Public relations – especially in Austin – is a relatively small community. While you may not know everyone, you are likely familiar with all the major, local players in your industry. So meeting Rebekah Epstein took me by surprise, but in the best kind of way.
Rebekah is a PR maven/entrepreneur, with a twist. Though in PR, Rebekah’s company, fifteen media, is a unique kind of media agency — it caters exclusively to PR agencies looking for a little additional media expertise. See, Rebekah came from New York, where she dabbled in journalism for the likes of NYLON magazine and Vogue (yes, that Vogue), so she has a knack for truly understanding what journalists are looking for when it comes to their stories. I met her a year or so ago when she did some project work for my then-company, and immediately knew that we would hit it off. And we did.
While Rebekah spends her days working in PR, she has a big entrepreneurial spirit, so in her spare time she’s been busy starting up her next business Glamtrepreneur – a program that arms young girls with the basic know-how and excitement for entrepreneurship. With a creative mind, kick-ass attitude, and super cool job, I knew Rebekah would be the perfect feature for our September Fresh Faces.
See what Rebekah had to say when we talked about her career and her passion.
Tell us about your career, and what led you to where you are now.
I like to say that I am an “accidental entrepreneur.” It was actually a series of unplanned events that led me to where I am today. In college, I did all the right internships and took the right classes in hopes of landing a job when I graduated. It didn’t exactly work out that way. While I was looking for jobs, I decided to start taking on freelance projects to keep my portfolio current. When I took on my first PR job, which was for a DVD that gave parenting advice, I never thought that I could make a career out of it. I soon started to notice that there were tons of other small businesses that needed PR, but couldn’t afford a pricey PR firm. I decided to go after those people, and before I knew it, I had 40 hours of work a week…it just happened to be with multiple companies.
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
This is a hard question because I never really wanted to be an entrepreneur. Growing up, I pretty much wanted to be everything under the sun…actress, President, broadway producer, UN ambassador, fashion designer…the list could go on and on. Ironically, publicist and entrepreneur were never on that list!
Do you see entrepreneurship being your future? If not, where do you see yourself going in the next 5 years?
Yes, hopefully in 5 years, my passion project, Glamtrepreneur will be my full time job. I hope to expand the company to an all-encompassing brand with books, toys and games that teach girls about business and entrepreneurship. I also want to bring Glamtrepreneur’s “BizGlam” Pop Up Workshop to girls around the world.
What is Glamtrepreneur? Can you tell us a little bit about that new project?
Yes, so right now we only really have one thing: “BizGlam” Pop Up Workshops. The goal of these 2-3 hour workshops is to teach girls about writing a business plan. Through “creating their own jewelry line,” the girls learn about branding, production and pricing.
What is your favorite part about helping encourage other young girls to realize their full business potential?
My favorite part is probably their enthusiasm. At the beginning of each workshop, I go around and ask the girls what they want to do when they grow up. I always love their answers because they are so ambitious and pure. The girls I work with are in 4th and 5th grade, which to me is the perfect age. I feel like they are old enough to start forming their own opinions, but young enough to still have a relatively pure view of the world. They are excited to grow up, and become whatever they want to be. I wish that I could bottle up this enthusiasm, and give it to them as they get older, so they can remember their dreams. I think this is especially true with women; we sometimes lose track of what we want to be because of circumstance or lack of self-esteem. This has to change. We should all have those untarnished dreams that the 4th and 5th grade girls have, where we don’t just focus on the roadblocks.
Both Fifteen Media and Glamtrepreneur are incredibly creative visions. What inspires you to generate that kind of creativity in coming up with a new business idea?
It is funny because I actually think of myself as an remarkably uncreative person. I am more of an idea person. I have unlimited ideas about how to keep things moving forward. Since moving to Austin, I have been very fortunate to find a community of freelancers that helps me turn my ideas into a reality. I work with a writer and designer that somehow turn my scattered ideas into something real. I am grateful to them. For example, I had this idea for Glamtrepreneur, but I really didn’t know how it would look. I met with a writer that I have been working with on and off for a while. I told her all of my ideas, and miraculously she created a worksheet and curriculum for the “BizGlam” Workshops. IT WAS AMAZING!!!
Owning your own business can be hard – what keeps you going?
What keeps me going is the freedom. For the most part, I work a pretty normally schedule. I try to work from 9-to-5 like everyone else. However, working for myself has allowed me to have to freedom to dream as big as I want. Glamtrepreneur is another good example. I could have never done that if I was working for someone else. For this entire summer, for 4 hours a week, I was doing workshops, and having my own business allowed me to have that flexibility.
What advice do you have to anyone looking to become an entrepreneur?
Two pieces of advice: 1) don’t make being an entrepreneur a destination, and 2) start somewhere.
What do I mean by this? I feel like you can’t just wake up one day, and say I want to be an entrepreneur…then, look for something to create. Instead, if you have an idea for a business that comes naturally, then by all means, pursue it! Once you have that idea, you don’t have to start a full-blown company right away. Maybe start an Etsy store? Or start freelancing to build a client base before leaving your full time job? You should definitely test the waters, and know if there is market for your offerings before wasting tons of time, money and resources.