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Are you part of the "in-crowd?"


June 2018 Issue


A client recently expressed wanting to expand their network as a desire “to be embraced by in the ‘in-crowd.’” They had attended high-end parties, networking events, and conferences with a laser focus on the one person they considered "the gatekeeper" to landing their coveted gig. “I’ve done my homework, my work is up to par, I’m in the right places at the right times, but I just can’t seem to win this person over. I feel like I’m in high school continually being turned down for the prom.”

The sentiment sounded all too familiar. Strangely similar to the plotline of an 80’s teen movie; the artistic but awkward main character just dreaming of being asked out by the richest guy at school. They wallow, they study the cool clique, and they finagle a deal to get closer to their obsession. In the end, there were always two outcomes. First, the fairy tale version where they go back sewing pink dresses until, finally, their idol sweeps them off their feet. Or the alternate version where their quirky best friend takes off their glasses and they realize that what they wanted was in front of them whole time, duh!

Continually tap dancing to a disengaged party of one is a waste of your energy - one person does not make an "in-crowd." Expanding your network means engaging...with everyone! The person ordering the same cocktail at the party, the one standing in the bathroom line with you at the conference, and definitely the one cracking up at all of your jokes during a networking dinner. They are the perfect prom dates. 

It’s easy to get lost looking up at the one person you think can change your world. Sometimes all you really need to do is look around and you’ll realize your in-crowd is already there. 

PS – Editor’s Edge is launching #LikeABoss_QA, a series dedicated to answering brand-related questions from other Badass Bosses on InstagramGot something that makes you go hmmm? 🤔 Send a reply to this email!

(psst…questions will be posted on Instagram anonymously)

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Why I Don’t Manage my Team


May 2018 Issue


I’ve directed many a team in my time. From fashion shoot crews in exotic locations, to corporate photo departments of overworked employees, to second shooters on weddings and my current virtual squad, you could say I’ve been around the block when it comes to being in charge. Oh, and let’s not forget the spacey interns with well-connected parents I’ve had to deal with!

What’s my biggest “like a boss” takeaway, so far? Directing a team and managing a team are two very different things. Directing means leading communication among a group towards a collective (usually awesome) end goal. Managing, on the other hand, is simply keeping a team on task.

The ruby slippers to leading a group down the yellow brick road is understanding how each team member best receives direction (shocker, it’s not one size fits all). Yes, we all know the generational stereotypes; Millennials need compliments, GenX(ers) need to be convinced and Baby Boomers need tech lessons but let’s get past that. At the end of the day, everyone has their own special sauce and preferred style of communication. Type A’s respond to organized lists, extroverts need an audience for their super exciting ideas and a creative requires space to mull things over. How you provide guidance with your examples, word choices, tone of voice and even body language all need to be tailored to who is on the receiving end.  

Customizing direction starts with understanding your own style of communication. For example, I know that I am a visual and creative communicator (no surprise there). Image research, color palettes, mood-boards, creative narratives, and metaphors all help me get my point across clearly to my team members. I’m also a visual learner. My own team now uses my communication tricks against me when we’re collaborating on projects! 

Take a step back and ask yourself, “Am I directing or am I managing?” Give up on barking orders, move away from micro-managing and try your hand at directing. Take it from me; guiding a team to that awesome end goal gives you all the feels. It’s one of the reasons being a Creative Director is my jam. 

So come on in for a huddle and…Goooo Team!

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Say what?


April 2018 Issue


Life has been a whirlwind of new places, faces, and tight airplane spaces lately as I’ve been traveling around the country for a tour of empowering speaking engagements. On the plane, one of my guilty pleasures is highlighting the most commonly used words in the course descriptions. It’s fascinating to discover which terms are trending and which are “so last year.” For example, “thought leader” is by far the new “expert” on the block. Side note: If I ever refer to myself as a thought leader, I give you full permission to b*tch slap me. 

Oh, buzzwords. The words everyone loves to hate but can’t help but use constantly…myself included. As a content creator, buzzwords are a common language I use to stay connected with my audience. They’re shorthand to other people “in the know.” But what if you aren’t exactly “in the (marketing) know?” I’m not oblivious to the smiling and nodding face of a conference attendee pretending they understand all the jargon being thrown around. Which is why I make it a point to define some of the more popular terms in my presentations. Don’t believe me? Drop into one of my engagements and watch me break it down like Grand Master Flash.

