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How the Darl helps Transform Beauty and Fashion Startups Ep 94
Episode 949th November 2022 • Fascinating Entrepreneurs • Natasha Miller
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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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Transcripts

Lara Schmoisman:

You're gonna go to some TRIA shows, you're not gonna go to some.

Lara Schmoisman:

You need to pick and choose.

Lara Schmoisman:

I always say it's not only about acquire new clients, it's

Lara Schmoisman:

about keeping your clients.

Natasha Miller:

Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Natasha Miller:

How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur?

Natasha Miller:

How do they scale and grow their businesses?

Natasha Miller:

How do they plan for profit?

Natasha Miller:

Are they in it for life?

Natasha Miller:

Are they building to exit these?

Natasha Miller:

And a myriad of other topic?

Natasha Miller:

Will be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizardry of successful

Natasha Miller:

and fascinating entrepreneurs.

Natasha Miller:

My book, RELENTLESS is now available everywhere books can be bought online,

Natasha Miller:

including Amazon and BarnesAndNoble.com.

Natasha Miller:

Try your local indie bookstore too, and if they don't have it, they can order it.

Natasha Miller:

Just ask them.

Natasha Miller:

The reviews are streaming in and I'm so thankful for the positive feedback

Natasha Miller:

as well as hearing from people that my memoir has impacted them positively.

Natasha Miller:

It is not enough to be resilient.

Natasha Miller:

You have to be relentless.

Natasha Miller:

You can go to TheRelentlessBook.com for more information.

Natasha Miller:

Thank you so much.

Natasha Miller:

Lara Schmoisman is the founder, CEO of The Darl, a marketing and

Natasha Miller:

branding agency in LA focusing on beauty and fashion startups.

Natasha Miller:

She's a Forbes Next 1000 Honoree and LA Times Inspirational Women Nominee with her

Natasha Miller:

work in helping transform brands to become profitable, innovative, and sustainable.

Natasha Miller:

Now, let's get right into it.

Lara Schmoisman:

Well, The Darl was created to help entrepreneurs,

Lara Schmoisman:

startups, but mostly emerging.

Lara Schmoisman:

I want to create a place, a safe place for clients to grow brands to grow stories.

Lara Schmoisman:

But the problem was that I found out that when I was working in big agencies,

Lara Schmoisman:

they weren't able to afford it.

Lara Schmoisman:

There was no way a small company was able to pay that price tag.

Lara Schmoisman:

And also big agencies, they don't know how to deal with the little kids.

Lara Schmoisman:

So I want to create a safe place for them.

Lara Schmoisman:

And I'm an educator.

Lara Schmoisman:

I've been in this space before the space even existed as a space, so I

Lara Schmoisman:

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

Lara Schmoisman:

Salt Media when I started.

Lara Schmoisman:

And I got a cease and desist from a big company in Chicago who told me

Lara Schmoisman:

that apparently I was ranking higher with my SEO skills, my own SEO skills,

Lara Schmoisman:

because it was one man show Salt Media, and I think they can take the

Lara Schmoisman:

name away, but they cannot take me.

Lara Schmoisman:

And I had like three days left to change the name and I always call people doling.

Lara Schmoisman:

So I wanted to do something that it was me and I'm like kinda obsessed

Lara Schmoisman:

with the forties and fifties and I wanted that something like Great

Lara Schmoisman:

Gatsby or something like that.

Lara Schmoisman:

And did the Harlem, I like the sound the so interesting.

Natasha Miller:

Interesting.

Natasha Miller:

So you're a Forbes Next 1000 honoree.

Natasha Miller:

What does that mean, and what does that mean for you?

Lara Schmoisman:

Was a surprise that's first for sure.

Lara Schmoisman:

It was a super big surprise.

Lara Schmoisman:

I didn't expect it being Forbes Next 1000, I guess is the,

Lara Schmoisman:

they will see the next 1000.

Lara Schmoisman:

What did they do?

Lara Schmoisman:

What we expect these people to do big things, I don't know.

