it, I had helped him produce and cast for his fashion show (which included LIVE music at a sexy underground club), creative directed and styled his ad campaign and lookbook for his website, plus assisted with creating his brand tagline.

By creating the looks for his target demographic, and making the product look more expensive than they were with ideal imaging, not only did he sell out his collections, but he eventually sold and moved to Shanghai, then Los Angeles, and duplicated this dynamic business model amongst his future ventures- this was so encouraging!

In-between the transitions, we sat side-by-side as he was the web developer (pre-template era), and me the web designer, for what became my boutique model management. We basically bartered services for one another to help us each launch our businesses, and move away from bartender and server, working at the same restaurant.

My creative pal motivated me to do what I love- to help develop models and artists to become marketable that might once get overlooked via a developed portfolio, and brand-friendly personality. and hire the right professionals to groom them per industry standards.

I had no idea at the time, but looking at where we are today, versus then (pre-Instagram existence), I basically [sorry, small pat] created talent to be “influencers” before it was a word coined today. I groomed, developed, nurtured, made over the image of, built the portfolio, and worked one-on-one with models, makeup artists, designers, photographers, and hair stylists, across multiple divisions, that might be glossed over, at an initial glance.

Via my website, we built in an individual blog for each talent, and I demanded that each gal/guy post-behind-the-scenes photos, and videos, record personal messages for potential clients, attend with me networking events, where I gave them talking points, taught them how to pose for casual photos versus red carpet, watch their social media posts (at that time, primarily Facebook and Youtube)- even at the expense of some of the teen girls calling me a controlling b**ch, sent them to professionals for fitness training, runway classes, and expected them to ‘have a personality,’ on-camera, and always show up 15 minutes early, for everything, dressed the part when they walk in.

This strategy worked until I outgrew the market- their parents became too scared to allow me to send models to international countries and markets like NYC. I also had major agencies like Ford Models scouts {no longer afraid to say now} attending my showcases to poach talent, and despite the local support of local news and print media, I just did not have the budget or team to fight off all the creative theft, and emotional daggers that came with never having done this before.

Unfortunately, this was also launched in the Midwest- I did so much more explaining my genuine intentions than being respected for my forward-thinking, yet wacky ways, I willingly dissolved my business. To me, that made more sense, than spending tireless days defending my spirit and my morale. They just didn’t get me/it. Some of those accusations still scorn me today- but I am much more confident in my work, and my spirit today, than I was then.

I was new to being a business owner- so my lesson is to “never go at trying to wear every hat again- or your company will never grow.” Find people that share your business ethic – even if inexperienced- highlight what they are good at, and have them focus on that skill, and harmoniously, you will have a smoothly run team, you believe in, and believe in you!

I never claimed to know it all, but I knew, I was in love with getting others seen and heard, and booked with some type of brand awareness, or financial return that we could leverage for higher-end opportunities, never once believed to be received by a novice bunch, as well as, content to use, and streamline later for blog posts, podcasts, interviews, and building confidence with sophisticated clients, and engagement with their audience, rooting for them to succeed online.

Today, and in most recent years, I have transferred those core model and creative artist branding skills into music artist development and showcases, tv production, and event productions on massive scales like fashion weeks, festivals, corporate events, tradeshows, galas, non-profit fundraisers, VIP/celebrity experiences, and of course, today’s social media and LIVE stream/hybrid content creation.

I humbly prefer to work one-on-one by referral, while I continue to develop my skills, and learn from experts and markets ahead of me, and/or with a like-minded spirit! My clients vary from start-ups to indie artists, non-profits, corporate clients, luxury brands, or people who just want to be heard, and NOT feel alone on their journey-

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Lol, absolutely, not! There have been a lot more obstacles that encouraged my newfound spiritual lifestyle, than consistent successes- or what others consider success. I know that God will use me, and my multitude of stories/hardships, to eventually help others one day.

I know it is part of my eventual mission before I leave this earth, to encourage others, to make a difference, and to [god willing] conquer a healthy work-life balance between established businesses, memories to be proud of, and conquered time with friends and family!

I also [fondly] think that being on my third marriage {now to a musician 13 years my junior], an honor roll high-school single mom, with a youthful, forward-thinking spirit, having lived in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, originally from Chicago as the oldest of five and never fitting in any box [really]- makes me relatable to so many.

