Paloma B. Concordia - Founder of PapaLoDown Agency
PapaLoDown Agency was founded by Paloma B. Concordia to represent stories of people of color, women of color owned businesses and organizations. With a foundation in fashion and retail, Paloma chose to work with and support clients whose work she was passionate about, amplifying, advising, and advocating for them. Her 10 years of business have been about empowerment and inspiration, having worked with clients such as Vanessa Garcia of 7 Mile House and API Cultural Center, and a patient yet persistent work ethic. Paloma, a mom of 4, is an example of doing the work, trusting the process, and finding support in her community.
PapaLoDown Agency is launching a PR workshop this Summer aimed at creatives, biz owners, organizations. The workshop will teach participants how to execute PR campaigns and amplify their story.
How did you create your career path and what led you to start PapaLoDown Agency?
My career path started in the fashion and retail industry, and has been the foundation for my career. Understanding how to run a business and manage a team is something I learned early on, and is what helped me feel confident that I could run my own business. The main reason for starting my own PR agency was because I wanted to support clients that I was passionate about. When I worked in the music industry, I realized that if I wanted to see artists I believed in represented in the media, I would have to do it myself.
What is the mission of PapaLoDown Agency?
Our mission is to amplify the stories of people of color, specifically women of color owned businesses and organizations, whose values are rooted in social justice. Whether it’s in the entertainment, arts, education or restaurant industries, these are the values we look for in our clients.
How important is it to represent people of color and women of color led businesses and organizations?
It’s important because the more we can see diverse faces and stories in the media, the more we can be inspired by each other and change society. I also want to be part of the process that ensures these stories are published in articles, video and audio, for future generations to be able to reference and become part of archives, museums, and curriculum.
When did you decide to grow your team? And how did you find others to fulfill certain roles in business?
I knew early on that mentoring was important to the business. I developed an apprenticeship program which has allowed me to fill in different roles in the business. The skills that our team members have all bring something different to the table, so it’s been a very natural process on how the team has grown.
How does it feel to have PapaLoDown Agency approaching 10 years?
It feels exciting, and I’m proud of myself for sticking through it all these years. It wasn’t a straight path, I did throw in the towel a few times (after having kids), only to come back. It’s a marathon, and you have to keep setting new goals. I’m ready for this next decade, and making a bigger impact. Now more than ever, we need more people to become organized and inspire them to do their part in the survival of this planet and humanity.
What are some outstanding memories, events, accomplishments you have from the last 10 years?
Well, I’m actually going through the process of archiving and presenting the past 10 years of projects, so I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. From the music/entertainment industry, to visual arts, restaurants, small businesses, creatives, and youth empowerment, there are so many amazing memories. Working with clients like Vanessa Garcia of 7 Mile House; A Filipina restaurant owner that became a guardian of American history, or working with the API Cultural Center to amplify artists like Ruby Ibarra, a rapper who un-apologetically raps about the Filipina experience; I’m proud to have helped Pinays get shine on major media outlets. I’ve also mentored almost a dozen people in the field of public relations through an apprenticeship program I developed around the same time I started the business. One of our most recent highlights would have to be a front page cover story in the SF Weekly for UNDSCVRD SF last year. Amplifying the stories of the Filipino community in San Francisco is important work that hundreds if not thousands of people have contributed to, and I’m proud to be part of that legacy.
What is the future of PapaLoDown?
I’m still dreaming of what the future is for PapaLoDown and how that is tied to my goals as a parent and individual… I’m also open to what the universe has in store. Going into this next decade, our mission stays the same, to support communities of color in the arts, culture, and youth empowerment spaces. This summer we’ll be launching a PR workshop for organizations, creatives, and small biz owners to learn and execute a PR campaign for their own brand, in real time! I’m excited to help the community build capacity and increase the visibility of people of color in the media.
Who, what keeps you motivated and inspired?
My community, my husband, and of course my kids! I love being around public art, murals, graffiti. As a Cali girl, the ocean has always been a place for inspiration. I also want to acknowledge what keeps me going when external factors don’t play out in my favor is that I believe in myself, and am mindful enough to be patient and persistent through this journey. It’s not easy to do and takes practice. My friends, the PapaLoDown team, and husband offer that support on the tough days.
How does having children play a factor in your business?
When I found out we were having twins, shortly after our first son was born (they are 14 months apart!), I decided I would be a stay at home mom until they went to school, and closed up PapaLoDown indefinitely. Then, after 9 months of parenting full time, I decided it would be best to go back to work so that I wouldn’t go completely crazy being with 2 infants and a toddler all day and night! But instead of starting PapaLoDown back up, I chose to find a 9-5 job, since that seemed to be the responsible thing to do. It was only after starting this new job, then getting laid off 6 months later, that I was propelled to start my business back up and go 100% to make PapaLoDown sustainable for me and my family. To have an income and the flexibility of being present in my children’s life has been a priority in making this all work. Giving birth to 3 boys in two years, and also co-parenting a teen, pushed me into survival mode and there just wasn’t any more room for self-doubt. With the unwavering support from my husband fully backing my dreams, and an amazing crew (shout out to Catherine, Lauren, Robin, Selena, Pia, and Kristen!) I’ve been able to manage and grow PapaLoDown to where we are today.
Is there a balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship, and do you have any advice for others?
People often ask how I manage to do it all, and really it’s because we invested in keeping the kids in daycare/preschool full time. That is the balance. Get the help so you can go out and hustle! I never let myself feel guilty about leaving them, I’m a better mom at the end of the day because of it. Having a full day to work and run errands is how I get it all done. I did do part time care at one point, but then I’m just not as productive, and end up sleeping at 2am to catch up on work. I also have a unique situation of 3 young kids almost the same age, which would be overwhelming for anyone. So I’m super thankful to have caregivers, community, and a family support system that keeps us afloat when it feels like we’re drowning in tantrums and diaper changes. My advice to others in a similar situation (i.e you have hella kids at one time), is invest in childcare, figure out a work schedule that allows for family and friends to support you, and be ok with the hard days. When I am feeling more stressed than usual, that’s usually a signal for me to prioritize sleep, being rested helps keep me grounded and my mind clear.
Do you have any upcoming events, projects that you are looking forward to?
As I mentioned earlier I’m excited about launching the PR workshop this summer that will benefit organizations, creatives, and biz owners to build capacity and learn how to use PR strategies to amplify their stories. Applications will be open on May 15th! You can visit www.papalodown.com for more information.
Photos courtesy of Paloma Concordia