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Tapping Into Punished Props With Bill And Britt Doran

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Bill and Britt Doran - From a workshop in Seattle to conventions around the world, Bill Doran has showcased and taught millions how to create props from materials that can be found in a hardware store. Bill and Brittany Doran are doing what some can only dream of with their company
Punished Props. As a positive voice in the comic and video game industry, they continue to bring people together through the power of creativity.

Where it all began...

Bill’s love for creating props began in 2009 at PAX West, exposing himself to his first taste of cosplay, where fans dress up as their favorite fictional characters. He has an art background and has worked several jobs bartending, teaching, and held a position at Microsoft for some time. In 2012, he quit and started his own company, which we know as Punished Props today. Brittany is highly experienced in 3D modeling and animation, and she joined Bill full-time in 2015. Together, their perseverance and commitment to prop making has taken them down a road to success.Bill Britt Doran Punished Props

Giving back

From playing World of Warcraft in a college dorm room to becoming a successful entrepreneur, Bill is inspiring and empowering people to pursue their passion. Trading a position at an established company for EVA foam and filming tutorials was the best decision. Creating beautiful replicas is rewarding, however learning business was the biggest obstacle Bill had to overcome. What started as a commission based company quickly changed gears to a fabrication tutorial business because of the difference in body measurements per person and the large distance between him and his clients. By devoting more time to instructional content, he became a pillar in the cosplay community.

A growing success

With an audience demanding to see things built on screen, Punished Props became a key resource for costume creators. Their YouTube has over 100k loyal subscribers eagerly awaiting videos on how he creates props like the Skyrim helmet, Han Solo blaster, and a 3D printed batarang. They built up momentum over the years and are committed to their fans and schedule. The comments section is flooded with positivity, inspiring them to create a new video every week. Hungry and curious, fans rush to their Twitch channel, watching his tutorials live from their computer screens every Monday.It is no surprise that requests to build specific items are sent their way on a daily basis. Although Bill cannot create everything, he encourages his viewers to try it themselves. His interactions with fans show extraordinary dedication to his craft and relationships built over the years. When approached with a request, his usual response is, “I can show you how to make it.” With two books under his belt, Bill has established credibility in the prop making scene. Unlike many in creative industries, Punished Props has become allies with other prop makers such as Volpin Props, Kamui Cosplay, and WM Armory. The support from fans and friends enabled Punished Props to grow into what it is today.Bill Britt Doran Punished Props

Where can you find them Bill and Brittany?

If you want to meet Punished Props in person, look out for them at some of their favorite conventions. Catch Bill and Brittany at BlizzCon in November, or if you’re on the East Coast, Dragoncon, the largest multi-media pop culture convention in the country. Bill was recently invited to TwitchCon 2016, where he was a judge for the costume contest. Bill and Brittany will be wearing their latest work at any of the events they attend. Be amazed by the precision and accuracy in the details of each piece. If you are unable to make it, follow their progress on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Not only will you see meticulously crafted tutorials, but also their interaction with various other prop makers like Volpin Props for this space gun on Kickstarter.Bill hopes to continue inspiring the community to create things that would otherwise only exist virtually. The couple hopes to continue doing what they love but on a bigger scale in the near future. Growing fast, they'll soon need a larger studio for building props and filming content for their channels. Continuing to inspire and empower others, Punished Props forges a path for prop makers, cosplayers, and gamers around the world.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

Justin Wu: 5 Tips for Branding Your Business Online

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From someone who breathes social media, I came across an interesting blog. In that, I’ve learned that social media isn’t just for the use of entertainment.
Since each social platform has the potential to help grow your business, Justin Wu, founder of Growth.ly, teaches others how to navigate their way through as an entrepreneur online. As an Instinctual developer, Justin Wu possesses skills in growth hacking to information architecture. Starting off on Snapchat and Instagram, he is also an expert in the field of various social channels. Justin snapchats religiously to help other entrepreneurs conveniently reach their goals. In order to pick up all of the skill-sets of an entrepreneur, the most effective way is to hack the system. Or as he brands it on his snapchat username, be a hackapreneur.In his own marketing agency, Growth.ly heavily focuses on different marketing tunnels and how each channel matters to your business. In trusted knowledge on social media and marketing, Justin is able to spread his entrepreneurial skill-sets to others. Since startups are rapidly growing more lost and confused, Justin Wu provides tips on helping entrepreneurs brand their business online. Here are 5 tips from Justin Wu for branding your business online.

Be comfortable in front of the camera

Interacting through the camera may be uncomfortable, especially with your face in the front and how you’re speaking to a fake audience. Regardless, Snapchat is still all live and on the spot. Through force, the task will then become routinely. These set of skills should already exist with an entrepreneur’s ability to adapt. As times change, so should you. 

Chose the right platform

If some devices don’t align well with your business, there are other platforms to acquire. Instagram is the easiest way to get discovered. Snapchat is far more difficult to brand, with the limited time offered to record and the immediate execution of the video for instant feedback. There are also other platforms that exists that you may not know about. To get a better understanding of what you’re putting yourself in, explore and get familiar with the new environment. Know where it’s best to brand your business. 

