I met Fiona Bloom in 2006 – the same year I got my feet wet in music publishing. Back then, she’d already been a 15-year music industry veteran – from on-air personality interviewing the likes of George Clinton, Wu-Tang Clan to Director of New Artist Marketing at EMI Records to executive producing albums, focusing on publicity/promoting live shows to Director of International Marketing at TVT Records to FINALLY launching her own consulting agency… phew! Is there anything this woman can’t do? The first time we sat in a meeting together almost 7 years ago, Fiona exuded energy I could only get from two cans of Red Bull. She talked about musicians and projects she was working on – I could barely keep up with her on-the-go lifestyle as it felt quiet intimidating for someone like me new to the scene. She was everywhere – and wherever she was, so was the next best up-and-coming artist and/or band. Even Billboard recently listed her among 140 music business Twiteratti to follow. But, what makes this award-winning music industry publicist remarkable is her ability to make you feel like you’re the most important person in the room. Fiona Bloom is the kind of person you meet for the first time, but walk away from the conversation feeling like you’ve known her for years. Her infectious energy and presence has made her a key player in the global music scene. You meet her and you kind of want to take over the world with her too… and that’s what you call The Bloom Effect.
Describe a day in the life of Fiona Bloom:
Well, I try to have a banana being the first thing I eat daily. Then, after 2 big glasses of freshly squeezed lemon water, I check all of my social stats and answer posts, comments, tweets, read Billboard Bulletin, Grammy 365, A2im, Mashable, NYTimes, Hypebot and Vice. Then, it’s answering emails and returning phone calls… If there’s any time left… I work =).
I am the Queen of Networking, so there’s usually piles of business cards that desperately need following up. Then, in the afternoon, I’ve usually scheduled 1-3 meetings – 1 in BK and 2 in the City. I work from an HQ in Bed Stuy. If I don’t have my own event to cover or work, I will find a band or two to check or hit up a couple of parties/networking events or screenings. Depending on the day, I try to get a work out in. This week was crap as I didn’t hit the gym once…Shame on me.
What’s the history behind The Bloom Effect – what propelled you to start it (how did you come up with the name) – and how does The Bloom Effect reflect your personal aesthetic?
The history behind The Bloom Effect is interesting. Everyone along the way has either said something about my words, energy, passion – how I have an ‘Effect’ on them and the running joke was always- give me some of that- whatever it is you have… I need it!
So… a light bulb flashed and I thought – um… how cool would it be if I came up with The Bloom Effect for a company someday. My own… Thus – an entity was born. I bought the domain back in 2001 but actually didn’t launch until 2007. I had record labels and partners previously, also ran the Intl Marketing dept at TVT Records and had a brief stint doing A&R for a Swedish Metal label…. It was after, that I decided to go full steam on my own on Oct 2007 and have never looked back! My personal aesthetic is about growth, nurturing, developing and grass roots which is everything The Bloom is about… My surname says it all…
What were fundamental steps you followed before starting your business?
As far as fundamentals I followed, I looked at other successful business owners, measured their success and observed. Did a lot of research, read Richard Branson’s ‘Losing my Virginity’ and ‘Enchantment’ by Guy Kawasaki and others – I also used the techniques and guidance and trial and error from the other two companies I started. That helped me prepare.
What challenges did you face when building The Bloom Effect from scratch? How did you overcome such challenges?
Biggest Challenges were: Lack of Resources and Team. Overcame these by partnering, doing a lot of bartering and having interns around me. I’ve had to be very creative with budgets – went to many entrepreneurship workshops and networking events (all the free ones). I haven’t overcome these necessarily – I’m still facing them but strategically have partnered with like-minded companies, building collectives and being a part of meet ups/ think tanks/discussion groups.
It’s empowering to see women making moves in the scene like you — how have the women in your life been instrumental in developing your hustle?
Many women have inspired me but I’m not sure if I can attribute any one woman who has helped shape my hustle. If anyone, perhaps one of my former interns Sharon Carpenter. I’ve actually learned a lot from her… She’s smart, head strong, talented and gorgeous and has guided me in many ways and encouraged and given me motivation when there were days I’d just had enough! Otherwise, I’ve had the drive/hustle from day one really.
What do you think it takes to make it in this business, especially for women?
To make it in this business you need GUTS— Chutzpah (Yiddish term) – my Granny always used to say I had that… It takes drive and a work ethic that’s 24/7 + the smarts…and especially as a woman— we have to be taken seriously so there alone we have to go the extra mile and earn that respect. Women have to work a lot harder. We also need to come together more as a gender and look out for each other rather than be knocking us down….The way men look out, we need to do more…
Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?
