Danika Maia is a writer, artist, curator and creative based in Los Angeles. She works full time in digital media and branded content at UPROXX, formerly at VICE Media in Copenhagen, where she lived for five years before moving to LA in 2016.
Her passion project and side business, B.L.Å., is a lifestyle brand and event series that aims to showcase emerging artists from the Nordics, LA, and across cultures to celebrate the culture that she grew to love while living in Denmark and embrace the vibrant and diverse LA culture that is now her home.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
When I moved to Los Angeles from Copenhagen, I really missed the culture, the music scene, the fashion, the art – but I realized that a lot of what I missed was being represented in LA, I just had to find it. So I started with a blog and eventually decided to make B.L.Å. a business, but it’s very new still.
Tell us about your business.
B.L.Å. is a lifestyle brand and pop up event series showcasing emerging artists from the Nordics and Los Angeles. I curate art, photography, and music from the Nordics to sell and showcase them in Los Angeles and get them seen by Angeleno eyes.
We also curate and create events, combining artists from the Nordics and other cultures to celebrate our similarities and embrace our differences.
Where is your business based?
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
To be totally honest we’re not very focused on “customers” at this point, we’re interested in building a community of people who are interested in exploring other cultures and celebrating art, music, and more.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Finding a venue to host events was one of the biggest challenges, and we were very lucky to join forces with Nordic LA, a creative space and soft launching pad for Nordic creatives and businesses who want to expand their reach in LA. Now that we have the space, we can host our events there and really help each other.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I’m doing this because I love it, and I do have my full time work to pay the bills and stay afloat. When things get difficult, I just remember all of the luck I’ve had thus far and the support from my friends and family who encourage me to pursue my passions.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Nordic art and music showcased in LA is a surprisingly niche market. There are lots of people throwing shows or events, but B.L.Å. and NordicLA have such a unique mission that it hasn’t been an issue.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Don’t be embarrassed, everything has been done and everyone has gotten over it.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Just try! 90% of people never try. That’s all you can do.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m learning everything! I am focusing now on learning about putting on events and hosting, as well as collaborations with artists for merchandise and generally expanding my network within the space.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Right now the shows and events I’m throwing are all free, but I’m looking for relevant brands to sponsor these shows and work with us. I’m just learning as I go, expanding my network, and working hard to keep social media going and excitement for the project high.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.