Nov. 9, 2022

How the Darl helps Transform Beauty and Fashion Startups Ep 94


Lara Schmoisman is a Digital weaver and powerhouse marketing and branding strategist. A Forbes NEXT1000 Honoree and LA Times Inspirational Women Nominee by helping transform brands to become profitable, innovative, and sustainable.

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lara Schmoisman is the founder & CEO of The Darl a full-service marketing and advertising agency based in LA. Lara is a unique combination of Jewish and Latina, outspoken by nature, tenacious, armed with grit and a sexy accent.

With more than 20 years of experience working across radio, television, film, distribution, and content marketing, Lara has utilized her knowledge and industry experience by creating signature online courses, spearheading marketing campaigns, and serving up a digital cup of coffee with her podcast, Coffee N5. Additionally, Lara is an International Speaker and a former lecturer at California Polytechnic State University, with her signature course, “Digital Marketing for the Fashion Industry”. 

She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, California, with her husband, two sons, and her dog, Latte.

Where to find Lara Schmoisman

Website: thedarl.com

 

SPONSOR

This episode is sponsored by Entire Productions- Creating events (both in-person and virtual) that don't suck! and Entire Productions Marketing- carefully curated premium gifting and branded promo items. 

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Transcript

Lara Schmoisman:

You're gonna go to some TRIA shows, you're not gonna go to some. You need to pick and choose. I always say it's not only about acquire new clients, it's about keeping your clients.

Natasha Miller:

Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS. How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur? How do they scale and grow their businesses? How do they plan for profit? Are they in it for life? Are they building to exit these? And a myriad of other topic? Will be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizardry of successful and fascinating entrepreneurs. My book, RELENTLESS is now available everywhere books can be bought online, including Amazon and BarnesAndNoble.com. Try your local indie bookstore too, and if they don't have it, they can order it. Just ask them. The reviews are streaming in and I'm so thankful for the positive feedback as well as hearing from people that my memoir has impacted them positively. It is not enough to be resilient. You have to be relentless. You can go to TheRelentlessBook.com for more information. Thank you so much. Lara Schmoisman is the founder, CEO of The Darl, a marketing and branding agency in LA focusing on beauty and fashion startups. She's a Forbes Next 1000 Honoree and LA Times Inspirational Women Nominee with her work in helping transform brands to become profitable, innovative, and sustainable. Now, let's get right into it.

Lara Schmoisman:

Well, The Darl was created to help entrepreneurs, startups, but mostly emerging. I want to create a place, a safe place for clients to grow brands to grow stories. But the problem was that I found out that when I was working in big agencies, they weren't able to afford it. There was no way a small company was able to pay that price tag. And also big agencies, they don't know how to deal with the little kids. So I want to create a safe place for them. And I'm an educator. I've been in this space before the space even existed as a space, so I feel like I could help these people.

Natasha Miller:

And where does the name come from The Darl.

Lara Schmoisman:

Oh, actually the, my company name was called Salt Media when I started. And I got a cease and desist from a big company in Chicago who told me that apparently I was ranking higher with my SEO skills, my own SEO skills, because it was one man show Salt Media, and I think they can take the name away, but they cannot take me. And I had like three days left to change the name and I always call people doling. So I wanted to do something that it was me and I'm like kinda obsessed with the forties and fifties and I wanted that something like Great Gatsby or something like that. And did the Harlem, I like the sound the so interesting.

Natasha Miller:

Interesting. So you're a Forbes Next 1000 honoree. What does that mean, and what does that mean for you?

Lara Schmoisman:

Was a surprise that's first for sure. It was a super big surprise. I didn't expect it being Forbes Next 1000, I guess is the, they will see the next 1000. What did they do? What we expect these people to do big things, I don't know. And what it meant for me, it's gratefulness, I mean appreciation. I mean. I'm an immigrant to this country, and I'm so grateful for this opportunity and for all the opportunities that I have. But I mean, being a woman, an entrepreneur, a business owner, a mother, a leader, being all of things, it's been challenging. I mean, when I come to this country, I didn't speak a word of English, so I'm soft talk, so everything was kind a fight.

