Turning Lemons to Lemonade – Summer Asturi

In this week’s episode, we have Summer Asturi. Summer is the founder of Summer Productions, a Denver-based production company specializing in commercial advertising content. She grew up in her father’s tattoo shop in Las Vegas. Her early years were spent watching her dad run the business. When her father is finished with one client, she and her sister will then discuss the after-care process.

Summer further talked about her journey and the biggest lesson she learned from the other successful people in the business.

Summer’s website: http://www.sumprods.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sumprods/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/contentproducer/

Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to this week’s addition to Rocky Mountain marketing. My guest today is summer a story summer is the founder of some products, a production company in Denver, Colorado specializing in commercial advertising content. Summer, thank you so much for coming onto the show today.

Summer Asturi 0:38

Thank you so much for having me.

Katie Brinkley 0:41

I can’t wait to talk with you a bit. You know, we’ve known each other for a while now. And commercial advertising is so important for for businesses here in Denver. But before we start talking business, let’s learn a little bit about you tell us where you grew up, and you know what your life was like growing up.

Summer Asturi 1:00

I will. Thank you so much, again for having me. And I’m excited to be on here. So I grew up in Las Vegas, and I was an avid volleyball player. I just love sports. I didn’t really have a traditional childhood, I would say like I slept in a tattoo shop. Most of the time, my dad is a tattoo artist. And he was a single dad until I was about seven years old. So I got to grow up in a tattoo shop. And I learned the creative business very early. But I also learned a lot of skills that I think were important in the creative industry. And yeah, my dad still has this tattoo shop. So I kind of look up to him when it comes to business. And Las Vegas is an interesting place. I was on Instagram this morning, actually. And I saw a meme and it was like, share something crazy that happened at your school. And people were putting Oh, people were had a food fight with chocolate milk and all of that. And at my school, I would say the craziest thing that happened every single year, on the last day of school, there was a race war. And it was really sad. Because obviously racism is a huge issue in today’s society. And looking back, it’s crazy to see how at such a young age in the school that I went to how the diversity caused violence and issues. I mean, literally, we were pepper sprayed by the school police, and anyone who wasn’t African American, or Hispanic didn’t really know what to do. There was very few of us. Anyway, I would say less than 10 of us. And so we just would run out of the school as quick as we would and get out of there. So my school life was interesting. But I do feel very blessed for the school that I went to, even though it was known as not a nice school, and it wasn’t known as the school you necessarily wanted to go to. I thought it was really cool. Not only the sports, and my coaches were such good. They were such good people for me to look up to. But also learning diversity at a young age and being with people who were in economic situations similar to mine, we did not have very much money. I think that that group of people has now grown up to be very hard workers. We a lot of us don’t keep in touch. And I think that’s really cool because a lot of people strive to make a lot of money. And a lot of people are fortunate to have grown up in stable homes where money wasn’t an issue, whether they had a lot or a little. But the people that I grew up with, it was unheard of that get a car in high school. Wait, what do you mean, and so many people that I grew up with started working at a very young age. Now a lot of them own businesses, one of my very best friends grew up in a tough situation. And he’s now a multi millionaire. And I you know, so that’s a really cool thing that came out of my childhood.

Katie Brinkley 4:00

I love that. Well, before we dive into how all that affected you becoming an entrepreneur, I’m curious What sports did you play in high school?

Summer Asturi 4:09

I was a volleyball player and a swimmer. And it was so fun.

Katie Brinkley 4:14

I played soccer and softball and golf. So I’ve I’m familiar with trying to be an on the athletic field. I think it’s such a great place to learn how to work as a team and the benefits that having a team around you can have I’m not just trying to do it all on your own. And I’m sure that that’s helped you with your business journey. You said that your dad, you know, was a single dad and he worked so hard and that really impacted you and wanting to be an entrepreneur and start your own business. Talk to us a little bit more about how seeing your dad being such a hard worker led you to starting your own production company.

