Girls can do anything, especially business. Stacie Isabella Turk started a lemonade stand when she was five. By the time she was 12, she was painting plaster statues and having them wired to be sold as lamps. There are some people who seem propelled by an entrepreneurial spirit practically from birth. She’s one of them, and she wants to share her inner light with other female founders of all ages.
But as Turk grew up, having so many irons constantly in the fire made it hard to market herself. Honing her business model was and continues to be the greatest challenge of her career, she says. What do you do when you’re as skilled at photographer as you are at directing as you are at writing children’s books? That was the question for Turk, the multifaceted mind behind Ribbonhead.
The answer was finding a focused way of presenting herself to the world. Participating in Circular Board, the virtual accelerator that preceded Alice, was a major ingredient in learning to do just that, she says. While she offers many skills to clients, Circular Board and Alice taught her to market all of them under an overarching umbrella of content creation. In fact, she admits that, since she started Ribbonhead, the services she offers have only grown. “I always had a vision for Ribbonhead that it would have three arms: production, publishing, and philanthropy,” she says.
No matter in which medium the client asks her to do it, Turk is there to tell their stories any way she can. But that means extreme organization. “You can’t just be in creation mode,” she says. “You have to be able to marry the creation mode with the business mode.” She says she learned many of her business skills early in her career when she worked for a wealth manager at a well-known brokerage house to help pay the bills. She now says that understanding business is very much about understanding people.
Basically that means that Turk’s quest with Ribbonhead has been learning to balance her art with the commerce of finding people who not only want but need it.
A great example of that struggle is Turk’s short film, “Lemonade,” embedded above. She made the piece with the aspiration of sharing it with a mission-driven company to give inspiration to girls and women starting businesses. The plan would be for the piece to be branded with that business’ name. Her hope is that other female entrepreneurs will see the short and be inspired to have her create other content for their companies.
The goal, as with any business owner, is to make a living, but for Turk, there’s more to it. “The amount of competition in content creation and abundance of it has made me even more crystallized in aligning with those founders and those companies that want to tell their stories with heart and wisdom,” she says.
She says that being a producer as well as a director helps her to have both executive and creative tendencies, but there’s far more that Turk has to balance. As a photographer, she’s shot for companies ranging from MTV to Downy. She’s directed short films, theater, and commercials. And one of her biggest endeavors is publishing a children’s book anthology called Macaroni and Cheese. She’s even created Macaroni and Cheese workshops at schools to help foster literacy, raise EQ, and help parents to behave more consciously with their children.
All in a day’s work for the woman who has been selling lemonade and lamps since she was a kid. Art has always been a part of Turk, but she also knows how to sell it.