Greetings from Lakes Park, S.W.F.L.
When you think of The Boss and entertainment, you immediately think of Bruce Springsteen.
Not in Southwest Florida where The Boss is Rachelle Ford, Owner of Ford Entertainment Magazine chronicling the world of entertainment with a hip hop flavor.
In Episode 2 of The Come Up, Scrappy Jackson interviews Rachelle who is legendary for her compact but killer tenacity.
Our video podcast chronicles the up-and-coming entrepreneurial scene in Southwest Florida.
Here are some highlights of The Come Up E2:
Print: With Ford Magazine Entertainment, Rachelle will have you reconsidering print if you solely rely on digital.
Motto: If you can sell one, you can sell a million (or maybe a 100 million!) Rachelle offers lessons on how to shoot for the moon.
Best advice to your 22-year-old self: Skip waiting on that co-sign and Express Yourself.
Rachelle’s secret sauce: Doing one thing so well and getting paid for it rather than working on several projects that spread you thin and don’t grease the wheel.
About Rachelle Ford and Content with Teeth
The Come Up Episode 2 Transcript
Scrappy Jackson: What up? What up? What up? What up? What up? I’m Scrappy Jackson. This is The Come Up for up-and-coming people in Southwest Florida that are entrepreneurs and highly intriguing. So we call it The Come Up because they’re up and coming, we flip it on its ear. And it’s brought to you by Content with Teeth, an amazing content agency. They’re incredible, they do creative content, and they’re big, they’re really big, they’re huge. So big check out this fathead, that’s how big they are.
Rachelle Ford: I love it. I love it. What’s up, Scrappy?
Scrappy Jackson: Content with Teeth. Yes, definitely. Rachelle, it is awesome, awesome, awesome to see you. I love you. I got nothing but respect, admiration, appreciation for you. Few people understand and comprehend how amazing you are. I see you blushing.
Rachelle Ford: I am. Thank you Scrappy. I have so much respect for you, so much love for you. Oh my gosh, it’s a pleasure. It’s really a pleasure.
Scrappy Jackson: It’s really awesome for me too. You’re a Haitian immigrant. At age 14, you came to Southwest Florida. You got the bug for entertainment, you became a teen model. And then in 2009, you did something special, you started Ford Entertainment Magazine, highly impressive, awesome. Tell us about your magazine.
Rachelle Ford: Well, my magazine, I’ve always been into journalism and interviewing and I’ve always wanted to be curious about someone’s journey, someone’s story, especially the creative beings because I feel like I’m one of the creative beings, I just don’t have any singing talents. So it’s like those who can’t do teach or report it. So I report the stories. So I started the magazine because I’ve always wanted to be in media, publication and I just went for it and I’ve just been enjoying it ever since.
Scrappy Jackson: I met you in 2009 when the first issue came out and I have to say three things hit me immediately, Rachelle. Number one, you’re the boss, you’re definitely the boss. And you’re not that tall, how tall are you?
Rachelle Ford: I am 4′ 11.5″.
Scrappy Jackson: But you’re still the boss.
Rachelle Ford: Still the boss. I’m compact but I’m the boss.
Scrappy Jackson: And I think everybody can see by this video that you’re amazingly passionate about what you do on a daily basis no matter what it is. You attack life, I respect that. And number three, your confidence, your amazing confidence. Oh, I have number four actually too. And I don’t know if this is because of Haitian people in general, but you’re gentle and wonderful and warm and soft yet you are the boss.
Rachelle Ford: You have to be in this, especially in the music industry. It’s a very male-dominated industry but there’s so many ladies that are trailblazing, that are kicking butt out here, and I just want to be one of them. I feel like as far as confidence if you believe in what you’re doing… I know everybody has checked out the latest Genius documentary and it just inspires so much, and it’s the same spirit. If you believe in what you’re doing and you believe in where you’re going, you just got to keep that sight, keep that vision in mind and just keep going and keep… What we’re trying to do. So let’s take some time to explain or show them more because you don’t want to waste time banging on the same doors because it’s a numbers game. If you knock on 1,000 doors, at least 10 of them is going to open for you. So you don’t want to keep knocking on the same 10 doors, you want to keep going. So relentless is keep going, but not so much in that same little corner all the time, you’ve got to broaden your horizons.
