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Meet Christin Baker of Tello Films

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christin Baker.

Christin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
12 years ago I was living in Chicago and this thing called YouTube was becoming popular and I was also feeling very upset about the lack of lesbian content in media. So I decided to start a company with a friend that built a site to be the “Lesbian YouTube”. Well that didn’t go too well because we weren’t getting the same views as YouTube and we couldn’t survive on Ad revenue so after two years we decided to charge for subscriptions. This was when very few companies were charging. Right around that time Netflix and Hulu were starting to charge for their digital content so we were right along with those big companies. So we started charging and we were always making our own content. We knew it was critical for us to have our own exclusive content.

Now here we are ten years later, 3 Emmy Nominations and apps. still going strong. We are now moving to features which is super exciting.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Hell no! It’s been a fun road but not smooth. First, we had to build a website and take money for subscriptions when that wasn’t being done, and we didn’t have Netflix or Hulu money. So that was not easy, now there are so many services where you can do this and it’s much easier. Then we needed to move from PayPal and to a new service that was better at reoccurring payments. PayPal didn’t let us move any of our subscribers. Which meant we lost EVERYONE. We had to start all over and hope that our subscribers signed up again. It was stressful but necessary. Then we moved from a web-based to an app-based site and moving all of our content was time-consuming and stressful. I have learned so much and am so grateful but it has been a lot of adjusting on a small business budget which has made us resourceful and putting in a lot of sweat equity.

Please tell us more about your work. What do you guys do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
We are an SVOD company that produces and distributes content for the Lesbian/Queer community. We specialize in making high quality, low-cost content. I am most proud that we have been around for 12 years and that we have three Emmy nominations. Our specific community is what sets us apart. We are niche and we know our community. I also think our ability to make high-quality/low-cost content is what has helped us stay alive as many other digital companies have not lasted.

What were you like growing up?
I was a big tomboy. I loved playing sports. When we got a VHS camera I got into doing videos. I did music videos and SNL parodies. I also figured out how to do reel to reel editing between two VHS recorders. I loved musicals and plays too.


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