Transcript of Sushi Fridays EP012: Aimée López, Retail Strategist and Copywriter

This was transcribed using AI. Please pardon any typos or errors.


Andrea: [00:00:00] Welcome, welcome to Sushi Fridays, the podcast about style, culture, creative, and biz from the POV of diverse creatives and entrepreneurs. This episode is for you if you're a founder, entrepreneur, or brand owner. To help you grow and improve your business, we are giving you free game today because we answer the question, how does a brand uncover their target customers?
I am your host, Andrea Pascual. Welcome to Episode 12. We are back at it after a much needed break, and I wouldn't even call it a break though, because it takes a lot of work to put this podcast together. Thank you so much for joining us. In this episode, retail copywriter and strategist, Aimée Lopez shares her three step framework to help you uncover [00:01:00] your target customers.
She is the best and only person to help you with this because her experience and knowledge spans 26 plus years. She is also a branding pro and is also the realest creative I know. Without further ado, retail copywriter and strategist, Aimée Lopez.

Aimée: Well, when I say retail copywriter and strategist, what I mean is the fact is, is that I cover e-commerce and also brick and mortar copywriting and strategy as well, which also encompasses not only, you know, messaging, tone of voice.
Um, it also encompasses, um, brand strategy as similar to what you are doing, um, in your field. And also, it also encompasses because I have that 26 years of retail experience. I also know about operational strategy as well, and kind of the nuances of consumer buying [00:02:00] behavior.

Andrea: Wow. 26 years of retail experience.
That's, that's enough, that's enough knowledge and experience for you to develop your three step framework for brands to uncover their target audience. Why is this important for a brand to do?

Aimée: So I'm going to kind of go off a little bit and then I'm going to come back and bring it back. But so the thing is, is that everybody's, you know, toting, you know, all these experts and gurus on LinkedIn and everywhere you see on brand strategy, you know, know your audience, know your audience, know your audience.
And that's one of the key components of brand strategy, or even when you're developing a brand or even coming up with a product or concept, literally like the first two questions, You're good. You have to think about is who are you going to be targeting? Who is the audience? Also, when you come to a creative like myself as a copywriter or with a designer like yourself, one of the three questions we're going to ask is who are we targeting with this [00:03:00] work or project, or, you know, who are you targeting with your product?
And the thing is, is that I was finding a lot in the field was that. I was getting literally the same three answers over and over and over and over and over again. And these are big and even big, I'm talking even big brands, not just cause every time when I'm talking about these things, you know, people think, Oh, she's just talking about, you know, the small business entrepreneur on no, I'm telling you right now, even big brands, um, I'll get like a blank stare, like.
It's also the basis in what large brands it's also the basis of a creative brief But I love to think that I would get a creative brief every time I did a project But usually I get that like 10 of the time, you know So basically and I will come back to your I will answer directly your question, but to come back to that So I was getting I don't know the second answer I was getting was um, well If usually from a more kind of person is coming up from a smaller business perspective.
Well, I saw there was [00:04:00] a need in the market. This was a problem that needed to be solved. So I'm solving it, which, you know, is a great stance. It's a great starting point. That's a great nuance. But the thing is, is that, you know, your conversation with the founders of Worldie, um, am I pronouncing the name of the brand?

Andrea: Worldie

Aimée: Worldie. Sorry, excuse me. And I apologize to the founders for that. Um, I'm getting old Real Specs in the UK because I live in London. So they mentioned that they saw that they you know there was a need but then they had to go and do market research and that's the thing people need to dig deeper.
I mean depending on what it is you need to go out there and you do need to do your market research and third the other answer I was getting was women between the ages of 28 and 35 who have you know um, disposable income and we're making lots of money, living in big cities. And the thing is, is that to be honest with you, the statistic is right now, currently, and it may change, but [00:05:00] 85 percent of e-commerce purchases are women.
So the thing is, is that they feel like, okay. It's basically, I mean, 80 percent of brands are, you know, targeting that group of women. So like, it's like, well, we need to, we need to branch out here. That's not going to work. So, um, so that's why the reason why it's important to give you like kind of the takeaways here to really condense it from all that minutia I just talked about is the fact that it, you know, it's like the saying goes, if you target everyone, you're targeting nobody, you know, you're speaking to no one.
When you are doing copy, when you're doing design, the one person who, who actually stops by and looks at your content, wants to feel connected and then they want to feel themselves within it. And they want to connect with your brand values. And the thing is, is that if your net is too wide, then you're, you're going, you're not going to go anywhere.
You're dead in the water. The second reason is, is the fact is, is that [00:06:00] when you are making this content, it actually is helpful because it's, it can be incredibly overwhelming. There's so much platforms. There's so many social media platforms. There's so many marketing channels. You know, you need to put your money to where you have the most, you know, um, the best bet.
You know, you've got to put it on the horse that's, you know, again, business sense that has, you know, the best traction and track record, but then also to not to spread yourself too thin. And also when you're developing new products or services, or, you know, you need to be able to be in tune with that, you know, I mean, who, Who is this for, you know?

