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Meet Rachel Szabo of BTS Group in West Side (Playa Del Rey)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Szabo.

Rachel Szabo is the Co-Founder of BTS (Behind-The-Scenes) Group, a brand strategy, design, e-Commerce and consumer products agency, which designs and activates innovative merchandise strategies that connect people with brands in meaningful ways. Rachel’s experience has put her in a unique position to fully engage and forge a path in the ever-changing landscape of e-commerce, consumer product development, brand building, digital content and influencer marketing growth. She was the Head of Merchandising and E-Commerce at Fullscreen Media (acquired by Otter Media, a subsidiary of AT&T’s WarnerMedia), where she oversaw the merchandising, licensing, and consumer product design for Fullscreen’s portfolio of digital influencers and celebrities, with both live touring and digital integrations. Rachel has been successful in tackling the modern challenges of commerce and developing profitable revenue and business opportunities for creators and brands by leveraging their popularity and engagement across digital platforms.

Her career first began 13 years ago in retail sales and visual merchandising at Limited Brands and EXPRESS in Ohio, which is where she’s from. She moved to Los Angeles, CA post-graduation and continued in her career as a fashion apparel and accessories buyer at BCBGMAXAZRIA, followed by a buyer at Adriano Goldschmied (AG Jeans), and later as Director of E-Commerce at tech content discovery platform, Tapiture.

Rachel is a compassionate leader dedicated to empowering and mentoring staff and partners. She is committed to helping people and businesses realize their potential with an individualized approach to achieve a desired outcome. She finds the intersection of art and science utterly fascinating and this has been the breeding ground of creativity and innovation for Rachel. She brings this unique lens into her work and her personal life.

On a personal level, Rachel is an advocate for education, health and wellness, human rights justice and environmental sustainability. Rachel is an active board member of FEAST, a non-profit organization that promotes wellness and enriches lives through the power of healthy foods and human connection.

Has it been a smooth road?
Looking back on the last decade, I’ve certainly encountered challenges, but none that I couldn’t get through. I’m an innate and creative problem-solver and I see every obstacle as an exciting new challenge, a puzzle to solve, even if it initially ruffles my feathers. Every problem has at least one solution. My parents taught me this at a young age and albeit frustrating to learn growing up, it gave me a foundation that has set me apart in my career, a skill set that makes me an effective leader and valued partner.

For this reason, I can’t recall any specific obstacles. The problems I encounter are typically solved for pretty quickly and if not, they lead to pivoting to new company, new business, a new opportunity altogether.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the BTS Group story. Tell us more about the business.
BTS (Behind-The-Scenes) Group is a branding, design, e-commerce and consumer products agency, which designs and activates innovative brand merchandise strategies that connect people with brands in meaningful ways. At BTS, we build the machine, source and manufacture the products, formulate the strategy, and pull all the levers of a client’s brand and are truly behind-the-scenes operators. Our clients shine as the face of their brands, leveraging their existing consumer or fanbase to grow their brand while we optimize on the backend. My business partner and I have a combined 25+ years of experience in our fields bringing expertise of coming into businesses at any stage and executing for long-term growth.

We offer creative and design services including logos, product designs, webstore and marketing asset creation. We have plug-and-play e-commerce solutions since all clients are not a one-size-fits all. We can manage the entire business end-to-end or come in as a partner for pieces of the business that our clients are in need of.

I oversee and manage operational aspects of BTS Group, setting the vision for the company, formulate business plans, and define the overall strategy in order to drive growth and profitability for the company and its clients. I function as a key strategic partner to provide expert guidance to all functional areas, including operations, sales and business development, product development, client relations, manufacturing & vendor relations, accounting & finance, supply chain, and procurement.

Many of our competitors out there only offer e-commerce solution services while outsourcing creative and design. We offer and are equally strong in both, given our history in the fashion industry. Most of our competitors’ backgrounds are not deeply rooted in manufacturing, art & design, and they don’t have the connections we do. That we’ve been building since we studied fashion, art, design, and business management in college. Our clients are diversified as well. We service influencers, celebrities, talent and social media agencies, start-up companies, fashion brands, and Fortune 500 companies.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Manufacturing has taken a hit during the pandemic and it’s forced the industry to take a good hard look at sustainability and the need to diversify product categories and capabilities. I see more and more companies supplying sustainable and up-cycled products with fully ethical supply chains. Hopefully in the next decade, this is the new normal. I also see a lot more manufacturing jobs developing domestically and nearshore. The U.S. has a long way to go to catch up to China and other overseas markets in terms of capabilities, but ultimately with the way the world has shifted in the last nine months with the pandemic, I see this shift being a large one in the next 5-10 years, opening up more jobs and reducing our country’s unemployment rate.

I also see logistics companies and tools developing to service small-large size companies delivering top-notch shipment and tracking services, attempting to take on the tech commerce giant, Amazon, in delivering “happiness” at your doorstep in 24 hours so you can feel better about supporting smaller businesses.

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