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Meet Pilaar Terry of Number Twelve Marketing in Mid-Wilshire/Mid-City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pilaar Terry.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Pilaar. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a proud Bay Area native with strong roots in southern California. To be honest, it’s woven into my DNA as my mom’s family is from Santa Monica. Naturally, we skipped Bay Area winters in favor of spending the holidays in SoCal with my grandparents, the palm trees, outstanding Mexican food and being beach adjacent. (Although, I have to admit, the beach is NOT for me. Don’t @ me, bro.)

It’s no surprise that I ended up going to college at USC. It was far enough away from home to feel like I was “going away” but close enough that I could still drive up the coast to do my laundry.

At USC, I studied at Annenberg School of Journalism and was confident that I’d become a network news anchor, have a colorful career in broadcast journalism and inspire generations of other female reporters and cultural arbiters.

Nope, nope, nope. The universe had other plans. I went into entertainment PR instead.

For the next few years, I was happily employed at some of the biggest communications and PR firms that gave me so much invaluable experience; let’s be honest – I was so green. I worked on Fortune 500 brands. I traveled at breakneck speed, plowing through 80+ hour work weeks, enjoyed hangouts with an amazing circle of career-oriented girlfriends, and steadily rose up the ranks . . .all while chipping away slowly at my massive student loan debt.

I wouldn’t trade those years for the world.

But I wanted something new, something different. A life where I was excited to get out of bed every day. Where I was in charge of my own destiny.

In a move that I never anticipated or planned for, I co-founded a company and finally started to decide my own fate instead of leaving it up to chance.

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?
There were definitely lessons to be learned along the way, both in my agency career and in becoming a small business owner.

Agency challenges are interesting because they tend to be a lot harder to see. You don’t truly realize how much they’re impacting your career growth or how much you’ve changed for a company or an the ideology of a company or brand. The challenge was realizing that, even though I was successful in my position, I wanted to be more honest and truthful in my career and how I presented myself professionally. Another challenge was getting enough chutzpah to take the leap and go out on my own.

On the other hand, challenges in new business really just boil down to learning the ropes of being your own boss and maybe, if you’re lucky, getting to mentor, guide and shape the careers of your team. I didn’t have that opportunity early in my career (or at any point to be honest), so for my co-founder and I to be able to explore mentorship on any level feels like a small, but significant win. It’s learning when to file taxes, whether or not to file as a C corp or an S corp, navigating the hiring process and figuring out who is a good fit for your team. Finding an office, constantly pitching new business. It’s also learning how to commit to a mission and sticking with it. She and I are steering this endeavor and we take it seriously.

I’m #blessed that I have such a strong co-founder and business partner to face these day-to-day challenges head-on.

It’s both exhilarating and terrifying. Did I mention that I like taking risks? Or the taxes part? It’s no joke.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Number Twelve Marketing is a boutique marketing and PR agency based in Los Angeles. We specialize in creating and executing bad-ass campaigns on behalf of our clients across PR & brand communications, talent & influencer engagement and third-party partnerships.

We get excited about problem-solving. Bringing campaigns to life through the lens of pop culture and entertainment isn’t just our job – we honestly have a blast doing it.

We started to notice that clients were gravitating away from the outdated “agency of record” model and towards practices that work faster, smarter, and without fear. We decided it was time to take our invaluable experience, shared passion and launch a shop of our own. A shop that puts humility, humanity and authenticity at the forefront of our work. Which really means we tell it like it is – with no filter – and allow ourselves to show up honestly to our amazing clients. And that means being prepared, energized, off-the-cuff and with a devil-may-care attitude (but focused on results, of course). Let’s have FUN, please!

You may have been wondering (you probably weren’t though), what’s with our company name? “Number Twelve” is a term used to describe someone you can be your most authentic self with, who inspires and brings out the best in you. Not only does this describe my friendship with my co-founder, but it also reflects how we tackle our work – with passion, honesty, and a good sense of humor.

We believe that life is too short not to do what you love and be proud of it, too.

What were you like growing up?
I was, and continue to be, an extroverted introvert. I loved interacting with people – making them laugh, feel comfortable, and trying to ensure that each experience we had together was positive. At the same time, I also very much like being alone with my own company, it’s been that way since I can remember. I was a voracious reader growing up, still am. (I recently read a book from start to finish from 11pm-2am, I don’t know man. Reading is fundamental.)

I dove headfirst into the intimate life stories of famous serial killers, prima ballerinas, off-the-wall artists, civil rights leaders, changemakers and musicians.

At the same time, I was also obsessed with The Babysitters’ Club, anything by Judy Blume, Goosebumps, Ramona Quimby, Nancy Drew, ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’ by Mildred Taylor, ‘Tortilla Flats’ by John Steinbeck, and of course, the Harry Potter series. (I’m a proud Slytherin, by the way).

I danced six days a week, taking ballet, jazz, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban and African dance. I was a Girl Scout, I took swim lessons, I went to debate camp, summer camp and wrote original plays and stories before I hit eighth grade. I was the color guard captain and dance team captain. I took the bus because I didn’t have a car like my other private school friends. I was fun and outgoing. I was wary and distrustful. I was both not privileged and privileged at the same time, which felt like I was everyone. And no one. My blackness defined me more than I would have liked at 13, 14, 15. But I got used to it – where was it going to go? The technology didn’t exist. Yet.

You’d most likely find me in a library, studying at home or perfecting my color guard skills, rather than hanging out with the cool kids. And that’s fine, I’m glad I didn’t peak in high school. I would never have tried harder and gotten to my life today. My company, my terms, and a much, much better sense of myself.

I’m still fun and outgoing. Still wary (and now more financially minded). But I’m me. On my terms. And I couldn’t bear it any other way.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 6363 Wilshire Blvd.
    Suite 420
    Los Angeles, CA 90048
  • Website: www.numbertwelvemarketing.com
  • Phone: 323-424-3244
  • Email: pilaar@numbertwelvemarketing.com
  • Instagram: @numbertwelves / @pilaaraikelah
  • Twitter: @darealblackswan

Image Credit:
Headshot Photo Credit: Stephanie Williams, All other photos courtesy Pilaar Terry

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