2020 - The Year of the Pivot
Guest Feature: Mackenzie "Melo" Tucker"
Mackenzie “Melo” Tucker entered the event industry about four years ago. Melo’s interest in contributing to immersive event experiences began as she was working on her BFA in Collaborative Design. She has dipped her toes into many pools of the industry including Artist Hospitality, Quartermastering, Decor, Performance Art, and more. Melo prides herself in being a “yes-woman” and finds the best flow in the Art Department and Harm Reduction spaces.
I began 2020 at Okeechobee in Florida. I was so excited to be back in action after suffering a heart infection at the end of last year. I emerged into the season with fresh ideas to offer, newfound energy, and better self-care habits. As a relatively new worker in the festival world, I was excited and proud to have a packed schedule of festival gigs. As we know, following Okeechobee everything shut down.
After spending a bit of time mourning the loss of my dream job, binging Netflix, and consoling myself with pizza; I edited my resume so It would be ready whenever the event industry returned. I had previously been the Lead Graphic Designer and Social Media Manager of a company but found myself crippled by the office-life. I left my graphic design practice on the back-burner as I entered the event world. However through editing my own resume, I realized that this skill could be useful to others, and I decided to offer this service to my colleagues in the event-focused Facebook groups I participate in. I had a lot of fun designing resumes that looked professional but also allowed my client’s personality to shine through.
Following this little stint in resume-revamps, it was evident that the event industry as we know it wasn’t coming back any time soon. As someone who found themselves uncomfortable participating in corporate, traditional employment in the past, I began to further assess what other skills I could offer on my own terms. Graphic Design came to mind once again and I began to advertise my offerings on Instagram. In the beginning, I was really focused on the music industry, helping musicians with album covers, press kits, merchandise designs, and the like. It soon became clear that if I wanted to support myself on this skill, I would need to broaden my clientele.
I made note that many other people were forced to pivot this year. Artists, musicians, personal trainers, event workers… pretty much everyone deemed non-essential in our newfound dystopia. With so many individuals embarking on a primarily social media-based business and marketing structure, the need for sexy and efficient graphic design pieces increased dramatically. I broadened my target market to offer branding packages for businesses of all types. As a result of this expansion, I found I could actually make a living from freelance graphic design work. I no longer felt the pressure to submit to a traditional 9-5 job structure to survive, just because the event industry largely has been put on hold.
Now through observing those whose small businesses need a more prominent visual presence, I have been able to develop recurring clients that I create deliverables for on a weekly basis. I have a newfound passion for elevating small businesses' branding and social media strategies to a professional level and in turn, witnessing their growth. I am proud to be contributing to other people’s independence and success through their self-employment.
Although this year did not go as planned, it opened a new door of exploration and artistic expression for me. It allowed me to find another way to express myself and assist others in doing the same; while acting as my own boss. To anyone who reads this that possesses the same disdain for the traditional 9-5 work pattern - I hope my pivot can inspire you to do something similar. We have the opportunity to create a new path during this tumultuous time. If we take some time to explore our skillset, we can do this ethically, passionately, and without falling into a job that dims our light.
Melo is available for hire to do resumes, press kits, logos, social media management & post assets, branding packages, album art, artist merchandise design, print & digital ads, product packaging, or as a music artist PR representative.
Check out her work on Instagram: instagram.com/melolagnia
For inquiries on working with her, you can direct message her on Instagram, call or text: 218-260-1389, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest Feature: Dan McKay
What A Year Huh? When I flew home from Bulgaria in February after ending a Five Finger Death Punch Tour, I was concerned about the spread of a new virus. As a Tour Manager, it's important to pay attention to world events, but little did I know at that point that it would bring our whole industry to a screeching halt. Touring personnel are known for their ingenuity and being able to adapt quickly. I didn't want to dwell for too long, so I decided to put my energy into turning this year around, to look towards some excitement and positivity. My kids and I have been making skateboards in the backyard as a hobby since 2015. With my once rigorous touring schedule on indefinite hiatus, it seemed like the perfect time to set up a proper skateboard company! We moved from the backyard into a workshop, launched a Kickstarter campaign to make this family business a reality, and decided to call our new venture Finless Skateboard Co. Pledge to be a part of our community.