"Meet Woman in Business Tatiana Pagés"Tatiana Pagés is the CEO and Chief Creative Director of Greencard Creative

Tell us about your business.

Greencard Creative is a New York City-based branding, strategy and design firm and WBE (Women Owned Business) with unique expertise in the Latin America and U.S. markets. Through in-depth research, Greencard Creative looks at human behavior and uncovers key consumer insights to help build global brand movements. Greencard Creative has worked with notable clients and brands including Smirnoff Ice, Pepsico/Ocean Spray, Heineken, Diageo, Petit Nectars, Gallo Winery, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Frito Lay, Campbell’s, and the Country of Ecuador.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

When the financial crisis happened, I re-evaluated my career path and considered my next step. I didn’t see myself going back to Corporate America. At my core, I am a planner, strategist, and activist designer who values social responsibility and art, so I decided that I should form a company that embodies my strengths. We’re a branding firm built upon design, strategy, social responsibility and digital platforms. Our niche expertise is our vast understanding of the American Latino market. We have a contemporary approach for brands who want to talk to this segment in a unique and disarming tone, and this gives us a competitive edge.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

I love the intersection between design thinking, neuroscience, and human behavior. The design firm, IDEO and David Kelley, have been a great source of influence and inspiration. Their project, The Institute of Design at Stanford for Innovation and Learning is a testament to the power of design and the importance of social responsibility.

My friend Simon Waterfall, who is an interdisciplinary thinker, digital guru and fashion designer, makes me believe everything and anything is possible. He founded POKE – a creative digital media and web company that behaves as the next world platform, and today, he is the Vice President and Creative Director at Intel Media. My friend Sully Bonnelly also has been a great influence on me and my business. He’s a famous fashion designer who has reinvented himself over and over again and still gets emotional when someone recognizes him.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Despite being a startup company, I have been able to attract incredibly bright and passionate employees. I’m honored that they want to work for me and that they view me as a leader in my field. It’s very flattering to have colleagues that believe in the goals of the business and my leadership.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our reader learning to be a CEOs?

To be an effective CEO, you need to learn the multiple facets of your business because you will wear many hats. You should also have trusted advisors, be it close friends or other professionals that you respect and admire, to lean on for advice. Don’t underestimate the value of a good “filter” or sounding board when making a big decision. They can provide invaluable insight that helps ensure your success.

What have been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Before I had client referrals, I built my own products and case studies to demonstrate Greencard Creative’s value and expertise. To showcase our multi-layered approach to campaigns, I created the Origomu brand, a global movement to inspire environmental action through design. Meaning “folding rubber” in Japanese, Origomu is a movement to reevaluate waste and keep plastic off ocean shores by encouraging designers to transform six-pack rings into wearable designs. The initiative has reused almost one million six-pack rings, has attracted about 500 Origomu designs from over 25 countries, and was featured in the Eco-Fashion Going Green Exhibit at the Museum at FIT.

Origomu has been a great case study for the company and demonstrates our big ideas and how we implement them across multiple platforms. This has helped us promote our business and get new client accounts. Origomu won a Gold Davey Award (small business big ideas) for an Integrated Marketing Platform, and we were invited to give a speech to New York University Continuing Education Master Students showcasing Origomu’s integrated marketing platform.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

It’s important to be humble and understand that you never stop learning. You need to push the envelope, stand behind your ideas and have a bigger purpose – such as why will you and your work will be remembered? Being uncomfortable means that you are doing something right.

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?

It’s important to have a strategy and a process behind what you do. Even though we are a creative company, we recognize that the client needs results. They need to see us bring something new and creative to the table, but an idea that is well thought-out and based on research. Having a set process and method for working allows us to meet their needs effectively and on time.

Read everything! Websites like AIGA.org, FastCompany.com, and the Design Council also provide valuable information for creative businesses and start-ups.

Do you have any new projects coming up? If so, please tell us about it.

We recently teamed up with PepsiCo to launch FlavorSplash Ocean Spray in Latin America. First, we created a cohesive visual language that embodied the FlavorSplash Ocean Spray brand identity and core values to transform it into a globally-recognized product. We then produced two campaigns catering to consumers in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. We also just won a Latin-inspired global branding project which includes strategy, insight, branding and building a brand movement with a social purpose. The project is set to be launched at the end of 2013.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I create recyclable jewelry. I think it is important to always engage my creativity. To keep active, I love exploring the city and biking along the Hudson River with my husband and daughter.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

Continued growth and profitability is always a priority, but we also want to diversify our client base to include additional industries and become a global company.

You want to write a book on …ORIGOMU

I want to write a book on my Origomu movement. I think it is important to showcase how creativity, design, and social responsibility can translate into real change.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

As a female business owner and CEO, it’s often challenging to deal with the emotional dynamics of running a start-up company. When you are responsible for your employees, your clients’ success, and the bottom line of your business, it can become a personal journey rather than a corporate example of success. It is important to use your emotions as business tools rather than reactions.

Learn more about Tatiana’s Business here: www.greencardcreative.com