In Conversation with Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin of SohoMuse
Describe your business in a few words?
SohoMuse is the first-of-its-kind Social Network for the Creative Industry. Centered on an exclusive membership-by-invitation-only platform, creative professionals can promote their talents and projects, network and collaborate with other Creatives and source talent across the globe – all within a secure and trusted ecosystem. Both a community and a portfolio platform, SohoMuse brings together the best talent from all creative fields in one place and provides the tools and features Creatives need to work more efficiently, network more effectively and increase exposure and opportunities exponentially.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur as well as an artist. Aside from my record label, I’ve had the opportunity to launch a jewelry collection on HSN and, in 2017, I launched SohoMuse, a social networking platform for creative professionals. The idea came from my London days writing and recording and working crazy hours in the studio, One night I came home late from a recording session, starved for inspiration and collaboration, and I imagined what a world it would be if a painter was inspired by a musician, who was inspired by a dancer and so on. I asked myself, how could all of these creatives, from totally different fields in the industry, come together in one place? Where creative professionals could connect and collaborate with each other, expand their networks, showcase their portfolios, search for jobs and so much more. The idea was later cemented when I was touring and needed to replace a dancer within 24 hours, but I was in Germany without a trusted network. I can definitely say SohoMuse was born out of necessity.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I was born in New York and moved to L.A when I was just two years old. My family then relocated to London, where I lived for most of my childhood. I got involved in gymnastics early on, practicing and training 4-5 days a week, which instilled in me a discipline and work ethic that have been vital to my life and career. When I left gymnastics, I completely switched paths and joined the choir. I later studied at a rock opera school in Italy and began performing in cafes and restaurants around Florence. I signed my first record deal in London at twenty-one and, when I wasn’t in the studio recording, I was writing songs or on the road as part of German rock band.
Fast-forward to 2010, which was a pivotal moment in my life. I was living in L.A. and I finally took control of my music career and launched my own record label, C&R Productions. Meanwhile, a well-known DJ remixed one of my songs into a dance-pop track, which spun me into an unexpected direction, and my first four singles made the Top 20 on the Billboard Dance Charts. It was a tremendous honor and the recognition from fans around the world was an incredible feeling. Most importantly, it taught me a valuable lesson in keeping an open mind and not being afraid to take risks and try new things.
SohoMuse was developed to offer creatives the necessary tools and arena to effectively display their skills, identify new opportunities and collaborate with global creative industries ranging from fashion, architecture, interior design, film, graphic design, television and music.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I certainly did not set out to be an entrepreneur. When I was very young, I wanted to be a gymnast more than anything. I even trained with an Olympic squad in England until I was eleven. But after joining the choir, I went off in a totally different direction and became solely involved in studying, writing and performing music. But that is what ultimately led me to becoming an entrepreneur. That is how I discovered this great big void in the marketplace for a true vertical social network for the creative industry, and it was my own personal experiences as a creative that drove me to fill that void. SohoMuse was truly born from necessity.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I’m most proud of the community of amazingly giving and talented creatives that I have helped to build. Seeing them forming real connections on our platform and launching collaborations and finding opportunities… It’s both inspiring and fulfilling.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I didn’t have a solid foundation in business fundamentals when I started. Of course, I had terrific support with my co-founder and team, but I really had to learn a lot as I went. In retrospect I now know how crucial it is to have that background. It makes you question others and it gives you the confidence to trust and believe in yourself.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I believe wholeheartedly in work/life balance, though admittedly I don’t always achieve it. You’ve got to check in with yourself periodically and make sure you’re really on the path you want to be on and that whatever you’re putting the work into is also working for you. As in making you happy. But, more importantly, you need to check in with the people in your life. Your friends and loved ones will stick with you through thick and thin if you just make the effort to let them know that, no matter how hectic life gets, you’re there for them when they need you.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
• Make a list!
• Meditate or find some other way to clear your head at the start of each day.
• Set realistic goals or tasks for the day with realistic timeframes to achieve those goals.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
For me, it’s about being a strong and proud woman in business. I think we’re in a very exciting time for women – particularly in the business world – and as we see more and more success stories of female entrepreneurs, we’re seeing more and more doors open in what has historically been a male-dominated world.