Dearest Creative

KORI & KIRSTEN
Photo Credit: Meron Menghistab

Kori Dyer & Kirsten Pincket

Brooklyn, NY

Co-Founders, Dearest Creative


How did you get started with your career – and how does it reflect your personal aesthetic?

Kirsten from Florida, Kori from Philadelphia—it was always both of our dreams to live in New York. We met at VOGUE where we formed a working relationship and as we explored the industry together our bond grew stronger. From music, to fashion and beauty, our experiences have been rooted in cultivating genuine connections and crafting brands. That’s why we decided to build our own.

How have the women around you been instrumental in your lives and careers? 

Both of us growing up in a house of three sisters and incredible moms, feminine strength and independence was continuously instilled in us. We were both extremely lucky to have been raised in an environment where we were told that “you could literally do anything you wanted as long as you worked hard enough for it.”

From music, to fashion and beauty, our experiences have been rooted in cultivating genuine connections and crafting brands. That’s why we decided to build our own.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve? 

Although NYC is magical and has many advantages, it can get overwhelming to try to “keep up” with the ever-changing trends. Constantly moodboarding, reading, attending museums, seeing shows and creating just for fun is the most natural way to stay afloat and relevant. We also have an incredibly talented and successful group of friends who run the gamut in terms of career paths – which is very inspiring. Keeping the conversation with your community flowing is also a great way to stay connected.

Our initiative, Dearest, is a creative studio whose passions lie in human interaction and mindful communication. At the end of the day, we just want to work with brands we like.

Dearest Creative

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)? 

Personally, it’s a constant battle to juggle multiple projects, keep up with family and friends, exercise, get enough sleep and also feel wildly creative at the end of the day. I think that keeping everything organized and in perspective is the most effective way to be productive and happy in all aspects of life. Our mission is to visually problem solve in a visceral way. We stay curious, keep learning and know that risk is our friend.

At the end of the day, we just want to work with brands we like.

How important are mentors? Who are your mentors? 

On a day-to-day basis, we are each other’s mentors. In a larger sense –

Kori: Emily Dickinson—the original riot grrrl created deep and dark poetry in isolation. My favorite: “Forever is composed of nows.”

Kirsten: I have always looked up to Charlotte Bronte (1 of 3 sisters also!). She was an incredible author, poet and feminist trailblazer.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business? 

Focus on your strengths. Don’t ignore your intuition.

Our mission is to visually problem solve in a visceral way. We stay curious, keep learning and know that risk is our friend.

Place that inspires us the most…

Kori: The Magic Tree—a giant whimsical Japanese hackberry in Green Valleys, PA. As a nature camp counselor every summer there, I’d read stories under this massive deciduous beauty which re-roots to create a fort-like getaway. It’s my definition of an escape where you forget your worries.

Kirsten: The Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy—the most breathtaking place I’ve ever been.

We feel most powerful when…we’re collaborating with like-minded people.

We love what we do because…we get to create beautiful things for a living.

Focus on your strengths. Don’t ignore your intuition.

Best advice we have ever received…

Kori: Be so good they can’t ignore you.

Kirsten: Be grateful that thorns have roses


Kori: @korianndyer | Kirsten: @kirstenpincket | Dearest: @DearestCreative + DearestCreative.co

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Tannis Spencer

TANNIS SPENCER

TANNIS SPENCER

WRITER/DIRECTOR/FOUNDER OF THEMICOLE.COM

NEW YORK, NY

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

I think my personal aesthetic has actually influenced my craft more. I adopted a minimalist aesthetic early in my adult life and that comes across in my work relatively strongly. I’ve really tried to focus on noise reduction in everything I produce and hopefully that’s what sets my work apart.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

Women have been immeasurably instrumental to both my life and career. I’ve been surrounded by such excellent examples of strong women all my life. From my mother being my first role model and someone I attain to consistently make proud to the women I work with professionally who inspire me every day. I joined a sorority in college and have been fortunate enough to literally be surrounded by women that are excelling in every industry. They push me to do my best. My linesisters are a constant motivating factor in my life; we’re all very close. We push each other, we cheer for each other’s victories, and support one another in our downfalls. It’s a friendship I wouldn’t trade for the world. Women are among the strongest, smartest, and resilient people on earth, so I’m rarely surprised when we succeed. I just applaud and hope we keep doing it.