Lara Schmoisman:

And what it meant for me, it's gratefulness, I mean appreciation.

Lara Schmoisman:

I mean.

Lara Schmoisman:

I'm an immigrant to this country, and I'm so grateful for this opportunity and

Lara Schmoisman:

for all the opportunities that I have.

Lara Schmoisman:

But I mean, being a woman, an entrepreneur, a business owner,

Lara Schmoisman:

a mother, a leader, being all of things, it's been challenging.

Lara Schmoisman:

I mean, when I come to this country, I didn't speak a word of English, so I'm

Lara Schmoisman:

soft talk, so everything was kind a fight.

Natasha Miller:

And how are you chosen by the Forbes Next 1000 committee?

Natasha Miller:

Is it something you had to apply for?

Natasha Miller:

Did someone have to refer you?

Natasha Miller:

Did they just actually you?

Natasha Miller:

You outta the world.

Lara Schmoisman:

You apply for it, but I believe there were 40,000.

Lara Schmoisman:

People applying for it or more than that, I don't know.

Lara Schmoisman:

And then you are chosen by a committee

Natasha Miller:

That's a lot of applications to sit through.

Lara Schmoisman:

Yeah,

Lara Schmoisman:

I was shocked.

Lara Schmoisman:

I have to tell you.

Lara Schmoisman:

And I'm like, we are background, I'm a Jewish Latina immigrant

Lara Schmoisman:

that I don't fit in any box.

Natasha Miller:

No, but that's better, right, As an entrepreneur.

Natasha Miller:

So let's talk about your team.

Natasha Miller:

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

Lara Schmoisman:

I realized I needed a little help.

Lara Schmoisman:

So I got someone part-time.

Lara Schmoisman:

This company was built completely digital.

Lara Schmoisman:

I never had a location, and I'm talking before Covid, and I realized that the way

Lara Schmoisman:

to help my clients, price wise was to have a global team, whatever I can say, things

Lara Schmoisman:

having countries, I do that, but everyone in my team works specific standard time,

Lara Schmoisman:

hours, work in completely and ensemble.

Lara Schmoisman:

We are a dominant effect how we work, I have a team of.

Lara Schmoisman:

I think 27 now, or 28, I'm not sure.

Lara Schmoisman:

And we work together.

Lara Schmoisman:

We're a team.

Lara Schmoisman:

We all work full time.

Lara Schmoisman:

We work like in an office, but through Zoom.

Lara Schmoisman:

I mean, I started working in the late nineties, no,

Lara Schmoisman:

sorry, much earlier than that.

Lara Schmoisman:

I started working and I learned a lot from what I didn't want, and I wanted

Lara Schmoisman:

to create a place that was not toxic.

Lara Schmoisman:

That to me, was really important.

Lara Schmoisman:

No gossipy, no cliquey.

Lara Schmoisman:

That was the things I think is more draining of working all the social

Lara Schmoisman:

aspect than doing your work, and so I'm very happy to announce that I did it.

Lara Schmoisman:

I always say that I designed this culture before I had a company.

Natasha Miller:

It's probably your personal culture and your personal

Natasha Miller:

values that have bled into your company.

Lara Schmoisman:

Probably, but also I tweak little things

Lara Schmoisman:

and as I go, I keep tweaking.

Lara Schmoisman:

But we do a lot of team culture.

Lara Schmoisman:

We have a very strong company culture.

Lara Schmoisman:

Like for example, we have a challenge during the whole month.

Lara Schmoisman:

We fight in, we have a Slack channel only for the challenge, and

Lara Schmoisman:

we fight the whole month for it.

Lara Schmoisman:

And then the winner, whatever they're in the world, they get pizza.

Natasha Miller:

Take me through one of the challenges.

Natasha Miller:

What was, what did you have to do and what kinda fighting was happen?

Lara Schmoisman:

Oh, because they have this, their relationship.

Lara Schmoisman:

I want to build these relationships of friendships.

