Location: Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn creative Daniel Calderon grew up with aspirations of being an inventor and then to be in fashion design. The latter transitioned into the business side of the fashion industry, and into retail management, which aligned well with his degrees in business management and finance. His corporate career at Target and Amazon prepared him for his entrepreneurial life by exposing him to high levels of pressure and giving him the experience of leading large teams of people. “I got the development needed and was paid at the same time,” he says.
Today, Daniel is a man that wears many hats, from brand strategist to marketing agency owner to all around entrepreneur, and is always asked for advise regarding finding success. With a wide variety of experience in several fields, he has a unique and insightful perspective.
As a brand strategist what are a few tips you can provide to our readers on building a profitable brand?
“I always say this, but the best advice I would give to your readers about building a profitable brand is to not listen to me,” he says. “There are so many ‘experts’ with varying opinions and at the end of the day you have to be authentic to yourself and your brand. You can easily Google how to execute certain strategies, but you cannot Google how to dig deep and tell your brand story in the most authentic way. It takes trial and error. Test some things out, and iterate on your successes until you get to where you need to be from a profit margin perspective.”
With digital and social media marketing being extremely popular how does your agency stand out and compete with the rest in a crowded market?
“My agency doesn’t compete. I have been blessed to collaborate with so many of my peers. Also there is a client for everyone. Show your work to the most amount of people you can reach and you will attract the customer who needs you the most. If you aren’t getting any clients, it simply means that you are not providing enough value. Figure it out. That’s what separates you from your ‘perceived competition.’”
For someone who would want to follow your footsteps, what advice would you give them on creating an agency in 2018?
“I would tell them not to follow in my footsteps. That would be extremely boring. Please create something that is way more interesting than what I have created. I desire to be inspired by the younger generation. It is their responsibility to disrupt, improve and challenge everything.”
How was your experience of being a part of the Forbes NY Business Council?
“The Forbes family is so giving and my editors have challenged me in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. I have become a better thinker and my standard of ‘good’ has exponentially increased.”
You’re also the executive producer of the new film “Unapologetic Me: Black | Gay | Man,” what role did you play in making this film?
“‘Unapologetic Me: Black | Gay | Man’ has been such a joy to work on. I was responsible for putting all of the moving pieces together and for curating and leading the creative and production team to bring the project to life. I also collaborated with the creator and director, Justin Dominic, on creative direction and post edits. I am also responsible for marketing, public impact, finance and growth.”
The film explores the intersectionality of being a black, gay man. What did you and your team want viewers to take with them after watching the film?
“We simply want viewers to be empowered to have uncomfortable conversations about race and identity in their respective communities. The art of the film allows the viewers to react in unique and interesting ways. Our job is not to dictate how people should feel, but our job is to create art that make people feel.”
After being on both the business and creative side, which do you prefer and why?
“I don’t believe that business and creative are two different sides. Both allow me to create, whether it be art direction or financial strategy. There is art and a rhythm to doing both, and the results bring me joy.”
What does a successful business look like to you in 2018?
“I believe that entrepreneur should define what success means to them. There sometime can be more value in a company that makes no money versus a company that turns a profit every quarter. I am who I am today due to my past failed businesses.”
Who in your field do you #COSIGN and why?
“I COSIGN Michelle Dalzon. She is the creator of the Black Owned Market. What she has been able to do for communities in a short time has been phenomenal. From adding thousands of dollars back into black communities to participating in campaigns with major organizations such as Adidas and The Brooklyn Museum, she is a living legend. I love her dearly.”
Daniel also #COSIGNs the below exceptional individuals:
Justin Dominic: @jaedominic
Kaine Hampton: @kjhampton
Kyle Hagler: @kylehagler
Emil Wilbekin: @emilwilbekin
Kiwan Anderson: @misteranderson
Ofo Ezeugwu: @chief_ofo
Dario Calmese: @dariothephotog
Eric Jones: @capitol_ej
Twiggy Garcon: @simplytwiggy
Michelle Dalzon: @michelledalzon
Anthony Frasier: @anthonyfrasier
Kameron Mack: @kameron_depaul