At the end of the day (or presentation), there’s no point in throwing around glittering generalities just to sound “in the know.” If the person on the receiving end is clueless to the knowledge you're dropping, then you’ve gone from buzz-worthy to buzzkill, my friends.

PS: Feeling out of “the know?” Take a cue from my other guilty pleasure, Late Night’s Seth Explains Teen Slang and get up to speed.

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The Room Went Silent...


March 2018 Issue


It was my first day at the School of Visual Arts, and I was waiting for a class called Third Year Critique to begin. As I nervously looked around my new classroom, it dawned on me that one of these things was not like the other…and that “one thing” was me. The rest of my classmates were holding archival print boxes while I held a black pleather portfolio book. Their oversized boxes contained bodies of work all surrounding a conceptual theme, mainly nude self-portraits…eek. In stark contrast, mine was filled with individual “real world assignments” with commercial concepts like “still life fragrance.” At the Fashion Institute of Technology, my previous college, projects were handed to the professor, returned with a letter grade and maybe a technical note to bring out the highlights. Needless to say, the concept of standing in front of a group of peers requesting feedback was entirely foreign to me. 

With my back to the class, I pulled the prints from their plastic sleeves, tacked them to the wall and babbled as I introduced myself as the new girl. Turning around to greet my new classmates I was met with silence…like crickets-chirping complete silence. I had no idea I was supposed to explain my work or ask my peers questions to prompt their advice. I just stood there with my heart pounding until the professor finally broke the tension with “…Thank you…we look forward to seeing your progression this year. Who’s next?” Seriously, that’s it? Shouldn’t he have at least found something to say like, “you have nice composition I might suggest XYZ.” Gee thanks guy, I’m SO glad I’m paying private school tuition for this! 

Listen I got it. The room’s muteness spoke loudly - my old commercial work did not fit in this new fine-art marketplace. But there’s a big difference between criticism and critique. In the classes’ effort to be polite à la “if you don’t have anything nice to say,” I was being robbed of the ability to flourish. Oh and you better bet I flourished, I was not going into college debt for nothing! Next class, I walked in with the start of a body of work and a list of questions so long it nearly hit the floor. I shut my mouth, and I listened…I probably almost pooped my pants, but I made it! I had survived my first real constructive critique. 

Putting yourself out there and asking for honesty from qualified peers whose opinion you respect remains a fundamental part of my business....hell it IS my business! Have you ever opened yourself up to a constructive critique? Maybe it’s time to ask up, zip up and listen up because feedback is your friend.

PS: I don’t just talk the talk I also walk the walk. So I’m putting myself in the hot seat to ask for your feedback my, faithful friends. Please take five minutes to (honestly) answer five (anonymous) questions and support Editor’s Edges’ growth.

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I love it, I love it not...


February 2018 Issue


Remember the first week of January? The social obligations were over, the holiday decorations came down, and we were ready to crush 2018 with a hot list of goals.But then, inevitably, something “pressing” came up, and we told ourselves, “Okay, we’ll definitely get to slaying next week.” But theeeen it got really. Freaking. Cold! The unexpected snow days kicked our motivation in the nuts like the Abominable Snow Man. Mother Nature even made it snow in the south…bless her heart (I’ve learned this is Southern code for “F*ck that bitch”). Cabin fever snuck in, so we took to social media, only to light the spark of insecurity instead of inspiration. “They’re so much better at ____ than me. Why didn’t I get invited to that? Jeez, it’s supposed to be called a humble brag!”

Now it’s February, and we’re all feeling pretty funk-ay (and not in a George Clinton-kinda way). Small business owners worry we won’t get enough inquiries, full-timers worry “the man” will never give them a raise and we all stress those New Year’s goals will become spring’s “shoulda, coulda, woulda” list. Shake (not stir) these all together, and you’ve got the perfect winter blues cocktail with a self-doubt garnish.

