Where did the idea for your company or organization come from? *
Dani: In May 2018, I was completely blindsided, as was every other employee that worked at the same small public relations firm as I, when on a Wednesday, just after close of business, the owner called us all into his office and proceeded to clean house without very much explanation. Shocked and upset and fired for the first time ever, I did the only thing I knew, gather all of my resources and open my own firm. That’s how The Epoch Advisory began. The dictionary definition of the noun “epoch” pronounced “epic” is “the beginning of a distinctive period in the history of anything.” We’re a creative boutique agency championing a personal approach to public relations in the Hollywood scene. We want to make a difference and we strive to change the world for the better with every client we work with and any project we take on.
Mackinzie: I enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in 2008 and I served for five years. Afterwards, I went to business school and kept finding myself working in or around art creating digital content. Nu Dae was born while I was a trainer at Equinox with the mission of helping my clients realize that every day is a new day to do something different. This message translated when I was developing the mission for Nu Dae Productions in that every day affords us the beautiful ability to create something out of nothing and as a result, on the backend, we aim to give creators an ability to tell their stories authentically, honestly, and openly.
What gave you the idea to have your companies merger? *
Mackinzie: The first time I ever heard Dani speak was in the beginning of the summer when she was interviewed on iHeartRadio. She was so passionate about everything she said and I was really inspired by all of the things she stood for. She gave me the push I needed at the time I needed it to keep working hard at what I love. It just so happened that I was already in talks with The Dolan Twins with regards to producing their directorial debut and they had come to me with Cub Sport’s song and story. I wanted Dani on my side so I asked her to be apart of my team.
Dani: After Mackinzie and I joined forces, it was clear that we were a match made in heaven. It’s one thing to think that you and your team are doing a good job, but it’s another thing when others notice and attest to the good job you’re doing. For example, when location hosts and your crew are impressed and compliment you and your partners teamwork. It certainly wipes away any doubts you may have had about working together. I think it was in the middle of this project, when we realized that we were capable of anything and we decided to merge Epoch and Nu Dae.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive? *
Dani: Our typical day begins with Mackinzie waking up to about 15 emails and calendar invites and missed calls from me even though it’s before 9:30am and sadly, there’s really no other reason except for the fact that I’m a total psycho… I wish I was kidding. No, but really we make a lot of lists. And we try to delegate tasks to one another when we know the other is more capable of getting a faster desirable end result. Mackinzie doesn’t mind being that “bad” guy so when someone I need an answer from isn’t answering, I’ll have him step in and reach out. It’s really all about knowing and owning what we are each good at and asking for help when we need it. I think it’s important to be confident in asking for help.
Mackinzie: Haha, we are working on boundaries… All jokes aside, we are most productive when we have deadlines. My Marine background has led me to have a very regimented way of going about things. It’s all a work in process though. Everyone works well in different ways and we are still figuring out how to work most productively, but it’s evident through our work product that we are on the right track. Keeping communication lines open and free are one of the most important things in our business because being on the same page is what makes us so good at what we do.
How do you bring ideas to life? *
Mackinzie: We have a mission. And that mission is to produce work that conveys our client’s messages in memorable, moving, unique ways. Ways that makes us proud. I want to say that the ideas don’t just come to us, but really, they do. I say that in the humblest way possible… This project really opened my eyes to realize just how well Dani and I work together. At this point, I can truthfully say that all of the projects on our calendar are not only exciting because I’m confident in our abilities to get what needs to be done, done, but now I’m also confident that we can accomplish anything and we can do anything easily.
Dani: We think strategically. And we think creatively. I’m constantly attempting to connect all the dots, in way shape or form. I think we are really lucky to come from such diverse backgrounds because it allows us to see the same project from so many different angles and offer solutions that really reflect our collective experience. It’s really interesting to me because, at the heart of it all, Mackinzie and I are problem solvers and the beginning of any good business idea is the solution to a problem. Therefore, I think that our solutions are the backbone of what brings our and our clients’ ideas to fruition.
