Natalie MacNeil: Tell us about Bratface Marketing. Where did the name come from?
Andrea Baxter: We are a boutique marketing firm in Vancouver, BC with a specialty in social media marketing, strategy, branding & strategic planning. We work with companies in all industries but focus on franchise organizations, start up to medium sized businesses. Our clients are throughout North America and have included 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Vision Critical, Blu Living/Vancity Lofts, Blast Radius, Return Path, Smart Cookies and many more.
The name ‘Bratface’ is a common term used in Newfoundland, where I was born. Its used as a term of endearment towards anyone who drives you crazy, but you love them so much, you let them get away with…a lot! This sums up the relationship I had with my father as a young girl and the name just stuck! I also loved the cheekiness aspect to it; its creative, unique and has a story behind it which makes it more appealing.
NM: Smart Cookies is a women’s finance brand you co-founded and it has been very successful. What does it mean to be a Smart Cookie when it comes to your money?
AB: A Smart Cookies never deprives herself of the things she loves and wants out of life. Its about living within your (financial) means, knowing your #’s, empowerment and aligning your spending habits with your goals and vision. We all want to live the richest life, in every sense of the word.
NM: You achieved something that many business owners dream of: You appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show! Can you tell us about how that happened and how the experience impacted your business.
AB: It was funny -when we first started the Smart Cookies we always said “when we are on Oprah….we will tell her how we accomplished so much”. It was a vision and goal of ours and we didn’t know we would get there! Because our initial concept was based off of Oprah’s Debt Diet series, that is what inspired us to write in. Katie, who is a publicist by profession, emailed into her show via the website when she was scouring the site for story ideas for the company we worked for at that time. She saw that they were looking for debt diet success stories, so she wrote in! She listed all our achievements and accomplishments over the past 6 months…..3 months later a producer called us.
Katie didn’t even tell us she wrote in, so you can imagine our surprise! After our appearance, the Smart Cookies exploded from a hobby to a business. Jean Chatzky who was on the show with us, was a huge advocate of money groups, so she invited us after the show to do a radio interview with her on Oprah’s Satellite XFM radio show. On air, she said that we have to write a book and that she would put us in touch with her literary agent. From there, it took off. We came back to Canada, shared our story, did a ton of press and then were offered to do a TV show. Since then, the business has grown into something much bigger than we ever imagined. We educate high school and university students on basic financial life skills, contribute to many TV segments and columns, and have amazing partnerships across the USA with companies like American Express and many more.
NM: What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur that can help other women?
AB: To pace yourself more than anything! As an entrepreneur, you really become humble especially if you’ve left a good-paying job with lots of security. Its all about taking risks and you have to be okay with that. I’ve also learned to network like crazy, connect with other like-minded business people and always be open to opportunity. You never know where it may lead you to!
NM: What is a day like “in your heels?”
AB: I wish it was more exciting than people think it is! I still work out of my apartment, but am actively looking for office space. It really varies depending on my travel schedule, media bookings and client work load. That’s what I love about what I do -completely unpredictable but lots of hard work. I will find out on a Friday that I have to fly out for a media booking with Smart Cookies and other times, I have months where I don’t travel anywhere.
Be sure to visit Andrea at bratfacemarketing.com.