First things first, let's answer that burning question in your head: what in the world is meraki?? Welllll, meraki is one of the most unique words in the world and one of my personal favorites. It's a nearly untranslatable modern Greek work meaning : "to do something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put "something of yourself" into what you're doing, whatever it may be." Meraki has long been a sign-off for personal essays and one of my favorite words, so when I started thinking about creatives in general and what it means to be an artist, that word came back to me. It best represents the work that each of our guests do. And Mentors naturally followed because my dream is that this podcast bridges a gap between our subjects and listeners to provide them the mentorship they may not have access to in their own lives.
Who is Candace?
My name is Candace and I'm the founder and host of Meraki Mentors. If you're here from one of my social media accounts or blog you probably know me as "aceisjoy" or "scribingfingers." I do a lot of things: writing, filmmaking, photography, blogging, eating sugary carbs, you know normal stuff. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and I can play a mean round of golf.
I'm not one to brag, but in case you're wondering if I'm cut out to do this audio work, let's just say that I love getting my hands on anything media-related. As a storyteller, I've gathered a few publishing credits in Glass Poetry Press, Quiet Circle Magazine, Bop Dead city, Yellow Chair Review, Urban Faith, The Huffington Post, CRWN Magazine, and MTV.
In 2016, I self-published a poetry chapbook! It's called Letters About Losing You (and happens to be one of the funding rewards for this campaign--so hurry before they're all gone!). I also won an Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant in 2017. I've also performed spoken word so I have a knack for talking into the mic. If you'd like to know more, just click here.
How Did You Come Up With Meraki Mentors?
This spring, 18,000 women of color, including myself, entered Spotify's contest Soundup Bootcamp to compete for 10 spots in their podcast workshop. Talk about tough competition! As a lifelong radio fan, I love listening to podcasts. Some of my favorites are Levar Burton Reads, Therapy for Black Girls and hey,girl. Entering the podcast competition confirmed how passionate I was about this idea, and forced me to draft a plan until I decided I was ready once and for all. Although I didn't earn a spot in the bootcamp, my commitment to Meraki Mentors grew tenaciously, and that's why I'm asking for you to be a part of creating the next great podcasting program.
Do People Even Listen to Podcasts?
73 million Americans listen to podcasts every month and in general, half the adult US population regularly follows a podcast. So even if you're new to this entire medium, I'm happy to help introduce you! The advertising potential in podcasts is outpacing music-audio marketing spots, and women and people of color are the fastest-growing demographic of podcast listeners, with overall numbers rising every single year in the last five years. That's a huge market with loads of potential.
This is an interview-style podcast that consists of conversations with female creatives about art making, risk-taking and finding your platform. As host, I converse with a different guest(s) each episode. Podcasts will be released in seasons, with season 1 featuring about 10-15 episodes.
Episode length will be 25-45 minutes. I chose this timespan because it fits routine activities like a commute, dog walk or meal preparation. It's plenty of time to provide an adequate amount of information without becoming too lengthy.
Every episode will be accompanied by show notes and transcriptions. Meraki Mentors will be fully accessible to the hearing-impaired so everyone can enjoy the podcast.
Who's It For?
People who want to create! Even though our guests are women, I invite everyone across the gender divide to listen to our conversations regardless of their age and location. The target audience is anyone who is looking to begin, increase or adjust their creative pursuits. So that might include a college student hoping to become a painter, a stay-at-home mom trying to monetize her blog or an emerging musician at the crossroads of going back to school or moving to a new city.
I like to say that if you've ever asked yourself how an artist got started, or bought their first camera, or pays the rent, then this podcast is for you. We aim to find answers to these questions through priceless conversations with brilliant women.
The goal is to connect with talented women who are finding their way in the creative world and to explore the ways that women are defining what creative and art-making means to them. Hopefully, this will inspire and encourage other artists to take action. To learn more about our audience and goals, listen to the brief clip below:
Why am I on Kickstarter? This podcast will be as high quality as the art we're discussing. And that means we need a few things to get started. Most of my income is in the form of freelancing, so financial assistance with the main equipment will make Meraki Mentors possible:
- a microphone (blue Yeti with pop filter $140)
- software to help record the podcast (eCamm $40)
- a webhost (one year Podbean $108)
As far as marketing is concerned, I'm using all sweat equity to grow the brand, dipping into my communications and marketing background to build an audience using graphics and original posts.
This totals: $300. Not too much, right? If two people give just $5 every day, we'll meet our goal in no time. Consider this a way to begin or continue your support of the arts. Every contribution is greatly appreciated. Any money earned past the goal will go towards marketing and compensating the brilliant creatives who are helping us with cover art and graphics.
- handwritten notes
- FREE POETRY BOOKS
- SIGNED posters of our cover art
- sponsorship for your organization or idea on an episode
Follow us on social media:
Risks and challenges
The key to a podcast is consistent, high-quality content. Which is why I've devised a reasonable timetable to help navigate the challenges of creating this show.
I have already begun reaching out to over 30 women to interview and become Meraki Mentors. When the campaign closes, I will be able to purchase my equipment and begin recording episodes.
Interviews will take place from late-July through August (or as interviewees' schedules permit). Editing will continue during this process and after to gear up for the September 30th launch date!
To avoid getting backed up and overwhelmed, I will release Meraki Mentors in seasons, with season 1 featuring 10-15 interviews. This will allow for a strong start, and prevent unforeseen circumstances from inhibiting a weekly production style. So while Meraki Mentors will constantly be in swing behind the scenes, online it will premiere much like a show on a streaming site.
My personal schedule is also most open during these months, which allows me more time to interview and edit each show.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)