Scrappy Jackson: But it must be crazy frustrating when you have something so special that you know is undeniable and will touch the world, highly creative and you get no, no, no, no, no.
Rachelle Ford: Of all the nos you get, you have to pay attention to the yeses. Because like I said, you’re going to get nos. If every single person you talk to says no, then take a step back and look at yourself and say, “Okay, wait. Do I need to tweak some stuff? What’s going on?” You got to pay attention to the yeses because the yeses are what’s going to keep you going. When I see a random person looking at the magazine or like someone was talking to their friends and that person was looking at the magazine on the phone not knowing I was there and he was like, “Yo, this is great, I love this, this is on point.” And they were saying really great things and I was in the corner like, “Oh my gosh.” Blushing [inaudible]. When people gravitate towards your product, if you can sell one, you can sell 10. And if you can sell 10, you can sell 100 million.
Scrappy Jackson: True that. True that, that’s a great point. That’s a great point.
Rachelle Ford: You’ve got to perfect your craft. So when you hear a no, don’t take that no from, oh, they’re hating, they’re trying to keep me in the bucket, they’re trying to do this. Be like, “Okay, let me keep going. What can I do better or what can I change? What can I tweak?” Sometimes you don’t have to change anything about it, it’s just not the right person. There’s a billion people on the planet, why do you keep chasing that same one person?
Scrappy Jackson: Good point, good point, good point. When you were in Haiti growing up, did you have any entrepreneurial spirit way back when?
Rachelle Ford: Growing up in Haiti, literally my childhood was just my childhood. I had such an amazing childhood, I had no responsibilities except to be a kid, go to school, and play with my cousins. So life didn’t really start for me until I left Haiti. Which was so impactful for me because moving out of what I know from my little cushion bubble and then moving to the real world, into a brand new culture, brand new language, brand new people, and then trying to figure things out. So I think my entrepreneurial spirit really kicked in starting with a survival spirit really because coming into a country that’s completely foreign and you have to navigate your way through it.
Rachelle Ford: And I’m the type of person I’m not going to wait for anyone to feed me, I’m not going to wait for anyone to hand me a check. I want to go get it, I want to know, I want to be in charge of every second of my day. So that’s how that started. If I’m going to be learning the culture, what do… And then I also went through a really horrible period of my life in a toxic relationship, a very violent relationship with children, and all of that. I used to tell myself if I was to get out of that, what would I do? And I said, “I would be in charge of my time, I would be in charge of my dreams, and I would just go for them relentlessly.” And I just did that. So my entrepreneurial spirit really started in America, so thank God America.
Scrappy Jackson: Busta Rhymes once said, “There’s no such thing as plan B.” You mentioned you’re a survivor and you’re going to do it, whether it’s domestically or professionally. Speak on that because you jumped all in with your projects.
Rachelle Ford: It’s like I want to do it all, it’s a blessing and a curse. When you tell yourself, I can do anything, everything is within my reach, I just got to focus on it hard enough, it almost becomes dangerous because it applies to everything. So then we find ourselves trying to do everything because opportunities sometimes come in waves and you don’t want to miss out. So I always get into this feeling of, oh my gosh, I don’t want to miss out. And then also how my weird Gemini brain is wired is like, I want to do it now, I want the world right now, I want everything right now. So I’ll be trying to do it all, I’ll be trying to do it all, I ain’t even going to lie.
Scrappy Jackson: Tell us about your magazine. When I first heard of it, I thought of it as straight-up hip-hop. But it’s so much more than that, it’s entertainment magazine.
Rachelle Ford: It’s entertainment, it’s Ford Entertainment Magazine. It really did start as hip-hop because I’m in love with hip-hop, but it focuses on artists, models, business entrepreneurs, everybody, actors. Entertainment industry is not just music. So it started off with music but music has so many legs you can’t do anything in life without music. So the magazine is not just music, it’s life literally.
Scrappy Jackson: You facilitated a lot of artists over the years, a lot of local up and comers. Tell us about your grind.