“Two” Trailer – Directed by Tannis Spencer

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

First off, I hope to be a participant in these cultural changes so for me it’s always about being authentic and present. Thanks to social media it is a bit easier to stay connected, but to stay ahead of the curve I have to surround myself with people that know more than me. I try to have a diverse group of people in my life that can offer me perspectives I wouldn’t normally think of myself. It’s those sometimes idle conversations that can lead to creating something really innovative and pushing the culture forward.

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

My notebook is over flowing with ideas and projects, some of which will likely never see the light of day. I’ve learned to be selective with what I give energy to so that helps keep me on track. Staying creative can be super difficult! We all go through creative droughts but I get inspired when I see other people doing awesome things. That keeps me creative, other peoples success. It makes me try harder.

TANNIS SPENCER

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

I think mentors are very important. Having someone that can help point you in the right direction when you’re at a crossroads can be invaluable. My mentors are generally for less professional needs but they’re people I speak with to find grounding in a lot of my decisions. They’re typically family or very close friends.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

No matter, do what you love. I’m still figuring things out myself but what keeps me going is that I’m working towards something I love. I’d also advise other women to really do their research in their craft, do your due diligence and really articulate how you plan on contributing to the culture of whatever it is you’re doing.

TANNIS SPENCER

Place that inspires me the most… I love sitting on the subway! It’s so fun to imagine what everyone’s life is like, and I draw great inspiration from that. I come up with tons of stories and ideas based on what I think I saw or experienced on the train. You never know what to expect on the subway and I love what that uncertainty can create.

I feel most powerful when… When I’m with people that love me. Not in the authoritative sense but that I feel my most capable, smart, and confident when I’m with those people. That’s powerful to me.

I love what I do because… It makes my heart happy. A funny phrase I know, but it is genuinely true. I’m so fulfilled by my brand and the work I produce because they come from such a pure place. I’m always trying to make my heart happy.

Best advice I have ever received… People are watching even when you think they aren’t.

TANNIS SPENCER

Connect with Tannis Spencer on the themicole.com!!

Ariel Lopez

Image of Ariel Lopez c/o Innov8tiv.com

Image of Ariel Lopez c/o Innov8tiv.com

Ariel Lopez is a career coach at General Assembly – and founder of 2020Shift, a social enterprise that is designed to educate black and latino millennials on careers in the technology space. I was most impressed by Ariel’s work with 2020Shift – dedicated to setting students and recent graduates up for success, but most importantly filling the diversity gap with talent by providing resources and professional development. As an avid public speaker, Ariel enjoys sharing her expertise in digital media and technology and loves connecting people to opportunities. Luckily for Ariel, the things she loves the most is reflective of her day job, which allows her the freedom to cultivate her passion into profitable and innovative ideas to inspire others to pursue their career goals. 

ARIEL LOPEZ

CAREER COACH AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY & FOUNDER OF 2020SHIFT 

NEW YORK, NY

“I think it’s just about putting yourself out there. A lot of business connections have happened because of a tweet or a LinkedIn message. You have to find what channels work best for you/your brand and be active in them.”

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

My craft reflects the things that matter to me the most. I’ve always had a passion for helping people and as a coach I get to do that. 2020Shift is designed to help people elevate in their careers so I’m doing the same in that regard as well. I would also say I fell in love with tech as soon as I started working in the industry. It’s extremely important for me to be a catalyst to help others find success as well.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

I would say my mom has been the most influential person in both my life and my career. My drive and work ethic are a reflection of how I was raised. My mom always said that you can be whatever you want to be and that your current circumstances don’t define your future. I held on to those words and it helped shape the determination that has carried me through my career thus far.

“In terms of finding a mentor, network as much as you can and don’t force any relationships; let them happen naturally. You’ll have a gut feeling on who should be a mentor or not.”

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

I think it’s just about putting yourself out there. A lot of business connections have happened because of a tweet or a LinkedIn message. You have to find what channels work best for you/your brand and be active in them.

