“Don’t Let Challenge Offend You, In Fact, Encourage it!” Words of Wisdom with Mary Landaverde and Erroll Angara of INDISTRY TV
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Landaverde and Erroll Angara — two female entrepreneurs (and twin sisters!) who recently launched their own tech start-up and first-of-its-kind consumer media company, INDISTRY TV. While Mary is known best for operating a brand management and licensing agency, Clout 5, Erroll hails from Wall Street, where she spent years working with financial executives and regulatory advisers alike. After twenty years of business experience — twofold — the twins joined forces to create one place for consumers, artists and brands to engage, transact, and discover art in a meaningful way all in real-time.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
What if we could change the face of entertainment by creating a place where people, brands, and innovation come together for good? That was the question we asked ourselves a year and a half ago. This is our story.
Neither Erroll or I come from the entertainment space. I’ve spent the last 20 plus years working with some of the world’s most iconic brands (Playboy, Sharper Image, Bob Marley, Miss America) in brand strategy, marketing and licensing, while Erroll came from the regulatory side of Wall Street, a world far from entertainment. What I learned from working in the brand marketing industry is that the greatest brands (ones that transcend generations) have three things in common: an inspiring story, a greater purpose, and added value for consumers. Like Miss America, the largest scholarship giver in the world, they positively change young women’s lives. Not only did this inspire me, it also set the stage for what would become the foundation for INDISTRY TV, whose mission is to be the premier interactive media platform for emerging talent in music, TV and film, and the tastemakers that help discover them.
Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company
Unless you’ve met us, most people don’t know that Erroll and I are twin sisters. Living in different cities, we usually travel to meetings and people are pleasantly surprised when they meet us and see the connection. There seems to be a “novelty” about being twins that neither Erroll or I have ever really quite understood. Even though we’re sisters and similar, we have distinct individual differences: Erroll enjoys urban cities, while I prefer the beach. I like coffee, she likes tea. We differ in music, travel, magazines and shoes; and among other differences she’s analytical, while I’m creative, making us balanced business partners. These differences cause us to sometimes forget that we’re twins and often take for granted the blessing of our likeness.
Then irony showed up in a wonderful way: when we began building our team of INDISTRY leaders, we first brought on Bill Rossi, our CFO, who we later learned has twin girls. Sometime after, we hired our CTO Winston Tsao who told us he, too, has twin girls. Then most recently, we began conversations with a potential business partner who in mid-conversation tells us she, too, is a twin.
Moral of the story: When the universe wants to show you something, it pulls out the stops to get your attention.
Yitzi: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are the first-of-its-kind OTT video streaming platform that allows viewers not only to watch, but also shop what they see on the screen, connect on social, and engage with content in real time. Whether they’re voting for their favorite artist or donating to a cause they love, they can do that simply by clicking the screen.
INDISTRY’S content is shaped by our audience. We vet thru content WE find on our own, but also source content from our members. Whether they are an up-and-coming musician interested in sharing their sound, or a content producer submitting a TV pilot episode or film, INDISTRY TV welcomes their work and we use social media to capture our audience’s feedback. We are currently developing built-in technology that allows members to log in their votes directly on our platform.
We also leverage our brand partners for product placement opportunities on the content, while the “Shop Now” interactive button allows our viewers direct access to their shopping site thru the platform.
Our content partners immediately monetize on their content, receive a significant ad revenue share, all the while maintaining 100% creative control, 100% ownership of their work.
Lastly, as only 6.4% of U.S. largest companies are led by women, we are the first digital entertainment platform with two women at the helm. We hope our humble story will inspire other women to go after their dreams and not give in to fear or doubt. We are one story of countless others that shows what can happen when a woman’s passion and courage drives her to do great things.
