Exclusive Interview with Publicist & Author Erica Dias
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Erica Dias is the founder of The B Firm, a public relations company. Founded in 2012 with her sister, their expertise has seen them expand into marketing, events, promotion and brand management.
Connecting with the author of “Faith It Until You Make It” on Instagram, we spoke about her come as the woman of many talents.
2BReal: Would you like to take the time to tell me a little bit more about who Erica Dias is how you became an author and the founder of The B Firm?
ED: I basically started my career in wardrobe styling. I was 15 when I reached out to June Ambrose. I called her on my lunch break when I was in high school, and I guess I sounded professional enough where her assistant bypassed me talking to him and he gave June Ambrose the phone.
2BReal: Wow! What happened next?
ED: I was like OK God! I have five seconds to do my elevator pitch and tell her how inspired I am by her and her work and that I would love to do an internship. I wasn’t old enough to do a real internship because I was still in high school, but when I spoke to her “I said my name is Erica Dias, I’m really inspired by your work, and I’ve been watching you. In magazines, your work in films and videos” and I said, “if you give me a telephone internship I would come and work for you for free when I graduate High School. Wherever you are in the country, in the States I will come and work for you.”
June Ambrose was very receptive and gave me and gave me an internship while I was still in high school and I did everything for her that she told me to do. I even went a step further and I went to cosmetology school and got my licence. I then started freelancing, doing some different jobs in the fashion industry. Through college, I then completed bigger internships which was with Vibe Magazine in the fashion department and at the time I still hadn’t met June Ambrose.
One day when I was in college she called me and she said: “can you fly to LA?” And I was like “yes!” I flew to LA, and I have never been starstruck, but when June Ambrose walked out of the elevator I thought I saw God’s cousin! I was like this is life! And then Missy Elliot walked out behind her and I was like oh my god this is real life. So I composed myself and said ok Erica, you’ve got to pull it together. And so you know for me, I took that opportunity for what it was and enjoyed the opportunity. I continued to freelance in the fashion industry and pursue my goals. I styled commercials for Comcast, Haagen-Dazs, Google and Macy’s just to name a few.
2BReal: You seemed quite busy. How did manage a work-life balance?
ED: Whilst to do my internship, I also interned at BET, working on popular television shows that they had and was working on at the time. It was all about being very driven, very determined and wanting more. I ended up moving back to to the bay area working as a freelance wardrobe stylist. Unfortunately, my biggest cheerleader ended up passing away which was my grandmother. My grandmother was the one who wholeheartedly believed in me. She believed in my goals, she believed in my dreams, she would help me with commercials and everything and she passed away.
But right before she passed away, I said “grandma let’s let’s go visit Atlanta”, however, God had other plans. She ended up passing away due to lung cancer and the night of her service, I decided “you know what Erica, you can either be mad at God or you can try to work through this and do what you know your grandmother would have wanted you to do, which would be to continue to pursue your goals and your dreams.” I decided I needed to take a break from living in California where my family were going through that hard time with my Grandmother’s death and my faith moved me to Atlanta.
2BReal: Just like that? Did you have friends or relatives in that area?
ED: Well I didn’t know anybody. I moved there literally with two suitcases and $1,500 or maybe even less than that. From the moment I touched down, it was nonstop just going to go looking for opportunities and creating opportunities for myself. As I began creating opportunities for myself, landing different projects working on different television shows and reality shows alongside doing some soul searching, I was saying to God “you know what I know you have more in store for me.” This “reality” world is not really my thing and the particular shows that I was working on, they were not aligned with my spirit, if that makes sense.
2BReal: From the pain and frustration of losing your grandmother to working in an environment that you did not believe in,was this turning point where The B Firm was built from?
ED: I knew deep down my grandmother wouldn’t be happy about this and so I’ve decided again to step out on faith and call my sister who was really excelling in public relations. Her name is Ashley and she was doing really well within the hospitality sector. I would help her with certain projects and I would assist other people in the PR industry and one day I said we have to start our own firm.
I said I can’t be hired or fired ever again and I just want to leave this TV show that I’m on, it’s not aligning with my spirit. I said to her let’s partner up. My sister was definitely supportive but she was not quitting her 9 to 5. As a publicist, she was making really great money with her clients and so she said we can start this firm and so we did. We started the firm literally over a weekend conversation over brainstorming and just planning things out. My sister created the website as she is more of the business side, and I am more of the visionary.
And so we stepped out on faith and started our PR firm and seven years later which will be this November, by the grace of God we have worked and been working with some of the top multi-million beauty and lifestyle brands, athletes, and politicians in the business. Working with entrepreneurs allowed me to challenge myself and diversify to be able to give my clients on the rise the same service, recognition and exposure as more well-known figures. And that’s how the firm was created.
2BReal: How did “Faith It Until You Make It” come about?