Don’t be stubborn, remember long-term vision

Don’t be married to an idea. Let’s just say, perhaps you don’t go on YouTube, or you don’t regularly check Facebook, your relationship with these platforms may influence how much you think their worth is. From your perceptual stigma, you may not think to brand yourself on these devices. The issue here is, your encounter with these different sources can’t counter play on how you plan to expose your business content. If you want the best for your business and to get more customers, don’t chase them. The customers are the main focus of your business, rather than chasing them, it’s simpler to be meeting them where they are and engage in proper contact. 

Collaborate

In Justin Wu’s work with Samsung and Intel, he strongly pushes for collaboration opportunities. For his other company, Sidevision, it can be tracked by the Warner Bros. The Warner Bros have invested in the company and agreed to take over. This vision to the public gives a positive look to you, making it seem like your connections are strong with experts. Rather than that, collaboration allows ideas to exchange. Everyone has knowledge and skills in different cases, but having the chance to expand your brand to another realm is an opportunity to take up. Taking in more fans is the goal here. 

Figure out how to create content

Everybody seeks beauty, and with social media always pushing out visual content, your business needs to develop an advantage. By possessing skills in visuals, the aesthetics will do all of the talking to keep your ideal customers stay. In skills such as photography, your content will attract a wide variety of different people. The simplest way to gain attraction, through the peripheral route of persuasion.
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Business

Q&A With Wen-Jay Ying: Founder Of Local Roots NYC

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I met Wen-Jay a couple months back after stumbling into a Sustainability Commerce Popup Conference in Williamsburg.  She was among an eclectic panel of speakers that day who's company missions were not only vivid with green priority, but also deeply rooted into the fabric of their local communities. Her company, Local Roots NYC provides New Yorkers with a access to goods and produce from a network of local farmers (local meaning that their supplier's operations happen within a 250 mile radius).  It's a subscription based membership where you can sign up for different seasons, each having a variety of different seasonal foods.  Throughout the city are different "markets" where your allotted order is ready for pickup.  What's awesome about Local Roots is that their markets don't just happen anywhere, they happen at your favorite cafe or dive bar right in the heart of your local New York community.Local Roots NYC has been in operation for six years, with over 25 market sites, and over 750 members.  When meeting up with Wen-Jay at one of her market locations set up outside of a cute Brooklyn cafe, I got an overwhelmingly inclusive community vibe.  Toddlers were running around, and Local Roots members came to grab their goods while also inviting me to their yoga class later that day... I felt right at home! Here's some things we talked about that day:

How'd you come up with the idea for Local Roots?

I wanted to find a better, more social way to connect people and their communities to local farmers.  Creating Local Roots was my solution to the gap between farm to table.  Not only does it support local farmers but also the local businesses that we symbiotically partner with for our markets.

What makes this different than meal kits or other food delivery systems?

Having markets not only encourages the social aspect to shopping with us, but also greatly reduces waste.  When you order a food kit or have groceries delivered they tend to come with an excessive amount of packaging.  At are local market locations you can bring your own reusables and stop it at your favorite bar for a drink all at the same time.

How does your company take sustainability into account?

Each of our farmers practice different levels of sustainability.  Kindness to animals and to the land are extremely important to us.  Our vegetables are either Certified Naturally Grown, a grassroots alternative to the USDA’s National Organic Program, or USDA Certified Organic . While the standards and the labels are the same – organic – the USDA Organic Program favors medium to big-sized farmers, and the Certified Naturally Grown program is better suited for small farmers. The Certified Naturally Grown label was created in 2002 in response to the USDA labeling, which is expensive in terms of time (paperwork per crop) and application fees. The Certified Naturally Grown program has farmers review fellow CNG farmers and prioritizes the exchange of feedback and ideas for growth.  More info on each of our famers can be found on our Farm page if you want to check it out.

So far what has been your favorite part of starting this company?

We've been running for over six years now.  In this time I've had customers become friends.  I've seen them get married and have babies, and I've seen those babies grow up on Local Roots produce.  Now these kids are almost three and they know so much more about their farmers and where their food comes from.  Not many other three year old kids are that connected to their food and how it grows! This makes me extremely happy and proud.
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Business

Leading Ladies In Tech: Caitlin Clark Zigmond

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Caitlyn Clark Zigmond
 Caitlin Clark Zigmond is the Vice President of Product Management at CoreDial. She shares her experience of over 30 years where she has worked with numerous companies under several different capacities. She started out in Hi-Tech as the Director of operations working for a company that built precision hot stages in science and industry, which involved working with one of the first windows based research pieces of equipment. From there, Caitlin decided that she wanted to become an entrepreneur and started her own catering business. Growing up, she cooked at home as both her parents were working, and that influenced her first business. She bought a company with just four employees and grew it to the third largest company in Boulder, Colorado. Caitlin gave up the business to start a family with her partner. Over the next few years, she went from being the first Product Manager for New Global Telecom (NGT), to Product Lead for Hosted PBX, then Advanced Voice at Comcast who acquired Hosted PBX, and finally to CoreDial.
Caitlin spoke about the hurdles she had to face in the workplace and managing a work/life balance. Ruth Bader of the Supreme Court is her female role model because of how she has consistently broken down barriers throughout her career while maintaining a true level of professionalism. Though she’s faced immense challenges and a heavy degree of sexism for her role in a previously all-male space, she has a fierce dedication to equality. Caitlin said it reminds her to connect to all those around her, whether it’s family or a more professional setting. As Caitlin says, “Be open to new things and stay strong on your life’s journey.”Caitlin Clark ZigmondCaitlin Clark ZigmondCaitlin Clark Zigmond
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