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Spotlight on Success: New Entrepreneurs Take Part in Video Production Project to Help Boost Brands

Bold. Vibrant. Creative.  This is the perfect way to describe the stunning African-inspired, ready to wear Canadian modern clothing line created by fashion entrepreneur Alèthe Kaboré. It’s also the type of colourful message she wants to convey in her brand-new promotional video ad.

Alèthe’s business, KYN Apparel is one of ten local companies that have been selected to participate in an exciting entrepreneur video promotion project through Communities United and Action for Healthy Communities.  The promo videos are designed to help local businesses tell their unique stories, build their brand and elevate online presence.

“It was an amazing experience where it was the first time I got to this scale of shooting happening with my work,’ explains Alèthe, who moved from Africa to Canada and missed the variety of print themed clothes she loved wearing so much, she started making them herself.  “We talked about the idea, the storyboard, and ended up shooting indoors where I work, and outside with models of my clothes.  It really shows and represents my brand and I’m really happy people can see exactly what the finished products are.”

“This entrepreneur promotion project really is part of our ongoing work supporting new entrepreneurs, and newcomers to Canada, especially in partnership with Action for Healthy Communities,” says Matthew Taylor, Program Manager at Communities United.  “When students graduated from our business programs in 2018, we introduced them to pop up markets and concepts of pricing and branding; but when COVID hit we had to rethink our approach.  So now we have shifted to telling their stories and it’s become part of our natural progression to help them expand their businesses.”

Communities United teamed up with FILMR Media, a local company specializing in digital marketing and video production who were eager to work with the entrepreneurs and share their experience and skills.

“Everyone is online right now, and video is one of the main ways to market yourself now, especially with COVID,” says Jabrin James, CEO of FILMR Media.  “There’s so much content out there, and if you want to stand out you need a good quality video.  As a small business owner myself, I know that running a business can be challenging trying to focus on so many things. So going through Communities United and getting involved in this video project is a great resource for these entrepreneurs.”

The KYN Apparel video shoot recently wrapped and Alèthe appreciates the professionalism of the experience and being able to share feedback along the way.  She is looking forward to seeing the final cut of the video promo she hopes to use for presentations, social media and on her website to capitalize on growing interest and online sales of her African print themed masks.

“This has been a big, big support for small startups like mine, and especially since my background is in science and not business.  This offers you hands-on training; opportunities to meet with potential customers and to reach more people to your platform – which is really important now since market sales were affected last year during COVID.”  She adds, ”This is even more exciting because videos like this are usually costly.  We try to make do with what we have with our phone, but to have something professionally done that showcases our clothing like that is amazing.”

The timing was just perfect for another local business Motley Que that was also selected for the entrepreneur video project.  The company specializes in BBQ sauces and seasonings and the owners, Joe and Jess Semack, opted for a sleeker style commercial spot reflecting their brand, and was produced this spring. They launched the company in 2017 and have had success selling to the local grocery store, specialty shops, and online sales; but wanted to increase a good video presence on the company website.

Motley Que recently beat out hundreds of other companies and took top prize in a prestigious contest for the Best BBQ sauce in the world.  They were crowned the 2021 American Royal Grand Champion for their Sticky Fixx condiment.  All of a sudden they went from filling 500 orders a month, to 500 orders a day. “Once we won the award, we were getting phone calls from all over Canada,” explains Jess Semack, Director of BBQ Culture, Motley Que. “Media was asking, ‘Do you have any clips for us?’ and I was like, ‘Yes, boy do I ever!’ And that’s what we kept submitting to them.  So they’re playing our promo on the news and online.  It was well done and everyone was just blown away, as they didn’t realize we were a legitimate small business.”

Like Alèthe, Jess was thrilled with the production experience.  “With Communities United, they made it easy for us to bring our vision to life. It’s one thing to be able to do something like this, it’s another to actually have some input and creative control over it because it is your brand and there is something very specific about what we wanted to do.  FILMR came in, they were patient, we were asking lots of questions, and they were so helpful.  She adds, “Also, it’s something that almost seems unattainable for small businesses because you don’t know if you have the time or money or actually both; so in this situation it really worked out for us and was just absolutely great.”

“I think what stands out with Motley Que too, is that they are pretty good at marketing,” adds Matthew Taylor, Communities United.  “But not everyone knows how to do that and so I think we do see opportunities for potential future projects where we don’t just create visuals, but we will attach marketing and other training to it as well.”

For now, he’s very happy with the videos that have been created with the entrepreneurs and the relationships that have developed.  “It’s a huge success as in a time during COVID when small businesses needed support, we were able to do something creative and hopefully show that there’s ways to generate ads without huge barriers; there’s affordable ways to do this, get noticed and be able to make a bold impression while boosting your brand.”

For more info on the businesses mentioned in the story please visit them online and follow them on social media!

KYN Apparel:   @kynapparel

Motley Que BBQ Sauce & Seasonings:   @motleyque

FLIMR Media:  @filmr.media

For more info about the Entrepreneur Promotion Project please contact Matthew Taylor at Communities United, mtaylor@myunitedway.ca

Check back for other new entrepreneur video profile stories we will be featuring in the near future!

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