On the heels of the first annual SheRocks, an event celebrating women in the arts, CEO of Love Life Media, LLC is a very busy woman. Busy handling PR and branding for businesses and brands across the country, and well…preparing for the second annual SheRocks. We caught up with the media maven and chatted about Love Life Media, LLC, what SheRocks means to women and what’s up next for her. Check out the interview below.
Chattertainment: I know you’re super busy at the moment and I want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me.
Timea Gaines: No problem, no problem.
C: Thank you, I know there’s a lot, a lot, a lot going on between both SheROCKS and your normal everyday business media mogul stuff (laughs). I know every moment counts so thanks so much.
C: Speaking of busy, what exactly is Love Life Media, LLC and how did you get started with that?
TG: Well Love Life Media is a PR, branding and consulting firm. I actually started it because I was doing PR part-time for awhile and it stems from me being at Radio One under the media affairs and community affairs director there for all five DC market stations. Sheila Stewart, she became a really great mentor of mine and just me being connected to her and learning from her helped me to get into other opportunities and kind of fall in love with the communications world. Even though communications was my major during college and its what I got my degree in, I would say my passion kind of sparked under her mentorship. So after doing it for awhile and really pursuing it but then having my government job full-time, it became a tease. I was like you know what, I wanna go there and I wanna do what I love full-time. So that’s why I started Love Life Media. We’ve been rolling ever since. We’re going into our second year of business and it’s the best decision that I’ve ever made. We do public relations, we do brand strategy, we develop brand strategy for our clients as well as consulting for brands.
C: That’s great. To hear that you followed your heart and went with what was passionate for you as opposed to doing what, for others, probably made a little more sense is great and inspiring. I’m sure that things can get pretty interesting doing what you do though lol. What has been the most interesting client experience you’ve had?
TG: It depends on what you mean by interesting lol
C: Interesting meaning maybe when you were actually challenged a bit more. Maybe it was a comical situation…maybe it was one of those situations that you’ll never forget. Interesting in any of those ways.
TG: I don’t know, I would say throughout the extent of my career you never could have told me that I would have been in the same room meeting people like Boris Kodjoe or Gabrielle Union. You could have never told me that I would’ve been a PR assistant on Chris Samuels’ retirement party. I think things like those moments are things that make me go wow, oh my gosh. My dream is unfolding before my eyes. And those are some of my best experiences. I would say on my way to a gala towards the end of 2012 is when I made the decision to transfer. Me sharing that time with my mentor and just speaking to her about different experiences she had in the industry was one of those moments that I found close, but as far as my clients are concerned I would say every moment is pretty interesting. When you are working with people…one thing that I don’t do is I don’t take on clients and I don’t take on brands that I don’t believe in. The motto for my company is “love your brand, live you message and make a difference” and if you are not fully involved in what you’re doing and what you say your brand represents I will not represent you. For me, yes this is my full-time business, this is my means of income but at the same time we hold a high level of integrity and we want people to get how important it is to love what you’re doing because if you don’t love what you’re doing you can’t impact anybody else. You can’t make people believe in what you’re doing and believe in what you’re selling and what you’re representing. So I would say every moment is pretty interesting because we get the chance to create, we get the chance to develop and we get the chance to expand visions. I had the pleasure of having Women’s Elevation Magazine as one of my clients and that was a pretty rewarding experience and I’ve had some great non-profits that I’ve worked with and coaches and things of that nature. Just when we’re in the moment of creating brand strategy and developing ways to help them to expand their vision those are all interesting moments for me. I can’t pinpoint necessarily one moment with clients per se because I find it all intriguing. Everyday we’re loving what we do, we’re living in our brand experience. We’re living the motto that we’re telling everybody else to believe in so everyday interesting.
C: That’s great. When you can have everyday and every moment to keep you going, keep you focused and keep you loving what you do that’s great. In 2014, with celebrities and people in the industry ruining their brands and damage control is at an all time high, is there any celebrity you feel right now really could use some of your services and what you do on the damage control side?