Natasha Miller:

And how are you chosen by the Forbes Next 1000 committee? Is it something you had to apply for? Did someone have to refer you? Did they just actually you? You outta the world.

Lara Schmoisman:

You apply for it, but I believe there were 40,000. People applying for it or more than that, I don't know. And then you are chosen by a committee

Natasha Miller:

That's a lot of applications to sit through.

Lara Schmoisman:

Yeah, I was shocked. I have to tell you. And I'm like, we are background, I'm a Jewish Latina immigrant that I don't fit in any box.

Natasha Miller:

No, but that's better, right, As an entrepreneur. So let's talk about your team. How did you build it and what is your management team comprised of?

Lara Schmoisman:

Well, I started this as a one-man show, and then I realized I needed a little help. So I got someone part-time. This company was built completely digital. I never had a location, and I'm talking before Covid, and I realized that the way to help my clients, price wise was to have a global team, whatever I can say, things having countries, I do that, but everyone in my team works specific standard time, hours, work in completely and ensemble. We are a dominant effect how we work, I have a team of. I think 27 now, or 28, I'm not sure. And we work together. We're a team. We all work full time. We work like in an office, but through Zoom. I mean, I started working in the late nineties, no, sorry, much earlier than that. I started working and I learned a lot from what I didn't want, and I wanted to create a place that was not toxic. That to me, was really important. No gossipy, no cliquey. That was the things I think is more draining of working all the social aspect than doing your work, and so I'm very happy to announce that I did it. I always say that I designed this culture before I had a company.

Natasha Miller:

It's probably your personal culture and your personal values that have bled into your company.

Lara Schmoisman:

Probably, but also I tweak little things and as I go, I keep tweaking. But we do a lot of team culture. We have a very strong company culture. Like for example, we have a challenge during the whole month. We fight in, we have a Slack channel only for the challenge, and we fight the whole month for it. And then the winner, whatever they're in the world, they get pizza.

Natasha Miller:

Take me through one of the challenges. What was, what did you have to do and what kinda fighting was happen?

Lara Schmoisman:

Oh, because they have this, their relationship. I want to build these relationships of friendships. For example, yesterday we had one of the girls who stopped working with us, cause she's moving to Europe and she was so sad to go and she was asking, Can I come? Because it's family. We celebrate every birthday, every holiday we have happy hours. And the challenge, like for example, we had from the most embarrassing picture that people need to show. And then we all vote. And the most important is the winner of the challenge. Need to choose the next challenge.

Natasha Miller:

That's great.

Lara Schmoisman:

And they tease each other. I mean, this one was like we had to give in secret to the person who organized the channel six pictures that from our Instagram feed, that it doesn't show our face. And then we all have to guess who that one belongs.

Natasha Miller:

And is there a prize or is it just-

Lara Schmoisman:

Pizza?

Natasha Miller:

To choose the next one?

Lara Schmoisman:

They get pizza, pizza night, whatever they are in the world. We manage to send them pizza.

Natasha Miller:

Interesting.

Lara Schmoisman:

Do you have men and women employees? Yes. And I have men, women also. We were selected by LA time as a company for inclusion, diversity, and accessibility last year. All genders. We welcome all genders. We don't care. We're there in the world. We don't care what race, gender. Religion you have, you just need to be a good fit for this company culture.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah. So I understand that you were teaching online courses. Are you still doing that?

Lara Schmoisman:

I have an online courses, but actually I was a professor of the digital marketing for the fashion industry at Cal Poly Pomona.

Natasha Miller:

Is that where you, did you go to school there?

Lara Schmoisman:

No, I went to school in Argentina, but I started, my first website was 1999. So back then there wasn't nobody teaching you digital. I learned digital as I was going by myself, so that qualified me later on in life to teach.

