Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Cimity.
Julie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2005, I was working as a receptionist for a promotions company. When I found out I was pregnant with my first son, I knew I couldn’t continue making $10/hour, so I decided to head to MySpace and reach out to local bands to offer our services. I put together a template letter introducing myself, explaining that I would be able to put their band name on any products they’d like for the lowest cost out there. I sent out about 100 emails and by the end of the day, I had over 50 responses. So I went back to work after dinner and I responded to all of them, including quotes with pricing and options. That was the beginning of my social media career. After I had my son, I knew I wanted a job closer to home so I didn’t have to spend over 2 hours in traffic every day. I got a job at working for an online party and wedding planning guide, selling ads to vendors.
In 2009, I went through a divorce and was completely unhappy with where my career was going. The ad sales were declining and I was barely able to pay my bills. I was trying to start my own baby gift business on the side, using social media to help gain more exposure. I was even thinking of getting my real estate license. I was completely lost.
The night of September 11, 2009 changed my life. I was in a car accident that flipped my car and broke my neck. I was in the hospital for a little over one month and in a halo brace for three months. I lost my driver’s license for a year and was out of work as well, which prevented me from paying my bills and being able to fully take care of my son. I was living in my parent’s house again and felt like I would never get my life back because of how many bridges I had to cross just to be able to feel like a normal human being again.
I met the love of my life in December 2009, who inspired me to be the best person that I could be. He gave me hope and made me push to get more out of my second chance at life.
Once I was able to work again, I started looking for social media marketing positions because I knew how to get results and wanted to focus on a job I knew I was naturally good at and actually enjoyed. The first company I worked for was a complete joke. I was there for 11 months before I found a better job, after months of searching. I still wasn’t making a sufficient income, so I began to look for clients to work for on the side. On weekends, I would meet people at Starbucks to teach them how to use social media. I found 2 clients that I would work for from home which helped out a bit more. Then at the end of September, my boss called me into his office. I thought he was calling me in because my 90 days were up and I was promised a raise. Instead, he explained that he was letting my position go and was going to give me my vacation pay and benefits until the end of October. I knew I had to do something.
The next day, the owner of GrooveBook called me. He had found my resume and asked if I could come in for an interview. He offered me a full time job while working from home. I already had the other 2 clients, so I was now making more than I was at my full time job at the office. So I bought my website domain and started networking to gain more clients.
Groovebook’s story was such an incredible journey to be a part of from the ground up. We had created their social media accounts for them before their app launched in October 2012. We got them on the TODAY Show in January 2013 in their “Best Apps of 2013” segment with Mario Armstrong. They aired on Shark Tank in January 2014 and got a deal with Mark and Kevin who then helped Shutterfly acquire them in November 2014, making Shark Tank history being the first idea pitched on Shark Tank that was acquired by a public company. We then continued to work with Groovebook through Shutterfly until May 2016 when they decided to take their social media team in-house. We grew their social media organically through influencers. We contacted as many mom bloggers as we could to send them samples hoping they would share them with their followers as well.
Since then, we have used our knowledge of the mom/baby market to grow Branding Monster into a company that specializes in representing products for babies and children. I hired the first person to help me in December 2013 and now have a team of 6. After I had my second child in August 2015, my husband decided to leave his job at DreamWorks Animation to come on board and help me full time. We have never placed an ad, all of our clients have been referred by current clients. We are humbled that so many amazing brands have put their trust in our hands to help us grow their businesses with our own personalized plan of attack.
Has it been a smooth road?
Every day is always different than the next. You just have to start each day with a positive attitude that helps you take on anything that comes your way. Our main ongoing challenge is staying on top of the constant changes to the algorithms on each social media platform. When I first started Branding Monster in 2012, everyone saw all of our client’s posts on Facebook. Then the algorithm changed and we had to find new ways to get our followers posts to be seen. Now you see live video becoming more and more popular, and Instagram becoming the big player.
Changes happen weekly and we’re always testing different strategies to make sure our clients are getting the most exposure they can. We are constantly signing up for webinars, listening to podcasts, reading daily newsletters and going to conferences to learn from the experts to make sure we aren’t left behind.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Branding Monster offers social media marketing, influencer marketing, public relations, graphic design, and digital marketing. We specialize in representing baby and children products.
Most marketing companies have huge cookie cutter packages that are already put together without initially speaking to the client and I think that’s where Branding Monster stands out. I take the time to listen to their story, customize a marketing campaign and create their voice to help build their brand. I fully understand the challenges, financial aspects and time it takes to market your business because I am a small business as well.
What makes me the most proud of Branding Monster is the reputation that we’ve earned and the connections we’ve made. We give our all and our clients realize that and in return, they refer us to other clients and that’s how we’ve grown to where we are now.
Our clients aren’t just clients. They’re amazing people with huge dreams that have turned into close friends. My goal is always to help them reach those dreams. I take care of them like their brand is my own and try my best to make each client feel like they’re our only client.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Los Angeles is a great place for me to finally open an office. It’s a dream I’ve always had and I can’t wait for it to come true. What is nice about marketing is that you can do it from anywhere. I have clients in Canada, Israel, New York, and all throughout the rest of the country. Part of our team actually lives in Florida because she is able to do everything I need remotely! We of course have calls and Skype meetings to brainstorm, but I love the beauty and freedom of this job to be able to work from wherever you’d like.
- Website: http://brandingmonster.com/
- Phone: 818-921-5191
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brandingmonster/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrandingMonster
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrandingMonster
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/branding-monster-oak-park-3