INTERVIEW: Meet Nathalie Dubois, One Of The Pioneers That Made Gifting Suites A Global Phenomenon

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Nathalie Dubois is an established name in Hollywood. The French event producer has welcomed A-List celebrities to her gifting suites honoring awards shows and film festivals such as the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes and Cannes Film Festival over countless years. Nathalie embarked on her entrepreneurial journey when she moved to the US from France to work as a correspondent for a French film magazine, Studio Magazine. Nathalie shares her story of how her goals materialized:

How did you come up with your gifting suite idea?

I was traveling in Tahiti, and met a jewelry company Frederic Missir, which proposed me to do its PR. after 6 months, we decided to put his jewelry on the red carpet. I rented a suite at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and we decided to do a gift bag to thank people for attending. Our first gift bag was 35,000 dollars. In fact, it was the items that stars picked that had this value. I had Eva Longoria and Nicolette Sheridan attending (this was the first year of Desperate Housewives,it was huge to have them). My friend David Carradine who was nominated for Kill Bill [also] attended, as well as Paula Abdul who was a hot judge on American Idol. It was a huge success, we were featured on Extra.

I took the concept right away to Cannes Film festival. Even if I did not invent the [gifting suite] concept, I am the responsible one for taking it overseas. We did partnership with Dubai Film festival, Venice Film Festival, Monte Carlo TV Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival…

What are your proudest accomplishments with DPA?

My proudest accomplishment is to still be on the top of my game 13 years after, to have become a global entity, to have helped a tremendous amount of small companies through my platform.

You have a pup that you dote on and has inspired some charity work at your suites. Can you tell us about him?

His name is Lucas. He is a three years old husky and my fourth husky. I rescued him when he was 10 months. My last two huskies are rescued, so I support a lot of animal associations, and dogs associations. Definitely inspired by my dogs. But also other ones which touch my heart, and I expose in my suite such as Lupus LA, Feed The Children, Love Light Compassion and The Sierra Club.

What’s next for DPA?

We opened an office in Tokyo last January with our Japanese partner David Matsumoto. So [we’re] trying to develop some great connections there and working some events in Asia.

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Entrepreneur Interview: Isabel Madison Of Nude Envie Explains How Her Cosmetic Enterprise Is Hereditary

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Entrepreneur Isabel Madison debuted her new cosmetics line, Nude Envie, with colours exclusively in nude tones. Coming from a family of cosmetics experts was beneficial to her development of premium makeup with meticulously curated shades. In her own words, Isabel explains how her experience and drive helped shape her collection:

“I was born in San Francisco, I have 3 kids. My favorite hobby happens to be Yoga and of course eating and cooking healthy foods, because I truly believe in beauty from the inside out, and that if you feel good about yourself you will naturally have a beautiful unexplainable glow. I studied business and finance, but grew up in a family where my dad is a Biochemist and made all the formulas for a lot of the companies in the 80’s. After a while he decided to start his own make up line called Visage de Beaute. After a few years they sold it to Revlon. During the time when he was in charge of his company, I got to be super involved. I would help with shades and help with the new season and coming up with what should be next.

Entrepreneurship was always in my blood. My family taught me well. And in the quest to find the perfect “Nude” lipsticks, I finally decided to do it myself. As they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself. I was always being asked about the lipstick I was wearing, and of course it was always a mixture of different shades.

Taking an idea from concept to a tangible product is definitely not easy! I had to pour my heart and soul into it, every minute of the day for about 3 years before I launched. I had a tremendous amount of focus and had to give up a lot of leisure activities, which I did with pleasure. I love this industry and love helping women feel and look beautiful.

As far as [dealing with] obstacles, yes of course! Lots of people advising me to not do this, as there is too much competition. I had to learn many, many things as far as paperwork and contracts and government papers as well as international laws. But, I truly believe that if you are passionate and believe in your product, obstacles are meant to be jumped over and overcome, and you will always find a way!

