Hey guyzzzzz. It's been a WHOLE 2 weeks since my last "chapter" blog post so give me a few sentences to put my thoughts together. Last chapter was about the rise and fall of The Funky Skull, which put my e-commerce and negotiation skills to the test. It was getting super close to graduation in June of 2013 and my time at UC Irvine and Newport Beach was coming to an end. I can't believe I actually graduated (lol). Graduations are SO overrated. You are one of a thousand students, wearing the same exact uniform, walking on the same stage- just waiting for your name to be called. It was the most un-enthusiastic, non-special ceremony ever.
The best-worst part about graduation was that now I was officially moving back home to my parent's house in Los Angeles. Closer to the industry I wanted to work in - yay creative hipster peeps (ugh)! I vividly remember my last day at my Newport Beach duplex. My last round of roommates were a total nightmare so I couldn't wait to move the f out. Now that I think back, I would move back next to the beach in a heart beat.
Anyhoo, I officially moved back home to LA and a big shitty pile of reality greeted me at the front door. I shall call it the "post-college-life-beatdown." I realized there's no time to F around anymore and I better pave my way into an industry somehow because I need to network. I scoured Craigslist, Indeed and every possiblewww.sttropeztan.com job search engine for the perfect internship. I promised myself I'm not doing any retail, admin or hostess jobs - ONLY jobs that will open doors for my career. I came across a "Fashion PR Showroom" internship at MHA Media in Beverly Hills and was quickly enticed. This seemed like my "in." The showroom worked with high-end brands, placing them on the red carpet, magazines, etc. I submitted my resume, highlighting my experience with The Funky Skull.
I was called in for an interview with the showroom manager, I instantly knew we would get along. The entire conversation was about how I started The Funky Skull. This proves that real life experience is much more valuable to an employer than attending some snarky college. I got the internship and started the following week.
My job was to keep the showroom looking orderly, restock the St. Tropez Tan beauty products, greet stylists, and assist them with finding the perfect outfit for their A-list clientele. I also pitched St. Tropez tan to stylists to get their clients glowing before a red-carpet event. I went from nobody to some intern that stylists were chasing to get their celeb clients tanned. It felt pretty damn cool. My passion for St. Tropez as a brand grew and I couldn't wait till the day I was hired as their West Coast PR Manager.
That day came and I proudly took on the title. I was addicted to placements. Every single time I watched one of our St. Tropez celebs walk down the red carpet, I would gleam. MHA gave me opportunities to meet and closely interact with industry folks I would have probably never crossed paths with. A few months into my employment, we took on MHA's biggest client - BVLGARI. This is when things started to get really fun. It's not everyday you're planning an event for Beyonce's, Angelina Jolie's and Madonna's stylists. I met some amazing people to say the least, and learned the ropes of how to run my own agency - if I really wanted to.
There were a few missing pieces to MHA's complicated puzzle that would've made the place a more enjoyable place to work. Don't get me wrong, everyone was a pleasure to work with but boy, when the boss walked in - everyone, including the other executives would stiffen up. Although I knew deep down inside she actually liked me, it took a village to get a genuine smile out of that woman. Office morale was on a steady decline, and that once perky, excited Angela who couldn't wait to get to work slowly diminished. I knew my run here was coming to a halt.
Simultaneously, my boyfriend's music career was taking off. He needed someone to manage his bookings and make negotiations with promoters. I took on this role naturally because someone needed to do it. We got offers from all over the world and his first major Euro tour was in February of 2014. He wanted me to go with him and of course I said yes. I asked my boss if I can take a week off, after not having a single day off for over 6 months and her response just threw me over the roof. There is nothing more vengeful than an unappreciated employee. I responded to her email with a resignation letter and booked my flights to London with my love.
I had no more time to waste on someone else's dream.
For the next few months from February to November I was traveling the world with DAVI. From London, Israel, Amsterdam, Lebanon to New Caledonia - we toured the world. This is when I created The Afifi Group, and was doing freelance PR while traveling. I got my first few clients by word of mouth and it definitely wasn't an easy start. Things were going great, but there was no steady incline. Freelance work is a bitch. First, you need to chase your clients and actually make an agreement with them. Then, they're either extremely satisfied or extremely dissatisfied and don't want to pay for the work. Then you have to chase them for the money, and it's just an ongoing cycle of useless labor. I was ready to get back into the workforce and meet some new people. Again, I scoured Craigslist and came across a Tech PR internship. This time, I leveraged both The Funky Skull and The Afifi Group as past ventures. It worked and I was in.
Technology and app public relations is a completely different ball game than fashion PR. It's definitely not as pretty, glamorous or dramatic. PMBC was quite possibly the perfect place I could've landed. It completely opened my eyes to the amazing world of technology, apps and websites - and how quickly they're evolving. Instead of Glamour, InStyle and Vogue; I was now pitching Tech Crunch, Engadget and Reuters. We started taking on clients who we're getting millions in funding. I realized *WOAH* I can do this. I can sooooooooo do this. I wanted to dive head first into this tech world. The day I realized how much is possible was the day Onyx Creative was born.
I was working at PMBC when Onyx Creative launched. At first, it was completely manageable. I would go to work from 8:30AM-6:00PM and after work I would work on Onyx from 7:00PM-2:00AM. Every. Single. Day.
Me and DAVI were in Playa Del Carmen one weekend when I got an email from a Fundable analyst inquiring if I would like to place Onyx Creative on Fundable. At this exact moment, I knew my time at PMBC was over because my heart, mind and soul were with Onyx 100%. As soon as I got back, I told my boss about this opportunity and that August 2015 was going to be my last month there.
I ended my reign at PMBC and went straight to Burning Man to return to one of the biggest challenges of my life: Onyx Creative.
*Remember my first point in Chapter 1 when I said everything happens for a reason? It definitely does. Would I have been able to get media placements for Onyx Creative without a stint in PR? No. So go on, keep on keepin' on.*