Lara Schmoisman:

For example, yesterday we had one of the girls who stopped working with us, cause

Lara Schmoisman:

she's moving to Europe and she was so sad to go and she was asking, Can I come?

Lara Schmoisman:

Because it's family.

Lara Schmoisman:

We celebrate every birthday, every holiday we have happy hours.

Lara Schmoisman:

And the challenge, like for example, we had from the most embarrassing

Lara Schmoisman:

picture that people need to show.

Lara Schmoisman:

And then we all vote.

Lara Schmoisman:

And the most important is the winner of the challenge.

Lara Schmoisman:

Need to choose the next challenge.

Natasha Miller:

That's great.

Lara Schmoisman:

And they tease each other.

Lara Schmoisman:

I mean, this one was like we had to give in secret to the person

Lara Schmoisman:

who organized the channel six pictures that from our Instagram

Lara Schmoisman:

feed, that it doesn't show our face.

Lara Schmoisman:

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.

Lara Schmoisman:

We manage to send them pizza.

Natasha Miller:

Interesting.

Lara Schmoisman:

Do you have men and women employees?

Lara Schmoisman:

Yes.

Lara Schmoisman:

And I have men, women also.

Lara Schmoisman:

We were selected by LA time as a company for inclusion, diversity,

Lara Schmoisman:

and accessibility last year.

Lara Schmoisman:

All genders.

Lara Schmoisman:

We welcome all genders.

Lara Schmoisman:

We don't care.

Lara Schmoisman:

We're there in the world.

Lara Schmoisman:

We don't care what race, gender.

Lara Schmoisman:

Religion you have, you just need to be a good fit for this company culture.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

So I understand that you were teaching online courses.

Natasha Miller:

Are you still doing that?

Lara Schmoisman:

I have an online courses, but actually I was a professor

Lara Schmoisman:

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

Lara Schmoisman:

started, my first website was 1999.

Lara Schmoisman:

So back then there wasn't nobody teaching you digital.

Lara Schmoisman:

I learned digital as I was going by myself, so that qualified

Lara Schmoisman:

me later on in life to teach.

Natasha Miller:

Have you ever thought that you should write a book, that you should

Natasha Miller:

write the story of your life to help other people learn from your experience?

Natasha Miller:

Please go to MemoirSherpa.com and learn how I can help you write, figure out your

Natasha Miller:

publishing path and market your story, your memoir, to a best seller status.

Natasha Miller:

I wanna share with you cuz you'll appreciate this.

Natasha Miller:

The first website I ever designed and I hand coded it in html, was in hold on.

Natasha Miller:

1995.

Lara Schmoisman:

Oh wow.

Natasha Miller:

Maybe 94.

Lara Schmoisman:

Wow.

Lara Schmoisman:

You're even before me.

Natasha Miller:

I'm before you.

Natasha Miller:

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

Natasha Miller:

? Lara Schmoisman: I don't think so.

Natasha Miller:

The probably is that I just moved to this country a year before, so I was

Natasha Miller:

getting something completely new.

Natasha Miller:

And I was in days that you make a mistake and you lose a website.

Natasha Miller:

That's true.

Natasha Miller:

Okay, so you were a professor and then you have one.

Natasha Miller:

Is it still up the digital course?

Lara Schmoisman:

No, honestly, I had it on my website and I hide it because

Lara Schmoisman:

I feel like over copied everyone and their mother was doing a digital course

Lara Schmoisman:

and I didn't want to be that person.

Lara Schmoisman:

I have an issue, a personal issue with all these coaches that they're out there and I

Lara Schmoisman:

don't want to be perceive as one of them.

Lara Schmoisman:

I have the experience.

Lara Schmoisman:

I've been in the industry for a long time, and when I did the course, I did

Lara Schmoisman:

it for different reasons, and right now I don't want to compete in that space.

Lara Schmoisman:

I see.

Natasha Miller:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

And are you teaching on a college level or anything right now?

Natasha Miller:

Are you really focusing on managing and growing your business?

Lara Schmoisman:

No.

