FRĒDA WOMAN: Betsy Simon
Introducing Betsy Simon to the FRĒDA WOMAN series
Founder of MARSHELL- a strategic marketing company elevating brands that positively impact humans and the environment. Her clients range from FREDA (She’s been helping us build community for over 2 years!) to jewelry, interiors and recreational equipment. Their commonality is how much they “truly value community, transparency, and sustainability.”
Can you start by telling us a little about yourself? Your background, what you do and what has led you to what you are doing now?
The master plan was to become an entertainment attorney. I studied Film & Television at Notre Dame and took a year in LA to "learn the business" at Paradigm Talent Agency, focusing on celebrity brand endorsements and tour sponsorships. I moved to head the New Media and Marketing division for Jonas Group (music management), helping create strategic brand partnerships for music artists, actors, and professional athletes; and produced national television commercials, digital programs, and print campaigns for Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Allstate, and Kraft with Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Allyson Felix, and more.
After sleepless nights in edit bays and early mornings on set, I transitioned to consulting, focusing on strategy, partnership, and connection. Most notably, I led the Obamacare branding taskforce for the Entertainment Advisory Council to the White House and was the first to join KIDinaKORNER (a music-driven creative studio by Grammy award-winning music producer Alex da Kid and former head of WPP Sir Martin Sorrell).
Five years ago, I went full-time with True Botanicals and have since launched MARSHELL- a strategic marketing company elevating brands that positively impact humans and the environment. While our clients range from footwear and fine jewelry to interior design and recreational equipment, they all have one thing in common- they are “good.” For us, “good" means they truly value community, transparency, and sustainability.
How’d you get involved with FREDA and what do you enjoy most about working together?
I’ve always been an FRĒDA fan girl. When I first started at True Botanicals, we did an event together in LA, but I didn’t meet the founders, Megan and Cristina, until later in Mill Valley. I remember being intimidated to meet Megan and Cristina because I thought they were so cool. They truly are insanely cool, but they’re also wildly intelligent, creative, supportive, collaborative, and hilarious!
I work closely with Megan, whom I adore. She’s always positive and appreciative- celebrating all victories big or small- but also “real,” constantly pushing everyone, leading by example.
Can you talk about the importance of building a community within a brand and what strengthens a community built by a brand?
In the past few years "community” has been frequently used by brands looking to build a “digital community” or an “offline community” in hopes of increasing social sharing and driving sales.
To me, the community is a feeling- a feeling that you belong. I think the best communities grow from the genuine desire to connect, support, share, and laugh. No strings attached. No hidden agendas. If you’re focused solely on social sharing and driving sales, you’re missing the point. We all need community in some way and, when done correctly, it will lead to brand loyalty and drive customer retention.
Tell us something you’re learning about yourself now?
I love early mornings?! It’s a very recent development. I absolutely love being awake when the owls are still hooting, the moon’s bright, and the sun is barely peeking over the mountains- witnessing the day begins. My body craves it. I used to miss flights if I had to be awake before 6 am and now I am furious if I sleep past 5:30 am.
Am switching between To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss, Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles- not terribly far in, but it’s already hilarious. I need to pick one and commit to finishing. Honestly, my daily read is the NYT Cooking App. I “read” and save loads of recipes that I never make.
What’s your mantra?
"How does that make you feel?" I hear my therapist in my head all day long. I find, for me, checking in leads to more happiness. Sometimes the answer is “happy.” I take a deep breath and a mental note of what’s making me happy so I can do more of that. When the answer is complicated, I have a little session with myself and try to learn and grow- or shove it way down, pretend it’s not happening, and let it fester. It’s very healthy.