Rachelle Ford: My grind has been nonstop. I’ve met so many amazing artists, I’ve done so many projects with so many amazing artists, both locally and nationally, because it is also a national magazine. I even did a Nigerian issue one time with YCee, which is my favorite Nigerian artist of all time. So I use the magazine to meet all the cool people, so hey.
Scrappy Jackson: Okay, cool. You’re in print and you’re online, how do you stay afloat in print?
Rachelle Ford: I don’t even know how to answer that because it’s a self-funded business. So a lot of people in the entertainment industry, they feel like they’re superstars and they shouldn’t have to pay for anything, everything should be free. So they get offended when you tell them no, it’s a fee-based publication, it’s a business because it goes towards the printing. So it does get hard to manage the printing, but we’re going to keep going because we have a large subscriber base that are incarcerated, that can’t see it online, that can’t go on our app, which is on Apple and Google Play. So we keep the print alive and we’re going to keep the printing alive. And we’re just going to increase and expand.
Scrappy Jackson: It’s interesting to say that because you’re very passionate about that. But if you operate as two individual cost centers, online versus print, is it sustainable in print? Are you making money in print?
Rachelle Ford: I make more money in print than I do with online.
Scrappy Jackson: No, well.
Rachelle Ford: Because everybody thinks that print is going away. But you go to any doctor’s offices’, barbershop, nail salons, there’s magazines on the waiting table and people are going to pick them up.
Scrappy Jackson: True.
Rachelle Ford: So people love to say, print is dying, no print is going to stay forever because we read, everybody reads, and not everybody is digitally inclined. Some people want to relax and go over a nice little story and that’s what we’re doing.
Scrappy Jackson: Sure. Your business model, I see advertising in your magazine, but you also have rappers and models, et cetera. Do you charge the rappers and models for exposure?
Rachelle Ford: I do. But the way we do it, it’s more than just I charge you and I did an interview with you. We’re taking it so much further to brand that artist, to promote that artist. For example, the artist that I’m working with now, he’s on the cover of the magazine. We did a full story on him and we also dropped a juice, which is a personal custom lemonade, orange pineapple lemonade for him. And we’ve been selling this lemonade for the last month now, we now have it at a local grocery store and the artist makes a commission from that product. So it’s more like a business venture together.
Scrappy Jackson: I read about it, it’s called Juice Box, very innovative. And when does The Scrappy juice come out?
Rachelle Ford: Scrappy juice got to tell me. This girl’s craving [inaudible].
Scrappy Jackson: Let’s make it happen. Let’s make it happen.
Rachelle Ford: Scrappy juice coming out, you just got to tell me your flavor, I’ll pay [inaudible].
Scrappy Jackson: I’m bad about it. And you don’t have to pay me, I just want to hear Scrappy juice, that sounds really cool.
Rachelle Ford: Let’s do it. Let’s do it, Scrappy. I got the logo in mind and everything. I just had the whole thing fucking in my head.
Scrappy Jackson: You’re really, really creative, you’re really inspiring, you’re very ambitious. I think about you and the conferences and the awards and the Iron Circle with empowered women and the homeless people you take care of, and the magazine and the digital magazine. You do so much. How many people are on your staff to do all these things?
Rachelle Ford: [inaudible] there are four personalities. No, but there’s a lot of great, great, great people in my circle, a lot of great people on my team. Just quick plug, I’m actually sitting right here at Smoke’ N Ink, which is going to be the newest, hottest tattoo shop in Fort Myers, I’m telling y’all right now. And it’s me being a part of a team. So there’s not a lot of people on the team. I’m pretty much the captain and the steer and the janitor. But at the same time, I have some really great resources and great people and smart individuals around me that I can always reach out to and say, “Hey, I need to do this, I need to do that, how can you help me?” So it’s always great to have that support system.
Scrappy Jackson: So you’re the 4′ 11″ dynamo, you’re doing everything and then some. But I’m just curious from a business perspective, with doing at least six or seven things on such a remarkable level, do you ever think to yourself, if I just did one thing incredibly well, I would get paid?
