Allison Statter, Co-Founder of Blended Strategy Group
Allison Statter knows her stuff. From branding and talent management to hair barrettes and hoarding grey T-shirts, Allison is an expert and she applies this savvy mindset to all aspects of her life. So, you can imagine our delight when the super busy CEO and mom of three found some time to squeeze in a chat with us. We can all pick up a few tips from the way Allison runs her business – and how she runs her day!
Working in the entertainment industry for over 16 years has given Allison a unique insight into how to make it in marketing, which led to her co-founding her successful talent management company, Blended Strategy Group (BSG) with friend and fellow #Girlboss, Sherry Jhawar (former Head of Marketing for eos beauty products). These two LA-based ladies are pros at making connections between big name brands and talent and in just over two short years since starting, Allison and Sherry are already widely recognized for their personal, high-quality service and ahead-of-the-curve strategies. But that doesn’t mean the hustle has stopped!
Building a Business
Melissa: Let’s face it, you are #GirlbossGoals. How has your background in the industry prepared you for this next chapter in your life and becoming your own boss?
Allison: It’s interesting because I was raised in the industry, so I have both a personal and professional background that has led me here. Being in this business, in LA, around celebrities, is something I am more comfortable around because I was raised in it, so it has allowed me to integrate into it a lot easier too.
On the professional side, I was very fortunate to be given a lot of freedom in my previous role working with my Dad (veteran entertainment executive and music manager, Irving Azoff). He really let us guide ourselves, but he also was an incredible mentor and that kind of freedom allowed me to feel comfortable enough to start something on my own.
It has its challenges, having a family member as your mentor, but it also has amazing benefits. I got really lucky and I’m very grateful for it.
Melissa: What are your favorite types of projects to work on?
Allison: For me, I get super excited when I see something that we have done come to life. Whether it’s working with our brands to help them strategize on their marketing with influencers and celebrities, and being a part of that from start to finish. I also love negotiating deals. It’s a sweet spot; second nature for me.
The outcome that we get from the partnerships we put in place, whether it’s on the brand side of our business or the talent side of our business, beyond the negotiations, I just love seeing it all come to life. It’s so fulfilling to know we were part of something that was successful.
I just love seeing it all come to life.
Hard Work and Hustle
Melissa: Is there a particular brand or celebrity that you enjoy working with time and time again?
Allison: We’ve been incredibly lucky that in two and a half years we’ve been able to have such an incredible roster of clients. I don’t want to pull one out and isolate it because I think one of the greatest things about what we do is that we have created a process for our clients that has proven to be successful for all of them. And so, the fact they keep coming back for more is really amazing to me!
Melissa: Do your clients come organically through word of mouth or do you seek them out?
Allison: It’s been a real mix of both but in the beginning, there was a lot of hustle. We had to hustle, we had to do a lot of spec work for free. People would look at us and think ‘Who are you, why are you a viable option for us?’ Because of our work over the last few years, we have built up our case studies and now have assets to show our new clients.
We have gotten calls through word of mouth and it is super flattering to know that people have heard of us now and to know that we’re being spoken about – that is awesome! But there still is a lot of hustle involved. There are a lot of brands where we see what they are doing and we know we can help them so we definitely try to tackle those and approach them. But then there are a lot of brands that come to us and we’re super excited that they even see us an option.
Melissa: Are glamorous parties and outings more of a perk or a pester?
Allison: It’s funny because when I was at my previous job, I was in such a good rhythm. I knew I didn’t have to be in the office on Friday and I could be at home with my kids. It was just different because going to meet an agent for drinks or going to events was not necessarily something that I needed to put a huge effort into, like I do now. Now that we have this business, Fridays are my busiest days. I’m still mind blown by it, like why is it so busy on a Friday?! I try really hard to balance it.
Fridays are my busiest days
Finding a Balance
Melissa: How do you do it all with three young boys?
Allison: Every day is a new day. One would think that with as many kids as I have, there is a good routine in place. But I don’t have one! One morning my kids will be amazing and out the door in no time, no-one’s forgetting lunches or yelling at each other, and literally the next day it is as if a bomb exploded in our house. It’s wild!
I’m a very obsessive-compulsive person and when I had my first son I was having such a hard time doing what had been so natural to me before and one of my girlfriends said to me: “You’re new 100% is your old 50%” and when I heard that it was so much easier to get on with things. Like, if I can’t get something done by the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world.
Melissa: What is a typical morning like for you – if it is ever typical?
Allison: The first thing I have to do is have the debate in my head of whether I’m going to get up in time to get my kids to the school bus or if I’m going to drive them to school because if I drive them, I get that extra 15 minutes, which to a Mom is an extra two hours.
I try to be present with my kids because I only get 30 minutes with them in the morning. I don’t have a coffee first thing. I power through with the kids because I like to enjoy my first cup of coffee of the day. My coffee is like a ritual. So I typically get my older sons to school then I have time to come back, have a cup of coffee, read my first round of e-mails and then I refocus and get myself out the door, which sometimes entails dropping my third son at pre-school.
I have zero time to work out. I could make the time but that means I don’t get to see my kids or I end up late at the office, which isn’t an option.
The mornings go by so quick!
Melissa: What is your go-to accessory, something you don’t leave the house without?
Allison: My phone. For sure.
I could live in grey T-shirts
Melissa: If we were to raid your closet, what item would we find the most of?
Allison: Grey T-shirts. Grey T-shirts are a thing. I could live in them, I can’t have enough. It’s like a staple, you can wear it with jeans, heels, pants. You can throw a blazer over it, you can throw a jean jacket over it, it is literally a staple. I cannot resist.
Melissa: What trend are you loving most this season?
Allison: It’s so funny because I am definitely not ahead of the trends, but I’m not behind either. I’m like right on point. When these fur loafers came out, I remember my client came in wearing them over a year ago and thinking “What is that on your feet? You look ridiculous, this is insane.” But now I’m like “I get it!”
I’m way into the Gucci trend. I mean, talk about a comeback. Major props to Gucci!
For our clients, we are very reactive to trends but also very proactive to see what partnerships would work for them and would make sense, such as the Chloe and Isabel hair accessories. The hair barrettes are so cool and really are leading trends. We consider how to stand out in such a crowded landscape and what brands need.
Melissa: How important are accessories or ‘particulars’ to you?
Allison: Accessories are such a huge category if you think about it. When you think of the different lanes you can go into as a brand or an influencer collaboration, whether it’s beauty, fashion, food, home, apparel… accessories are actually something that is underserviced and underrepresented because people automatically go for beauty or apparel. And those categories are so challenging because of the demand and the manufacturing. It’s really interesting to see, though.
We do help our clients who are interested in having their own brand. We are working on a couple very viable brand opportunities right now, where they are going to launch their own brands into the marketplace without going through a collaboration with someone else. They will own it, direct to consumer and we get to help them with the marketing for it. It’s really fun.
Melissa: Are there any brands or influencers who inspire you to try new things in business?
Allison: For sure. Just when we think we have something figured out, something else comes through and disrupts the market or the social media space! Drew Barrymore just announced she will be releasing her clothing and lifestyle line via Amazon, so it is direct to consumer. It is so interesting. I think it’s amazing that there are so many different ways you can go.
I love the Jenni Kayne brand too, everything about it. It’s the experience, the store, the content they create on the social media, the brands they bring in. To me, that is something I am super drawn to. I think because people know there is so much thought put into it, people are so receptive to it. It’s a real reflection of the person and their lifestyle, which people engage with.