Andrea: What are the action steps for a brand to uncover their target audience?

Aimée: It's only three steps. It's actually really rather simple. It's more kind of abstract. And because the point is, is that again, I want it to be able to help and, you know, facilitate and support as many creators and people. In brands that I could with this framework, but then at the same time, keep it very nuanced.
So the first [00:07:00] step is to actually sit down and kind of ask yourself some questions and do some deep thinking about it. Because the thing is, is that I asked to choose through brands that you admire, not who are your competitors? Because usually when we're doing brand strategy, we're usually asking, well, who are your competitors?
And we'll just, again, Which is not bad, but the thing is that you're going to be naturally inclined, I think, psychologically, when I have started my own brands, to try to emulate brands that you already admire. So I say choose three brands that you admire. And then from there, you can ask yourself three questions.
And the reason why you ask three questions is the fact that, um, human beings, by, you know, um, psychologically and because of our biological sense, we intake things better in threes. And even visually things, as you know, things are kind of, um, taken best in threes. If you can. So from there, you can ask yourself three questions.
Okay. Why? Why are people buying from that? Those brands? Why? [00:08:00] You know what makes them so special? What is their USP? Um, their unique selling point. So then you go and you think about it. And then you think about what are potential purchasing hesitations from these brands? Like why would somebody, you know, not want to really Okay.
Buy for that brand, you know, what would be an issue and a problem from them? You know, what is their purchase barrier? What could be a potential um purchasing hesitation from that particular brand? So basically what I'm asking why I'm asking that is where are the loopholes where can you plug yourself in?
You know, where can you kind of you know, get yourself, you know, because again the market is very crowded right now. So you just got to find those little those little loops where you can plug yourself in And then the, the other thing I would ask is actually about the experience. Okay. And what is the buying experience?
Like, what are the, what are they solving? Like, what is the potential problem that they're solving for people? You know, again, that kind of goes back to why are people buying from them? From that [00:09:00] information, you can then, after you do that deep thinking, you kind of write it down and kind of doing some brainstorming, you can start kind of honing in on who would be interested in purchasing that, you know, and it's not necessarily I'm gonna, I mean, I'm sorry, but this is what I see, you know, usually when I get briefs, it's like, um, white women between 25, 35, as I said, who live in large major cities, who work in the creative industries, who will go out for cocktails and evenings, it could be, it's actually potentially somebody else.
And I see a lot of brands that actually attract totally different audiences. Like remember Ralph Lauren in the nineties, you know, and Tommy Hilfiger, most of their, you know, demographic and target audience actually were. You know, dark skin folk rewind the stuff like in large strokes. Uh, and then from there, the second, really the second step is to go, we call in the retail industry, we say, go on a retail safari or safari.
And that is a terminology, um, in which you actually go into those brands [00:10:00] or even consider if you can't physically go into the brand, which I highly recommend, but if you can't think about the customer journey, if it's like something like a B2B brand, you know, go on their website, you know, the reviews, you know, actually try to purchase from them, talk to their representatives, that type of thing.
And then the third step is to kind of remain agile and to, you know, actually just start with what you have from the two key components from the first part of the framework and to start having a minimal viable product, which is startup. Jargon, because the thing is people get really kind of scared to kind of take the leap at that point But they should take the leap at that point because the thing is is that i'm sorry No brand is gonna be perfect at that particular opening juncture and a lot of brands are out there Just kind of like winging it right there and that particular point and that's totally fine But the thing is is that you need to be listening To your customers and receiving that feedback and being very quick to pivot, you know when you you know Receive that feedback from your customers [00:11:00] and Guy Kawasaki, who is an incredible marketing and he's a marketing genius.
I mean, I don't know if he might be like, he's very, he's very cool. It's like down to earth kind of guy, but he has written like 15 books on startups. He's through, he was originally with Apple during the Macintosh years as a brand advocate, and also now he's with Canva. He's been with them for a very long time.
He's, I mean, he says you need to go through that feedback loop. You know, you gotta just get it out there. You start, you know, working with them, you know, working with us, listening to them. And also too, the thing is, I recently heard that from, if you're, you know, if the fellow people in the UK, the brand Sporty Betty, um, tomorrow hall, um, she, she said the same thing.
She said, they did the same thing with that brand. And in here in the UK, they're on major every high street or main street, you know, that you can find really almost, you know,