2020Shift

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

I make a point to have vision boards for every year; you’d be surprised how things magically come into fruition. I also recently went Being Mary Jane-ish in my apartment – hanging up small affirmations. Success is definitely a mental battle; if you can stay positive and on track, you’ll accomplish your goals much easier.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

Mentors are super important and I have a few. I have advisors that are mentors, students and friends. I’m usually giving people advice, but learn the most about myself in those conversations. In terms of finding a mentor, network as much as you can and don’t force any relationships; let them happen naturally. You’ll have a gut feeling on who should be a mentor or not.

“I have a love-hate situation with NYC, but it’s the most inspiring city in the world. When I wake up I automatically think: hustle. It’s becomes a way of life.”

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

Go after what you want and negotiate what you deserve (for those entering creative fields). For women starting their own business, keep your purpose and mission top of mind; that helps with riding the crazy roller coaster that is entrepreneurship.

Place that inspires me the most…

I have a love-hate situation with NYC, but it’s the most inspiring city in the world. When I wake up I automatically think: hustle. It’s becomes a way of life.

I feel most powerful when…

I’m teaching or speaking in public. I love engaging with people and hearing their feedback; it’s also an amazing feeling to hear, “You inspired me to do XYZ.”

I love what I do because…

I live in my purpose and I make an impact at the same time

Best advice I have ever received…

“You attract what you believe you’re worth.” I make an effort to shift my mindset to things that I want and believe I’m capable of doing.

Connect with Ariel Lopez on 2020Shift, General Assembly, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

Darling Chuck

DARLING CHUCK

ANDREA “DREA” RAMOS AKA DARLING CHUCK

DJ

QUEENS, NEW YORK

I met Drea at a mutual friend’s Ugly Christmas Sweater party in Brooklyn about three years ago. Back then, she was a fashion casting director who juggled a couple of DJ gigs after work – but despite her hectic schedule, Drea kept it going. As we kept in touch over the years, her hobby evolved into a career; she continued to cultivate her love for music and eventually left her 9 to 5 to pursue DJ’ing. This move for Drea was now… or never.

There’s just something about women that feed and empower your soul, and it should be reciprocated.

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

My professional background for the past 10+ years has been in fashion, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to turn my hobby and love of music into my craft. I had a pretty cool job as a fashion casting director, working with the biggest designers, brands and talent around the world. Through casting, I was able to meet a lot of awesome folks, and make some lasting connections. I was lucky to be in the position I was in. But I think the stress to maintain and keep up with the industry finally caught up with me so I decided to pick up DJ’ing on the side. The newness of it felt so exciting, that I found myself inspired to make moves with it. A year later, I quit my day job and dove into this new world of DJ’ing that I barely knew anything about. I’m a lot happier and lighter these days, and it’s because I feel like I can be more like myself.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career? 

I grew up in a single parent household, having been primarily raised by my mom, my grandmothers and my aunts. My mom worked multiple jobs, and made a ton of sacrifices just so I could live comfortably and have a proper education. In this man’s world, my grandmothers (R.I.P. Inang) are the most emotionally and physically strongest women I know, not letting life’s road blocks stop them from achieving what they’ve aimed for. My aunts have always offered advice and lent their care whenever I needed it without question, teaching me the real definition of friendship. Their teachings are a reflection on how I am towards other women. There’s just something about women that feed and empower your soul, and it should be reciprocated. I’ve been so lucky to share connections with so many other strong women because they inspire me to be better. If it wasn’t for these women in my life, I really believe I wouldn’t have the guns to be where and who I am today.

Use your resources and research people in the industry that you admire and are doing what you want to do and reach out to them. Make connections with them. People are generally willing to help if you just ask. Stay curious. Realize you don’t know it all, and have an open mind. Consume as much as you can, and make it work for yourself. Take risks.

DARLING CHUCK

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve? 

Working in fashion taught me to keep up with trends, and with the help of social media, it’s made it much easier for us to stay connected. I pride myself in having good taste and knowing how to cut the fat with all the extra crap out there, so the real challenge is being able to mute the noise while managing to staying relevant. I love pop culture, and I stay curious. I like to keep it moving. Nostalgia is good, but there’s also so much cool, new shit out there – especially with artists and music!

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)? 

