#BEYOUROWN MEETS BRI’ANN STEPHENS
Bri’Ann Stephens is an energetic, non-stop-working, fast-speaking, God-fearing, creative, intellectual, poetic, business savvy woman. The Houston-native is Founder and CEO of Pink Productions, a team of gorgeous, young, conscious women who seek to share powerful stories, build genuine relationships and provide opportunities amongst women. Through their one on one interviews and events, they are fulfilling their mission daily.
Today, Pink Productions is a platform for women to share their stories, grow, collaborate, give one another opportunities, connect and so much more. They have interviewed over 300 women and have had over 95k website visits.
Not only do they highlight women, but they also host events and most recently just launched the ‘Pink Planner’. This Summer July 29th Pink Productions are hosting their first PlanHER 2018 conference. PlanHER means “Plan For The Impossibilities.” Plan for the impossibilities encourages women to plan for a great life, plan for growth, plan for success as if it’s guaranteed– because it is! Learn more about Bri’Ann and her mission with Pink Productions and how you can sign up to get involved in the 4-hour conference filled with a dynamic group of speakers who have overcome adversities and planned for the impossible.
Hey Bri’Ann, can you give us some background information on your career prior to where you are today?
I grew up in a single parent home. My mom was only 19 when she gave birth to me and her mother passed away when she was only 23. She was a young mother learning how to be a mother. I was exposed to a lot of things I shouldn’t have been exposed to at a young age. I went to 6 different schools from the age of 12-17, so growing up it was pretty up and down. I can even remember some days getting a couple of quarters for lunch in high school because we didn’t have much money. My mom recently even confessed that at one point we were homeless. I didn’t even notice because she would drop me off at my aunt’s, while she lived out of her car. From 2011-2014 my life was pretty intense.
In May 2015 I found myself depressed and overdosed on sleeping pills. I would cover up my depression with alcohol, marijuana, and other hardcore drugs. My entire life was a roller-coaster. But that morning of May 2015 I could no longer hide my pain. That was the moment that changed my life forever. It was in my lowest point that I was given a choice live and to decide the life I wanted to live.
What originally sparked your interest in to launch Pink Productions?
After the overdose, I locked myself in my room for 30 days. I prayed and decided to get to know me, who I am, and what I wanted in life. The concept of Pink Productions came during that time. It was in having nothing, I discovered I actually had everything.
I realized how overcoming the things I went through could help someone else going through the same thing. I decided to share my story but was having a hard time getting the opportunity. It was in that moment I decided I was going to create my own opportunity.
I decided Pink Productions would be for all women. A place for us all to grow, collaborate, give one another opportunities, connect and so much more. I decided to build a huge platform where women from all walks of life would have access. It’s so important for us to come together as women and help each other. Creating a platform for your own benefit is okay, but creating a #1 platform that benefits multiple, if not all women is world changing. The goal is for us to the #1 platform and publication for women globally.
When did you launch and how has the journey been to date?
I launched Pink Prods January 2, 2016. The journey has been amazing. When I launched I had huge dreams for the company, I didn’t have any money or even a team, but I was certain we would grow and we would make money. I was so passionate that people joined the team regardless of pay because they believed in the mission. I was in for a rude awakening when we didn’t make money our first year. However, it was in having no money my drive and passion grew. One thing I’ve learned that if you’re starting a company for money or for clout, you’re in for the wrong reasons. You have to know your why, what makes you passionate. This journey has taught me the importance of leadership, being a student at all times, how to grow a supportive audience, create business plans, network, and how to learn from mistakes.
Pink Productions builds relationships and provides opportunities amongst women, can you talk us through how you are doing so?
At Pink Productions, we Interview women weekly and we host events regularly. At the end of each interview, we include the features social media handles and encourage our readers to learn more about them on their own. Our interviews are more than business focused, we actually dive deep into our features past stories and history— which allows readers to truly get to know them and connect on a deeper level. The interviews provide opportunities for the reader and for the feature to connect with a broader audience. We provide the opportunity for women to share their story, products, and their services on our website and social media. Through our events, we give the opportunity for women to come and connect with people in their community. We teach them new things to help them along their journey and connect them with new people. Depending on the event, we even book them, giving them the opportunity to share their talents and services. The goal is to truly connect as many women as possible with one another in order to grow.
Pink Productions have collaborated with over 20 businesses and brands including Baker Ripley, what has been the real highlight for you so far?
The highlight has definitely been our book drive where we collaborated with Kween to Queen, Baker Ripley, and NRG. During Hurricane Harvey, our hearts were saddened for the families in shelters. Kween to Queen and I thought about how they lost almost everything and we figured that there was more than we could do. We came up with the idea to host a book drive. We decided to collaborate our companies and invite people to donate books to the families in shelters. We then created a flyer and promoted for about a week. We figured we would receive maybe 500 books and we were hopeful to even get that. The day of the drive people from every part of Houston came out! We were overwhelmed with the support. We received over 4,000 books that day.
With the help of Annise Parker (former mayor of Houston and Senior Vice President at Baker Ripley). We were able to donate books to NRG.
You have just launched Pink Planners, whats this?
