DANIELLE JETER, 25, of Willingboro, N.J., is CEO of Affairs of Isis, a full-service event-production and public-relations firm in North Philadelphia. Jeter founded the company in 2009 while a student at Spelman College in Atlanta. A founding member of Impact Hub, a membership-based co-working space on 4th Street above Girard, she's the African-American Chamber of Commerce's 2014 Young Professional of the Year.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Affairs of Isis?
A: When I got to Spelman, I worked with some event planners who did stuff for the college and I thought there might be an opportunity for me to start my own company, which I did before my senior year.
Q: How'd you finance it?
A: I bootstrapped it. There are no hard startup costs besides getting incorporated, a website, business cards, stuff like that. As long as you have a phone, a computer with Wi-Fi, you can start a communications firm.
Q: Some of your clients?
A: I work with Eatible Delights Catering, Stemnasium Learning Academy and Isis Creative Productions in New Jersey, which is not related to my company. We've done quite a few one-offs, so we'll have people who hire us for launches, like we did for the Bazemore Gallery in Manayunk.
Q: The biz model?
A: Our services are typically billed hourly. We may have clients who just want services for a special event and it's going to take us 60 hours to get it done and the client is billed hourly. For clients who are on retainer, it's still hourly but more structured and on an ongoing basis. Our hourly fee for PR and marketing is $30. We also have full-service packages where we'll plan your event start-to-finish, and all you have to do is give us your vision. We'll find the location, get the caterer, entertainment, decor and invitations. Packages range from $2,000 up to $5,000.
Q: The firm's name?
A: Isis was the Egyptian goddess of [motherhood, magic and fertility]. I wanted a unique name that had an edge to it.
A: Right now I have three consultants who are independent contractors paid on a project basis. We also have interns and they fluctuate based on the time of the year.
Q: How big a biz is this?
A: Last year was the first year I did it full time, so it was kind of amazing to see my expenses and everything I need. I did most of the work. We had revenues of about $50,000 and I'm trying to triple that this year.
Q: What's been the biggest challenge growing the biz?
A: It's not getting the business, it's more about having the people to do the work so you can grow. I also think being young can be challenging because some people may not take you seriously. When I quote you a price, that's the price.