We sat down with Brittany Hodak, founder of Zinepak, to speak about the everlasting appeal of music for young people, and her secrets to being a successful woman in business. Read on for more from one of our #YMS16 speakers:
We always like to start things off with who are you, what do you do, and why do you do it?
I’m a New York-based entrepreneur and co-founder of creative content company ZinePak. We launched ZinePak nearly six years ago to help connect superfans with the artists, teams and brands they love in more engaging and authentic ways.
We’ve worked with hundreds of artists, including some with the largest youth followings in the world - Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and Shawn Mendes, among others.
Brand loyalty is an incredibly difficult thing to achieve, but ZinePak seems to hit the nail on the head with every campaign. What’s your secret to turning regular consumers into super-fans?
We do a lot of listening. Social-media listening, focus groups, and just straight-up asking fans what they want. You’ve got to be willing to listen to consumers and actually act on their feedback) to build superfans.
When you’re dealing with the youth market, which is one of the most exciting but also fastest-evolving demographics, the great news is that there is no shortage of engaged consumers willing to share instant, candid feedback.
ZinePak is very music and entertainment-focused. Why do you think music continues to inspire generation after generation of young people?
Music has inspired people for generations because it makes us feel. The right song can transport almost anyone back to key moments in their lives. In that way, it’s almost like a time machine. With young people especially, there’s also a huge social component to music. Concerts and festivals are social experiences that groups of friends enjoy together. Teens express themselves by sharing music and videos with each other.
Besides being a kick-ass co-founder of a successful business, you’re also a writer and a musician yourself. What are your ultimate time-keeping tips for balancing all of your passions?
It’s definitely tough. I wouldn’t call myself a musician (although I do love songwriting), but it does get complicated balancing ZinePak with writing for Forbes.com and HuffingtonPost.com while also building my other company, a 501(c)(3) called Per Diems Against Poverty. My best tip is to only devote time to things you care about.
Over the past year, I’ve cut out non-essential social and business commitments to spend more time working on my companies and visiting with family and friends. I’ve also stopped watching several TV series that I used to DVR religiously!
Being a woman in business is, frustratingly, still challenging. What do you feel companies should do to help bridge the gender gap, not only in terms of wages but career support and development?
There is still a lot of work to be done in this area, both in established companies and in startup world. The discrepancies between VC funds given to male and female entrepreneurs is staggering - especially since research studies proved time and time again that companies helmed by women and/or with women in C-level positions perform better than their all-male counterparts. Until women make up 50% of leadership positions nationwide and receive equal pay for equal work, there will still be work to be done and rank-and-file female employees will be facing the same challenges they face today.
What does the next year look like for you? Any exciting new campaigns or projects we can look out for?
One of the most exciting things about ZinePak is that we launch between 35 and 50 new projects each year, so there are always exciting things on the horizon! In the next year we’ll launch exciting, collectible releases for even more entertainers and pro sports teams. Follow @brittanyhodak for updates throughout the year.