What’s one trend that excites you? *
Dani: I’m not one to really jump on trends… I like to think I’m ahead of the game, but you can be the judge of that, haha. I would like “long-term relationships” to become a trend and I’d love to see simply “be nice”, become a trend. Relationships are everything. I don’t mean to be so simple, but it really is so simple: being nice helps your relationships. With our company, one of my goals is to establish an open dialogue where mutual trust is key. If mutual trust and mutual honesty don’t exist than relationships don’t exist. And if relationships, don’t exist than you’re all alone.
Mackinzie: While my answer to this question is more calculated than Dani’s theory, I want to make sure to mention how important her message is: relationships are everything and you’re only as good as your team. For me, I’m interested to see what happens when this social media bubble pops. It’s similar to the housing bubble we experienced in 2008 in more than one way. It’s a situation, just like 2008, in which assets appear to be based on implausible or inconsistent views about the future. It’s comforting to see the Dolan Twins move into the production space as directors stepping out of the social media realm. This is a great protection for when this bubble bursts. And I’m proud that we got the opportunity to be a part of that.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur? *
Dani: Mackinzie and I are both very hands-on. I think that because we are ultimately small by design and perfectionists to a fault, we’re than able to 110% fully immerse ourselves in all of our work that we produce. Our clients and collaborators receive complete hands-on focus and get our full attention no matter the project, no matter the budget, and no matter the size.
Mackinzie: I think Dani hit the nail on the head with her answer, but I’ll just dive a little deeper. We always have a backup plan. I think this is one of the best habits we have and without fail, it makes certain that we never fail. Everything goes according to plan because of this very fact. That’s part of our secret sauce, for sure.
What advice would you give your younger self? *
Dani: Just go with it. Move on. If you don’t think about, it won’t bother you. Be nice. Be nice to yourself. Be nice to others. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be nice. Always.
Mackinzie: Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. Did I do the things I said I would start tomorrow? Or am I procrastinating the future? How many different versions of me exist in one dae? My morning self is not my midnight self. My midnight self, controls my morning self, and the future of today. Todae i… I’ll decide about tomorrow.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on. *
Dani: You’re only in control of two things: how you feel and how you react. Nothing else is up to you.
Mackinzie: Monday’s are exciting. Dani and I love Mondays. You can like Monday’s too, if you change your state, you’ll change your mind.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do? *
Dani: One thing I actively attempt to do is get as many people and as many brands as I can to collaborate on any given project. I’m able to do this because I’ve been carefully and cautiously building my network since I was 16 years old. I recommend that every entrepreneur read “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi and start making an excel list of your network and their contact information. If you think about someone in your network, reach out to them even if it isn’t for a reason and just simply because you were thinking of them. This is one way I keep my relationships fresh and it has the added bonus of never looking like your using someone when you ask them for something. It shows that you value your relationship.
Mackinzie: As an entrepreneur and frankly, as a human, you have to realize that you can always learn. There are always things that you don’t know, and things are constantly changing. Never stop learning and never stop perfecting your craft. Dani has a rigorous educational background and I still watch her trying to soak up any knowledge about the things she doesn’t know or understand. Ignorance is never cool. Having the knowledge to form your opinions and back them up is. You can never know too much.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? *
Dani: One strategy that has helped me grow my business is by partnering with Mackinzie, someone that I can trust. This trust stems from our ability to communicate, our mutual respect for one another and our deep-rooted loyalty. Without communication, there is no relationship. Without mutual respect, there is no worth. Without trust, there would be no future for our business.
