Today we’d like to introduce you to Marni Epstein-Mervis.
Marni, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was working a series of relatively safe and well paying jobs, but I didn’t enjoy it. It didn’t feel creative and I was stuck in a cubicle all day, reading blogs like Curbed and Apartment Therapy and wishing I was writing for them. So one day, I started applying to any and all writing opportunities on Craigslist. It took one person to say “yes.” I first started writing about music, covering live shows and album releases. One opportunity led to another and that one led to another and so on. What I really wanted to write about was design and architecture so, I enrolled in a Masters in Historic Preservation and made the switch. It was my career as a design and lifestyle writer that led me to foundSTRUKTR Studios.
I was writing a lot for outlets like Curbed and I saw that there was such a huge appetite for really great design content. At the same time, I saw a lot of these creative entrepreneurs and designers were having difficulty telling their stories. Readers of my stories were contacting me asking me to write descriptions of their projects, their brand’s mission statement, etc. The idea behind STRUKTR was that your brand can offer content that is just as engaging, entertaining and useful as the content that you look for and read on your favorite publications.
Eventually, writing so much about architecture and design, I started taking photos too, outlets like Curbed, Dwell and Apartment Therapy started publishing them. So, our service offerings expanded to photography and video, too. The key is to tell a cohesive story, across all mediums. This past fall one of my photos made the cover of the Los Angeles Times Home & Garden Section in a story about one of our clients.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Growing a business, literally from scratch, is not easy. With social media telling so many “success stories”, it’s easy to think that it comes swiftly – but I don’t think it’s fair to assume that’s the norm. For me, a big challenge has been feeling comfortable asking for what my services are worth – and not feeling bad, wrong about it. My instinct was not to charge too much, to do work for free or to go so far over-time and over-budget without charging extra that it could drop my effective hourly rate to pennies! Over the years, whether it’s for my photography services or content marketing, it’s become more natural to ask to for that.
what should we know about STRUKTR Studios? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
STRUKTR provides content marketing, photography, video and more, to lifestyle and design brands, like hotels, interior designers, apparel companies and real estate startups. So for example, for our interior designer clients, I photograph homes they’ve recently completed for their portfolios or for submission to publications. We’ll create photography content for apparel companies or hotels for them to share on Instagram and for their websites. For companies like real estate startups or lifestyle brands, we create an overarching blog strategy and craft all their original blog content. STRUKTR elevates brands with original content that increases visibility, tells a brand’s unique story and engages their clients. We function as Chief Content Officer for clients. The goal is always to create content for our clients’ users that is beautiful and useful to them.
What sets me and STRUKTR Studios apart is a combination of experience in-house running content and social media, a background studying historic preservation, architecture, design and also, with my time on the publisher side. In addition to our other work, I lecture and teach to writers about what people want to read, what photos make people click, what titles catch people’s attention and what blogs or stories lend themselves to getting picked up by outlets. All of this helps our mission: which is to help our clients build exciting and engaging brands.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Even today, for women, there can often be a lot of pressure to play it safe, follow the rules, be nice, wait your turn. A lot of things that can stifle creativity and leadership. I’ve learned to trust my gut and sometimes it’s important to leap before I look rather than always playing it safe. You don’t need to wait for the right time or the right pieces to come into place to be a leader or an entrepreneur. There is literally no time like the present, especially since building a career, a business or a movement, can take significant time.
- Website: struktrstudios.com
- Phone: 323-285-1060
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: struktrstudios
Marni Epstein-Mervis of STRUKTR Studios