It’s our birthday! This month we turn 7 and to celebrate we’re highlighting some of the amazing clients we’ve had the honor of working with for the past 7 years. Every day in July stop by to get inspired, get the inside scoop and see how brands evolve. We’ve worked with small brands, big brands, brands that evolved and brand that were dissolved and through it all we have developed more passion and spirit than you can imagine.

To kick off the series we are first highlighting Porshea Wilkins. Porshea is one of the first entrepreneurs that we worked with back in the day and we worked with her to build her personal brand over at Since that time Porshea has evolved and is now managing many brands, including a powerful platform Build It For Your Last Name, with her husband Jarrod. Porshea is proof that your brand is always best when it evolves to match your growth. Need inspiration? Listen to the podcast below, and then visit Porshea’s website at and get on her list! You won’t regret it!

Three years ago today I launched Brand Excitement here in Hudson County, New Jersey. At the time I was till working a full-time job, had just graduated from Rising Tide Capital’s Community Business Academy (one day before) and felt empowered, for the first time, to make a real go at being a business owner.

I started part-time. Building my clientele and visibility up as I began. I had already started planting seeds the year before and had garnered enough visibility from a pilot-run business to get into O, The Oprah Magazine and get into a few local newspapers. From that “social proof” I launched on January 8 with the plans of going full time. By June 15, 2010 I had resigned from my corporate job at Mattlin Mandell and was in business full time. It was a whirlwind.

The first year was getting to know what it was like to be in business. The second year, getting to know what my clients truly wanted and the third year has been understanding how to grow, hire help and continue to serve my clients. I’ll admit, I have dropped a lot of balls, but fortunately the failures are greatly outweighed by the successes. We’ve won awards from Rising Tide Capital and American Express/Count Me In and have received recognition for our work and reputation right up the chain, all the way to Evan Carmichael, making his list of the top 25 Brand Experts on Twitter.

As we turn 3 (entering our fourth year) we are full of anticipation and excitement. People are starting to “get it” and branding is no longer a corporate term. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are grabbing hold of this concept and understanding just how critical it is to “brand” a business and not just build a business. As we progress through the year we’ll be releasing new products, launching new programs and planning events that catapult our community like never before. As we say in our newsletter each week… Excitement Drives Everything!

This week was spectacular! It was Global Entrepreneurship week and the city was brimming with events for entrepreneurs to meet and mingle, learn, inspire and grow. On Wednesday I had the honor of speaking on a panel discussion with 3 other speakers: Stevie Clifton, co-founder of Animoto, Luca Cusolito of Creative Enabler, venture capitalist Robert Semmens of NY Angels and Jay Savulich of Rising Tide Capital. It was a fun and lively discussion and I really enjoyed sharing the highs and lows of my business since I launched two years ago.

Luca Cusolito of Creative Enabler, Stevie Clifton of Animoto, me and Jay Savulich of Rising Tide Capital for Global Entrepreneurship Week Jersey City

There has been a lot of networking this week, a lot of great things come out of that and some really wrong things come out of that. Unfortunately, some people don’t have a clue when it comes to brand etiquette so today that is the focus of my article. Take a look and see if you’re breaking some of these simple rules. Can you pass the test?

Until next time.

Create a brand explosion!

Good morning!

So much going on today. Today is the New York City Marathon. I like to wake up and watch the news coverage as people prepare to take off, fulfill their dreams and test their bodies. I’ve never done a marathon before, but have many friends that have. Some do it for money, some do it for the love of the sport and some do it to for the sense of achievement it gives. Kinda like why we decide to go into business right?

I also like this day because I got an extra hour of sleep. It’s the one day of the year where I actually can say “I just need one more hour” and it actually be possible! It’s like magic!

I’m gearing up and preparing for events in and around the city next week for Global Entrepreneurship week. This year I’ve been asked to appear on a panel of experts including one of the founders of the award winning software Animoto. I’ve been told the event will be recorded, and I hope to share it with you in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I’ll also be attending some other events and possibly exhibiting at one. The first time I planned an event, which was just last year, I was terrified. Since then I’ve come to be quite comfortable with them and have a few core things I put in place so that I don’t get nervous. I’m sharing that with you in today’s newsletter.

