Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Nicole Pollock and Jorie Brown, who launched Cotton Candy Event Staffing after years of hands on experience in the entertainment world. Read on to find out the inspiration behind their business and where they see themselves in five years…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Cotton Candy Event Staffing Inc. is a boutique staffing company that believes in the power of people. We understand the importance of having the right people behind your brand and event in order to set the tone that you want communicated to your audience. From street teams, promotional models, and brand ambassadors, to dancers, bartenders and specialty/hospitality staff, Cotton Candy works diligently to provide the perfect face for your event. Our staff are eloquently spoken, hardworking, and come with larger than life personalities.
Bringing every event to life, generating lasting impressions, and creating meaningful interactions is our mission.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Growing up, we both dedicated our lives to working within the entertainment industry. Our background spans from dancing professionally for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors Dance Pak and the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts Cheerleaders to working for the top entertainment/production companies in the city. These networks introduced us to a wide range of amazing people and taught us a lot about how important staff are to the success of all events.
Being able to fuse our networks of talent, love of entertainment, and business skills into one venture has been a dream come true.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part about our job is seeing the finished product come to life.
Being able to work with charity events, new start-up companies and fortune 500 brands is incredibly gratifying. The ultimate reward is seeing our creative vision come to life through our talented representatives.
This summer we had the honour of working with several motion picture films, helping to choreograph and staff their marketing campaigns. It was exciting to have our branded street teams around the city promoting for movies such as Dr Cabbie (Kunal Nayar, Big Bang Theory; Vinay Virmani, Breakway) and Sin City (Jessica Alba).
The most challenging part of our job is trying to find enough hours in the day for all our creative ideas to be executed.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Work/life balance is essential to our success. Being able to allow for time management and focus while not getting overextended is essential. There is really no time that we are off the clock and we like it that way. We enjoy working in a high pressure and fast-paced atmosphere, constantly being inspired by new and exciting ideas, opportunities and challenges. Being a team, we know where and when to lean on each other to make sure we can find the perfect balance for achievement and production.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is just the tip of the iceberg for us. In four short months Cotton Candy has branched out to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, staffing for recording artists, feature films, galas, charities, sporting events, music videos, trade shows and more. We are proud to be building a strong and respected reputation as the subject matter experts in staffing by applying experiential marketing strategies to enhance all events.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
The challenge is to break down the stereotype of the “pretty” face. We want show the dynamic versatility of our team. Cotton Candy is proud to offer the whole package of talented, educated, and confident staff that can communicate clear key brand messaging.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Happiness and money are not synonymous but we do believe that financial freedom is important. We are not driven solely by financial gain, but for making a positive impact. Within our team and with our clients, it is important that each and every person feels invested, respected and appreciated.
A large part of the happiness of being the owners of Cotton Candy is seeing how the opportunities we present our staff help shape their growth. We love seeing the joy in the role they hold. We take a lot of pride in watching the development of our team.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Our most memorable milestone was the day we officially launched Cotton Candy Event Staffing Inc. With our individual networks, we had been staffing independently in so many different capacities, but it was memorable to have an official title to our business and solidify our partnership in the community. We knew we had something as sweet as candy!
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Do what you love, love what you do. As cliché as that may sound, growing up in the dance/entertainment community, we always thought there was a glass ceiling of where this could take us until we realized it can take us anywhere we want to go. The creativity dance has instilled in our lives has been the motivational drive behind all we do.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
We are so fortunate to have a city filled with such diverse pockets of amazing restaurants. From Queen West to the Distillery District, our city always has something new and exciting to offer. Trying new cuisine, restaurants, and areas to dine in is one of our favourite things to do. You can certainly call us “foodies.”
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
We can’t pick just one specific place that’s our favourite but as long as there is sunshine, sand and the temperature over 20 degrees Celsius, we are happy.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
There is no other option for us; this is who we are.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Giving back to the community is one of the most important things to us. There are many charities that we hold close to our hearts. Some we have been able to provide staff and entertainment for and for others we are on the committee or volunteer. The Bridle Bash, Three To Be, Mount Sinai Hospital and Princess Margaret are some of the many charities special to us.
What to you is notable?
“In order to succeed, your desire for success must be greater than your fear of failure.” We believe being notable is the ability to chase dreams without being limited by obstacles. Every day is a new day to do something amazing and be inspired by something new. We can’t wait for what’s next!
BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
We can’t decide. One of us has a BlackBerry and the other an iPhone. BlackBerry buttons are amazing but nothing beats an iPhone selfie!