Andrea: When you were explaining your three step signature framework, um, step one is very different [00:12:00] from brand strategy workshops that I've done or, and what I've learned.
We don't ask what brands you admire, it's usually who are your competitors. It's actually always the case. I've never once had a situation where I said to myself or to a client or I learned in any other setting, what brands do you admire? And I'm gonna, that's my big takeaway. I need to start there.

Aimée: Because I mean, do you wanna, I mean, I mean, I'm just being real and you know, I'm very real. And I actually really appreciate the fact you've coined me the realest creative, you know.

Andrea: Because you are, because you are.

Aimée: And I really use that. I say that LinkedIn a lot. I'm like, I'm the realest creative, you know, you know, because the thing is, is that do you want to emulate your competitors?
Do you really as a brand? Like, is that really what you want to do? And the thing is, you're gonna, it's just adding more to your plate and adding more to the actual theorizing of it. You know, it's just, it's, I think it's just [00:13:00] a distraction. I think it's just You know, it's crap. It's crap.

Andrea: To recap, how does a brand uncover their target customers? Step number one, choose three brands you admire and do your research. What are their customers? One, buying motivations. Two, pain points. And three, purchasing hesitations. Step number two, go on a safari. Check out the stores, go shopping. This is my favorite part.
I do this all the time. I'm walking around Toronto, checking out who's shopping where, checking out what the retail experience is like, from the scents, to the merchandising, to the customer service, to I even go so far as to look at the material composition and the construction of the items in my favorite stores.[00:14:00]
You will catch me doing all of that. And I'm judging hand tags and packaging and branding and everything else. So go on a safari and study the brands you admire. Step number three and last step in Aimée’s framework, create your MVP, create your minimum viable product, go through the feedback loop and improve based on the feedback loop.
from your customers. Now, I did not want to stop the conversation there. I wanted to talk to Aimée further about artificial intelligence and ChatGPT, which seemed to dominate my feed a lot in 2023. Maybe it was my algorithm. I wanted to know Aimée’s take on the role of AI in copywriting and the role of a copywriter in general.
We're at the top of 2024. How do you see the copywriting landscape?

Aimée: Yeah, that's [00:15:00] a great question. Thank you so much for bringing that up. Because the thing is, is that, you know, last year, you know, with, um, obviously there was other, there were already other AI, you know, um, components out there, but with ChatGPT, you know, being released in the early part of 2023, that really shook up You know, our industry heavily, you know, and, um, and I was just talking to Craig Brimm, um, who's an amazing brand strategist on LinkedIn, um, from the New Jersey area, um, we kind of have like a quick conversation about this, but, um, people have played with chat, GPT, Bard, um, through, you know, some others and there's some that's Jasper as well.
And there's some other ones out there. And the thing is, is that I'm not going to say in the next five years, I think people should definitely. Kind of see what else they can provide as part of their, um, service offerings as well to kind of add to the pile. Because the thing is that a lot of brands were like, okay, cool.
Like [00:16:00] awesome. We don't have to pay anybody. We could just throw in like two sentences and we're going to get this amazing, you know, award winning blog posts and everybody's going to come because of the SEO. And you know, we're going to be able to, like I saw recently, actually, um, Brand owner for a cashmere company.
And he was saying, I love AI. It's incredible. And I checked out his website. It's all AI stuff. 

Andrea: Gosh.