When you know your soul intentions, and the strength to stand up and strive for your passion and talent, stay true to your lines to never cross, and never leave yourself out of the business return again – because you believe in yourself as a leader, and not a doormat, struggles I have found, will lessen.

Despite being ‘in the black,’ as a new company, I was overly stretched, overwhelmed, and growing at a speed I could not control. I was/am very meticulous- I won’t use the words workaholic or perfectionist, but let’s say, I was beyond married to my work, and my goals.

My mind moved faster than my body could keep up, I began to regret having to sleep or not work 7 days a week- I was always 5 to 15 minutes late for everything, because it was just me, and I began to become depressed because once I lost the respect of those I was trying to help, I became distraught. I became obsessed with what others thought.

I spiraled out of control by trying to appear ideal and emotionless, at all times (which seemed unrelated), and show everyone I could do it- I could be a successful, businesswoman, who had just gone through a divorce, and figuring out life as a single mom, but never wanted anyone to know those were my best obstacles.

It did not help, that I looked much younger than my age, and my body type was very “Kim K-like,” before it was cool, and/or often times seen as uber provocative, and not professional. The Midwest is very conservative, so I always felt overly self-conscious; confident in my work, but not myself- as a person! I never really attached myself, to my brand, which is a major mistake, especially, once the major players, begin to notice you.

I would hide, rather than network, at these magnificent promotional events I would produce with tons of VIP experience, tons of media coverage, and tons of luxury details. No one knew who was behind all this. So at times, I later learned, others would take credit for my hard work. I didn’t feel I had earned the right to say aloud, I did a good job.

I would focus on the one thing that maybe fell out of place behind-the-scenes, and not feel worthy to celebrate the 99 things that blew everyone away. I was truly embarrassed by my success because to me, it wasn’t good enough! I would think- well only, if I had a bigger budget or a bigger team, it would have been perfect. No one would have anything bad to say. I know better than that today- I own up to the pros and cons, the lessons, and the blessings, and people will ALWAYS have something to say.

After going to work for major productions over the past decade in major markets like Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Vancouver, and beyond, I now realize how silly that is- ALL productions (even the multi-million dollar productions), suffer some type of setback or small catastrophe, behind-the-scenes. It isn’t until now, that I realize my struggle was mostly inner. Going at everything alone was normal, so at the moment, it would never hold up as an actual excuse to me!

But so much time later, I realize not really having any support or understanding from anyone during that journey- no one to really talk to comfortably without it somehow backfiring on me, or used to judge me and potentially ruin or break me, not having a support team, or therapy, or spirituality, or “me time,” to decompress, probably was not the best idea. Especially when you are creating something that is not, yet the public “norm!”

Eventually, my model divisions morphed into what would be considered, ‘all-inclusive’ today! I represented not only fashion models, but fitness, petite, plus-size, and even celebrity/influencer talent with model measurements. My roster was handcrafted to include European talent, Asian talent, black talent, Latin, and designers to highlight from all over the world- even, southeast Asian like Pakistani couture.

I wanted my model and creative artists to be able to show a vast capability to work with any type of client, from nearly every market around the world. And for clients to get one-stop talent and production services. It was too much to nurture and continuously sell, alone.

I am also more of a passionate storyteller than I am a numbers girl, so oftentimes, I would give up my company commission to keep talent happy, or I would probably lowball the value of talent in the very beginning, unknowingly to meet client budgets. I think if I ever did it again- I would partner with a shark, when it comes to the monetary streams of revenue for the company, haha.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
After working in my many markets, and for many other types of creative clients, I currently focus on one of two aspects of brand strategy/talent development; Content Creation, OR Event Production.

Any great business or talent, continuously has, or needs compelling photos & video to tell their story, AND/OR they need all types of events (promotional, virtual/LIVE/hybrid, grand opening, engagement/reward, stunt, etc) to tell their story, meet immediate and long-term goals, and stay relevant digitally, on social media, as well as controlling your narrative for/with consumers, fans, trolls, the industry, and competitors. So depending on the existing need, budget, and/or existing team of the client, I usually serve as a pretty kick** event producer or photo/video creative director.

My strong niche’ areas are in fashion, music and non-profit productions (tv/video, event, photo/ad, digital), but post-pandemic, I have been focusing on corporate events: summits, conferences, meeting planning, training, etc all across the US- it has been very informative, and was definitely a missing component for me, that I am grateful to learn these massive PRO company aspects of event production, and then <be able to> scale when I resume independent business or talent projects in entertainment, in the future.

