Last month, clustered in a sector of the Rising Grinds Café, were a handful of dreamy-eyed entrepreneurs and creatives, eager to learn about the outline, or as SLSA Creative Agency
titled it, The Blueprint
, of steps necessary to pursue your career. SLSA founder Shayna Harris talked about how the organization’s target audience—creatives, entrepreneurs, and millennials—often lack the funding for full branding of their ideas. Additionally, Harris invited speakers to share their takes on brand development, including founder of Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses
Jamiel Robinson, and GRNow
founder CJ Devries.
With the Blueprint, the first of many in a series of workshops in brand building, she aims to provide others with a foundation of skill sets for pursuing their career. However, The Blueprint is only one of a multitude of ways in which SLSA is trying to serve the community of Grand Rapids.
SLSA Creative agency is an organization functioning much like a public relations firm, focusing on the branding and marketing, creative design, and event production of persons pursuing a career in the creative field.
“The name, SLSA, is our promise to our clients that we work on the branding and marketing side, that we promise strategy to prolong longevity, style, and ambition,” says Harris. Simply put, the mission “is to keep creatives, creative.”
The idea for SLSA was born out of a need to pave the way for more creative pursuits in Grand Rapids. She explained that because there are a lot of creatives in the city who do not have access to resources for developing their brand, the organization strives to become that resource which, at times, is challenging.
“There’s no other businesses to really collaborate with,” Harris says. “When you’re the only one creating an agency that says, ‘Hey, I just want to support you,’ you’re doing a lot of digging.”
“This is what Grand Rapids lacks, so I just finally decided [on starting the organization] because I’ve seen a lot of my friends leave to go to L.A. and Chicago because there’s just more opportunity there for creatives. Whether you rap, you sing, you write, you paint—whatever it is—there’s just no lane for it here.”
The team is made up of three women, Harris included, who hone in on the organization’s ideology of versatility and diversity. Harris takes on the responsibility of meeting with clients and coming up with strategies to figure out what direction their brand needs to go in, another visually brings to life the campaign for the brand, and the third typically handles the demands of human resources and business development. Together, the three range in skills, physical appearance, and age, in order to create a triad of perspectives.
“We want the creatives in our community to feel supported, so when I bring people to my table for SLSA, I want that represented and I want our clients to see that represented, and I want the creatives that we highlight to feel welcome, even if they don’t look like me,” Harris says.
In the next couple of months, SLSA seeks to extend their efforts into a physical space, where they hope foster an environment for collaboration amongst other creatives within Grand Rapids.
Photos courtesy of SLSA Creative Agency.