Summer Asturi 4:51

Wow, my dad, I would like to say I yeah, he’s a huge inspiration to me. He was very, very true. Old and I hate to spell people’s dirty laundry, but he’s clean now. So I’m going to go ahead and do it. Because I’m so proud of him. He was a heroin addict my whole life. I saw that man go through so much. And even though he was, or is a heroin addict, because I guess technically you can’t change what to was, even though he is a heroin addict, and he struggled so much, he never let us go hungry. He never let us be. I don’t know the word. He was a he was always there, even though he may not have been mentally present. We were always safe. But I saw my dad struggle so much. And I remember as a little girl, I knew, like I knew my dad was hurting. I knew his heart was sad. But I watched him. And I remember being in the tattoo shop, he, after he finished with a client, he would let my sister and I tell the client how to take care of their tattoo. And we had heard him tell people so many times how to take care of their tattoo that we memorized it. So as he wrapped them up, or his apprentice wrapped them up, we told them, and then he would go on to his next client or prep for his next drawing. And I think that impacted me a lot, because I saw how much he struggled. But I also saw how he never lost his spirit. He was always so charming, I’m getting goosebumps just saying it. He was the absolute most charming man, no matter how bad he was struggling, he would make everybody in his tattoo shop laugh. And that’s how he is today. And same with his father was the same way. So when I saw that, and I saw that no matter how bad he was struggling, he never lost a spirit. That translates into my life so much. Because it’s like, most people can’t fight an addiction like that. But to keep smiling and to keep the people around you feeling good. That’s right there that tells me everything I need to know about my dad. And so whenever I’m working with a client now, or anytime I’m teaching somebody something or working with a new group, I always want it to be a relaxed and fun environment, if it can be, I want people to joke around on set. And I want people to dig as deep into their imagination. And it might be weird to everybody else. But to me, I’m gonna love it because it was nothing I ever expected to hear. And that’s the artist mentality that I learned from my dad, and just seeing him and just even how he handled business in terms of, hey, he might have been the funniest man in the room and the most charming man in the room. But nobody ever crossed him. But that’s because he earned his respect. He didn’t really demand it. So I also learned that from him, I’ve seen him fire people. I’ve seen him get mad, and I’ve seen him be stressed over how is he going to pay his shop rent in a pandemic? But never once did I see him disrespects somebody or be disloyal to somebody. So that’s the biggest translation into business now.

Katie Brinkley 7:59

That’s awesome. And I think to you, you have your own production company. I’d love to hear what took you down this path to starting your own to starting some products. Tell us a little bit about what ended up what your career journey was like to get you to where you are today.

Summer Asturi 8:13

Wow, some problems is the best. It wasn’t what I grew up wanting to do. I grew up wanting to be a lawyer to help my father in his crazy situations. And that didn’t work because I got pregnant at 18, which I don’t regret. And college, I did finish college. But it wasn’t easy to go to law school with the child and thinking about all the bills. And so a couple years after I had my daughter, I knew that she needed to move we needed to move to Colorado to go through some medical treatment that she was going to have. And I was just modeling for small brands, like almost like what you would consider an Instagram model. Now I was doing years ago, before it became a fad. And I was just getting small gigs that paid a couple $100 Here and there. And that’s how I was supporting her. And I learned that there’s a lot that it takes to put together a really cool shoot a really cool project takes so much pre production time and money. And I was really good at organizing things. And I just started volunteering to help out onsets, my first production that I ever did, I was hired as a production coordinator. It was like a 10 day project for the US Army. And that was stressful. I literally cried every day after rap because I was so out of my element and especially working with the military. I didn’t realize I couldn’t talk to the guy on my right. I had to go through his upper I didn’t know that. So I’m just talking and bubbly. I was just talking to people and then the next day, the producer was like Okay, today we need to do this, this and this. Don’t talk to this person. Then talk to this person. And I was like, Whoa, I didn’t realize that was such a big deal. But by the time we wrapped, I was so inspired by how many people it took, how much money it took. And all of the pieces put together everything down to the meals you ate, to who was in what car. And so that was the start of it all. And that was in 2008, no 2017. And then 2018 is when some fraud started. So for one year, I just volunteered on set I was on set every week, sometimes paid, sometimes unpaid. And I started working with models started networking, and then a year later started my production company, once I got some experience. And it really comes down to why do I do it? My why is the team around it, how many specializations there are that you don’t even realize that you don’t even put credit toward? And that’s, that’s definitely the biggest why we do production.