TG: Lol oh wow, that’s interesting. When you talk about spin tactics and damage control one thing that people fail to realize is that no matter what you put in place as a public relations company it’s up to the brand or public figure to follow through with the plan. I see a lot of young celebrities like the Justin Bieber’s and the Chris Brown’s who are getting a lot of flack lately and the industry has kind of changed them. If you don’t have the right team around you it can definitely do some damage. So I wouldn’t say it’s so much about damage control more so than its about the team and the people that you have around you that’s keep you level headed. When you get a taste of the industry, if you are not a person who is prepared, who is level headed, who is ready to go into this…the industry is a monster. If you don’t go in with the right mindset, with the right heart and most of all with the right people around you to keep you grounded it can definitely consume you. I think that’s what people don’t understand. We have a lot to say about what people are going through and their experiences when we’re looking from the outside in but for those who haven’t had a taste of what they’re going through, being young and growing up in this industry, the industry is very cut throat. There are some really tough things that you’re challenged with, that you’re faced with and that you’re presented with, that if you’re not careful and if you don’t have the right people around you it can be very very difficult to keep your integrity and stay level headed. Especially with all eyes watching you. You don’t really have that moment or that time for privacy and you don’t have the opportunity that others have to fall. Every mistake you make is being scrutinized. So those are some celebrities that I look at and I’m just like who’s on their team, who’s helping to keep them level headed and encouraged more so than worrying about spin tactics and damage control. That’s a matter of theory and experience and what you’re implementing but at the end of the day no matter what kind of brand strategy you develop for a client, its up to them to follow through with it.
C: With that being said, that’s something that you’ve learned over time because you know the behind the scenes and what it takes on both ends, to be the PR person and also to be the celebrity or the brand needing to keep things reigned in. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since getting into media, branding and PR?
TG: That success isn’t about you. I think sometimes we can be so selfish. We live in an individualistic culture and sometimes we can be so self consumed like ‘I want’ and ‘I want this to thrive’ but I can not call myself successful if I can’t look back and see other successful women and men who are able to carry on my legacy well after I’m dead and gone. People fail to realize that we need each other in order to thrive. Everybody is working so hard to get to the top and bring others down or they’re scared. When I first got into the industry on both sides, because I freelance as a broadcast journalist so sometimes I’ve had the opportunity to interview celebrities and then I’ve been on the other side of things where I’m doing the PR work and things like that. What I used to fear is that ‘oh my gosh I can’t share my ideas with everybody’ or ‘I can’t share my thoughts with everybody because somebody’s gonna steal it’. I think that’s what we’re so concerned about in business and when we have this idea we feel is so great and so awesome and we wanna protect it because it’s our baby but I’ve learned that no one can do what you do the way that GOD gave it to you to do it. If I am really as skilled as I say I am no one’s gonna be able to execute it the way that I can execute it, but you have to keep in mind that you need people in order to succeed so you can’t smother your own dream and I feel like that’s what people do. To let go and pour into people like my mentors have poured into me and to share that dream. I am not successful, great or skilled unless I can help someone else along and I can look back and teach them the things that I’ve learned along the way.
C: I couldn’t agree with you more. I have people all the time say ‘this is what I had on my mind but I’m not gonna share the rest’ and I’m like I may be able to help you with that but you won’t let me lol. People miss that. Now let’s talk about SheRocks, one of your babies. How did the conception of SheRocks come to be.
TG: Woo! lol It’s so funny because it was Women’s History Month. We said we have to do something for it. I was talking with my team and we were saying why don’t we do a documentary and document some women who are doing some phenomenal things in the community and stuff like that. I was like no, there has to be a niche. We have to focus it on a type of woman. Maybe we should do it on professionals. No, maybe we should do it on women who are activists or something like that. Then as I began to do my research and just trying to pinpoint what we wanted our documentary to be geared towards, I found that less than 20-30% of women have their visual artwork in museums across the world. I thought, that is really sad. I have so many friends that are in the music industry and I look at how you’ll have a woman drummer or bassist or a woman who is playing keys and she is killing and they’ll be like ‘yo she’s hot for a girl’ and I’m like what do you even mean by that?. So I said no, you know what, I want to do an event that is infused with celebrating women in the arts but that also honors women who are industry power players. So I came up with the concept SheROCKS. Women need to know that they’re not just good enough for a woman but they’re good period. I wanted to build an environment where there was synergy, where we had woman owned businesses and women who are just thriving not only in their industry and in their careers but also thriving in the arts that are not often looked at. Once I put it out there and did a blast…I did everything last year. It ended up being sold out and we got a great response and I realized that so many professional women have artistic ability. When I saw that, I was like yeah we definitely have to do that so that’s how it came about. It was supposed to be a documentary.
