Parents of creative kids often wonder what their kids will do with all that creativity when they grow up. Can their kids make a living and contribute to society?
It’s a good question. But it seems that these creative kids grow into the creative adults who are starting companies and fueling our economy. So don’t worry mom and dad – “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” said Einstein – but knowledge, at least knowing what you want to do, is definitely helpful.
Take Lori Kirk, musician, entrepreneur and Boston native. Lori started the CAVATA Clothing Co. in 2009 as a way to leverage both her interest in the local music scene and her desire to make a difference. CAVATA stands for: Creating a Voice About The Arts.
“I was always the girl in my neighborhood running a lemonade stand,” explained Lori. In 2009, after earning communication degrees from both the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Emerson College, she started CAVATA Clothing Co., and was ready to build on her lemonade-stand days.
Just like in those days, Lori’s venture capital came from – who else?- her Dad. He gave her a couple hundred dollars and probably agreed to buy a few shirts. She teamed up with her cousin Peter Needham, and together with her large family, started making and selling an eclectic tee-shirt line. Both Lori and Peter are musicians and learned first-hand about promotion and the business side of music while playing in a band.
Committed to keeping a family feel for the business, Lori explains that “the tee shirts are made or sourced in the US. We use local artists and local businesses. We try to keep everything local.”
From the website:
“www.cavataclothing.com is a place to discover new artists with music, movie, exhibit and performance reviews, promotions and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else. We support artists of all mediums from the ground up…CAVATA is a community for and supported by artists everywhere.”
Boston Music Scene
Her local connections extend to the Boston music scene. Lori has a unique sensitivity to the plight of the small, indie band, especially in Boston: “There really isn’t a music scene here. Unless you are a big band, no one cares about you.”
Remembering how hard it was when she was marketing her band, CAVATA has committed to sponsoring unsigned local artists. Sponsorship comes in the form of support: “We give them tee shirts, we promote them on our site, we tweet about them.” But it goes farther than that, “We really know them.”
The CAVATA blog showcases artists and reviews that can’t be found on other sites. “Our reviews get up to 5,000 visits every month.” CAVATA sponsored artists include: Natural, DJ Leah V, Mighty Mystic, Danny Picard, Dutch ReBelle, Quiet Storm, J the S, and Lisa Bello. In fact, Dutch ReBelle was just signed to the Amalgam Digital label in April of this year “as their first ever female emcee.”
“I remember the days when we couldn’t afford to buy new choir robes at our public school,” said Lori. That made an impression – such an impression, that CAVATA teams up with arts organizations like Music Drives Us and the Boston Music Awards, giving 10% of each sale to Boston-area public schools and non-profit organizations that support programs for the arts.
Four years later, CAVATA is well-established – and Lori couldn’t be happier: ”Running this business is such a liberating feeling.”