My advice to an amateur entrepreneur would be, to get really passionate about what you are doing and do not give up. Always ask smarter peoples advice, but take everything with a grain of salt, and use your own Intuition. I think we have to be brave enough to trust our Intuition and not ignore it.

Nude Envie will growing the line into a go to line for the woman who wants elegance and simplicity all at the same time. Lip glosses are on the horizon for Spring 2018 and then blushes and eyeliners for Fall 2018. Everything a woman will need for a sophisticated complete look that will empower her, yet not overwhelm her with unnecessary choices. A carefully curated line of Natural and Elegance all in one!”

zChocolat Sets The Bar High For Luxury Chocolates This Holiday Season

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Elegance and international taste is inherent in zChocolat. zChocolat is recognized as one of the most luxurious chocolates in the world and are handmade by renowned chocolatier, Pascal Caffet. The rich French chocolates are made with natural ingredients, 100% pure cocoa butter, no preservatives and no alcohol to boot. Superior cocao is procured from all over the globe in destinations such as Venezuela, Ivory Coast and Bolivia. There are 26 unique recipes of chocolates, which are assigned numbers so they can be referenced in a photo booklet containing descriptions of the ingredients and where the cocoa was harvested – making this an immersive experience of discovery and taste, like a chocolate tour. The chocolates reside in awe-inspiring handcrafted mahogany boxes which are customizable with engravings with names and messages. Founder and CEO of zChocolat, Jean-Philippe Khodara, created the brand in 1999 out of love, literally. In pursuit of a woman he fell in love with, he wanted to impress her with an experience and treasure she would never forget, zChocolat was born. They eventually got married. Jean-Philippe Khodara tells us how the labor of love pays off:

Hi Jean-Philippe, can you tell us some facts about yourself?

I was born in the city of Meaux in France, attended grad school in France, then [pursued] a B.A. in the USA where I worked in the financial industry for 8 years before returning to France in 1999 and creating zChocolat. Married with 16 year old twins. Love sailing, travelling, epicurean lifestyle.

Can you tell us how you were able to accomplish building a successful company?

VERY HARD WORK, 7 days per week with no vacations for many years.

Have you faced any difficulties and how did you conquer them?

[During the] Subprime crisis in 2008, we lost 30% of sales and reinvented the zChocolat concept with a new website, new chocolate (actual shape) and a single chocolatier, Pascal Caffet, instead of 4.

What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

I always wanted to have my own company and more importantly to export French gourmet products. My dad was also a very successful entrepreneur.

What advice would you give an entrepreneur?

Observe the market, the competition. Don’t rush, run small A/B testing and when ready, put all your heart and time in your entreprise.

To learn more about Jean-Philippe Khodara’s story behind zChocolat watch the interview here. And visit http://www.zchocolat.com.

Beauty Giants Makeup Geek And Moda Brushes Combine Forces For Exclusive Pop-up

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Marlena Stell, founder of Makeup Geek, and executives of Moda Professional Brushes unveiled their collaboration to the public in Burbank on December 8, 2017. A swarm of beauty mavens crowded around Marlena for a meet and greet. Her full cosmetics line was available for fans to swatch and purchase in person. Moda debuted its ultra exclusive Mytical collection for the first time at the pop-up shop. The fanciful unicorn colored brushes nearly sold out at the event and will be available in major retailers soon. The 3-day pop-up will be open until December 10th. To learn more visit makeupgeek.com and beautyusa.royalbrush.com/collections/moda.