Aimée: Yeah, literally. And I was like, come on. It's here and we know its limitations, but people are forgetting about being problem solvers and thinking about their customers and the customers know now what, you know, because the same.
Same words are being used over and over again. Compelling, um, elevate, those are constantly throughout the copy. I mean, I can't talk about the design world. The thing is, is that it's a tool, sure, and it's good for, you know, maybe kind of doing superficial, um, research. Because the thing is, is that it only goes up to 2021, I believe, in its, um, [00:17:00] database.
Also, too, it's not great for British English, which I also work in. I work in American and British English, um, professionally. So, you know, it doesn't, it doesn't understand the nuances and the thing is, is that sometimes when I'm, I even play with it, you know, I use it sometimes to get a quick grammar read because I don't have, um, a writing partner at the moment, you know, just to kind of get a sense of the, the work is good.
And I'm like, and I'm like, I could have written, I could have written the copy faster than what it would, you know, to generate some of these ideas because some of them sucked and it just re it's just like, it's just like recycling the same. It's literally recycling the same 20 words over and over again.
That's what it is at the moment. You know, again, five years. I don't know. Like, I can't say, you know, people and also right now, as you know, because we're both women of color, you know, and I'm very proudly a woman of color. I'm a Latina. You know, from the Bronx, you know, Puerto Rican background. Um, it's [00:18:00] incredibly racially biased and we all know that.
So the thing is, is that, but our customers, you know, what, 80, I think I read a statistic recently, like 80 percent of the world are made of people of color. So, who's buying your products, you know, like you need to consider those folks. I'm sure you don't want to stop buying to those 80 percent of the world.

Andrea: Yeah.

Aimée: So, you know what I'm saying? So with copywriting, it's an art. Um, and I'm kind of really glad that as we're going into business, the fashion just actually, you know, did a big piece on this, but people are really thinking about brand marketing again, you know, because last year is because we were in survival mode and we're doing a lot of performance marketing, cookie based, know, stuff, you know, that was a lot of the work that was happening.
So a lot of copywriters were kind of really out of work, but now people. People realizing it doesn't work that way. And I'm glad that there's a renewed interest in Renaissance and copywriting. And actually we're not wordsmiths. You know, we have to deal with also a lot of consumer behavioral [00:19:00] psychology and I have to know where the twists are, you know, like I need to know where to wrench the language, you know, and in American and British.
For American and British audiences, you know, so I have to think about, okay, what's going to twist them? What's going to push them over the edge, you know? And culturally, I need to know why people care. Like, why the hell they're buying that? Like, I get stuff all the time, you know, and I love it. I love it when I actually this is a joke.
I'm being very, very, very sarcastic. And this is the worst thing they do. A lot of my clients actually give me stuff that they generate from chat GPT. And they're like, Oh, can you rewrite this? And I'm like, for real? Yeah. And then I'm like, okay. So, and I'm like looking at it. I'm like, no, this is not based on what your, the one reader we see in copywriting is thinking this is not, they don't care.
They don't care about this. They don't care about your brand. They're caring about what problem you're solving. And also to the motive, you know, I was reading recently Jordan Belfort's book, The Way of the Wolf. He's the gentleman featured or [00:20:00] mentioned in The Wolf of Wall Street. By Scorsese, you know, and his book is fascinating.
I'm paraphrasing, but he said a really pivotal statement. He said, people buy on emotion and then they justify the buying decision. With logic, copywriting is not wordsmithing. I'm not a poet. It's not supposed to sound. Pretty. And that's another thing. It's not supposed to sound pretty. I'm post I'm a salesperson.
I'm selling to you. I'm trying to get you to reach a particular desired result and goal. And it takes a lot of training. Again, I have to read and I'm training. You know, we talk about this all the time. We're in a lot of the same, um, seminars and lectures and, you know, following the same folks. I mean, we have to continuously understand culture, understand why people are purchasing.
You know, we need to understand what language and how they're speaking to each other. I mean, I was listening to the other day, I was listening to some young kids talking slang here in the UK and I was like [00:21:00] in London and I was really fascinated about how they've reused certain words and the rhythmic language.
ChatGPT is not going to do that. And also to a copywriter who's getting paid 2 cents a word or less than that. It's not going to be able to provide you with that. I mean, they work very hard, but the thing is, is that you need to talk to professionals if you really want a particular goal or result and you need to invest in that.

Andrea: Exactly. I agree. I wholeheartedly agree. And when I see things written by ChatGPT, I can tell right away, like, who are you talking to? What is this? I'm not a fan at all. I was kind of becoming a fan for a little bit last year because people online were convincing me that I felt convinced that it would work.
Um, but I, it's, it's lacking for sure.

Aimée: It was, it made business sense, you know, where you're talking about and you're a business person. I know you're very good at that, you know, and a lot of people thought the [00:22:00] same way. And that's what I'm, that's what I'm saying in the beginning here was that they thought it was the miracle cure, you know, for everything, you know, I'm talking more with large brands.
Um, but the thing is, is that with larger brands, they need to respect and value us a little bit more, you know, and I'm really tired of it. You know, like I'm telling you, you're, you're hiring me because I'm an expert and I have specific skillset that I've honed for a very long time and done a lot of education, a lot.
Like I was just telling my therapist about this. I can't get any more certifications because there's nothing else to get from my field. I mean, literally there's nothing else. You know, they need to see us as their strategic partners and also includes a little earlier in the process, because the thing is, is that we can, we can talk them through the strategy, you know, and also, you know, and see us not as typist, that's what I'm really tired about.
I mean, this is large brands still do this, you know, we're not typist, you know, you know, we. Have a lot more to provide you. [00:23:00] We have a lot more to give them.

