Art Basel: the premiere art show in North America, has an overwhelming list of events that surround it, making it the busiest week in Miami. This year, we went to several parties and events for the first time as EMCEE, but the one that stood out as a gathering for networking, learning and supporting up and coming entrepreneurship and creativity, was The Elephnt Room: Art Basel Edition. The Elephnt Room, is an event series that originated in Detroit, with the goal of “bringing together creatives and like-minded individuals in order to push forward the culture and community.” Cozy Lo, of Detroit, decided to bring those concepts down to Miami for an art Basel edition and organized the event that took place at The Lab Miami, in Wynwood, on December 8th.
The event featured vendors, Freeway Rick Ross, Red Period, Candy Carver, Second Nature/XMILLION, Matte Brand, and SkinButtr, who were there with their products on display. My favorite part of the event, and the most informative was the Q&A panel that took place with an all-female panel. Sitting on the panel was Distortedd, illustrator and visual artist, Briana Wilson, fashion designer and creator of MATTE Brand, and Tatiana Elizabeth, owner of Skin Buttr. The panel was hosted by Randi Rossario of Ohso Radio, also hailing from Detroit. With a panel of successful women, the theme of the discussion was quickly established: women empowerment; and everyone in the room was all ears to hear what these successful ladies had to say.
Randi asked the panel questions about how they started their brands, what their biggest challenges and struggles have been as women entrepreneurs, how social media has helped or hurt their brands, etc. We heard examples of each of their own personal experiences to answer these questions, while receiving insight on the things each woman has done to overcome the obstacles in their respective industries. Distortedd said she got her start by being herself, crediting “being reckless” on twitter for gaining her heavy social media following, and also teaching her how to handle negative reactions from people on the internet. She stated that the negative feedback taught her how not to care what people thought and to always trust her gut. The three ladies agreed that authenticity is key to gaining followers and people who actually care about your journey on social media, and the backbone to making the right decisions when it comes to business. When asked what the biggest obstacle to starting a business as a woman, Distortedd, Brianna and Tatiana, all stated that being taken seriously is harder for women than men, in any industry. The challenge of people thinking “you’re just a pretty face,” and having to work twice as hard to prove that you have talent and a vision to get a seat at the table. As a woman you are constantly having to “prove” yourself.
The panel was full of engaging questions, thought-provoking answers, and motivating advice for anyone who is seeking to start their own entrepreneurial journeys. Following the panel, there was a chance for everyone to go outside, network and meet with each other, as well as several music performers that had everyone in attendance enjoying themselves. Performers included rappers Damond Blue and Starrz, both coming from Baltimore, as well as Hippie Kalen, Monalyse, and Rosie and the Fellas, coming through from Detroit. It was great to see rising talent on display at an event that was there to provide a platform for people to learn about others that are doing their thing in their respective industries. Also throughout the event, talented painter Komrabai from the DMV, was there doing a live mural on the wall of The Lab’s outdoor area where the performances took place.
The event accomplished exactly what it was there to do: bring creatives from all industries together, share ideas, and promote entrepreneurship. A successful gathering during the busiest week of the year in Miami is not an easy feat, and Cozy Lo and The Elephnt Room did it. Coming all the way from Detroit to be apart of the art culture and environment that Art Basel week provides, The Elephnt Room proved itself to be an event that creatives want to be apart of. Take a look at some of the photos and the event recap video that was captured the day that it all went down, and make sure to keep an eye on what moves The Elephnt Room will be making by checking out their website: elephntroom.com.