Cheers! The sound of winter silence can be deafening to your slay but rest assured that you’re not the only one questioning how in (or out) of love you are with your business this time of year. Take a minute to give your business a little love quiz and see how compatible it is with your goals.

I bet you’ll be swiping right soon.

PS – You wouldn’t eat processed meat out of a can right? So don’t let valuable information go to spam. Add kristi@editors-edge.com to your address book to make sure you’re getting the grade A stuff.

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I've Been Cheating on You


January 2018 Issue


Dear Kristi Drago-Price Photography,

Remember that time back in commercial photo school when we were getting frustrated in the studio lighting class?  A male classmate came up and patted us on the head to say: “Don’t worry, you’re a pretty girl who will get a husband to take care of you in no time.”  Our eyes widened and mouth hung open in shock as the professor, also male, nodded his head in agreement.  This was the photo industry in the 90s.  

Remember when we transferred to a fine art photography program? We quickly realized that not having a trust fund (like the rest of the “starving artist” classmates) meant we had to work our way through college…only to be called a “sell-out” for our post-graduation corporate Conde Nast lifestyle (and the corporate card that went along with it). 

Remember how surprised our family was to hear that being a photo editor at BRIDES magazine meant you stood behind the photographer. “Shouldn’t you be taking the photos?” they asked in thick Long Island accents. 

For those reasons, and so many more, we had to prove to the chauvinist classmate, the trust fund hipsters, the family members and (most importantly) ourselves that we could run our own successful photography business, standing behind the camera. And we did it, and it was invigorating and filled our heart with joy!  

Nine-ish years later, our back would ache just looking at our camera bag. Mexican takeout became the only thing that would get us through the post-production hours tied to the computer (longing for the days of the darkroom). Clients were still happy, and work was consistent, but inside you have to admit it started to feel a little forced. 

Then one of us started sneaking around with someone else. Instead of brides and grooms, that person was finding enjoyment with a new type of client, the solo-entrepreneur. Okay fine, it was ME! I was cheating on you with Editor’s Edge.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, and as we step into 2018, I’m making space for Editor’s Edge and we’re going to go all the way. I hate to use the cliché “it’s not you, it’s me” because I’m not dumping you, I’m just kicking out the chase, the worry of the next gig and all the (literal) baggage that goes along with it. 

You’re still my first love and my forever side-hustle, we just need to embrace a new relationship status called “the paid hobby.”

With all my love,

Kristi

Engage!17 Special Issue


Special Engage!17 Issue


Sipping a margarita and looking down at my sparkly sack of balls, I thought to myself “Niiine times…” (my fellow Ferris Bueller fans read that correctly). It’s hard to believe that just four years ago I was an Engage! virgin dressed up in a Gatsby themed flapper dress at the Biltmore…luckily I already had the haircut. I full on drank the Kool-Aid  and have since been honored to lead break out sessions, moderate editor panels and host dine around tables. #BecauseOfEngage is a real thing and after nine times, being at Nizuc felt like a big happy family reunion full of hugs, high fives and jazz hands.

What I love most about attending Engage! is you always walk away with something new. New friends, new insights…new beach bags! This time around, in pursuit of enlightenment, I came in challenging myself to live in the present during the sessions; no more playing courtroom stenographer with my extensive notes or social media archivist snapping photos. This year I was going to stop, look, and listen up. I simply scripted a handful of key points and main takeaways that stuck with me, because less truly is more. Now as I sit back in freezing cold NYC reading over my notes and with a holiday martini in hand I’m starting to see the stars align. It’s time to go back to basics…with your inspirations, your business and your brand.  
 

9 Ways
Engage!17 Speakers
Taught Us (and our brands) to
Be Unapologetically Ourselves

 

1. CARLEY RONEY: EXPRESS YOUR BRAND PROMISE

Who else spun in circles wearing a Wonder Woman bathing suit as a child? *Raises Hand* Her fearless determination and compassionate spirit were inspirational to many including Carley who wove those qualities into The Knot brand. Editor’s Edge is all about expressing your brand…such as interpreting “Celestial” into “Darth Vader Chic” for an out of this world gala.