Lara Schmoisman:

Right now it's all my business.

Lara Schmoisman:

I have no more time to.

Lara Schmoisman:

It's a lot of work to teach.

Natasha Miller:

Yes, of course.

Natasha Miller:

And so what are you focusing on for growth with The Darl?

Lara Schmoisman:

Emerging brands.

Lara Schmoisman:

We love emerging brands.

Lara Schmoisman:

We love.

Natasha Miller:

And how are you focusing on getting more

Natasha Miller:

clients with the emerging brands?

Lara Schmoisman:

Well, I got a lot word of mouth.

Lara Schmoisman:

I'm also part of different culture, groups that for founders or entrepreneurs,

Lara Schmoisman:

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..

Lara Schmoisman:

I'm going to, for example, Fashion Week next remember specialize in beauty,

Lara Schmoisman:

wellness, fashion, and lifestyle.

Lara Schmoisman:

So those are, there is another one that is coming up.

Lara Schmoisman:

Probably will go, Founders Made.

Lara Schmoisman:

Then you have fancy foods.

Lara Schmoisman:

There's so many.

Natasha Miller:

There are so many.

Lara Schmoisman:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

Do you go to Javis for the gift show?

Natasha Miller:

I think they changed the name of it, but there are so many trade shows.

Lara Schmoisman:

There are so many.

Lara Schmoisman:

So you need to pick and choose.

Lara Schmoisman:

And also, between the, I still, I work full-time and agency.

Lara Schmoisman:

I'm very hands on.

Lara Schmoisman:

So I need to be here.

Lara Schmoisman:

And though I have the most wonderful team, I still need to be here.

Lara Schmoisman:

And also my mother and I want to be part of my kids' life.

Lara Schmoisman:

And so, you know how it's, it's a balance.

Lara Schmoisman:

So you have to pick and choose and like every client that you meet,

Lara Schmoisman:

every pitch is not gonna work out.

Lara Schmoisman:

You're gonna go to some try shows, you're not gonna go to some, you need to pick

Lara Schmoisman:

and choose, and you do whatever you can.

Lara Schmoisman:

I always say it's not only about acquire new clients, it's

Lara Schmoisman:

about keeping your clients.

Natasha Miller:

I mean, it's a lot less money, time and energy to keep

Natasha Miller:

a client than to get a new one.

Natasha Miller:

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.

Lara Schmoisman:

I only-,

Natasha Miller:

Are they doing some of the team doing SEO and

Natasha Miller:

publicity and website design?

Natasha Miller:

What are the different things that you offer?

Lara Schmoisman:

Oh, we offer everything We wanna offer one place.

Lara Schmoisman:

I live in an ecosystem where your website is your core over the last few years.

Lara Schmoisman:

There is this thing that is like a popularity content that people want to

Lara Schmoisman:

have followers in Instagram in TikTok.

Lara Schmoisman:

But that doesn't mean that you're gonna have sales.

Lara Schmoisman:

So what I want is to create clarity on what's our goal, the popularity.

Lara Schmoisman:

Or making money and selling our products.

Lara Schmoisman:

So we have, from website development, SEO performance, we have block

Lara Schmoisman:

writing, social media advertising, SCM.

Lara Schmoisman:

We have of course project management.

Lara Schmoisman:

We have a PR, we have podcasts.

Lara Schmoisman:

We do also PR for seo.

Lara Schmoisman:

We divide our PR in three parts, and also we work with influencers.

Lara Schmoisman:

We have graphic design and multimedia design, editing.

Lara Schmoisman:

What else we have and oh, marketplace right now it's huge for some products too.

Lara Schmoisman:

Something that is happening right now.

Lara Schmoisman:

It's a lot of emerging brands that they looking for distribution.

Lara Schmoisman:

They won't get distribution.

Lara Schmoisman:

If the distributors are big stores, they don't see that they're

Lara Schmoisman:

putting efforts in their market.

Lara Schmoisman:

So we start doing marketplace, which is Amazon, Etsy, Walmart, etc.