Andrea: They need to start working with us as strategic partners. And you're right. You have all the qualifications. You're, you're stacked with all the knowledge and you are continuing to learn and read every single day.
Take us seriously now and pay us.

Aimée: Every day. I mean, seriously, I mean, I know you too, cause you know, we're, we, I, we see each other and we're talking to each other every day on these things. We are, aren't every lecture. We're in every seminar by all the people, you know, like, you know, Gary V, you know, um, Chris Do, you know, all those folks, you know, like Annali, you know, like we're in there and every day reading on the seminars, reading the books.
Because I, I did the Miami Ad School creative direction program, and that was fascinating. It was incredible. I was with people from all around the world within that program, from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia to all over the United States. It was the meeting of the biggest minds, you know, are at the moment who are, you know, [00:24:00] about to become creative directors.
And the thing is, is that because me and you come from non traditional background. We had to slog it out. Like we had to go from point zero. We didn't we didn't have any mentors because again, we're women of color. So nobody mentored us and don't and I'll tell you right now. I'm still asking people to mentor me. Crickets.

Andrea: Really?

Aimée: Yeah, you know, um, I know for me sometimes people don't take me seriously because I don't have you know, TBWA. I don't have DDBO, all the abbreviations. I don't have so basically because in my resume and CV in the UK my um that I don't have even though I get I have all the certifications of all the education you could possibly have in this field and copywriting and strategy and advertising and marketing I'm not taking seriously or not being picked up or looked at or talked to or being mentored because people think okay Aimée cannot give me something back [00:25:00] I tell you right now, and I'm confidently can say this to you, I have been in the same rooms with these folks.
They are in tunnel vision. They are being sat by themselves, not by themselves, but they're sat in a little cubicle or in this, you know, massive room, doing the one little thing that they are being assigned to do every day, you know, part of the Ford assembly line. And the thing is, is that us people with nontraditional backgrounds who had, I mean, I came from zero girl, zero on Fiverr slinging five bucks.
I am my own account planner. I wrote this on LinkedIn recently, you know, and a lot of people looked at, I am my own account planner. I'm my own legal assistant. I could tell you about sustainability and legal, you know, courage for the UK and America. Um, you know, I do my own SEO. I do my own, you know, strategy.
I do my, you know, like, um, It was like, it came out to like seven, [00:26:00] like 14, like traditional roles in advertising organization that I do every day by myself again with no mentoring, nobody trying to help me out, you know, because I am reading, listening, getting into conversations, talking to these folks. And when I take, when I'm in the rooms with these people who are in Gray McCann, blah, blah, blah, the one show, blah, blah, blah. They're like, Oh, okay.

Andrea: The tail end of that conversation is typical of what Aimée And I talk about all the time. Working as a creative solopreneur as well, I'm a solo brand designer with a non traditional background. And by non traditional, I mean, I haven't worked in an agency setting. So I literally wear all the hats. And when Aimée says she tallied up all her roles, she's not even exaggerating.
We have to close the sale. We have to do the admin. We have to make [00:27:00] sure our contracts are correct. So. We do the strategy, we do the SEO, we do the design, we do the marketing, the networking, the outreach to even obtain our clients. It truly doesn't end. On top of that, we also have to be well read and well informed to excel at our roles as creatives.
People who have touched all those bases, like us, deserve a chance in the traditional creative world. For example, working at an agency. But, it's still difficult creatives who did not start an agency life to get hired in those kind of settings. Why should it hinder us? Especially with the vast and diverse knowledge that we have.
First hot topic. Pharrell and Louis Vuitton. Fall winter 2024. So I just looked at the, I was looking at the images [00:28:00] earlier today. The theme seems to be the wild, wild West. I will be honest. I love Pharrell as a creative as a multidisciplinary creative. I love his music. I love the projects that he works on and his collaborations, but from your I want to know what you think Aimée because though I love Pharrell, I feel like It's time to bring back the real fashion creative director, not the celebrity musician, creative director.
How do you feel about that?