Yitzi: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
Mary: My partner Erroll. She’s one of the strongest and smartest women I know. Building a startup while working with your twin sister is not always easy. We’re similar, yet opposite in many ways (analytical vs. creative) and because of that, we don’t always see eye-to-eye on things. Opposing views don’t scare me, however. In fact, I’ve learned that some of the best innovations and ideas come from challenging the way we do and see things. Erroll and I have had many of those discussions, and we’ve widen our perspectives as we learn from each other and others on our team. She has a unique way of seeing things from 40,000 feet and she has helped me see things through a different lens. When making tough decisions, she has always encouraged me to trust my intuition, balance my mind and heart, and reminds me that Rome wasn’t built in a day. As long as I can remember, she’s stood on the sidelines cheering me on as she watched me run after my dreams, and when obstacles slowed me down, she made sure I wasn’t walking alone. When I ran, I ran hard. And when my creative spirit just wanted to fly, she’d say “Soar high.” Erroll is my biggest cheerleader, counselor and confidant, and I’m fortunate to have her on this amazing journey with me at INDISTRY TV.
Erroll: I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best leaders in my former corporate life. Wall Street and the financial services industry as a whole, is a male-dominated world with the majority of top jobs filled by men, and very little progress to move more women into management roles. Fortunately for me, I’ve had the benefit of being mentored by senior women who taught me how to lead with courage and authenticity despite the challenges women face in our industry; and sponsored by men who made strides to close the gender gap for women. Learning from their perspectives and experiences helped me navigate thru challenging times in my career, and because they extended themselves for me, I felt responsible to share my knowledge with other women. This helped paved the way for me to become a more effective and thoughtful leader today, and I’m grateful for the experience.
Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As a startup on our way, we haven’t quite reached success with INDISTRY TV yet. But there are a number of ways already mentioned above, that we believe will begin impacting the world for good. Nonprofits and cause-related organizations now have an interactive entertainment platform where they can expand their reach, educate people across the world, and join a community of artists and brands that speak their language. We enlarge their capability for human connection thru entertainment, and drive revenue donations to their causes in real time.
In 2015, I had a brand marketing agency. At the time, business was doing well and I wanted to do more than celebrate the agency and kick off the New Year. Homelessness was, and still is, an epidemic in the city of Chicago with 20,205 homeless youth living on the streets. I felt compelled to help by using my influence and agency to raise awareness for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) organization, an advocacy group whose mission is to prevent and end homelessness in Chicago. With the help of friends (celebrity chef, local media and sponsors), we created a culinary “fine-dining” event for 75 homeless families so that they can experience what it’s like to eat as others do who are not homeless. Food was served on tables with white linen, candles, and silverware, and we had the privilege of meeting some of the families that had never been served a meal in this manner. I learned a lot about CCH that evening, the amazing work they’re doing for Chicago, and it left me even more committed to give back to the world through my work. It felt truly gratifying to be able to share some of my success with this community, and give them an experience we hoped they’ll always remember.
Yitzi: What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my Start-Up” and why.
I wish someone told me:
- Not to worry so much. There are some things you can’t control and things usually work itself out as they are supposed to.
- Spend time enjoying your journey. You only have one shot at this and this moment will never come again.
- Balance your work and family life. There is no perfect equation and some days something will have more of you than others. Do not feel guilty, be grateful you have choices. Work around your priorities and make time for yourself, the people you love, and things you enjoy.
- If you want to change the world, build your team with visionaries. Surround yourself with highly-talented and diversely-skilled leaders who share your passion to do something different.
- Don’t let challenge offend you, in fact, encourage it! You will build a more authentic and invested team in the long run.
Yitzi: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
We’d love to chat with digital media mogul Gary Vaynerchuck over a bagel and coffee. His bold, yet inspiring, “in your face” advice and rhetoric about living your passion and taking ownership for your future success is on point. He said, “No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story,” and we share the same sentiment. We’d love to get his take on the vision and purpose of INDISTRY TV as fresh media for young creators to share their voice to the world.
Yitzi:This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Note to our readers: If you appreciated this interview, please click on one of the buttons on the top left to post to your twitter, facebook or pinterest. If 2000 people like you do this, there is a good chance this article may be featured on the homepage. : -)
If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.