Squarespace Site: http://beyond8.co/
“I show up and I speak up. There was no space for me in this industry until I made it.”
Words by Justice Nnanna + Photos by Mark Clennon
Brittney Escovedo is true doer that puts to shame any trite descriptors of the laziness and entitlement that’s often assigned to the millennial generation. Speaking with her, Escovedo feels like a balance of drive and kindness that feels rare for anyone, let alone someone who has spent years navigating through the notoriously vicious world of event production. Escovedo, who moved to NY for a position as an unpaid intern, now commands a roster of dozens of high-profile clients. Notably, her company produced the Pyer Moss SS19 Fashion Show. She talks the talk, walks the walk, and most impressively, she has put in the hours. It hasn’t always been glamorous for Escovedo. She worked 8 years as an event producer at Fashion PR firms, self-funded passion projects, and gave long hours to producing small events before she felt ready to start her creative event production company, Beyond 8. The “8” in the company’s name pays homage to her Grandmother, Jacqui—who, like Escovedo, made brave moves towards an unknown life that she envisioned. Escovedo is a living example of the successes that come from a mountain of hard work, dedication, and relentless compassion.
For this ‘Thoughts Become Things’ series, could you share a positive thought that you often have and a negative thought that you often have?
My positive thought is always in the realm of ‘be kind to others’. How can I pull other people up? My positive thought pertaining to my business is ‘what can we do to help other people?’ It’s a mantra that I’ve integrated into the company and that I’m constantly reinforcing.
My negative thought is always—‘Am I doing enough?’ Am I actually making a difference? Am I working hard enough? That’s a deep rabbit hole.
James Baldwin said, “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” What history do you carry with you most as a contemporary creator?
My company is named after my Grandmother. Her birthday was March 8th, so that’s where the “8” comes from. The “8” also symbolizes an infinity sign. I feel like there are endless possibilities with what we can create. My grandmother was an activist, heavily integrated with the Civil Rights movement, a real fighter. Her strength and commitment to community and justice is ingrained in me and is definitely in the ethos of my company and everything I do.
How do you navigate working in spaces that don’t feel supportive of you or in line with your beliefs?
I show up and I speak up. There was no space for me in this industry until I made it. I’m really good at what I do, so when I’m uncomfortable and I feel like I need to recluse—I’ve now learned to do the opposite. If I’m the only representation of people that look like me, in a meeting or work environment, then it’s my responsibility to speak up and to ensure that sure my voice is being heard. It’s exactly why I need to be in that room.
Greatest challenge and greatest benefit of being a minority in a creative industry?
Greatest challenge is not having a lineage of knowledge or examples of people to mentor you in this space. There aren’t books you can read on successful, minority, women owned businesses, that have done what we’ve done.
Greatest benefit is that the times have shed light on the painful reality of the lack of diversity in a lot of these spaces and industries. There has been a call to action and now it’s almost a necessity to make an attempt at more fair representation.
What advice can you offer people who have a business idea, don’t have a lot of starting capital, but have lots of drive and belief in their idea?
Connect with people on your level. Really develop and foster relationships. They are important. Those are the people who you can ask favors to and lean on as you continue to grow.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We need community. You can’t do it all alone and you’ll be surprised how willing people are to help you. Lastly, don’t wait—do it now.
What’s a practical first step for a creator/entrepreneur who has an idea and doesn’t know how to start building?
I started with projects on the side. I worked my full-time job, then I approached friends with what I wanted to do, and I started with small projects. I worked around the clock and made more and more projects. I continued to grow that business until it was enough that it made sense for me to leave my full-time employment.
How do you use your community to move your goals forward?
I make connections with people. I actually listen to what’s important to them, and then I follow up. I'm thoughtful and I genuinely care about my relationships. It doesn't have to be about business all the time, that’s annoying. I start my relationships by just getting to know people and for two years all of my business has come strictly from referrals.
True or false- “When they go low, we go high.”