Aimée: I knew you were going to say that on here. I knew you were going to say that. I was like, man, she's going to bring that up. I was like, that's hilarious. So the reason for the folks out there who are listening, um, I have an extensive, also very extensive, Extensive fashion and footwear background.
So that's why, you know, she's bringing this up. And also, as you know, she is a fashion connoisseur. She's a, not only a fashion connoisseur, but [00:29:00] designer enthusiast. So, Mm-Hmm. . So, so this conversation makes sense. And also I do a lot of copywriting for fashion and, um, footwear. Okay. So I'm going to contradict you a little bit on here.
So the thing is, is that, and I hear you and I totally hear you and I get what you're saying. And I, you know, the original concept, I do agree with you. Um, but to be honest with you, I'm just glad he's not like, you know, remember when last year when they came out with a creative, the main creative directors of most of the companies out there, it was all these, it was like a stamp.
It was like a cookie cutter stamp of the same guy. Yeah. In the six boxes. It was literally, they looked literally the same. You know, and I'm just happy that Pharrell's outside of that. He's an outlier. He's a person of color, and I'm really, I appreciate that. I have to say that at least he's that, and also too, I think he's earned his stripes a little bit.
I know you don't think so. Now, let me explain that, because the thing is, is that he worked with Louis Vuitton and LVMH before. So the thing is that they tried them out, [00:30:00] you know, and we have to go back to the fact that especially now, fashion is a business. It's a business. It's not about creativity. It's, it's not about that anymore.
Um, you know, we have to which is kind of in a way is empowering. I know it sounds, it could be kind of feel very negative, but it's actually empowering because now we know where we need to, where the loopholes are, as I said, again, where we can kind of, you know, fit ourselves into that, you know, and talk in a business sense.
So LVMH. Chose him or worked with him 'cause I know Martine Rose was actually considered for that role, um, at Louis Vuitton, and which she would've. We, you know, both of us are huge. Huge, huge.

Andrea: I would've loved to see that.

Aimée: Huge fans. We Mm-Hmm. And she's very respected in industry. She slogged it out for 10 years.
You know, I met her recently briefly at Somerset House. She is incredible. I respect her so much. She's so knowledgeable. Not only that, but she's like a decent person. [00:31:00] She's like a real decent person. So I'm not, so I was like ready for her to take that, you know, lead. But again, um, I think they saw the fact that he could cater to a particular audience that wasn't being catered by the luxury houses at the movements.
And I did have the disposable money to spend. And it was kind of like, um, and kind of, I think jumping off the back of Balenciaga, you know, they were trying to kind of capture this particular kind of more I don't want to say Gen Z because I don't want to pigeonhole it to that, but kind of more of this audience that particularly have these, they're kind of looking for something more satirical, a little bit more abstract, a little bit more fun, you know, more, not so serious and vivacious and that he was able to provide and his voice is able to provide.
I don't think he's going to be there for very long though. I mean, honestly, because he doesn't, he's not a traditional creative director. Um, also too, I mean, isn't this like his third collection in less than like 12 months? That's [00:32:00] like a lot of money. They're putting a lot of money behind this.

Andrea: Ooh, that's a, that's a good way to put it.

I never thought of it that way. Yeah. Okay. Hot topic. Number two, let's talk about Topicals skincare brand. So Topicals founded by. Olamide Olowe. Um, I read in Forbes that in 2022, she was the youngest black woman to raise 10 million in funding. Super impressive. Um, and I'm not a big skincare girly, like I'm basic skincare, but I do spend a lot of time on TikTok and I notice towards the end of December, A lot of topicals influencers were popping up on my feed and I found out that a group of them were invited to Ghana for Afrofuture And as I was scrolling the content I was like, [00:33:00] holy crap This is how organic influencer content needs to be and I I I just love it.
So What's your take on that?

Aimée: Okay. So I, yeah, I'm going to go hot take here. And this is why people are scared to work with me sometimes. Cause, cause my mom was like, you're very opinionated. And I'm like, again, I'm the realist creative that you know, right?

Andrea: Exactly. So you live up to your name.