Katie Brinkley 11:05

That’s awesome. And, you know, I’d like to talk just a little bit about what some products does. Because I mean, you’ve been in front of the camera, and now you found your your true passion is behind it. You know, talk to us a little bit about what kind of shoots you guys kind of tried to niche in and what type of clients you tried to work with?

Summer Asturi 11:25

I love that question. So the first year just like most people, we took any clients because it was get as much work so we don’t die. So we float. And we have done everything from films to a TV show that was one of my favorite projects ever did was a TV show in Las Vegas. And what we’ve really found our craft is is in the commercial production realm. Mostly, I personally, I believe I can’t speak for my team and what they why they enjoy commercial. But why I personally enjoy commercial is because I’m an entrepreneur, just by nature, it’s not anything I’ve had to try to do. I’ve only had one real job. And that lasted less than three months. I didn’t even make it to the insurance, but it didn’t last at all. So my personal reason is in commercial app, commercial advertising production, I understand as an entrepreneur that we have to sell, we have to create something that sells. And by doing that, we have to also create something that not not only will people click on, but people will be engaged with. And our clients need to see a return on their investment. And so our niche is still being massaged. But we only now work with commercial clients. We don’t have like a specific category of health or anything like that. We do a lot in the outdoor realm, which I would say we enjoy except I don’t enjoy it in the winter, but I’ll do it.

Katie Brinkley 13:02

Yeah, coming from Vegas to Colorado in the winter is a bit of a difference just a little bit. Oh,

Summer Asturi 13:08

yes, girl is the worst I Yeah. So luckily, my fiance sometimes takes off work and comes on those shoots, and he helps a lot. So I would say definitely just commercial, we did dabble in some film projects over the summer. That was more for networking and more for the community aspect versus what we really want to specialize in. At the end of the day production is production. In my opinion, whether we are producing an event, a commercial or a film, the process that we use is the same and streamlined and maybe that’s why it’s working. Because it’s streamlined, we don’t have to learn a new thing for different types of projects. And commercial projects can be really different. I mean, you can rent a tiger or rent or buy human bones, which I didn’t know you could do. So every production process is different. But we really love commercial advertising production because we are entrepreneurs. So we speak the same language as the CEOs and to the marketing directors that have a goal and that goal is to sell. You know, and I

Katie Brinkley 14:17

think you brought up a great point too, like Well, when I first got started I would work with anyone because I’m trying to pay the bills. And it’s something that I did when I when I started my company I was like okay, you need social media I could do that. But it’s really once you start figuring out who your ideal client is what who you enjoy working with the most who your production is the best for that that’s when you really see your your company kind of explode and make more money and you everything kind of just seems to fall into place. And it can be it can be hard trying to figure out who your ideal client is. So I’m so glad that you brought that up. What what do you think that some of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make when they’re starting their business is is it you know? Working to working for anyone and trying to be the jack of all trades? Or what do you think the biggest mistake is?

Summer Asturi 15:07

Oh, wow, I love this question so much, well, I have to first say, well I deem a mistake might not be a mistake for another. But I would say, lowering your prices, too soon, I think that people put themselves in a box. Because one, you have to know your value, you have to know if it’s gonna be worth your time. But I also could be considered a hypocrite on this. Because my first surprise project I ever got, I worked on for two months and made $1,500. And that’s it. That’s it. But I feel like I quote unquote, bought my resume, because that job introduced me to another person who got me on a huge TV show in Las Vegas. So I would say that definitely rolled over. And that is on my resume for life now. And that’s a huge, huge show. So I would say that, maybe that isn’t a mistake for some people. But once you get to a certain level, you have to know your limits and calculate your time, time is money. And then another mistake that I think people make is not going through proper development. I think that’s one thing that I even made a mistake on. I didn’t properly develop my company. And a lot of my clients that come to me, they’re like, how can you help me? How can you get me better content? And then where do we place these ads after I’m like, Well, before we create any content, I think your whole website needs to be redone. I think you’re you don’t even have your Shopify hooked up to this platform or this platform. And so I think development for newer businesses and existing businesses so so critical, I mean, you have to, you can’t talk or sell your business until you have developed your own.