For me to stay relevant which is extremely important in my industry, I stay open. I am a sponge and constantly learning and appreciating what others tell me. I especially look to younger folks to give me inspiration, ideas, opinions and constructive criticism. It is crucial to re-invent and surround yourself with people who uplift and encourage. I also try to read a lot, go out to product launches, premieres and again the Think Tanks, conferences/seminars and now and again webinars and forum chats.
How has social media shaped The Bloom Effect? What’s your favorite platform? Why?
Don’t ask me how but Billboard Biz named me one of the 140 most important characters to follow (Twitter) in the Music Biz— that was pretty cool. Social Media has allowed my business to reach artists, brands and fans from all over the world. It’s allowed communication to open up, allowed The Bloom Effect to better understand cultural nuances and subtleties and the best part— enabled me to travel Globally to speak about it.
I would have to say my fave platform is Instagram, although I’m a Twitter’holic and a YouTube nut! Those three are so mainstream but I have to toot my horn for a second— I may have been the first or one of first music publicists to use Twitter. I was definitely one of first using MySpace back in day. I’m also a WordPress hoar! Ok— well that’s more than one platform— sorry!
How do you keep track of personal & business goals, prioritize projects, and stay creative at the same time – even when you’re exhausted?
This keeping track and prioritizing is the hardest part of my life— Do I have to answer this (lol) – no, seriously – with great difficulty I find it hard to stay focused or keep clear-minded as half the time I am truly exhausted but then I get those boosts of energy where I can’t stop, can’t sleep and completely in over-drive and high! I am a very creative person and sometimes I feel that the business and admin and organization definitely stands in the way. This is a daily fight internally, and I struggle mentally but… Nothing’s perfect and the way I overcome it is taking a step back, quiet time, retire to bed early and/or punching bags, kick boxing!
What are your must-have tools or apps to run your day-to-day grind? What kind of gadgets would we find on your desk or in your bag?
My must-have tools/apps to run my day-to-day: My Time Machine (back up), External Drives, Skype, Facetime so I can chat with the fam, What’s up, my Voice Recorder, Google Calendar, Dropbox, Vevo mobile app, Google Maps, Spotify, and as far as gadgets on my desk or bag… iPad, USB, phone charger, Speakers, Flip, Olympus, Download cards…..I’m sure there’s more but that’s what I have for now.
In a fast-paced industry where last-minute-anything can happen, what’s your fail-proof, go-to outfit that will last from morning meetings to evening events?
Fail –proof outfit morning meetings to evening events is… black jeans, heels, nice tee from INC and a cardigan + hot leather jacket – ok, I’m boring in that dept (lol).
How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?
Mentors are extremely important. It’s funny as I haven’t had a mentor in years but I’m always constantly mentoring. However, I’ve just started with Kabbalah courses and will be seeing a personal teacher too. I hope that brings me more guidance/clarity.
Define your idea of success.
Success comes in all shapes and sizes. For some— it’s millions of dollars, for others it’s peace of mind… For me, it’s a combination of having luxury, but not overboard— I do want to own a home someday + have a second home in South of France or Tel Aviv and I’d like to donate to a few charities and give back to my family/friends who are meaningful in my life. Success for me is helping people change their lives, make progress and live a fulfilled life. Success also means balance and wellness. I am nowhere near achieving these things.
What were The Bloom Effect’s top achievements in 2012? What should we expect from The Bloom Effect this year?
- The Twitteratti 140 Characters to follow in Billboard— that was dope.
- My two amazing Intl Hip Hop showcases I produced for A3C and CMJ.
- Speaking with Yo Yo Ma and Paul Simon at the Polar Music Sessions/Polar Music Prize in Stockholm, Sweden – amazing company and prestigious awards show.
- Looking after 11 members of a collective from Southeast Asia – first time performing in America – helping make their dreams come true.
- Joining NYSC (finally got my ass to a gym)
What can we expect… More speaking engagements, cracking the voice-over world again as I used to do voice-overs. I did the MTV Video Music Awards in 1999 with Chris Rock. A book is in the works and will hopefully have a major breakthrough with one of my artists… We shall see. Oh, and may be a joint venture…
What’s your advice for other women entering creative fields or starting their own business?
My advice for other women– stay true to yourself, be authentic, work your ass off but enjoy it too and love what you do and have a purpose. When you’ve checked off those things and you start your own business, maintain a thick skin yet sharpen your communication skills and be the dynamic woman you were born to be…Only You get in Your way!!!