Exclusive Sneak Peek Of The 2017 GBK AMA’s Celebrity Lounge + Entrepreneur Interview: Gavin Keilly Of The GBK Empire

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GBK hosted a luxury gifting lounge in WeHo celebrating the 2017 American Music Awards on November 20, 2017. Randy Jackson, Bridgette Neilsen, Emma Kenney, Alan Floyd, Joey Lawrence and Marcus Scribner were among the numerous celebrities that attended the fête. GBK focused on many charitable endeavors at the event such as SBPusa.org’s hurricane disaster relief, Hope For Children In Need Foundation’s mission to build schools for underprivileged children around the world (including hurricane victims of Puerto Rico), The Kimberly Moore Foundation’s dedication to answer the letters of thousands of children writing to Santa as a cry for help and Route91Strong.org’s quest to provide financial resources to victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Notable brands participating in the GBK AMAs event include:

  • LMK Art original artwork
  • Wear Your Music upcycled guitar string bracelet
  • Body Systems Wellness services
  • Custom Comfort luxury bedding
  • FHI Dual Styling Tool for hair
  • B.U.M. Equipment apparel
  • Audio Technica headphones
  • NICA Travel Nicaraguan destinations
  • Moon Palace Jamaica travel accommodations

We had an exclusive opportunity to interview entrepreneur Gavin Keilly, the brains behind GBK. GBK has made a name for itself by attracting Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars to their VIP events. GBK has over 17 years of experience in special events (celebrity gifting suites & weddings), charitable efforts and marketing & public relations.

Hi, Gavin tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, however had an incredible chance to spend two of my high school years in Switzerland, and travel extensively playing on the basketball team. This experience was life changing in so many ways and has shaped the man I am today. It opened my eyes to the concept of joie du vivre, and a true zest for life. I am the proud father of an amazing 7 year old little girl, who no matter what life throws my way, always puts a smile on face.

How did you create your production company?
I was a financial advisor and had to ask the million dollar question: “What do I want to do with my life?”. I decided I wanted to help others, but I definitely did not want to be a martyr in the process. I started by helping other charitable causes take their organization to the next level. I was fortunate enough to work with Sharon Osborne and Elton John as my first charity event clients. I realized the power of celebrity and product placement before the bubble of social media back in 2004 when I gave Ozzy a watch and he put it in his mouth. We got a photo of this for Baume & Mercier, and they are still using it today. I launched the second part of my business by leveraging my connections and talent and filling a gap in the market that was not being met, the notion of gift lounges for the stars at key events during the year; connecting brands to celebrities and leveraging the star power for optimal marketing success for their brand. Most importantly, I figured out a way to generate over 100 Million Media impressions for the brands too.

What are your proudest accomplishments with GBK?
That GBK has help raise over $50 Million for over 30 different causes. GBK has also donated over $10 Million in products, services, and charitable donations to over 40 causes. I believe living is about giving; and I am proud to run a company that keeps the notion of giving at the forefront of its mission and messaging. We are able to give 20% of our profits back to a myriad of causes. I am also very proud that we have helped these charities generate over 200 celebrities to join their honorary committees, which in turn brings notoriety to populations of influence and potential dollars to those in need.

Who are your mentors? How did they guide you with your entrepreneurship?
Gregory Scott Reid is on of my personal mentors. He has a very successful company of his and always thought outside the box. He guides me and advises me to in many ways enhance my business and utilize all the assets I have. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside to truly see what you have to leverage. One can just get stuck in the day to day activities as an entrepreneur.

What advice would you give a novice entrepreneur?
First of all, only start a business that you BELIEVE in with all of your being. It takes courage to start a business, as many businesses do in fact fail. You have to be prepared to face many ups and many downs. At the end of the day, an entrepreneur is the leader of the company and it is his/ her strength & leadership skills that will determine if the company fails or succeeds. I would suggest finding a mentor, and building daily rituals into your day that will help launch the business. You have to be courageous and fierce in order to succeed as an entrepreneur. Don’t be naive to the risks involved. Be prepared to be resilient and be always be open to looking outside the box for new opportunities.

What’s next for GBK?
In 2018: in the first 2 months, we will produce celebrity Gift Lounges prior to the Golden Globes in a Beverly Hills, The Grammys, in New York, a Super Bowl Party with Jaime a Foxx and Friends, and of course, our annual Pre-Oscars Luxury Lounge. Then our charity events begin. We also add to our repertoire in 2018 the Venice Film Festival and Art Basel in Miami.