Aimée: So this is no shade to her because she's doing an incredible job and also to her as a black woman to make funding.
I know she had to work for that. Okay. That's a lot. That's a lot of work, you know, um, what, what I'm saying more is about, it's not again about the brand or the quality of the product or, you know, or her herself. What I'm saying is, is that I don't, maybe I'm too fucking old, but like, I don't get this like whole influencer, you know, journey to Ghana.
And I'm [00:34:00] supposed to be like, wow, I need to buy that. That moisturize it now because they're they got a fully paid package trip to Ghana.
So now I need to buy the whole product. I'm a you know, i'm a brand advocate I'm a super fan as they say in the marketing world. I don't get that. I don't see how that correlates, you know I'm saying so and they before that they had a trip to the Bahamas.
I guess they were doing like a test run uh with Topicals and you know, I mean again kudos to them, you know, they're doing their thing You know, that's what other brands are doing Good, you know, so to the fact is again, I love the fact that they're um focusing on more of people of color and the kind of because they have a lot of skin concerns that some other folks may not have You know, and I really love that. So yeah, I just I just don't get the whole like I don't care.
I don't I don't care I don't care. They went to Ghana. I don't like I mean, I want to talk about this topic. But to me as a consumer that's not going to buy it Uh, [00:35:00] 30 moisturizer. Sorry, I don't give it, I don't give it, I don't care. To me, I'd rather see, you know, I'd rather see you, my peers, you know, like, you, you know, other folks that we know who are really genuinely using it and actually, like, you know, saying, you know, wow, this actually does work.
You know, because the thing is, there's so many times when you see, there's this whole facade that's being created on TikTok shop, but they just recently came out with an article where there were two of them, business of fashion came out with one is like, you know, is the, is, is the fall of the influencer this year.
Um, and like Tarte had that, you know, controversy by sending all those, um, influencers to do all those like crazy, like, you know, consumers are not stupid and they need to stop. The thing is, is that, okay, So I'm paying 30. And if you're talking about American dollars or 30 pounds in the UK, I'm paying them money for moisturizer.
Where is that money going? It's going to influence us going and having a good, good ass time in Ghana. I rather the product work well [00:36:00] and I pay 10 pounds, 10 bucks. How about that?

Andrea: True.

Aimée: Where's my money going?

Andrea: Okay. Lastly, Stanley cup. I know that you made a post on it recently on LinkedIn. I was just on StockX earlier and I saw that there was a Stanley, Stanley Cup Starbucks collab, um, going for about 300 Canadian.
As a retail strategist, what's one thing brands can learn from the Stanley Cup craze?

Aimée: Oh God, I can give you a whole long list because I put it in my post. You guys can read it. I think the first, the number one big thing is, is the fact is that the product is solid. Okay. I think that's the main thing. I think people, you know, okay, they're going to spend, you know, 300 Canadian on it, but they know that it's going to work.
It's not going to bust in two seconds. It's actually, you know, it's, it was originally designed in 1913. And then the version you're talking about recently was released in 2016. And the reason why there's such a big hype, and I'm going to finish it off with this, there's such a big hype [00:37:00] around Stanley Cup.
And again, this segues back to the influencer trips. That's that's can that's staged, you know, that's love island. That's a soap opera Stanley comp I don't they weren't really they had they had a very brilliant marketing strategy I'm not gonna with the colors and the designer colors and to have it as a limited collection But what brands can learn is the fact that in November there was a viral TikTok video of a woman's car that had gone up.
I mean completely in flames. Her Stanley Cup was still properly, in proper structure, sitting in a car, um, intact, and her drink was still cold.

Andrea: I've seen the video and I was amazed. I was like, wow. I was blown away.

Aimée: That is more powerful than an [00:38:00] influencer trip to Ghana, okay? I will, I'm going to buy a Stanley Cup, okay? Because that is going to work. My money is going somewhere. It's working and it's going to work for me. For me, not for some really lovely, beautiful person who's a size zero, you know, who gets to do TikToks all day.
It's, it's going to go to me. My money is going somewhere to me. So that's what the, I think that's the biggest takeaway from that is that the product. In the first place is solid because we know there's a lot of products out there that look pretty. There's this great branding around it. It looks glossy.
They work with us. We make it look cute and hot, you know, but the thing is, is that the customers get it at the end of the day. And if it's going to break down in two days, it's not going to do anything for you. You know, if it's paper, it's crap, you know, or you have really awful, you know, um, manufacturing practices, people are going to find out about it.
Yeah. You're done. It's not gonna last. It's not gonna last. Stanley has been around since 1913 because the product works and they're gonna remain. I don't know how much they're, [00:39:00] how long they're gonna remain as a craze per se or a trend but they're gonna be a company for at least another 10 years, at least minimum, and still making that money.
So have a solid, Product that works

Andrea: You heard it from Aimée folks. She keeps it real.

Aimée: I can't help myself. It's being a New York Latina. I like it.