Have fun today!

Good morning!

This weekend has been a blast for me. My cousin Kim celebrated her
50th birthday, and that meant I partied waaaay longer than I’m used to
(I was up almost 24 hours!). One thing about Darren’s side of the family —
they party party hard!

(With my cousin Kim celebrating her 50th - People flew in from across the U.S.)

I’m still recuperating and plan to do nothing today but kick my feet
up and relaxing. I didn’t relax too much though, for today’s article I give
some useful insight into real brand value, and the brand booster resource
has a link to get you some great photos for your website or blog.

Enjoy! makes it so easy to create video that even professional video editors use it. (I sound like a commercial right? Yeah, that happens with me sometimes.) I just think it’s a great product, and I suppose to add to my experience I’ve actually met one of the co-founders who lives right here in Jersey City, NJ. If you ever look up the history of Animoto, you’ll be inspired. It started as a group of four guys moonlighting after hours to make their dream a reality and now they are HUGE and have offices in New York and California. Go to the main page here and play around a bit.

Good morning! This week has been such an inspiring one for me filled with people and events that really fuel my passions. First, my friend Jeri Quinn hosted a class called Up Your Game; Conversations that Matter – a class fully devoted to changing the way we view business from a mindset of seeing all of our talents as assets and using those to deepen our relationships with one another — while growing our businesses.

Then, on Thursday, I watched the documentary on Oprah called Miss Representation. I had been forewarned that it would be full of deep insight, emotion and tears as it shone a light on how much further we as women need to go to change our world… and our position in it. I was deeply moved and it further validated my decision to launch the Global Organization for Women in Branding. I’m so close now. Just a few more weeks.

In today’s newsletter I talk about how we all can be connected and how we can truly be involved and invested in each other. I listed 5 simple things that can change the way we work in the world. I hope you enjoy it. Also, I’ve shared a great video resource to move your marketing forward. You must be using video in today’s transparent market!

Build strong brands. Enjoy your Sunday!

On Wednesday I went to BestBuy to purchase a Nook. I felt that a lot of my time was spent reading digital files and that it was time to make the technology leap. After doing my research and comparing Apple’s Ipad to Barnes and Noble’s Nook to Amazon’s Kindle I decided to go with the Nook. I didn’t want to take the $800 leap to ipad just to read (except for when I’m commuting I am always near a computer) and I wanted to be able to read documents as well as listen to audio classes or watch videos (such as powerpoint presentations). I chose the Nook for this more

I mentored Veronica into winning 1st Place at RTC’s Plan and Pitch!

Last week I had the privilege of volunteering with Rising Tide Capital, a great non-profit business building organization here in Jersey City. Last year they hosted a business pitch competition and I was the winner, walking away with $1,500 to use for my business. This year I was a volunteer helping Veronica Saunders to pitch her business and she tied for 1st place too!! I feel myself passing on a legacy of achievement and influence.

If we don’t make an impact in what we do, and only do it for the money, it really is a disservice to those around us. We should all leave a legacy. What’s yours?

Veronica’s business, Flowers 4 rent, creates beautiful floral arrangements for special occasions using silk flowers. Because the flowers aren’t live, she’s able to serve a community of people that have allergies, want flowers out of season, want to save costs or have last minute needs. The first time I wore her flowers I didn’t even know they weren’t real! That’s how great they look.

Veronica will be building her brand soon, and as she does I’ll be sure to let you know how you can connect with her. Have you ever used silk flowers for an event?

As a small business owner you have a lot of meetings, errands and work to do. Release yourself from the pressure of being “at your desk” by hiring a virtual phone answering system. Mine is Map Communications. provides live phone answering and will then route your call to you, to any phone you choose. It’s just like hiring a receptionist, except they aren’t in the next room, and you don’t have to worry about their bathroom breaks 🙂

They have a very affordable starting plan, and you can increase it as you grow. I don’t get any commission from sharing this resource with you, so know that it comes from my experience, and from the heart!

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