I got a chance to talk with bomb ass CEO/Founder of Concepteur, Astrid. I put out an advertisement on Girlboss Community (which if you aren’t apart of, I strongly recommend you become apart to connect with other bad ass boss women) to interview women for my blog and her story about how she moved from Venezuela to the U.S. and started a marketing agency within the first month of moving really stuck out to me and I knew I had to interview her. We talked about her move, her journey in entrepreneurship and she gave advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Jasmine: For those who may not know who you are, explain who Astrid is and what Concepteur does?
Astrid: I’m a Venezuelan publicist and marketer, with an always-growing passion for creation, design and arts. I’m also the owner of Concepteur, a marketing agency based in Miami since 2016, founded and inspired by my constant desire for creation and expression while doing what I’m passionate about: creative marketing.
Jasmine: What made you get into doing fashion, advertising and event planning? Was this something you were always interested in or something that came later on in life?
Astrid: I’ve been moved by creative expression since I was a child. I wanted to become an artist, a designer and a painter. Later, I came to find out that Advertising was a profession that mixed the artistic areas with strategic skills, and I fell in love with it right away. Luckily enough for me, I found my dream career right out of school.
My career started as the age of sixteen; then at eighteen, I got my first job in an advertising agency. I was given the opportunity to work in the Account department, where I had the fortune of getting involved and working with each department in the agency; it was there where I realized which areas I loved the most.
As for fashion, my brother is a fashion designer and his work opened a door for me to be in fashion networking events. It led us on amazing projects from designing marketing strategies for brands to producing fashion designer shows at event such as Funkshion Miami.
Jasmine: What were you doing before Concepteur?
Astrid: Working as an Account Director and Planner at an international Advertising back in Venezuela, with brands such as Coca-Cola, Samsung, Haier, among other existing brands.
Jasmine: You mentioned you moved from Venezuela to the U.S. and founded your marketing agency the same month you moved. What made you come to the U.S. and what was that process of starting your marketing agency like? Did you start that before you moved to the U.S. or did you start it after you moved?
Astrid: I moved looking for professional growth and better opportunities outside of my country, which hasn’t been in it’s best the last few years and since part of my family was already here, it was the perfect opportunity for me.
Now the process of starting a new business in a new country is a different story, even when I had experience working one vents and with brands on the U.S. entrepreneurship, it was not an easy route.
Within the very first month of moving, I created my marketing agency while working on managing influencer strategies for Samsung Latin-America, but as I decided to have no partners, the initial months were a little slow and a hard learning process to understand the market and start pushing a business where no one knew me. After all the legal process, I had to do a lot of research to understand the local market, focusing on my goals and the drive to not stop even when I felt that I wasn’t accomplishing a thing in the beginning.
Jasmine: What was the hardest part about starting your marketing agency?
Astrid: Getting the first clients is the hardest part. Even if you had a lot of experience back in your country, nobody knows who you are professionally and you have to show your strongest skills without lowering your rates. That part was challenging.
Also, when you’re starting and wanting to reach profitability, it’s easy to lose focus on the kind of projects you would like to get into, projects that make you feel proud of and that resonate with the core vision of your business.
Jasmine: Did you start off as a one-person team and eventually hired people or where there always people on the team?
Astrid: I started by myself on an independency impulse, but soon I had to start hiring designers, developers and copywriters, at the beginning only by project but as soon as the number of clients grew, the team did too.
Starting a business solo could sound like a bold and strongly independent idea, but from experience, my advice would be to find a partner which expertise complements yours, that will let your business grow faster and will minimize the typical start-up mistakes.
Jasmine: How long did it take for you to get your first client and to reach profitability with your company?
Astrid: The first client came pretty fast since the work to get them was intense. On the first two months, I was already creating marketing strategies for an App but the profitability comes slow on marketing agencies since the monthly fee varies depending on the services provided. After the first semester, the profits came along with the knowledge to make the business sustainable.
Jasmine: How did you market your business?
Astrid: Always focusing on the importance of the valuable content, I started with email marketing, sending to local businesses and curating data about their market and how to grow into it, with a database made by manual searching. To compliment that work attended networking events to meet new people and introduce my business was very effective! If you want to make your business known, go out and talk about it.
Jasmine: How long were you running the business before you started paying yourself?
Astrid: The first six months, I was making just enough to pay monthly fixed expenses. After that, I understood my agency was qualified enough to charge more and to go for bigger clients, the profit grew and my first personal check came.
Jasmine: If a kid walked up to you asking for your avice and you only had a few minutes to give them the best tips in entrepreneurship, what would it be?
Astrid: Know your worth, trust your knowledge and go for it with the determination to rise. Also, never work without an anticipated payment (haha).
Jasmine: Would you recommend entrepreneurship to someone? What are the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur? More specifically of a marketing agency.
Astrid: Totally! Being an entrepreneur will add extra motivation to your day-to-day journey in a way, I feel, no other regular job could do.
I’m not going to lie; being an entrepreneur isn’t an easy job, especially on this crazy-fast marketing field. It’s not all about independence and being your own boss; you’re going to need to work harder than others, to have less free time, longer nights, and to develop strategic skills, and self-discipline but with the beautiful high reward of working on what you love and makes you proud.
Jasmine: Is there a company you haven’t worked with that you would love to work with?
Astrid: After 13 years in the field, I’m more focused on brands with a purpose than on big names. Right now, I would like to start working and partnering with brands led by women or those whose mission involves a benefit to this world more than for their pockets.
Jasmine: What’s next for Concepteur?
Astrid: Right now, to keep growing along with our current clients and their goals, while we start to extend our services to institutions working on social conscientiousness and businesses led by women, to help them reach their highest potential.
In the long term, we’re evaluating relocation or opening in a new city in the U.S.
Jasmine: Where can people connect with Concepteur on social media?
Astrid: Instagram: @concepteurus and our site: www.concepteur.net