Innovation and entrepreneurialism is at an all time high; and here, at HeART of COOL (HOC), we always say real visionaries recognize other visionairies. We constantly encourage the empowerment of other people to empower themselves and others by starting up their own businesses. And we look for ways to salute and elevate our peers and creators that conspire together to inspire by creating dope content for the global community. As a consequence, we thought it would be only befitting if we kicked off our Startup Saturdays to honor other visionaires and dope startup endeavors. This week we are highlighting Michael of the Front Side Agency (FSA), a firm that focuses on up and coming skateboarders and artists.
I caught up with HeART of COOL family member, Michael Becker, and picked his brain about success, the launch of his new agency, The Front Side Agency (FSA), and the importance of smiling and enjoying life again because that is what matters most.
Congratulations Michael! Tasha and I salute you on your new endeavor and we are honored to be a part of the movement, but even more pleasured and esteemed, to be your friends as we all navigate this journey as light bearers and visionaires.
Discover the GDSNY limited edition skate boards and more here.
HOC INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL OF THE FRONT SIDE AGENCY
HOC: Who are you and what do you believe in? Who am I?
MICHAEL: Good question. I’m Michael Becker – I’m for the people, I believe in the people and I know that when we come together we can make great things happen. I’m a skateboarder, a husband, a friend, a creative, a horder, dog lover and true believer of the collective nature and altruistic approach to being.
HOC: How did the idea to start the Front Side Agency arise?
MICHAEL: It rose because it needed to rise. Far too often I saw young talented artists and skateboarders and people in general, myself included, being exploited or used for their skills and in reality, their blood sweat and tears. I noticed with some tweaking and strategy that these people could become who they want to be. When you see a friend who’s one of the best skaters in the city struggle to get on a subway or get a slice of pizza, that’s when you go ‘shit, this has to change.’
It all depended on who was going to stand up – I decided to.. no, I was moved to. It was innate. It was meant to be. I’ve always been for the people – and to enjoy watching the collective grow and seeing people smile? You can count me in all day.
HOC: What makes The Front Side Agency different from other agencies that provide similar services?
MICHAEL: Hard to say – I don’t know any that offer the same services. Services is a strange word. We offer support via a collective of like minded people who all want the same thing, the same end goal. To progress, live prosperously and happily and to give back to what has given us so much. Our company consists of not only the most talented individuals in skateboarding and art (for now!) but on the backend – PR, Photography, filming, strategy, technology, marketing, content creation, production, etc. It’s been a long 11 months but that’s how great things are made. Patience, time and execution. You need the right people and that’s what truly sets us apart. We’re a team.
HOC: What is the brand philosophy?
MICHAEL: I want you to remember why you smile. Remember what made you happy when you were 15 – simple pleasures. The things you were good at that you stopped doing? Start again – enjoy life. Remember why you smile. Most importantly – we’re for the people, by the people.
HOC: Tell us a little bit about your launch… What was the general concept and what made it special?
MICHAEL: The launch was amazing – We were and are so thankful for The South Street Seaport for sponsoring their brand new Seaport Studios 2 floor loft space. Our idea was to make it interactive. From signature cocktails, to a skateboard bar, to OMDigital’s amazing photo booth, to small company ciders like Down East Cider (thank you!) to Redbull and Lacoste joining and sponsoring to the amazing music, food, etc… What really made it special? Watching everyone come together to make it happen. For a moment the price tag was lofty! But we all buckled down made calls and made an amazing party happen. So yes, 100% what made it most special was watching what people can do when they work together. Special thank you to my wife, Mary Becker, Anne Buovolo and Grit New York, Magda Love and Bobby Tre for holding it down for me!
HOC: What is the most challenging aspect of representing talent and generating revenue for them in this day and age?
MICHAEL: Creating individualistic value – and conveying that to bigger brands. Letting our clients, our people, know their worth, making sure they know they’re special. But also, keeping such a creative crew on point haha – it’s a great mix of people and it’s just something special.
HOC: What type of clients do you represent?
MICHAEL: Right now our focus is on up and coming skateboarders and artists. We plan to branch out but for right now we’re in the right space :).
HOC: How many clients do you currently have?
MICHAEL: About 7 :-).
HOC: What are the top three things you look for when deciding whether or not you want to take a client on?
MICHAEL: You must be humble, you must be good people and you must be hungry. Talent can be elevated – a person’s true colors can’t be changed. Acceptance is key and understanding that this is a process, a marathon – when people believe and I can see it, I want to work with them.
HOC: What guideline do you use when marrying various clients with branding opportunities?
MICHAEL: I believe each person has a unique strategy to get them to their next point of progression. Where they stand in that path will depend on where and who and what we work on for and with them on.
HOC: Are you looking for more clients? If so, what is the process of enrollment?
MICHAEL: In the future. Right now we are thrilled with who we have involved in the agency. These people are our focus. These are the people I care most about and want to see succeed. They believe in me as I do in them. So we’re happy right now, elated actually.
HOC: If you could have any clients in the world right now, who would your top three be and why?
MICHAEL: I already have them 😉 We want to build careers not ride coat tails. We already have our top 3, 4, 5, 6…..
MICHAEL: People that may want to be agents, what tips and advice would you offer to them as they navigate the professional climb?
We’re not agents. We’re people who have decided to work together to create unique content and original content by gathering our resources and working together as a ‘collective’. My only tip would be – plan and be strategic but also go with your gut. If your gut says no, it’s probably for a reason. Don’t let a bad egg spoil the bunch and don’t believe everything everyone says. Its unfortunately true – but what can you do. I’m always analyzing, so when people think they’re winning, they’re just digging a bigger hole to climb out of. I’ve chosen to be a bit more quiet with my opinions haha.
HOC: How important is authenticity with what you do?
MICHAEL: It’s the most important part!
HOC: What is the heart of cool to you (what makes something or someone cool)?
MICHAEL: Rad ass chicks who keep it real and believe in peace love and are for the people! Cool to me is being yourself and remembering why you smile – and giving it a go here and there.
HOC: What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
MICHAEL: It’s innate. A need to create.
HOC: What is success to you?
HOC: What drives you?
MICHAEL: Seeing others succeed. Making a change (cliche I know) – being the best.
HOC: What Front Side Agency projects should the people look out for in the future? How can they learn more about the company and their clients?
MICHAEL: We collaborated with GDSNY for a limited edition deck in which we launched at the party. They’re rad, 3D printed then cast in metal, grasshopper software transfered the print to the computer to then have pressed on boards – genius. We have a few things (more than a few), but I can’t give those up quite yet, but you’ll see shortly. If anyone would like to learn more just shoot me an email at email@example.com !!!!
💜Love & Light🌞,
Cris & Tash