It can be way challenging to keep track of both personal and business goals as a creative, but being freakishly organized while developing good habits has helped. I own stacks of notebooks and jars of pens because I like to physically write things down, and if I don’t have a pen and paper on hand, I’ll write it down in my phone or in my laptop. It’s the only way to regulate all the chaos going on inside my head. You can have a long list of goals, but having the discipline to formulate and execute those goals is how you’re really going to achieve them. Understanding that if you’re hungry enough and have the drive to want to see your ideas come into fruition is essential. Being a DJ nowadays is more than having great taste in music and having the technical skills to back it. You sort of have to be a “social personality” to add value to your brand; you almost have to treat it like your business.

Staying creative is an ongoing struggle, but I’m fortunate to live in a city that inspires me every day. A lot of people in NYC have this “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality, but sleep is fucking awesome! I think it’s important to stay in tune and listen to your body. As long as you eat right, stay active and allow yourself to be open, you’d be doing your future self a huge favor. You can’t create if you’re feeling restless or exhausted. The stress just isn’t worth it in the long run. Disco naps are fun, too. It’s all about maintaining a balance.

DARLING CHUCK

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor? 

Mentors are extremely important. I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know it all, and it’s silly to think that you don’t need anyone to make it in life. We all need each other to get by. Embrace the people that inspire and challenge you so you can grow. I learn something different from each and every single person I keep close in my life – young and old.

My main mentor is my mother. She’s my number one. She is everything.

Shawndub and TAP.10 have been my DJ mentors since the very beginning. They’ve pretty much taught me everything I know about DJ’ing, and the ropes of industry. I admire those two so much. They’re possibly the most patient and intuitive people I know.

My boyfriend, Mike Baker has been my life mentor since we started dating. He’s really helped me through a lot of shit, and has shown endless support with what I want to do and who I want to be. He is literally my best friend, and I can’t imagine life without him.

DARLING CHUCK

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business? 

Figure out what exactly it is you want to do in the creative industry because there is so much to contribute to this world, whether it be in fashion, design, marketing or music. Use your resources and research people in the industry that you admire and are doing what you want to do and reach out to them. Make connections with them. People are generally willing to help if you just ask. Stay curious. Realize you don’t know it all, and have an open mind. Consume as much as you can, and make it work for yourself. Take risks.

Place that inspires me the most… 

The beach and being near the ocean. It reminds me how small I am, and allows me to open my mind to immeasurable possibilities.

DARLING CHUCK

I feel most powerful when… 

I can help empower other women.

DARLING CHUCK

I love what I do because… 

It makes me feel good, and it allows me to make others feel just as good.

DARLING CHUCK

Best advice I have ever received… 

Nothing is free. Everything comes with a price.

Connect with Darling Chuck on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud!

Rana Campbell

Rana Campbell

RANA CAMPBELL
CONTENT STRATEGIST & FOUNDER OF RANACAMPBELL.COM
ORANGE, NEW JERSEY

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Rana Campbell, Princeton University alumni and Founder of lifestyle website: RanaCampbell.comRana and I instantly bonded over our passion for bridging the gap between vision and reality – as she shared her website’s mission to help individuals shine in their personal and professional lives. Rana’s work has been featured on FOX 5 Good Day New York, The Huffington Post, Princeton Alumni Weekly, and many more.

I tell this to everyone: be a student of your industry. Understand the space well. Understand your future customer’s pain points and work on building relationships with them. No one can want your dream more than you want your dream. A lot of people talk about this in terms of “passion”, but I think this goes beyond passion. If you want to enter a field and create something that you actually want to see some tangible results from, you need to really be involved in the system and process of figuring out how to see something from ideation to execution. I think that’s where a lot of people have it wrong. They think talent alone will cause success. It may, but I think that having a larger bird’s eye view of the industry and the little intricacies can help insure long-term success.

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

I’ve always been a storyteller, talker, and question-asker. These parts of my persona have definitely translated into what I do now. For me, my site and brand is all about empowering and sharing the stories of others. That’s always been intriguing to me. I’m the type of person who admires and wonders “Why?” How did things get to be the way they are? At the same time, I’ve always wondered, “What’s the best way to share this and share with others? Perhaps that’s why I love marketing so much.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

The women in my life have shown me resilience and strength. I think one of the most influential women in my life has been my mother. When I think of her I think of sacrifice and resilience. My mother went through alot in her life, and despite almost dying when I was a baby, she is still here with us. All along she has supported me and through her sacrifice I have been able to accomplish so much.