Natasha Miller:

Have you ever thought that you should write a book, that you should write the story of your life to help other people learn from your experience? Please go to MemoirSherpa.com and learn how I can help you write, figure out your publishing path and market your story, your memoir, to a best seller status. I wanna share with you cuz you'll appreciate this. The first website I ever designed and I hand coded it in html, was in hold on. 1995.

Lara Schmoisman:

Oh wow.

Natasha Miller:

Maybe 94.

Lara Schmoisman:

Wow. You're even before me.

Natasha Miller:

I'm before you. And that's probably because I'm older than you anyway.

Lara Schmoisman:

I don't think so. The probably is that I just moved to this country a year before, so I was getting something completely new. And I was in days that you make a mistake and you lose a website.

Natasha Miller:

That's true. Okay, so you were a professor and then you have one. Is it still up the digital course?

Lara Schmoisman:

No, honestly, I had it on my website and I hide it because I feel like over copied everyone and their mother was doing a digital course and I didn't want to be that person. I have an issue, a personal issue with all these coaches that they're out there and I don't want to be perceive as one of them. I have the experience. I've been in the industry for a long time, and when I did the course, I did it for different reasons, and right now I don't want to compete in that space. I see.

Natasha Miller:

Okay. And are you teaching on a college level or anything right now? Are you really focusing on managing and growing your business?

Lara Schmoisman:

No. Right now it's all my business. I have no more time to. It's a lot of work to teach.

Natasha Miller:

Yes, of course. And so what are you focusing on for growth with The Darl?

Lara Schmoisman:

Emerging brands. We love emerging brands. We love.

Natasha Miller:

And how are you focusing on getting more clients with the emerging brands?

Lara Schmoisman:

Well, I got a lot word of mouth. I'm also part of different culture, groups that for founders or entrepreneurs, a lot of also, I go to a lot of trade shows to meet emerging brands.

Natasha Miller:

What is some of the shows that you've been going to?

Lara Schmoisman:

I came back from Cosmo proof in Vegas.. I'm going to, for example, Fashion Week next remember specialize in beauty, wellness, fashion, and lifestyle. So those are, there is another one that is coming up. Probably will go, Founders Made. Then you have fancy foods. There's so many.

Natasha Miller:

There are so many.

Lara Schmoisman:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

Do you go to Javis for the gift show? I think they changed the name of it, but there are so many trade shows.

Lara Schmoisman:

There are so many. So you need to pick and choose. And also, between the, I still, I work full-time and agency. I'm very hands on. So I need to be here. And though I have the most wonderful team, I still need to be here. And also my mother and I want to be part of my kids' life. And so, you know how it's, it's a balance. So you have to pick and choose and like every client that you meet, every pitch is not gonna work out. You're gonna go to some try shows, you're not gonna go to some, you need to pick and choose, and you do whatever you can. I always say it's not only about acquire new clients, it's about keeping your clients.

Natasha Miller:

I mean, it's a lot less money, time and energy to keep a client than to get a new one. And how many clients can you service at a time with the team that you have now?

Lara Schmoisman:

Right now, I would say around 20, I could. I only-,

Natasha Miller:

Are they doing some of the team doing SEO and publicity and website design? What are the different things that you offer?

Lara Schmoisman:

Oh, we offer everything We wanna offer one place. I live in an ecosystem where your website is your core over the last few years. There is this thing that is like a popularity content that people want to have followers in Instagram in TikTok. But that doesn't mean that you're gonna have sales. So what I want is to create clarity on what's our goal, the popularity. Or making money and selling our products. So we have, from website development, SEO performance, we have block writing, social media advertising, SCM. We have of course project management. We have a PR, we have podcasts. We do also PR for seo. We divide our PR in three parts, and also we work with influencers. We have graphic design and multimedia design, editing. What else we have and oh, marketplace right now it's huge for some products too. Something that is happening right now. It's a lot of emerging brands that they looking for distribution. They won't get distribution. If the distributors are big stores, they don't see that they're putting efforts in their market. So we start doing marketplace, which is Amazon, Etsy, Walmart, etc.

