TACHIC HICKMAN PIAZZA, FOUNDER OF ALLURED BY DESIGN - 5QS: A Q&A BETWEEN TWO WOMEN WHO'VE STARTED THEIR OWN BUSINESS
I met Tachic Hickman-Piazza over a decade ago on a film set in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was eager and full of joy. Tachic and I became fast friends and internet buddies. After the show was over and I moved to New York she and I would catch up in text and on vacations. We both felt a purpose beyond our careers in tv/film and to this day, we both know how to straddle the line between paycheck and passion. This is the way of it for so many start-ups. It has been an honor to share the pit and the peaks of our lives and watch our brands flourish.
Today, Tachic is currently Associate Producing Season 2 of a Bravo Network Reality Show, while simultaneously managing and growing her design brand. Tachic is detail oriented, professional and full of insight. I hope you enjoy her story!
1. Looking back on your first job, what skill did you use that you still use today?
I grew up in a two parent household, Middle-Class family, the youngest of four and Private School reared. There really wasn’t much I couldn’t ask my parents for that they wouldn’t provide for me. However, I always craved my own sense of independence and freedom outside of depending on my parents. At the age of 15, I asked my Parents if it would be ok for me to acquire a work permit to obtain my first job. They were both excited that I wanted to make my own money and allowed me to pursue obtaining a work permit to work my first Summer job at Foot Locker. More than two decades later, I still have the same hustle and drive as I did as a 15year old (if not more) working and grinding to have my own and forging my own way.
2. Was there a defining moment that made you start your business?
I’ve been a creative person since a child…probably since birth, lol. Actually, for as long as I can remember being creative has been what constantly drives and motivates me. When I’m not creating, or if I’m not able to freely walk in my creativity and share it with others…then I’m officially unhappy and at a low point. I’ve been a Filmmaker for the past 15years but I’ve always had this intense passionate obsession for Interior Design. Even while studying in Film School, I always found myself gravitating to work on projects that would immerse me in the Art Dept. building, decorating and designing Sets. However, after graduating from Film School in 2003…I followed my logical brain and pursued Producing and Writing, which are both still creative yet a completely different type of creativity…More linguistically & logistically creative than anything. But the defining moment to start Allured By Design, was when a good friend of mine suggested I launch an Interior Design blog and merge all three of my passions together under one platform. That suggestion was indeed my AHA moment and it made perfect sense to me!! Finally, I’d no longer feel like I had to choose one creative platform over the other and through my blog I could utilize my Filmmaking skills by writing and producing my own visual and video content…And, of course by sharing all of my Interior Design work and projects with my audience through everything I create and produce…be it projects for myself, or projects for clients.
3. What was the first step you took to launch your brand?
The first step I took to launch my brand was launching my website, blog, logo, and social media pages altogether on the same day. In addition, I shot and Executive Produced a Welcome to Allured By Design video to welcome my audience and followers of my brand to my page and just to give them a snippet of who I am and what I had to offer.
There was no pre-announcement or no soft launch. It was all launched simultaneously on October 4, 2016 as a surprise. Mainly because I highly enjoy the element of surprise just as much as I enjoy moving in silence as much as possible and then releasing or launching my latest creative project with a bang. I see myself as the underdog so much in all that I do, so it’s always a sweet satisfaction when I release something dynamic and shock people, especially the naysayers and haters and those who underestimate my creative talents.
4. What is the greatest lesson learned in your first year in business?
The greatest lesson learned in my first year of launch and business is building and growing a brand is an extreme amount of work and there are no shortcuts to success. The elevator is indefinitely broken, so get comfortable taking the stairs!!! Everyone from the small brands to the big brands, Micro to Macro/Major Influencers make it all look so easy on social media, including myself. But I try my hardest to be realistic with my audience and my followers and let them know that this shit is HARD and it’s NOT EASY!!! While I may have a beautifully curated feed that makes everything look so pristine, so pretty and so well put together. Believe me when I tell you, behind all of that prettiness and behind the brand is a Woman hard at work, grinding, stressing, worrying, and losing her mind daily all because of my loyal commitment to grow, constantly evolve and put my best foot forward in everything I do to represent my brand…because presentation is absolutely everything to me!!
5. What is your best piece of advice for your fellow Female Founder?
My best piece of advice for my Fellow Female Founder without a doubt is something I firmly believe in and live by and that would be to “Stay True to Yourself and Your Brand” Let me elaborate on that a little. I’m NOT AT ALL a fan of the common phrase, Imitiation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery. Instead I’m a fan of Inspiration and being Inspired. I believe we’re all inspired by things we see, things we touch, things we smell, things we feel, things we experience…And, most importantly we’re inspired by people or by one another. But I believe imitating what you see another person doing or shining in shows one’s lack of innovation and authenticity. With the rise and power of social media it can definitely be a challenge to separate yourself from others. Yet, it is still very possible and I believe it’s imperative for entrepreneurs in general, but especially female entrepreneurs and founders where the competition can oftentimes be even more fierce…to find or create your own lane, nurture THAT lane, invest in THAT lane, grow THAT lane, and be true to THAT lane!! You can’t be true to yourself or your brand, while trying to imitate what you see someone else doing or what another female is winning at doing. It’s both a slight and disrespectful to you as a person and to the other person you’re imitating. We’re all blessed with creative gifts and talents. Tap into the gifts God has blessed you with and focus on that.