2. BRYAN RAFANELLI: TALK ABOUT THE WORK YOU WANT TO GET

“What you (visually) put out there is what you’ll get back” is an Editor’s Edge mantra with our clients. Bryan took it one step further emphasizing to not only show but literally tell former clients (aka connectors) about the work you want to get. Agreed “putting things out into the universe” isn’t a new concept, but when its reinstated by someone as dashing as Mr. Rafanelli…you take note. 


3. LINDSAY LANDMAN: SIT IN THE FRONT ROW

Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I’m guessing you wouldn’t find him in a SoulCycle class but the concept still holds true. When you sit in the front (as intimidating as that can be) you’re forced to look forward and only at yourself. Forget about everything and everyone riding in the race around you because you earned your seat.


4. BRIAN WORLEY: JUST KEEP WALKING

People come in and out of our lives for different reasons; sometimes it takes 500 miles of walking to see how they’ve shaped our story. We learn to appreciate the journey and not just the destination, which could wind up being a pile of scaffolding. I think Clark Griswald ("Sorry folks park's closed") would agree. 


5. ANGELA DESVEAUX: INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE

There’s so much happening within our incredible wedding industry that sometimes we forget to look around. We’re reminded to stop and smell the roses, which are sometimes made of paper or frozen in a block of ice, when we’re looking for #EEeyecandy to inspire new work. Also, don’t piss off the ladies from Rodarte because they. Will. Find. You. 


6. LYNN EASTON: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

When it comes to high-touch experience, Easton Events takes the branded ice cube. Why is that? Because you can look like an angel but you better be a devil with the details if you want to play in the big leagues. Remember, every touch point is an opportunity to impress. Life goals: Attend an Easton Events wedding. 


7. BARBARA CORCORAN: EXPANDERS & CONTAINERS

Every creative person (aka Expander) needs a logical person (aka Container). It’s really about acknowledging your weaknesses and finding people whose strengths balance you out. That’s exactly why I hired an office manager (You are the wind beneath my wings, Erika!), so I could finally work ON my business, not just IN my business. 


8. CINDY NOVOTNY: HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS BUT SO IS NEGATIVITY

No one wants to work with Negative Nancy, so stop being a Debbie Downer. Instead, be a champion for yourself and your team’s efforts. Change is unavoidable so embrace it and use it as motivation to hustle up more business. If you’re lucky, she might even send you a personalized bobble head with her token phrases to get you going (Cindy, I’m emailing you my address now). It’ll reach deeper than the pills can. 


9. JES GORDON: BITCH, YOU GOT THIS. 

Ever worked on a project that was so clearly a bird-flipping disaster, the budget was dwindling and then your phone goes dark the morning of your install? Jes Gordon has a mother-effing story about that. The solution? “Pick up your t*ts”, go back to basics and f*cking crush it. To quote Jes, “I don’t need to keep up with the times they need to be keeping up with me.” F*ck yeah 🙌🏻

Be true to yourself, your brand and the
FORCE WILL BE WITH YOU!

Kristi Drago-Price | Editor's Edge

Curiouser and Curiouser? 
Connect with a

30 minute complimentary consult
and let’s see what happens...

  #BecauseOfEngage!

*kick ass photo of my content partner in crime & myself by Laura Dee

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‘Tis the season for anticipation


December 2017 Issue


It’s December…when the hell did that happen?! Our content feeds will soon be flooded with bucket lists and New Year's resolutions. If the Netflix countdown clock is any indication, we live in a serious “what’s-coming-next” society. As business owners, we’re incredibly guilty of this. Personally, I find myself anxiously looking forward, occasionally looking back and most often in limbo between what needs to happen in the next three hours to where do I want to be in the next three years. 

Back in college, I interned at the Museum of the City of New York (yes, my love for NYC is historically deep.) Way up on 101st street, the museum is right across from the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a rare place designated as a “quiet zone” in the city. This hidden gem, which still holds a special place in my heart, has a little pond filled with water lilies that I would rush to during my lunch break to slow down and reflect (reflecting pond, get it?). It was my senior year, and the only thing on my mind was, “What’s next?” (Spoiler: I peaced-out on a solo-backpacking trip around Europe before coming home to a full-time job at Condé Nast.) 

