Q&A: Launching a Business In a Tough Economy

Less than two weeks ago, Mariclare Lawson and Erika Gesue announced the launch of Cramp My Style, a media agency with offerings including content creation, experiential marketing, and campaign strategy and development.

Prior to launching the company, Lawson was a writer, producer and editor who worked with an Emmy Award-winning team at Saturday Night Live and created campaigns for media properties like Comedy Central and VH1. Gesue has worked with Young & Rubicam and the Peabody Award-winning folks over at the BBC. The two also worked together at the BBC for nearly two years.

With the economy still in a tumult, it may seem a risky time to start a business. We conducted an email Q&A with the founders (Lawson is creative director, Gesue is executive producer) to find out why they decided to do this now.

The Q&A is after the jump.


PRNewser: Why did you decide to launch Cramp My Style now?

Mariclare Lawson: “The timing was perfect for both of us.  After 15 years in the television business —  doing everything from proofreading scripts at Saturday Night Live to editing promotional campaigns for The Glee Project — starting my own company was the next logical step.

Erika Gesue: We were at that point in our careers where we could grow within the companies that we were doing work for or we could break out and do it on our own.  Since we are both independent thinkers that trust our instincts, we decided it was time to see our unfettered vision out there in the marketplace.

PRNewser: What were some of the challenges you faced? And how did you overcome them?

ML: It’s true, as Sven Goran Eriksson said, “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.”

In the very beginning of the process of developing the company I decided to face the fear and then one by one learn everything I could about everything single thing I was afraid
of.  If you are afraid of what you don’t understand, then do everything in your power to understand.  Without fear clogging up your mind, there is so much more room for ideas!

PRNewser: What are your three tips for other young comms pros who might be interested in starting their own business?

ML: 1) Be prepared to become your idea.  Owning your own company takes every part of yourself.  Your brain, your nerves, your dreams, and all your attention.  It is more than just hard work, long nights, no sleep, constant reading, learning, collaborating and creating.  This process of starting our own company is a lot like becoming a sponge. You must absorb everything you see, read, hear, and bump into to stay ahead of the game.

2) Watch every platform.  If you are interested in new business, there is no limit to what can be accomplished, but your idea has to be fresh and ahead of what is happening in real life.  It’s important to act fast because the more you search, the more you realize there are already people out there doing what you thought of yesterday.

EG: 3) Go for it.  If you’re confident in what you have to offer, do not wait for “an ideal” time.  There is no such thing.  As Lily Tomlin said, “The road to success is always under construction.”