Cool Girl Connection

Paying It Forward

Cool Girl Connection was founded by myself, Nicole Kay Clark and photographer/videographer, Ricardo De Jesus in June of 2017. After working as a model for over a decade, I felt that the industry truly needed a change. Upon meeting Ricardo while on a business trip to Puerto Rico and realizing that we shared the similar interest of initiating a creative shift, we joined together in San Diego, CA and Cool Girl Connection was born.

The industry needed a breath of fresh air,

and we were ready to give it to them. Ricardo and I were tired of seeing advertisements that lacked real people and personalities. We felt that there was a disconnection between what the public wanted to see and what the industry was creating. We wanted to provide an outlet where being relatable was not only acceptable but encouraged. We knew that it wouldn’t be easy but we were ready to take on the challenge. We worked together tirelessly for pennies(and sometimes even for free) for over a year until we finally began to make headway. Our work was gaining exposure thanks to social media and in turn small businesses both locally and globally began to reach out with paid opportunities. Seeing our hard work starting to pay off let us know that it was time to take the final steps necessary to make our business official. We invested all of our earnings into legitimizing Cool Girl Connection and moved forward with our business plan. The doors officially opened at Cool Girl Connection in January of 2018 and thanks to the support of our team of small businesses that we had been working with we were finally able to show the world exactly what they had been waiting for. As our business grew our talent list began to grow as well. The kind of people that we had been aiming to work with gravitated to Cool Girl Connection and our dream team began to take form. We had the pleasure of working with men and women that understood the difference between modeling and connecting with the camera and it was exhilarating. The difference in the content that we were creating could not only seen but felt when reviewing the final product. We were empowering people to be themselves and to truly love and accept the person that they are and it felt amazing.

Nothing is more beautiful than someone who knows how to allow their light to shine from within.

More brands began to see the desire for the content that we were creating. Slowly we started to notice a shift in the typical industry standards while at the same time, small businesses that shared like mentalities continued reaching out. I've always said, "if you let your true colors show, you might end up with a rainbow." Our authenticity attracted businesses that shared the same mission, once we began to connect an abundance of opportunities started to blossom. We expanded our focus from primarily lifestyle photography/videography to working with small businesses in the restaurant, fashion, food/liquor, and cannabis industries. It was incredible to see how many people wanted what we had been holding off on releasing for so long. It felt like we were working non-stop, every time we finished a project we began something new immediately after. Having the freedom to produce content that we could actually be proud of was so rewarding. For the first time in our lives we were in control of our future.

Unfortunately every blossom must learn to withstand the rain.

After growing steadily with gratitude for almost 3 years we, along with the rest of the world experienced what might possibly be the most unexpected news that we could have ever received - the arrival of a new, world pandemic called COVID-19.

We had already planned most of our work trips and booked the accommodations for 2020. We were in the process of renewing existing as well as finalizing new contracts with brands that we had anticipated working with throughout the coming year. In the blink of an eye, everything stopped. Our travels were cancelled. Our clients put all of our upcoming projects on hold. Some of the small businesses that we were working with were forced to shut down completely. Panic crept into cities around the world. We stayed home and prepared ourselves for the standstill that was about to become our new daily lives. Little did we know how short lived this new lifestyle would be.

We couldn't sit by and wait, we had to try to do something.

After about two weeks of staying home and searching for solutions we realized exactly what we needed to do. We were aware that we were struggling but we also knew that we weren't the only ones. The entire global community was taking a hit. So we started reaching out. It’s our job as creatives to provide the same exposure that others provided to us when we were trying to build our dream. We’re here to help businesses survive and hopefully even thrive during this time of need. We can’t imagine where we’d be without the immense amount of that support we’ve received from others in the past and now it’s our turn to give back. We're on the hunt for businesses big and small, near and far that need our help. We've drastically dropped our rates for anyone in need of content. We are also offering complimentary content packages to businesses & brands that are contributing to their community during this time of need. We may not be able to leave our home but we'll always make the effort to connect and create for the betterment of our local & global community. Help us pay it forward! If you know of someone that could use content to boost sales or spread a positive message during these difficult times please let us know.

Stay up to date with Cool Girl Connection on Instagram @CoolGirlConnection. To see more of our work don't forget to stop by our website. Interested in working with us? Please direct all inquiries to [email protected]

industry
Read next: The legendary Tweed fabric
Nicole Kay Clark
See all posts by Nicole Kay Clark