Andrea: Number one. Best book you've read recently.

Aimée: Oh Absolutely. Jordan Belfort's Way of the Wolf. It is very grounded. He I mean, it's he doesn't talk about jargon I mean he does get into jargon, but it's you It's very well written, actually, and it's very relatable, and he really breaks it down.

Andrea: I need to read it then.
Number two, top grail item in your closet.

Aimée: Okay, I still have this dress for like a hundred years, but I bought, um, when I was still in New York and I had [00:40:00] the, I was working, I was making that deniro, I was making that money, a Norma Kamali dress. So, yeah, it just, but it was, it was from Century 21, which is kind of like TK Maxx, it's like an offseller.

Andrea: Iconic. And her silhouettes, her silhouettes fit so well on the body. I love it.

Aimée: Legend, but she, yeah, she's very into yoga. She's very into the body, into movement, to dance and to, you know, and to healthy living and healthy lifestyle. Cause she really, yeah, she's very in tune with her body. So the cut is, makes anybody look incredible.
And it's just, and the. Movement and the way she her fabric choices because she understands that it needs to move and drape in a certain way On the body, you know on the woman's body girl. 

Andrea: Grail item hashtag grail. Number three art museum or history museum?

Aimée: I'm going to take the lame way of that one I'm going to say depends on the exhibition. Because sometimes the thing is, the art, [00:41:00] um, I would, normally it would be art, museum, even though I do love both, I mean, equally very well, and I've been to many very amazing, like the Uffizi, and, and Florencia, and Florence, and all these, you know, all these amazing, you know, places.
But, um, and we have the British Museum here in London, which is, like, icon. If it's a solid exhibition, I went to recently to the Marina Abramovich, um, retrospective at the Royal Academy of Art, and that was very, that was life affirming. It was eye opening. It was, it was thought provoking. Yeah. One of my most memorable, um, art exhibitions was seeing, um, Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle in the Guggenheim when it first opened.
That was, like, and he was, like, That was experiential. That was an event.

Andrea: There's no words for it. Number four. Where do you look to for creative inspiration?

Aimée: No, seriously, um, you know, it's people like you, you know creatives who are on the ground [00:42:00] creatives of color. Um, You know creatives who are You know that speak from the truth and speak from the heart, you know, they're actually in there and doing it from you know And slogging it out.
That's where I get my creative inspiration and energy and you know, yeah, honestly.

Andrea: You. Thank you. You too. Ditto. Last question. What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring creatives slash entrepreneurs?

Aimée: Okay. It's kind of a broad, I'm going to be broad about it, but I'm going to hone in it. So basically I'm going to say pick, choose your battles basically, because I think that's the number one thing I would say to beginning creatives and people who are trying to get into the field.
It kind of goes with speaking to your audience. Because the thing is, is that we have to be chameleons. Because some people are not going to be able to take our energy, our light, our fire. And the things that we have to say, I've had to learn that the hard way. And I've lost many jobs because people didn't want to hear what I had to say, you know?
Um, and some people appreciate it. So the thing is, is that I've [00:43:00] had to learn as a creative, is like to kind of pick my battles, to know when to shut up. To know when to listen and then know when to speak.

Andrea: I truly hope you enjoyed listening to this episode of Sushi Fridays. It was a lot of fun. Aimée is hilarious as much as she is brilliant.
And we're serving this episode to you with a cherry on top. Here's the treat. In our next episode, Aimée will be leading a workshop with entrepreneur Liv to help Liv uncover her target customers Using Aimée’s three step framework so you can learn exactly how to apply her framework to your own business and learn how to uncover your own target customers.
Free game folks. That is what we do here on Sushi Fridays. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to Sushi Fridays, the podcast about style, culture, creative, and biz. From the [00:44:00] POV of diverse creatives and entrepreneurs. I am your host, Andrea Pascual. I'm a brand and graphic designer and a fashion brand owner and designer of my own brand, Andrea Pascual.
You can reach me at Sushi Fridays Pod on Instagram and TikTok. And to get a complimentary visual identity brand audit from me, please leave me a rating and review on your fav streaming platform and send me a screenshot of it to my contact info in the show notes. I'll hook you up. I am a three step framework workshop.
To help you uncover your target customers is happening right here on the next episode of Sushi Fridays the Podcast. You do not want to miss it. Stay tuned and you'll hear from me again next Sushi Friday.

This was transcribed using AI. Please pardon any typos or errors.

Listen to Sushi Fridays HERE.