( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Producer, Author, and Businesswoman Gives Advice on Success and Self Care
ENSPIRE Contributor: WaTeasa Freeman
Farissa Knox is a media mogul, entrepreneur, author, mother, and wife. Knox, a New York City native, moved to Chicago in 2007 and founded RLM media in 2008. RLM is an advertising and holding agency that has worked with companies such as Covergirl, Olay, Aveeno Baby, and Pantene, to name a few. In 2012, Knox started another business venture when she founded WhatRUWearing, a media production company. WRUW productions are centered on film and TV in the areas of fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and reality. Most recently, WRUW produced the show PRgirl on Amazon Prime, which currently has two seasons.
Knox wears many hats and explored them in her book, “Love, Sex, Friendship: In No Particular Order.” Knox gives a key insight into the world of media and how she has been able to maintain a balance in life. ENSPIRE had the chance to catch up with Knox and asked questions about her business, book, and more. Click here to purchase a copy of her book.
Can you tell us about your book? What inspired it? What were your goals in writing it?
The best way to describe my book is like my personal story of love, life, and business in my twenties told in a way that reminds every one of the best conversations you have with your best friend. The audience gets an exclusive invitation to this phase of my life in a very personal way. I’ve always enjoyed storytelling and being engaging and getting the type of emotional reaction I think the situation calls for. The people in my life at the time encouraged me to write the stories I so effortlessly am able to tell verbally- and I decided to take on the challenge. I really didn’t have any other agenda when writing the original version of the book but to see if I could do it. I’m a creative … for most of us, it’s good enough to make the things we love, even if only two people see it. The fact that now people love the book and want more is really icing on the cake for me.
As a business owner has the pandemic impacted your business positively or negatively?
I think it has been a little bit of both for my ad agency, RLM. No matter what business you are in or what stage you are in building your business, 2020 was a TOUGH year to be in business. We had to figure out the art of working remotely 100%, keeping the culture alive, staying motivated and on task, and finding and servicing clients. Luckily for us, the types of clients we service need to be in contact with their customers, members, and users no matter if we are living through a pandemic or not- and in some cases, even more since we are living through a pandemic. We have stayed alive because of that, but everything slowed down for a while. While everything was at the height of uncertainty, we used that time to modernize, and we are looking forward to the future and re-introducing RLM to the world in 2021.
You work with the famous Joffrey Ballet, what is the importance of being a black woman in those spaces?
Me being a black woman is important in every space I walk into and spend time in. I bring a perspective that in most cases, is not yet in the room, and more importantly, I leave the door unlocked so that it can be added to. In reference to the Joffrey Ballet Company, because they strive to be world leaders in redefining what a dancer looks like and who should have access to the arts at this level, it has been a wonderful place to lend my support to in order to make sure we have a ballet company to return to in 2021 and they can continue to do the good work in the community, our Chicago Public School system, and the stage.
You are a mom, wife, and businesswoman. How do you find balance and what self-care advice would you give to others?
These days it’s a little more difficult, but I do my best to be “in one place at a time.” So, before we were all spending so much time at home, I had physical locations for me to do and be all the different things that I am. I was a CEO and mentor in the office, mom and wife at home, a producer and writer at the SOHO House, and just Farissa at the spa or out with girlfriends. Now, I work hard to pour into all those elements of me with how I approach my days working from home with kids virtually learning and a CEO husband. I breathe and remember that the most important relationship I will ever have is with myself. I have spent this time developing this and really enjoying it- oh, and therapy.
What tips/advice do you have for anyone looking at starting their own business?
You have to be sure you have the drive, passion, and dedication to see the vision even when no one else does. You also have to be willing to go past the point where everyone else would give up. It’s that space in between giving up and success where the real ones live. We keep going past everyone’s last step, even when you feel like you can’t, and in that space, you find a new life, energy, and solutions for the next phase.