Katie Brinkley 16:55

Yeah, I completely agree. And what you pointed out when you said, oh, you know, I only got $1,500 for two months of work. But it allows you the opportunity to grow and really kind of allow your business to take off. And that is one thing that is so important that I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is the power of networking. And like you said, you didn’t make very much money off of it. But it introduced you and expanded your network into a way that now you your business is able to grow and really be successful because you’ve you’ve made those connections, and especially I feel like in the film and production industry, it a lot of it is about who you know.

Summer Asturi 17:33

Absolutely. And it’s not one of the things I’m so glad you brought that up because I was driving home this morning. And I was like I almost hope that Katie and I talk about this today because I feel that creatives, one of one of our biggest things and it’s even on our website, we exist. So creatives can create we handle the analytics, but we understand your language, we understand your art, and we respect your art so much that we want to make your life easier. That’s why producers produce because creatives don’t realize they’re running out of money, producers, no 10 days before you run out of money, why you’re running out of money and where you ran out of money from. So I think that not only is it who you know, in the industry, but there’s never a limit to that either. One of the things that has worked really well for us is we’ve developed relationships with ad agencies. And so the ad agencies call us because they trust us to make their shoots happen on behalf of their clients. But also, we don’t just get our clients from ad agencies, we also work very closely with CEOs and business owners. And those are relationships because CEOs hang out CEOs. So it’s who you know, but also who you know, and the the relationship and the mark you leave on them when you leave, or when you go. Relationships are everything no matter how good technology gets and how good these robots get. Nothing can take away from the emotional connection with somebody.

Katie Brinkley 18:59

Yeah, that’s, that’s so true. And I think that you mentioned that you got your a lot you gain a lot of your leads from from CEOs and ad agencies. And you know, I’m curious, I know you and I met on LinkedIn. But have you found LinkedIn to be a great kind of connector and networking tool for you?

Summer Asturi 19:17

I would say it route a little bit a little bit, I would say it’s given me the yellow light, not the green light. It’s given me a warm up every time I’ve messaged somebody or cold message to them. On LinkedIn. I’ve basically been left on read. But also I know, I know that there are people who specialize in LinkedIn. So what just because I haven’t found it beneficial. Does it mean they have it? I would say yeah, you and I met on LinkedIn. I’ve met a couple of other people on LinkedIn. But other than that, I would say I always try and find their email versus messaging them on directly on LinkedIn. Gotcha. Yeah,

Katie Brinkley 19:56

I think that too, you know, like you said LinkedIn works for For some, some people and and others that it’s kind of a red light, but it’s all about trying to establish those connections and finding an email and sliding into their email inbox or picking up the phone is another great way to, you know, try and make those new leads. So I’m curious, what kind of clients do you think if someone’s listening right now they’re like, oh, yeah, you know, I’m kind of thinking I would like to have a commercial made. You know, what do you think the first step is for a business owner? If they’re trying to if they’re starting to kind of toyed with the idea of having a production company like yours come in and help them get a visual commercial app to gain exposure for their businesses?

