The creative arts is the theme of today’s blog and I’m pleased to welcome singer – songwriter and record label owner Susanna Westwood, who launched on 31 October her training programme, Be Iconic. The training programme aims to offer both practical and psychological advice, covering every aspect required to build a sustainable creative business for actors, musicians, dancers, filmmakers and fashion designers. I caught up with Susanna recently to find out more…. Hi Susanna!
Hi, my name is Susanna Westwood. I am the CEO of Emergeination and founder of Be Iconic.
What was the inspiration behind Be-Iconic?
Be iconic was formed out of frustration for my own creative career: I had been working in the industry for over 15 years and I was tired of struggling month to month living like a “starving artist”. I was done being told what to do and feeling like I was selling out. I wanted to create my career on my own terms, make my own rules but I knew I had to find a new way in. So, I made it my mission to learn about the business, about the industry, how to promote myself without it being sleazy, how to get funding & investment, how to build the right team around me and most importantly how to develop the mindset skills that would help me succeed. I became obsessed with learning this stuff and it totally paid off. So much so that I now get to run an award winning creative company, I have my own music and dance career and I get to work with amazing creatives in the fashion, art and entertainment industry all over the world. I have had so many conversations with emerging fashion designers, artist, musicians, dancers, film makers about how to develop their careers. No matter what area of the creative world, every creative has these amazing big dreams but often they don’t know how to make it happen and they are left struggling, frustrated and often broke. That is why I created Be Iconic.
What are the training programme’s goals?
Be Iconic, is everything I have learnt on how to build a successful creative career, it takes artists by the hand through every practical and psychological step they need to build a creative business that generates income from their talent so they can do what they love to do…. create.
Be iconic is designed to help creatives:
- Unlock their inner icon, so self-doubt never drags you down again.
- Use social media effectively to build a raving fan base and automatically sell their products – No more starving artists.
- Get momentum and results in just 90 days.
- Get investors, managers, agents, labels, galleries, and other “career makers” so excited, they’re scrambling to back you.
- Pinpoint your unique angle that sets you apart from the sea of sameys.
Who would benefit from the Be Iconic training programme?
Be iconic is for Fashion designers, filmmakers, actors, musicians, fine artists, dancers — you name it … who have tried to go it on their own — using youtube, itunes, instagram, everywhere they have heard they need to be — and it hasn’t worked. It’s for creatives who are feeling stuck and frustrated with their career and long to make it but have no clue what to do first. Maybe they have been told they are too old or they have the “I can’t” voice replaying in their heads any time they think about the business end of getting out there. Be Iconic is designed to meet creatives where they are at and give them a clear roadmap of where to go and what to do in order to succeed in their industry.
Can you tell us a little bit about what a trainee would experience once they signed up for the programme?
As soon as a creative signs up to Be Iconic they get instant access to Module 1: “The Master Key: Kick Start Your Creative career”, this show them how to unlock their biggest dreams, giving artists a clear roadmap of what they need to do to make it in their industry.
Every week a new module if released which looks at the areas an artist need to be iconic in their industry. Such as:
– How to access to major investment and funding that could transform everything you do.
– How to sell creative products online, mapping your hands-free, automated promotion system that makes you income 24/7.
– How to “Gaga-fy” your brand: Create a core message that hits home with your ideal audience
– How to make crucial industry connections.
– Your secret edge: Find out exactly how you’ll blow your competition out of the water.
– How to understand your talents and creative flow, so you can identify the partners who fill in the gaps.
– How to see and smash through the limitations that are blocking your success and how to build a bullet-proof, professional mind set.
Not only to creatives get huge amounts of industry training, they also get access to my signature platform emergeination, A one-click system where creatives can put their art (music, film, fine art, clothes, online dance classes — whatever they create) online, and start selling literally that same day.
You have also developed “Emergeination” – a platform for creatives to sell their work – like Etsy, EBay, ITunes & Facebook rolled into one. What was the inspiration and motivation behind starting that project?
The idea for Emergeination began back in 2012, I remember watching the Social Media movie before I went to bed and that night I couldn’t sleep so I got up at about 4 am and began to scribble down ideas. I like to call it my “rain man” moment because I just had a flood of inspiration. In that moment I came up with the idea of ceating a platform for all creatives, for; fashion designers, film makers, dancers, musicians, artists, a place where they could sell and promote their work worldwide, a place where they could gain more exposure to new audiences who loved their work and a place where they could connect with other creatives and collaborate on new work. Emergeination was created to help creatives earn even more from their creative products, in comparison to other platforms that take huge percentages from artists. In a nutshell, Emergeination – it’s like walking into a beautiful storefront with your sign on it, and all you have to do is stock the shelves.
Being a singer-songwriter, you’ve teamed up with artists who have worked with artists such as Beverly Knight and Prince on an album in the past. If you had a chance to duet with anybody you like, dead or alive, who would you choose & what song?
Ohhh wow that is a good question – it’s so hard to pick just one. I would have to say Lionel Richie, for a male vocalist, because he was one of the main artists I grew up listening to. So many memories listening to him in the car. And if I could pick a female one, it’s got to be Ella Fitzgerald – I melt every time I hear her voice.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Gotta love a good pair of skinny jeans but I do have a thing for jackets, If I had enough wardrobe space I would buy loads of coats and jackets. Love them. When it comes to shoes, as I am only 5ft 2” (hobbit size) I am all about the heels – I love stilettos.
When you get a chance, what genre of music do you like to listen to? Any favourite artistes?
I love soul and jazz music, which you can tell when you listen to my new album “Unlocked”. My favourite artists right now ( this changes depending on my mood) are Jill Scott and Erykah Badu. They are amazing vocalists.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
As I work a lot, I find it hard to get out and go shopping so I have to say my biggest weakness is Asos. I have their FREE next day delivery membership package and I buy from there all the time. I love the variety and the convenience of it being delivered to my door.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe/ bag wish list?
Ohh this I do know, there is this a fashion designer on Emergeination called Tamara Joseph. She is amazing, she has been featured in New York and London Fashion week. I love a dress she has designed.
Boots or Shoes?
Boots, I love the variety you get and if I am honest I am less likely to fall flat on my face. Though, if I am on a night out, heels are a must.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Be-Iconic.
Thank you for chatting with us Susanna and I can envisage both Be-Iconic and Emergination being big successes! I love how you describe our heights as “hobbit size” – for the record, I’m 5ft3 – and although I do like heels I enjoy wearing my flat shoes too. My mum is only 5ft and she has always worn heels because of her height, as did her mum before her. So dear readers, do you pick your shoe heel height because of your own height? If you are tall, do you wear flats because you feel self conscious when wearing heels? As always, I love to hear your thoughts, so do comment….
All photos have been published with kind permission of Susanna Westwood.