C: Was it always supposed to be an annual event or did the success of the first event set the stage for that?
TG: That’s exactly what happened. It was a one time thing and I started getting phone calls and emails from people in business. It even kind of spear headed and launched some businesses of women who were there. They made connections they have to this day. They made business transactions that were ongoing. So people were like ‘you have to bring this event back’ and they wanted us to do it in Fall of last year, the same year and I was like I’m still trying to recover lol. So I decided to make it an annual event. You have to give the people what they want. People wanted it back and we’re just grateful for the supporters that have rallied behind it. I hope everyone who comes out really enjoys themselves and gets some of the experience that we had last year but even more. Each year it grows bigger and better.
C: You mentioned some of the opportunities that women gained from the event. Of course there are performances and awards and a celebration, but how important to the community is the vendor aspect of the event?
TG: Yeah, having vendors there is pretty important because one of the things that we wanted to stress, and not just to the community, but women in business, is that they have support. There’s a large presence of women owned businesses who are thriving. I often say a lot of times we don’t realize that we can make many micro businesses macro businesses by choosing to invest and to support the small business owners that are within our community. We have women who have launched and own hair product lines that will be there. We have women who are being picked up in mass distribution for their cosmetics and in major retailers like CVS who will be at this event. We want the community to be able to see them and be able to connect with these young entrepreneurs, these young women who are doing amazing things. I feel like this aspect is very important because it gives these business owners a chance to be visible and to engage with people who may not know what they’re doing, with press who may not have heard of them before. It gives them the ability to continue to thrive and know that they have that support behind them and a chance to increase their loyal consumer base. Every time you engage with who is potentially your target audience you are growing your consumer base and loyalty. Growing brand loyalty is something that we are all about so it’s very important for us to have that aspect as well. Also for people to shop and get new products and engage in new ways. We as women, we love to shop. I know I love to shop lol. See a performance and pick up a brand new bag on the way lol.
C: Lol when you think about the aspect, the picture of SheROCKS…I haven’t been there so I have in my mind a little bit of a preconceived notion in a positive way. I see it as being so many things for women wrapped into one. Is that what your intention is? What does SheRocks really mean for women?
TG: Absolutely, it means a platform to propel into purpose. That’s the best way that I can say it. Not only are you getting this visibility and making new connections and thriving and shining in your gift while all of your fellow women are out there supporting and rallying behind you but it is propelling you into purpose. It shows you ‘look you can do this, you were meant to do this, you were born to do this and here you have hundreds of people around you who are saying and speaking the same thing’.
C: Ok, so SheROCKS is on March 29th and we’re talking about that but what’s next for you? Is there anything else on the horizon other than SheROCKS and your everyday important busy PR business?
TG: It’s definitely been a journey for me. We’ve been picking up some new clients which is definitely awesome and we have a lot of work that has to be done. We have brands that are being looked at by some major outlets. We try not to do too much talking so we can kind of come out and say ‘hey surprise everyone’ lol but we’ve been blessed to add some pretty amazing people to our roster. So after SheROCKS we’re gonna have to work extra hard. On the back end I’m working on my personal brand as a speaker, radio personality and communications coach and that alone has been keeping my schedule busy as well. I just spoke for the Sigmas not too long ago. I had to speak at my radio station’s event and tomorrow I’ll be at the Suitland Civic Center so it’s definitely been a whirlwind of opportunity and I’m just walking through every open door. Whatever door GOD opens for me I’m gonna run through it.
C: Taking what GOD has given you and making things that are meaningful for everyone is to be commended. Tell people how they can find you, website, social media, etc.
TG: Our website is www.lovelifemedia.com. If you want to find us on Facebook it’s @lovelifemedia. On everything else, Instagram, Twitter, we are @llm_lovelife. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram all of that @sunnysidemonroe.
C: Wonderful, it’s been great chatting with you.
TG: Thank you so much, it’s been awesome talking to you as well. I can’t wait to see everybody and look out for special things that are coming this week pre-event. We have some things we are offering anyone who wants to come so make sure you guys are following us!
C: Have a great day, get some rest and see you on Saturday.
TG: See you there. Bye bye.
The second annual SheRocks will take place on March 29, 2014, 6:00 – 9:00pm.