ED: I started writing inspirational quotes on my vision board. I’m a speak things into existence type of woman. I believe in prayer and I believe in writing things down. I like to see it, speak it and walk into it. I would write down these quotes that I would come up with or that my mum or sister would give me, and I would put them on my vision board. I was getting my clients with deals, and one day one of the publishers said to me “you should just write a book.” I was like “no I’m more of a behind-the-scenes type of person”, but insisted and encouraged me to write a book with inspirational quotes. I then thought if she’s inspired me maybe they could inspire somebody else. And so she gave me a deadline and next thing you know I published a book. We got it into Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all the major bookstores and platforms with “Faith It Until You Make It”. I wanted it to be a coffee table book so that you could just see it so I designed it with a simplistic design. It became a portal that allows people to be inspired and a way to connect with me. I was so proud to know that people would be able to read what I had written and be able to leave that positive energy that I had tried spread in that book, made me feel proud.
2BReal: Alongside being a CEO and author you also run monthly event. Tell me about Erica’s Table of 20?
ED: Backtracking on when I kept on meeting the same type of people, I wanted to create a place where I could meet like-minded individuals. A place where we could have conversations, food and fellowship in an intimate place where we could cry or laugh together. And so I created a series called Erica’s Table of 20. It’s a monthly luncheon where men and women can engage, they can connect, share their real stories on how they got to where they are. Not the Instagram story but the real story. I have 20 people that are allowed to come, and we are now going into our 28th event in June that has allowed me to take it from Atlanta to San Francisco Dallas Beverly Hills and now going to New York.
2BReal: What tips and would you give to those starting any type of media company?
ED: I would definitely say research the industry that you want to go into. Write things out. I am very old school and it’s good to write things out especially things you don’t know. Do your research have a mentor within the same industry, I have a mentor in the industry that I’m in. I know that financially when going into a new industry money may not be there but bartering services may be a way to help you build the business. In the beginning, these things are important, and so for me, trading services allowed me to develop and grow my business. Vision board it out and then plan and execute and be consistent. Find what find your niche is. You don’t have to do everything, it’s not about being the Jackie of all trades and not master none, you have to master something.
2BReal: What are the challenges you faced and overcame that some may find difficult when starting a business?
ED: Leaving a television show where I was getting a consistent cheque every two weeks even though it wasn’t a lot of money. I was working on one of the biggest TV shows, and because perception is reality people would see that show and just assume that I was making money. That wasn’t the case. I was living with a roommate, and money was so low at times I thought I wouldn’t be unable to pay my rent. Knowing how to sacrifice and save is key. Discipline yourself because you don’t have to keep up with anyone. I believe in priorities which meant if I had to drive my smaller car and not my luxury car right now then I had to do what I had to do to get what I needed to get.
Delegate your funds and stretch them out. That might be a shock for some people but that is something I had to learn. Sometimes when some contracts come to an end with your clients, you have to know how to bounce back and make sure that you find new business opportunities to keep yourself going. One time I had no clients. I had to go and stay in a hotel. Nobody knew that I was staying in a hotel, but I would get dressed, do my hair and make-up and every day go out and get more clients to keep my business going. So for me, my hustle and my drive came from different aspects of life. Be ok with the process and trust the process. Don’t let the internet rush you.
2BReal: What has becoming an entrepreneur taught you?
ED: Being an entrepreneur you do not see everything that we go through behind the scene. But I also make it a point to be transparent and let people know that this is not been a piece of cake. I didn’t just get to where I am. The other day someone said to me “oh it looks like you’ll come up was super fast”, and I was like “girl you don’t even know the half.” I was 11 when I had my first real job, I was 15 when I reached out to June Ambrose, people just don’t know.
2BReal: Would you say then that social media has become a platform that people expect too much from you?
ED: Because of social media people for some reason will expect that you’re supposed to overshare, you’re supposed to tell everybody everything and it’s like no that’s not the case. Sometimes I remind myself, that I don’t have to tell anybody anything. It makes me selective on what I post and what I share but I’m always 100%. Being your authentic self is a misconception that sometimes people do think about entrepreneurs and the things that we have to go through.
2BReal: Would you say that social media has been an imperative part of how you build you’re the brand of your business?
ED: Yes definitely. it is a tool that is a blessing and a curse at the same time just because people will assume that I should share or need to give them more or even everything that I have learnt to social media and for free. Then the flip side for me is posting a particular photo, quotes or event that I have gone to. I may get 10 enquiries from people who want to use my services or require a consultation.
So it’s been a blessing in how much social media has impacted my career my brand. Strategically aligning myself with similar brands and opportunities, being intentional about where I want to go and where I wanted to see my firm grow year after year. Social media has played a good role overall. The good outweighs the bad.
Pick up your copy of “Faith It Until You Make It” today!