Rachelle Ford: Yes, I actually do that. So what I’ve been doing actually is consolidating all of my projects into what makes sense and what I enjoy doing. So I’ve been asking myself literally all last year and this year, okay, let’s cut it down to what’s really work and what’s really me being creative and getting paid for it. I much more enjoy being creative and getting paid for it. And my baby, my passion, that answer always doubles back to the magazine.
Scrappy Jackson: How about a financial partner, have you ever thought about taking somebody on? Not me, but.
Rachelle Ford: [inaudible]. I was like, wait a minute. No, but serious conversation, I have my business plans, my partnership agreements, my investor agreements, I even have where if you wanted to sponsor a copy, how we can partner up and you sponsor a copy and how you can double your money back. So I have all of those plans. It just comes into finding the right people because a lot of people are talkers not really doers, a lot of people just want to see what you got going on, and people don’t really be real, they’re not really be willing to work. So I’m all the way, 1,000% open. If you’ve got a bag and you’re ready to work, let’s go, let’s blow this up, that’s all I know.
Scrappy Jackson: I can feel your intensity and your energy and your passion and your brilliance, it’s awesome. One last question for you, what would you tell your 22-year-old self?
Rachelle Ford: Leave that man. Because that’s where I was at 22, I was stuck in this prison of a relationship that was very abusive. Dealing with someone who’s addicted to drugs is not an easy feat, it’s a whole interview by itself, just that situation. And being stuck in that situation at a young age, I had my first child at 19 turning 20. So from age 19 to about 25, I was just like a baby breeder.
Rachelle Ford: But if I met me at 22, I’d be like, “Look girl, [inaudible] a little sooner.” But at 22, I would tell myself too as well, take better care of yourself, listen to your spirit, listen to your dreams and go for it, stop doubting yourself, stop waiting for that cosign. I feel like a long, long, long part of my journey was me waiting on a cosign, was me waiting on somebody to say, “Yeah, girl, you can do that. Oh yeah, that’s going to be prosperous.” I feel like part of me to this day still looked for that cosign, for somebody to say, “Yeah, this could be a success.” But I’ve stopped believing that I needed that cosign. If you know something-
Scrappy Jackson: You gained a lot of strength in that relationship and it taught you so many different things that makes you independent and strong and the boss.
Rachelle Ford: That’s true. We’ll give them that credit, Scrappy, we’ll do that.
Scrappy Jackson: 71st issue, is that right now? Where can we find it?
Rachelle Ford: It’s online, we also have them at Palm Avenue Groceries, which also carries our custom Ten Toes lemonade, which is coupled with issue number 71. They can also order it on the website, fordentmag.com. They can also order it on the app, which is Ford Entertainment Magazine for Apple and Google Play. We do ship to all correctional facilities.
Scrappy Jackson: Oh wow.
Rachelle Ford: So if you have someone who’s locked up and you want to do something nice and you want to spend a couple of bucks, you just got to tell us just their name. We’re able to look them up and find out exactly where they’re housed and we send them a copy.
Scrappy Jackson: Cool. Content with Teeth made this possible. Just look over my shoulder, Content with Teeth, get in touch with them for all your content and digital marketing needs. Content with Teeth creates unboring content like this podcast. It gets attention for your product, your service on the interweb. If you want to be my next guest, all you have to do is holla @heyscrappy on IG. Content with Teeth, thank you very much. Rachelle, I want to give you a hug through the computer, but it’s not possible.
Rachelle Ford: Bring it in Scrappy, bring it in Scrappy. I love you Scrappy. Since we’ve met, I think we met… Actually, the same person that we are doing the tattoo shop is where we met. Because we met in Naples at a showcase that was being thrown by Peter 4K and you were a judge and I was a judge as well. And ever since then, you’ve always been a supporter, we’ve always had that love, and I just love it. I love you Scrappy, I appreciate you for everything.
Scrappy Jackson: I love you too. And I’m a fan of Rachelle Ford, I’m a huge fan. God bless you.
Rachelle Ford: I’m a huge fan of Scrappy.
Scrappy Jackson: And thanks for everything, Rachelle. I appreciate you.
Rachelle Ford: I love you.