TONL is one of those companies we can’t believe didn’t exist a couple of years ago. But thank goodness it’s here now! In what has traditionally been a nice non-diverse opening — the innovative and online blogging realm, Karen and her business collaborator Joshua are changing the game, composing beautifully styled, more real-world asset photography, filled with diversification in skin color and in culture.
Sitting down to brunch, we chitchatted with Karen about how, even for something as simple and widespread as baking and cook accounts online, we rarely verify black or brown hands harbouring the wipe or the container of salad. TONL is out to change that! Read on to learn about how and why TONL began, where Karen find it going in the coming year, and her advice on starting a company with a business partner.
Name: Karen Okonkwo, co-founder of TONL Age: 30 Hometown: Chandler, AZ Current Location: Seattle, WA Education: Arizona State University
What was your first chore out of college and how did you shore it?
My first racket out of college was in medical auctions — I actually still work in medical auctions as my period errand.
Your recent business project is a company called TONL, which is really changing video games in matters of diversity in visual material. Can you talk more about it and how it came to be?
One of my first business bets was a blog I started with some of my sorority sisters after college. It opened my hearts to the fact that it was really, really hard to find furnish personas online of Beings of Color. A few years later, I converged my current business collaborator Joshua through a mutual pal( his now fiance, Mekdes Merhsa ). Joshua happened to be a really talented photographer with a innovative bureau called Street Etiquette. I shared the idea I had for TONL with him, and I actually suggested that he start the business, but he only know get it on if I did it with him, and I wasn’t prepared.
Seven months went by, and unfortunately a good deal of tragedies happened in the black community — including the shooting of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. I was seeing Joshua in New York, and he started talking about how it was really the right time to take back our narrations. It was a epoch when the media was drawing black people negatively, and we knew that they were precious human being with value narratives, and wanted to be able to show that. We started piecing TONL together months later in September. We did a SWOT analysis, gauged other major factors to accurately propel, and that’s virtually how TONL began.
Does TONL have a goal and costs? What are they?
At TONL we are seeking to transform the idea of stock photography by exposing personas of diverse people and their narrations around the world. We guess spokespeople and visibility difficulty and that photography and storytelling can help humanize and hopefully diminish the stereotypes and prejudice against black and dark-brown parties, specially. We wanted to defy the stale, homogenous search of traditional stock photography by showcasing the many ethnic backgrounds of daily people.
What kinds of clients have you had? Who buys TONL photos?
We’ve had a lot of really awesome clients, besides time small businesses or artistics. We’ve worked with organizations like the Urban Indian Health Institute, and big companies like Google. We only did a big programme for their Chromebook concoctions. We’ve also had buyers that include POPSUGAR, JOPWELL, OkayAfrica, Sundial Brands, and more.
What’s one of your favorite projections TONL has done?
One of my favorite TONL photo activities was with the Urban Indian Health Institute( UIHI ). UIHI reached out to us because they know get imagery evidencing the American indian and Alaskan native parish in a positive daybreak. Most imagery of American indian and/ or Alaska Aborigine is terribly stereotypical or there really isn’t imagery of the minority communities in the first place. We did an entire photo collection. It was so powerful and it was so stunning going around Seattle photographing Aborigines in their everyday lives.
You’ve called yourself a serial inventor. What are some of the other occupations you’ve founded, are any still standing, or why did they not work out?
One of my first enterprises was a blog announced Sorority Secrets — everyone always judges I started it while I was in college, but it was actually a little after I graduated. I started it with two other women, my sorority sisters. We wanted to showcase sorority wives behind the sorority stereotypes and talk about where sorority maids patronized, their knockout secrets, what their gratuities and manoeuvres were on life. This site is no longer around because us benefactors ultimately decided to go in different directions. I too have a business announced Her Big Day, a ethnic marry and pattern website that are linked brides to dealers are engaged in multicultural bridals. And I have a party meaning business announced Party with a K and still work with buyers through that. It’s a fascination projection, but sees money!
What various kinds of knowledge from your epoch place in medical sales helps with TONL?
I feel every person who wants to work for themselves should start in corporate America. You need to know what it feels like to be an employee, because you’ll have employees. It’s handy even simply to learn about the documents you’ll need to have on file, schoolings you need to do for parties, etc. It likewise learns you professionalism and how to present. All of those things have been instrumental in facilitating with what I do now with TONL.
What does the team at TONL look like right now?
Joshua and myself are the co-founders, I do most of the marketing and social media wield and going new business, Joshua does a lot of the photography, and we also work with a handful of other photographers. Joshua has its headquarters in New York, we work with a Seattle photographer, a photographer in Dallas, another Seattle photographer who predominantly does editing, and we also have a material marketing apprentice and an eastern coast and west coast marketings party. And everyone get paid!
It’s really important to create an infrastructure where anyone feels like “theyre about” being somewhat compensated.
What’s suggestion you’d devote someone starting their own business?
It’s about putting yourself out there and never making no for an answer. You have to keep talking about it — that’s how people will learn about your company and what you’re doing. And too, make your own opportunities and find contacts in places people don’t necessarily gaze — for example, the customer ailment division of a website is immediately how I wrote to someone at a firebrand I wanted to be an ambassador for, and they hired me!
What is the best admonition you’ve come in being a business proprietor/ inventor?
Know your why. Why you want to start your business, why you just wanted to do something. If you’re not connected to something bigger than yourself, you’ll want to quit as soon as it gets hard. My excellent suggestion is for anyone wanting to start a business — ask yourself why you just wanted to get it on, and it has to be for more than precisely money. I talk more about this via my online FREE Business Tutorial called Karen’s Thoughts.
What’s your advice for starting a business with someone else?
When you go into partnership with someone else, make sure their why is in alignment with yours. For example, with one of my first industries, two of us had one tendency we are trying to make the business while the third largest person’s why didn’t truly align with ours. It ultimately didn’t work out.
How do you meet TONL growing in the next five years?
I hope in the following financial year TONL is something I can work on full experience. I see it being the prime ministers diverse furnish photography the enterprises and really the gold guideline when it comes to imagery showcasing diverse beings and different cultures.
What opinion would you give to your 22 time old-time soul?
I would tell my 22 time old-time ego to not be so invested in Corporate America — responsibilities are not a form of job security. Fly under the radar and construct your territory on the side.
Karen Okonkwo is the Everygirl …
Favorite city to visit? Paris, France — I’ve gone each year for the past five years
App “youre using” most on your phone? Instagram
Something that’s forming you glad right now? Knowing that the end is near for working for corporate America and being almost ready to go full meter with TONL
Best way to loosen after a long era? Set on couch and read
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why? Oprah- Oprah is, has, and will always be my number one woman of influence
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