Summer Asturi 20:40

Oh, I love that question. Well, first step, before we ever come in, that I granted, there’s always an educational process, there’s always a process we go to, are you trying to be more like your traditional? Call one? 800? Or are you trying to be untraditional and use unconventional humor? Or three? Are you trying to be emotional? Those are the three things that I like to have people think about before we walk in just so they have an idea of where we should take the conversation. And then that’s about it. Because if you’re one working with an ad agency, and the production company works with the ad agency, chances are they’re going to provide on have on hand the analytics and the case studies of what will work for that client. And that’s why that clients working with an ad agency anyway. Or if they hire us directly, I like to sit down with my team and like the core team, and really hone in on how do we make this emotional, like, what, what types of things do we need. So I think it really is dependent on the project and the type of content that they’ve created before, because one of the biggest things that I found, and you I’m sure have found this, I’m sure a lot of people make empty promises to their clients. And so that’s how you probably gained some of your clients. And so you have to clean up a lot of the mess. And when it comes to spending money, we I hope that this doesn’t sound bad, but we cannot waste our time on people who have not created content before. Because our level of content creation is much more expensive than you calling a videographer from Google, we have a very intricate process, everything is down to the very last detail. So we if they haven’t created content at the level that we create it or at the budgets that we typically work with, my first suggestion is usually let’s do a smaller shoot and get you some better content before we invest in heavy content. Because if your current content is not working, chances are our commercial will not work either. And I don’t want people to lose money because I want them to hire me again.

Katie Brinkley 22:53

Yeah, exactly. Well, and that is something that, like you said, there’s been plenty of clients that I’ve taken on and you can instantly tell when followers have been bought or engagement has been bought. And you’re instantly placing any work that that you do behind the eight ball because it’s everything that you that you have, quote unquote built is in authentic. And so it’s really kind of starting at square one. So I completely agree with you, I have stopped trying to take on those type of clients who have unfortunately, been with another social media person who has done things the wrong way. Because it’s no matter the efforts that I can to we’re going to be fighting a super uphill battle. But yeah, that’s neither here nor there. I’m curious what what the best, I’m sure. And then I have a feeling I know who probably gave it to you. But what’s the best piece of advice that you have ever received? And how has that impacted your business or your life?

Summer Asturi 23:48

Well, it wasn’t for my father. I think that’s what you were thinking. I

Katie Brinkley 23:51

thought for sure it would be from your dad. But yeah, so let’s, let’s hear it,

Summer Asturi 23:55

I would say the best piece of advice that I have ever been given. And I I love that you asked me this because I just shared it with my fiance last night. And I’ve kept this one close to the chest because I was like I can’t share this one until until I feel like I’m in a good place. But So Steven title balm, I work with him and have a partnership with his marketing agency. And we work together a lot and have for four years and before I even started some products he was he was the big reason why he was like you got to go for it. You have to go for it. From the very beginning. I was the first coordinator or project manager that he’s ever hired. He is a very neurotic man and likes to do everything on his own. But I was the first person we ever hired. So that alone was an honor after him running a very successful business, but to whenever I came across an issue when I first started managing for him and coordinating projects for him. He said we will never tell our clients No, we will figure out a solution. And that solution isn’t always what they’re looking for. But before you go to your client with a problem, come to them with three solutions. Some of them might be very creative solutions, and not be where they even thought they would go with it. But give them something don’t ever let them feel like they hit a brick wall. And even now, once again, I’m getting goosebumps, that has been the biggest asset, especially in production, because producers are asked somewhere things like I said, we’ve rented bone or bought bones, human bones, we’ve bought blood. We have rented animals, we have pulled permits in places that they tell you, you cannot permit. But we have never been told no, because we don’t take no as an answer. And so our client should never receive no as an answer. And it’s just a matter of building relationships with the people that are telling you no, because there’s always a if there’s a will there’s a way,

Katie Brinkley 25:52

or this has been such a great conversation. I’ve enjoyed speaking with you and having you on the show today. Where can we find out more about you and your business online?

Summer Asturi 26:02

Well, you can find us at some profits.com You can find us on LinkedIn, you can just Google Summer productions and we’ll pop up you can find our Instagram, we do a lot on Instagram, just because it’s not necessarily where we connect with our clients. But it’s where we connect with the people who want to work with us the creatives that want to work with us and the actors and models that we oftentimes hire. That’s my biggest platform for casting. So if somebody hears this, and wants to work with us, if you’re creative, probably Instagram is the way to go. If you are a potential client, go to our website, or just find me and I’ll call you back.

Katie Brinkley 26:42

Awesome. Well, thank you again so much for coming on the show today.

Summer Asturi 26:45

Katie, thank you so much for having me. It’s been so fun.

Katie Brinkley 26:51

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com Connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. I’m at next dot step dot social. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.