Mackinzie: It’s reported that only 1% of people are successful at doing something that they try to do. Do you know why that percentage is devastatingly low? It’s because everyone is too afraid to even try to do the thing they want to do so they never start, or they don’t ever try because they’re afraid that they’ll fail. One strategy that has helped our business to grow is that we aren’t afraid to fail because failure isn’t an option. If there is one thing that I will say over and over again, is that success is no accident. It’s a combination of hard work, perseverance, determination, dedication, a little bit of sacrifice, a love for what you’re doing and love for the people you’re doing it with.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it? *
Mackinzie: Everyone fails. Dani and I both have. Sometimes we fail each other, but we quickly recognize the failure and learn from it and then work to find peace through re-establishing our equilibrium in our work product. Peace isn’t a state – it’s a choice, and you have to remake that choice every single day. It’s possible to get a sense of stability, a habit of peace, but it’s life an egg that’s balanced, spinning on its point: lose your momentum and then you’ve lost your equilibrium too.
Dani: If you just start something and you try to do accomplish it, and you just keep trying and you don’t take no for an answer, nothing can stop you. While I’ve learned from my failures, I wouldn’t classify them as failures; but instead, I’d classify them as lessons. This way, I can file them in a folder in my brain free of negativity, and welcome growth. In the past, I struggled discarding negativity. By becoming self-aware of it and shifting my perception, I’ve been able to get a better hold on it. One thing I’ve been trying to do is to replace my “I’m sorry”s with “thank you”’s. So instead of saying “sorry I’m late”, I’ll say “thanks for waiting for me”. It’s not only shifted the way that I feel, but it’s improved my relationships with others who now get to receive my gratitude as opposed to my negativity.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers? *
Dani: What excites you? And I mean, something that really gets you going. I’ll give you an example: In 2015, I was super into the music festival world. I went to all the festivals. I carefully curated my outfits for each festival and each party. I wasn’t making any money doing this, but everyone seemed to like my style and I was invited to everything. I needed income and fast, but I wanted to have fun and still be relevant in the music festival scene. That’s how I founded the Locals Only Club, a members-only music and arts community with a boutique that offered festival-styled clothing fitting to the events that we offered to our members. I sent out invites and event information to all of my subscribers. And it worked. I realized that I wanted to use Locals Only Club to connect the fashionable and trendy festival go-ers with hard-to-find unique styles that reflected their true personality. I was able to turn something I loved doing, which started out as giving ensemble suggestions to friends, into a business. When I was over the festival scene, so was Locals Only Club and I closed its doors in 2017. Take something you’re passionate about and figure out a novel approach to making it into a business. Always start by trying to come up with a solution to a problem.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why? *
Dani: The best $100 I recently spent was at Ban.do. One thing I am certain of, is that I am a product of my environment. Therefore, getting a planner from Ban.do that says encouraging cute phrases and buying a bunch of jelly roll pens to write with and having file folders that say “You’re gold baby, solid gold” make me feel good in my working environment. Not to mention, they leave a good impression.
Mackinzie: I, too, benefitted from her Ban.do purchase. And she’s right. Her silly little office supplies give everyone a smile and a vote of confidence, me included. I especially enjoy the notebook she gave me with the message “Be Nice” in huge letters on its cover.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it? *
Dani: We use our google drive for everything. It’s our life line. I love trying new programs, but sometimes taking the time to go through all of them can be unproductive. To be honest, our google drive has everything we need to conduct our business successfully.
Mackinzie: Dani is a huge fan of systems and procedures, so I follow her lead on this one. If she says we’re using a new program, we’re using a new program. Typically, she’s right on point.
Dani and Mackinzie, always excited by Mondays, complement one another in every way possible and are clearly putting in effort to work as seamlessly as they can. Their passion for changing the world for the better by aligning with projects that actually make a different is magic in the making. Their collaborations are highly curated in an effort to stay true to each of their business’s original roots prior to their merger. They aim to help make a difference in the lives of young people as well as share their mission to fight bullying and stand up for the normalization of the conversation surrounding the importance of mental health. Big hearts meet strong work ethic. Beyond the glitz and glamour of an industry known for churning and burning, Dani and Mackinzie make it clear that when there is a passionate team of two self-aware individuals working on your side, anything is possible.