My seemingly mindless time at the little pond was time well spent. Taking a moment to reflect back on my accomplishments (and failures) that year provided the insight and courage I needed to move on and grow up. 

Now, as an actual adult, time is a serious luxury. Who the hell can sit in front of a pond with a picture perfect bullet journal...let alone take a lunch break?!  We’re business owners catering to that mother effing client who texts at all hours while checking the grammar on our Instagram post. Nevertheless, as the year wraps up, I challenge myself to take a breather and reflect back upon Editor’s Edge wins (and fails) of 2017 for next year to be built on. It'll be a combination of scribbling in my free swag bag journal, talking out loud to myself and mindlessly nodding as my kid jabbers on about Minecraft – call me crazy, but this is how my sh*t gets done. So stop scrolling through other peoples (fake) lives on social media, bust out the coffee (slip in some bourbon), and get your reflection on.

Your business in 2018 will thank you! 

Kristi Drago-Price | Founder of Editor's Edge

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Hello? Hello? Hello?


November 2017 Issue


I’ll be the first to admit, it’s really hard taking your own advice to “put yourself out there.” Isn’t there enough digital chatter out there fighting for our attention and overwhelming us with a range of swirling emotions daily? Do I really want to add to the noise pollution? Is it worth the time commitment? Is anyone even listening? Why can’t I get Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” out of my head…?

Publishing the first Letter from the Editor was not a breezy task for this “don’t brag, don’t over-share, no one cares” cynical, GenX, New Yorker.  But, I knew it was time to follow another piece of solid advice, “You’re not growing unless you put yourself in a situation where you want to poop and puke at the same time.” Classy, right? (I’m going to get this hand painted on a rustic plank of wood for my kitchen...just kidding, I hate that shit.)

Here’s the thing; after I hit send and threw up in my mouth a little I began receiving actual responses.  Personal, thoughtful, congratulatory responses…and not just from my Mom! People started nodding they could hear me! (See what I did there?)  I had cut through the crap and connected with a crew of like-minded business owners.  

Let’s be real, it ain’t easy.  It takes strategy and planning and assurance to create “connection-worthy” content in an over-crowded marketplace. But if you build content that is true to your own brand “your people” will come.  Yes, I just said “build it, and they will come”...play ball!

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I'm Coming Out


October 2017 Issue


Picture this: New Years Day 2012, I’m in a downward dog trying to reach nirvana. Why? Because after thirteen years as full-time Photo Director at Conde Nast BRIDES, I was heading out on my own. (Cue mild panic attack.) 

I had recently dusted off my camera (and the Fine Arts Photography Degree) wanting to get back behind the lens to capture wedding memories that would become treasured heirlooms instead of directing glossy editorials quickly tossed in a recycling bin. But, I was still far from reaching Zen.

Listen, it was really easy to pass judgment behind my desk inside a corporate tower, it wasn’t until I was on the other side (being a solo-entrepreneur) that I truly understood how hard and nerve wracking it was! There was no giant supply closet, tech support or assistant to do my expenses…I had to handle it all myself…WTF?! I felt, first hand, the insecurities in curating and marketing your own work in a crowded marketplace. I got it, belieeeve me I got it! 

It wasn’t until standing in warrior two pose that I realized I had this unique perspective and skill set as an Editor; one I should embrace and leverage as a side hustle to my ever-growing list of hustles. I excelled at cultivating creatives, providing honest feedback in a “spoonful-of-sugar” way and finding visual diamonds in the rough. I had a moment of enlightenment...Editor’s Edge was born! (Bob Fosse jazz hands)

Fast forward to me shooting weddings, holding Interim Photo Director positions at various magazines and consulting as Editor’s Edge...I had become a one-man band! It was time to take my own advice and focus on what provided the most satisfaction - consulting, educating, directing creative teams and sharing my experience as a visual editor to elevate emerging brands.  

And now here we are, my first Letter from the Editor, ready to tell it like it is. Here to empower small business owners on the EDGE of something big, on the EDGE of taking it to the next level and on the EDGE of building a better brand...cue Diana Ross because “I’m coming out!”

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