At Open Space Studios, we commonly find ourselves inspired- not only by the designers and the physical artists of our time, but by the cultural influencers and tastemakers of the creative world. We sat down on a cross-continental Skype date with Lizzy Okoro, the founder, publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Bunch Magazine as she dished on some of her inspirations as a cultural influencer, tips on “The Big Leap” and even found out some of her favorite things.
"I was always interacting with all the really amazing, super cool creative people and learning about their career ambitions for after graduation. At the same time I was blogging just as a creative outlet and I’ve always wanted to have my own magazine, but it was something I would do later on in life."
"I realized that there are a lot of people that have been able to monetize their creativity and create a long lasting career out of what their really passionate about. Growning up, I was always told that if you are a creative or you're artistic you're going to be a starving artist. Yet in New York, I was meeting all these awesome people who were not only NOT starving, they were really thriving in their careers. I just wanted to connect the dots through people I'd meet who didn’t know how to pursue a creative career. There are a lot of people who ask questions like, what is an Art Director? or they don’t know how to support you [as a creative]. I wanted to tell those stories and give resource to other creatives that were feeling similarly.
Life before Bunch Magazine?
Lizzy: I worked at a medical consulting firm right out of college, then at a Talent Agency as an Agent in LA. During the economic crisis and a huge writer’s strike in Hollywood I ended up getting laid off.
OS: How did you know it was time to take "the leap" and start a magazine?
Lizzy: It was clear to me and something that I always new, that I was going to be an entrepreneur and that I wanted to own my own business at a some point. As far as me knowing when it was the right time for a magazine, I loved writing and I knew that I wanted to tell the stories of all these cool people that I was meeting and I wanted something in print, something tangle and something that I could hold. I didn't think about it too much, I felt like, this was the right time.
At a time when other printed magazines were just getting their start in 2012, I saw the success that they had and it reaffirmed that there was a market for print again.
OS: What advice would you give to a creative looking to take "the leap"?
Lizzy: Set a date for yourself. Plan it out. Stick to your plan. Set deadlines. Write it out. Have a visual board. Have something visual around you and tell people. I told everyone who would listen! “I’m leaving my job on June 26th”
The questions that I asked myself were “What do want your life to be? What do I invision for myself, and how do I get there?"
When June 26th came the HR department knocked on my door to tell me that my position that been eliminated and I literally laughed in her face. Her response, “You’re taking this very well.”
I put it on a vision board, I told every one that I was leaving on June 26th and the universe told me “You’re leaving on June 26th.” You have to just do it. You have to be strategic about but to a point. You have to throw yourself into the water and you will learn to swim.
OS: Can you share the best business advice you've ever received?
#1 One of my best friends said, “ You have to make every decision like you have a million dollars in the bank.”
The point being, dont make decisions out of desperation, make decision like your comfortable because if you make decisions out of duress or when your back is up against the wall, you will always make the wrong decision.
#2 I know young entrepreneurs in particular, have this “I’ll rest when I’m dead” mentality but team no sleep is no way to live. Give yourself permission to take time off to regroup and rest.
There should not be pride and emphasis on being busy, there should be pride and emphasis on being productive. The only way to do it is if you're well rested, healthy, you're going to the gym and working out. Take time off, it’s okay.
OS: As a cultural influencer, who or what inspires you?
Lizzy: My parents are a huge inspiration and my life. My dad, who is also an entrepreneur has been someone to encourage me and show me what being an entrepreneur is like.
Other entrepreneurs are like rock stars and icons to me and inspire me. I’m inspired to meet anybody who is just going for it. Anybody pursing their dreams, risking it all and putting it out there are the people I respect the most.
OS: Who or what creatives of brands do we need to know about right now?
2. Asiyami Gold
OS: What are your favorite social media platforms?
"Instagram is king, it's really hard to mess with them, it's launched so many careers and connects people in a way that no other platform has connected people, BUT- Im really loving snapchat right now. There's no stress (unlike Instagram). Snapchat is fun so it's my favorite right now."
OS: Tell us somethings we should know about that we don’t know.
"We are a really small company, and we work hard- A lot of people think we are a team of like 60 people, and I care a lot about every single person. I take a lot of pride in what we do I feel fortunate to do the things that Im able to do."
"Also, It's not just me- I could literally not do this with out every single person on this team. I feel blessed to have them."
Lizzy's new & upcoming projects
Lizzie is currently working on a new conference called Hear, Now, Us. The conference is targeted to black entrepreneurial women. The first location for the conference will be in LA.
When it comes to Bunch, there are a lot of exciting things happening and there will be a lot more events taking place.
Follow her on Instagram here!