Seeing how events are held at infamous resorts like Hilton Head Island, SC, held over the span of a week or two (not one or two days) that include areas like childcare, transportation, breakout meetings/education, offsite activities away from the original venue, complimentary money awarded to attendees, and full department staff to direct- not just your go-to resources or vendors, has been the best education for me, in addition, to a paycheck.

I am extremely grateful to be able to pass this knowledge and level of expectation onto my future clients, to help them beyond my dreams! I am really known for bringing out the best strategy/image in the client (oftentimes before they realize how valuable), making everything look more expensive than the budget set for, creating content and brand awareness the client can use for years to come, and coming up with sensory and experience type events that guests will talk about for years.

Have you ever been to those events, where you know a lot of money was spent, but you have no idea what/why, or worse, as soon as you get there, you want to leave, because aside from the bar and photo booth, it seems exactly the same- many details or opportunities to create “talked about” memories were missed? Or as a talent or business your photo/video to advertise you/your talent, does not match who you are, or who you’re looking to attract?

Yes, so either as your brand strategist/manager, creative director, or event producer, I will keep in mind your vision, try to predict and overcome your obstacles, speak to your target market, and tell your story, BEYOND your expectations- all within budget and deadline.

What sets me apart is, that I listen first. Then I deliver on your behalf as if it were for me- what I would expect for myself. My standards are sometimes higher than my clients’. I always go after creating timeless content and events that you can leverage, no matter what. I can also adapt to various clientele- of various religious, political, social, and/or global differences and ideals; if you are a start-up, multi-million, celeb, or indie talent, with family, or wild and free, I don’t judge.

If I feel I can help you, and you will really allow me to do my job, I am excited to serve you. I give all of myself to my clients- so I have become very selective. I certainly protect my energy, and my mental health more now. I take into account your professional and personal obstacles and desires- setting you up for success. And hopefully I/us, a long-term relationship. Or, if a “one-off,” then at a minimum, a compelling experience that delivers more than you needed to move forward/begin/re-brand.

I am most proud of two things: my morale/work ethic, and my vast experience across numerous industries after all these years; learning so many behind-the-scenes roles, as well as forefront, leading roles. I am honest, and genuine, and will fight for you, as well as myself, not to cross any lines, that I can not live with.

But, I will also, go to the ends of the earth, to make sure the outcome of my work, is something everyone involved, is absolutely proud of- and feels good about my leading decisions! I am decisive and authentic, yet ever learning.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
There are plenty changes within the brand content (video/photo/social media engagement), and event production industries occurring on what seems to be a weekly, basis.

The needs, resources, and emotions of vendors and consumers are ever-changing; especially after the constant fears and realities of our global disasters, so you have to stay creative, self-educating, forward-thinking, and either confident choice of staying in the know, or staying oblivious of what is going on around you, so you can focus on what you need to accomplish/create, and your success, no matter what!

Compelling imagery to sell or tell your intent in a short period of time and engagement will become even more crucial. I definitely see more events, photo/video campaigns, music, and fashion, definitely playing to our emotions, and/or convenience of lifestyle more and more in the years to come. Content will be more compelling, more raw, more fantasy/escape, and lazier. In the luxury sector and inclusive, exclusivity will only increase.

Agendas and communities will strengthen, but also divide us more- unfortunately, yet fortunately, if you’re tapped in. So understanding the needs of your audience will be very important. Brands and talent will have more freedom and YET will have to be more hyper-aware and sensitive. There will be a continued song and dance of saying everything, yet revealing nothing (in your face, as well as subliminally).

Personally, I will be creating a community platform in music, business, and female inspiration, within the next year, and in conjunction with my relaunching one of the multiple business ventures again, that will seamlessly bleed into one another. I will also build out more of my voice on social platforms, forums, and streamline communication for like-minded talent and professionals who want to feel a sense of belonging and brainstorming. I will begin to also lift the veil through publication like this, so other creatives don’t feel alone.

I will pace myself in building these areas while still taking clients, maturing in learning from other experts, learning & listening to what is missing from industries, and working for others as an independent contractor. I am this time, open to working with investors, other groups, and/or other like-minded individuals to help me bring these to fruition. ‘A percentage of something is better than all of nothing!’

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