Other important women in my life such as teachers, mentors, and even former bosses have been instrumental in my life because they both believed in me and pushed me. They showed me new possibilities for my dreams and also showed me the ways that I can navigate those open waters as a woman.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

I’m obsessed with reading. I always try to have a book in tow, if possible. I’m always trying to find new information to consume via blogs, news, film, social media, networking events, music, etc… I am like a sponge and revel at opportunities to learn new things. I think if you’re constantly seeking new knowledge, staying ahead of the curve is easy. This is where my love for asking “why?” comes in.

Rana Campbell

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

This one is a bit hard for me. Personally, I try to make sure to write everything down and revisit my goals from time to time. By keeping myself accountable, I’m able to keep track. For me, keeping track of my goals and staying creative don’t always go hand-in-hand. I feel that sometimes I have too many creative ideas which can cause an overload, which may cause me NOT to focus on my goals. There you have it… staying focused is what I find to be the most important thing. At the end of the day, I always try to remain positive. Burnout is real.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

Mentors are everything. Having someone who did it already and can show you the ropes can save you a lot of time and also guide your own journey. Mentors are another part of your support system- which every creative needs. One of my mentors is Gabrielle Simpson, who is a director of Communications at NBC. I’ve known Gabby (as I call her) from when she worked at CBS Corporate and I as an intern. She’s always been a great support to me and has pushed me to pursue new opportunities. She also helped open up alot of doors for me, which I would have a really hard time gaining access to (quite literally.) Gabby sees greatness in me – having someone who sees that in you and wants you to achieve that is the best thing ever.

Rana Campbell

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

I tell this to everyone: be a student of your industry. Understand the space well. Understand your future customer’s pain points and work on building relationships with them. No one can want your dream more than you want your dream. A lot of people talk about this in terms of “passion”, but I think this goes beyond passion. If you want to enter a field and create something that you actually want to see some tangible results from, you need to really be involved in the system and process of figuring out how to see something from ideation to execution. I think that’s where a lot of people have it wrong. They think talent alone will cause success. It may, but I think that having a larger bird’s eye view of the industry and the little intricacies can help insure long-term success.

My dad once told me, “As long as you’re awake and have the ability to think, you should never be bored.”

Place that inspires me the most:

I get a lot of ideas while driving without the radio on. There’s something about being on the move that gets my mind going. Honestly, I can get inspired from pretty much everywhere. Everything is a story to me. You just have to want to see it. My dad once told me, “As long as you’re awake and have the ability to think, you should never be bored.”

I feel most powerful when:

This may sound crazy, but I love being naked. I think there’s power in loving your body in its rawest form. True power comes from within and I think that moment of nakedness where you have nothing to hide behind is where we can start to build that power.

For the more politically correct answer, I’ll say, I feel most powerful when I’m looking good, feeling good, and am prepared. Those things give me confidence.

I love what I do because:

I get to meet so many different people and hear so many different stories. At the same time, I love inspiring others and helping others accomplish their dreams. This may be because I’m an ENFJ, but I really enjoy seeing other people smile and feel good about themselves. I also like presenting ways that individuals can start challenging themselves to open their eyes to something new.

I read a quote the other day that sums this up perfectly: “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.

Best advice I have ever received:

Don’t let what others think weigh you down. I say this is the best advice because it’s something I find myself working on every day. Having courage to pursue a journey that others may not fully support or understand is hard, but if you believe in yourself and start to care less about what “others” may say the possibilities are endless. I read a quote the other day that sums this up perfectly: “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

Rana Campbell

Connect with Rana Campbell on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram!

Samantha Smikle

SAMANTHA SMIKLE 

Founder & Creative Director of TNEMNRODA [nem-roh-da] + Style Blogger at O.M.O. Writes

tnemnroda

Describe a day in the life of Samantha Smikle:

My day is super specific to my current agenda. But being that I’m a one man army, most times, it’s jam packed. Now I’m being trained in CAD design for jewelry so I’m doing that everyday at GIA. Then I usually run over to my usual wholesale vendors on 6th ave for chain and other findings. Then I run over to the jewelry district over on 46th/47th Continue reading Samantha Smikle