Natasha Miller:

And what is the minimum spend that a brand would

Natasha Miller:

invest in working with The Darl?

Lara Schmoisman:

Every brand is different, and that's what I

Lara Schmoisman:

think, how we break the rules.

Lara Schmoisman:

We always say that we break the rules and we raise the bar.

Lara Schmoisman:

We quick grade relationship with the brands.

Lara Schmoisman:

I will never take a brand that I don't think that I can help, but also the

Lara Schmoisman:

brand needs to be ready to invest.

Lara Schmoisman:

And again, every brand is different.

Lara Schmoisman:

Not every brand is the same, but working with an agency and getting the whole

Lara Schmoisman:

team is like you have to pay for a team.

Lara Schmoisman:

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

Natasha Miller:

you provide in order to be a client?

Natasha Miller:

They can pick and choose.

Lara Schmoisman:

Not everyone needs everything.

Lara Schmoisman:

That's a thing.

Lara Schmoisman:

Like we need to create an ecosystem that worked for that

Lara Schmoisman:

brand and a sustainable ecosystem.

Lara Schmoisman:

I find a lot of people that they come to me and they said, "Oh, I have $10,000

Lara Schmoisman:

and they think that they $10,000 and they engage an agency for 3 months.

Lara Schmoisman:

It will change their life, but they don't have money for us,

Lara Schmoisman:

and three months is nothing.

Lara Schmoisman:

We're getting things set up in 3 months.

Natasha Miller:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

Just one thing.

Natasha Miller:

One of the spokes in your wheel SEO.

Natasha Miller:

I know that people are paying various amounts, but for professional businesses,

Natasha Miller:

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.

Natasha Miller:

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

Natasha Miller:

interesting that you have everything in that ecosystem and everyone's talking

Natasha Miller:

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

Lara Schmoisman:

this agency, cause I realize that a lot of startups were failing for three reason.

Lara Schmoisman:

The first one, they were copying someone else strategy with a different budget.

Lara Schmoisman:

You cannot do that.

Lara Schmoisman:

That doesn't work.

Lara Schmoisman:

Why you gonna copy someone who's doing what you doing?

Lara Schmoisman:

Second, they didn't know how to work with their freelancers or the worst can.

Lara Schmoisman:

They were asked for a lot of money to do their SEO, but they were working

Lara Schmoisman:

with someone overseas and they didn't know what they were asking for.

Lara Schmoisman:

So I wanted to create a combined me my experience of an educator and as

Lara Schmoisman:

a business owner, and hold the hand of my founders and explain why I do

Lara Schmoisman:

what I do so they can understand and we can build this ecosystem together.

Lara Schmoisman:

I create a partnership with my clients.

Lara Schmoisman:

I want to long lasting relationships.

Natasha Miller:

So the last thing I wanna ask you about is, did you start this

Natasha Miller:

business with an exit strategy in mind?

Natasha Miller:

And if not, do you have one now?

Lara Schmoisman:

My exit strategy will be one day my kids who fall in love with

Lara Schmoisman:

this agency and want to continue it.

Lara Schmoisman:

That will be my dream.

Lara Schmoisman:

I mean.

Lara Schmoisman:

But no, actually today.

Lara Schmoisman:

I still have plenty of years in my life and I just want to help

Lara Schmoisman:

as many as entrepreneurs as I can.

Lara Schmoisman:

Like I was able to grow this agency.

Lara Schmoisman:

I want other people to grow their business.

Lara Schmoisman:

I want to help them thrive.

Natasha Miller:

For more information, go to the show notes where

Natasha Miller:

you're listening to this podcast.

Natasha Miller:

Wanna know more about me, go to my website OfficialNatashaMiller.com.

Natasha Miller:

Thank you so much for listening.

Natasha Miller:

I hope you loved the show.

Natasha Miller:

If you did, please subscribe.

Natasha Miller:

Also, if you haven't done so yet, please leave a review where you're

Natasha Miller:

listening to this podcast now.

Natasha Miller:

I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

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