The Unscripted Path: Building Hollywood Branded Against All Odds


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A Story 17 Years in The Making

Last week, while attending an agency owner conference at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, I found myself reflecting on the twists and turns of my career. Amid the grandeur and meticulous service, a simple bee sticker from the pub reminded me of the power of small details in creating memorable experiences—much like the journey I've embarked on with Hollywood Branded.

In this article, Hollywood Branded gives an exclusive look into our journey from spontaneous beginnings to conquering immense challenges in the tough terrain of Hollywood. It's a story that's not just about business growth but about the relentless pursuit of passion against all odds. 

The Unscripted Path Building Hollywood Branded Against All Odds

How It All Began

Starting Hollywood Branded wasn't something I had meticulously planned from the get-go. It kind of just happened, sparked by a series of choices and chances that began way back in high school with a set design class. Who knew that elective and a BFA in Theater Production Set Design from the University of Arizona would be my ticket to LA, where the journey really kicked off? My early days in the city were a mix of awe and oh-no, from buying cool gifts for Jerry Seinfeld and Tom Cruise and managing the demands of Hollywood's elite while navigating the less glamorous side of agency and production life. It was a rollercoaster, thrilling one moment and tear-inducing the next.

Fast-forward a decade of learning the ropes of product placement and brand integration, coupled with my fair share of "me too" moments and an unforgettable encounter with a shin-kicking agency owner, and you've got the foundation of what would become Hollywood Branded. Those years were invaluable, filled with lessons learned the hard way and stories I’m glad now to be able to share, and have others learn from. But they also taught me resilience, how to navigate the industry's ups and downs, and the importance of leveraging relationships. My most important lesson was learning to be responsible for lighting my own passion, and providing my own drive, to achieve success of which others said I would fail at.

The decision to start my own agency in 2007 came from hitting a glass ceiling and realizing I had more to offer and learn. Despite the countless challenges - from being sued by my prior company, industry strikes, and cyber fraud to client and production legal battles and navigating the egos of Hollywood's finest - Hollywood Branded has flourished. We’ve mastered the art of brand integration, celebrity endorsements, and influencer marketing, not to mention creating a global footprint with our work. Our successes are measured not just in the 10,000+ brand partnerships and the billions of people reached, but in the innovative campaigns we’ve launched and the sales we've driven for over 250 clients.

Beyond the Glamour

But it hasn't been all red carpets and champagne toasts. I've had to navigate some pretty murky waters, from confronting industry bullies to dealing with the fallout of financial fraud and the unpredictability of the entertainment world. Each hurdle taught me something new, whether it was the importance of diversification, the need for vigilance against scams, or the value of standing your ground, even when facing down some of the biggest names in Hollywood. I was told by one of the biggest directors in Hollywood that he would ensure I would never work in Hollywood again. I didn't flinch. I had done nothing wrong - but he had, and despite it all - we've worked together again.

Through it all, the mantra has been to keep moving forward, to learn from the missteps and to turn those lessons into opportunities for growth. To keep an eye to the future and the end goal, versus focused on the tragedies and potential suffering of the now. It's not always been mentally easy, and I've lived the darkest days one can on my journey to my now. That's the ethos behind my agency podcast "Marketing Mistakes (+ How To Avoid Them)," where I share not just my own stories but those of others, turning our collective f*ck ups into valuable learning moments.

As Hollywood Branded sails into its seventeenth year, I look back on the journey with a mix of awe and gratitude. It's been a wild ride, filled with as much drama and suspense as any Hollywood blockbuster. My life would, in fact, make a good movie. But it's also been incredibly rewarding. The agency has become a force to be reckoned with, known for its creative edge and unwavering commitment to our clients.

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The Stacy of Now

And as for me? Throughout these years, no matter what, I've made sure our agency stayed profitable and that we didn’t lay off any employees due to client loss, COVID, or strikes. That’s a significant achievement for a woman who has built a business in the ballbuster, tough world of Hollywood - with no investors, backed by her own dime. I’ve created an agency that competes with, negotiates against, and wins partnerships against some of the largest agencies in the world, with over $200 million in partnerships built.

I've come to realize that I'm tougher and more resilient than I ever thought possible. I see things differently than most, likely because of my journey and heightened by the fact that my brain is coded a little differently than most people. I've always been a bit different, and I've turned those differences into my superpower. I can easily see how to build mutually beneficial partnerships, as I see all the angles, and know that nothing is black and white. It makes me a stellar negotiator, and creator of big fantastic ideas that we bring to life.

You Hold The Power 

It's all about perspective. All of those punches, starting from the time I was a toddler and diagnosed with what would today be considered neurodivergent, have led me to who I am today - and I'm one tough gal. I don't believe in failure, and I do believe that the energy you put forth, whether quantum thought "the force" or physical exertion through your work effort, provides positive results. I believe you make the future you want, and that no one is stopping you - other than yourself.

I firmly believe my capabilities match anyone else's. I've consistently proven that I can tackle anything thrown my way. Against considerable odds, my track record is one of unwavering success. This journey has convinced me that if someone like me can navigate through life's myriad challenges and come out on top, then truly, anyone can achieve the same. It all boils down to envisioning the future you desire, and then, with relentless determination and focused effort, breathing life into that vision until it materializes.

I've risked it all and scuba-dived with great whites, bull, and tiger sharks all over the world. The sharks of Hollywood have nothing on me—and they are not something I fear. Here's to the next chapter, whatever it may bring. I'm ready for it, sharks and all. After all, it's all part of life's adventure.

A Testament to Resilience

As I prepare for the next chapter, armed with lessons learned and victories earned, I am more convinced than ever of the power within each of us to shape our destinies. Reflecting on seventeen years of Hollywood Branded, I see more than just a successful agency; I see a testament to resilience, innovation, and the sheer will to persevere through any challenge.

So, as you contemplate your own journey, remember: the keys to ignition—passion and drive—are in your hands alone. Embrace them, ignite your potential, and never - ever - let anyone extinguish your flame.

Eager To Learn More?

Interested in discovering more about agency life and the exciting projects we tackle at Hollywood Branded? Explore our collection of articles for insights into pop culture partnerships, behind-the-scenes action, and the innovative marketing strategies that drive our success.

Want to stay in the know with all things pop culture? Look no further than our Hot in Hollywood newsletter! Each week, we compile a list of the most talked-about moments in the entertainment industry, all for you to enjoy!

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