Natasha Miller:

And what is the minimum spend that a brand would invest in working with The Darl?

Lara Schmoisman:

Every brand is different, and that's what I think, how we break the rules. We always say that we break the rules and we raise the bar. We quick grade relationship with the brands. I will never take a brand that I don't think that I can help, but also the brand needs to be ready to invest. And again, every brand is different. Not every brand is the same, but working with an agency and getting the whole team is like you have to pay for a team. I will say that the minimum average would be between $3,500- $4,000 a month.

Natasha Miller:

And does a brand need to take on all of the elements that you provide in order to be a client? They can pick and choose.

Lara Schmoisman:

Not everyone needs everything. That's a thing. Like we need to create an ecosystem that worked for that brand and a sustainable ecosystem. I find a lot of people that they come to me and they said, "Oh, I have $10,000 and they think that they $10,000 and they engage an agency for 3 months. It will change their life, but they don't have money for us, and three months is nothing. We're getting things set up in 3 months.

Natasha Miller:

Yes. Just one thing. One of the spokes in your wheel SEO. I know that people are paying various amounts, but for professional businesses, they're paying $2,000 to $15,000 a month.

Lara Schmoisman:

Yep.

Natasha Miller:

For SEO alone, and it's an art and a science, and then publicity. It's $2,000 to $12,000 a month.

Lara Schmoisman:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

And you have so many spokes in your wheel, but it's interesting that you have everything in that ecosystem and everyone's talking to each other so you don't have to.

Lara Schmoisman:

Well, let's put it this way, I realize, and this is why I created this agency, cause I realize that a lot of startups were failing for three reason. The first one, they were copying someone else strategy with a different budget. You cannot do that. That doesn't work. Why you gonna copy someone who's doing what you doing? Second, they didn't know how to work with their freelancers or the worst can. They were asked for a lot of money to do their SEO, but they were working with someone overseas and they didn't know what they were asking for. So I wanted to create a combined me my experience of an educator and as a business owner, and hold the hand of my founders and explain why I do what I do so they can understand and we can build this ecosystem together. I create a partnership with my clients. I want to long lasting relationships.

Natasha Miller:

So the last thing I wanna ask you about is, did you start this business with an exit strategy in mind? And if not, do you have one now?

Lara Schmoisman:

My exit strategy will be one day my kids who fall in love with this agency and want to continue it. That will be my dream. I mean. But no, actually today. I still have plenty of years in my life and I just want to help as many as entrepreneurs as I can. Like I was able to grow this agency. I want other people to grow their business. I want to help them thrive.

Natasha Miller:

For more information, go to the show notes where you're listening to this podcast. Wanna know more about me, go to my website OfficialNatashaMiller.com. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you loved the show. If you did, please subscribe. Also, if you haven't done so yet, please leave a review where you're listening to this podcast now. I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Lara Schmoisman Profile Photo

Lara Schmoisman

Founder & CEO

Lara Schmoisman is a Digital weaver and powerhouse marketing and branding strategist. A Forbes NEXT1000 Honoree and LA Times Inspirational Women Nominee by helping transform brands to become profitable, innovative, and sustainable.

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lara Schmoisman is the founder & CEO of The Darl a full-service marketing and advertising agency based in LA. Lara is a unique combination of Jewish and Latina, outspoken by nature, tenacious, armed with grit and a sexy accent.

With more than 20 years of experience working across radio, television, film, distribution, and content marketing, Lara has utilized her knowledge and industry experience by creating signature online courses, spearheading marketing campaigns, and serving up a digital cup of coffee with her podcast, Coffee N5. Additionally, Lara is an International Speaker and a former lecturer at California Polytechnic State University, with her signature course, “Digital Marketing for the Fashion Industry”.

She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, California, with her husband, two sons, and her dog, Latte.