Our 2018 Pink Planners are designed with the concept of community in mind. One thing I’ve learned on this journey is you can’t do anything alone. We all need help to do something whether we want to believe it or not. We decided the planners would not only help plan 2018 but would encourage community. Our planner comes with QR codes that lead to a portal where women come together connect and we even do giveaways at the end of the month. They include weekly quotes from women we’ve featured, monthly devotionals, and even reflection pages. Our Pink Planner is the first of its kind.
Pink Productions recently event raised over 4K books for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, do you have any more events coming up that you would like to share with us, how can we get involved to help out?
This Summer July 29th we are hosting our first PlanHER 2018 conference. PlanHER means “Plan For The Impossibilities.” Plan for the impossibilities encourages women to plan for a great life, plan for growth, plan for success as if it’s guaranteed– because it is! It’s a 4-hour conference filled with a dynamic group of speakers who have overcome adversities like losing their mom while finishing nursing schools, homelessness, quitting their secure 9-5 to start their career, and even witnessing their father commit suicide. Today each of these speakers has a successful business. The conference is going to really help and encourage every woman who attend. We are currently accepting donations and we even have sponsorship opportunities.
How do you handle the pressure?
I definitely believe communication is key. When I am under a lot of pressure I communicate with God through prayer. I communicate with my team and give them the opportunity to help where they can. I then take a moment to clear my head. Sometimes a moment can even mean a day or two. I reflect on Gods promises and through that, I am motivated to get back to work. My team is definitely a huge help when it comes to pressure.
How do you handle criticism?
When I am constructively criticized, I take what I need and leave what I don’t. If it’s a constructive criticism I definitely use it as an opportunity to learn and make a positive change. There’s no point in dwelling on a mistake. When someone deliberately criticizes me with no intentions of helping me, I just release those people from my space. It’s important to be mindful of the difference between people who want to discourage you and who want to help you.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Shoot your shot unapologetically. We usually think of dating when we hear shoot your shot. I’ve been snatching amazing opportunities just by reaching out to people. Stop waiting for permission, just go for it.
Best advice you can give us entrepreneurs to help keep us motivated?
When launching a company it’s okay to try everything, actually, it’s recommended. If you’re doing something one way, it’s great to also see if there’s a better way or more effective way to get results. The results you want are always dependent on your priorities. Priorities will vary; money, social media growth, newsletter subscribers, sell, etc. Of all of those priorities, giving your audience the BEST should be number one. You should actually give more than you’re expected to receive. Learning isn’t limited to a classroom. Study and research as much as you can. Make sure you’re researching credible sources. I learned how to write business plans, sponsorship letters, and even grow my audience from researching. But create your business plan first. Ask questions. Never be afraid to ask. Build relationships and network with people you don’t know. I believe that going to networking events is important, however, do not limit networking to events. You can build relationships through social media, though emailing, or even through a mutual connection. “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.” You’ll know the right people to ask when you know your industry. Research your industry, learn the trends of your industry, keep up with what’s happening in your industry. Treat it like a multi-dollar business.
Whether you profit $5 one day, or 5,000 dollars one day, you should put in the same effort both days. Never stop working and trying to take it to the next level. Which means treat it like a 9-5. What you put into your business is what you’ll get out. Some days you may work until 3am, other days you’ll be waking up at 3am to work. Do what works for you. Don’t make excuses for not getting something done. Just get it done. Don’t wait for someone to do something you can do yourself. Don’t give up when something isn’t going the way you’d hope. Just get it done. If you have to get a temporary job and earn money while you build, do it. If you have to temporarily live with your parents so that you can save and build, do it. Do what works for you. Count the cost. After doing your research on learning your industry you should also figure out the legal requirements. You need to know if you want to file as an LLC, Nonprofit, or if you just want to get your 501c3.
It’s great to secure your DBA regardless. Maybe make it your first step. After you try everything, research, make connections, build, basically do the groundwork, create your budget. You create your budget by knowing your long terms, short-term goals, and yearly goals. Make your yearly budget. Include website, email addresses, events, photo shoots. If you’re selling things, include the merchandise cost, shipping costs, etc. pay for quality. You want to give your audience the best. This is the last tip I will leave you with, “it doesn’t matter when you start, just start!” Do not wait for permission, for money, for approval. And when you start, brag about your brand. Do not be intimidated to speak highly of your start up the company even in the beginning stages.
Any books or podcast channels that you feel are inspirational to you?
I am currently reading unshakable trust by Joyce Meyer and The Storytellers Secret by Carmine Gallo. They have both enhanced my life.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
It means that we are all created with our own story. We may not have the power to write how the story starts. But we all have the opportunity to choose the titles of our chapters, the length of the chapters, the lead characters, and even how the book ends. Be Your Own = Write Your Story, YOUR WAY.
Finally, what can we expect from Pink Productions in 2018?
Our 2018 summer conference is truly the highlight for us right now! We also plan to connect and interview more dynamic women and inspire people all over. Lastly, I just want to acknowledge my team: Klarke Foreman, Phylicia Morgan, Chelsea Whitley, LaMyiah Harvel, Chrishanna Salas, Amani Allen-Beale, and Jennifer Briggs. They are the most amazing group of women and I am so happy to have them here with me!
Instagram: @pinkprods @briann.stephens