Bringing creative craftsmanship to outdoor advertising: meet Google supplier Candice Simons
Candice Simons created Brooklyn Outdoor in 2013 to bring a fresh perspective and creative energy to the outdoor advertising industry. The company works with Google through its Supplier Diversity program.
Brooklyn Outdoor builds relationships between artists and national companies to create outdoor signage and displays, including billboards, hand-painted murals, wallscapes, street furniture and in-window displays.
With offices in Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Charlotte, Candice and her team help clients, like Google, explore creative possibilities. Candice draws upon her multifaceted creativity to inform how she guides clients. For instance, her special affection for Detroit (she’s a Michigan native) led her to create the lifestyle blog J’adore Detroit. J’adore Detroit is a way to keep a pulse on the city through Candice’s eyes. Like Brooklyn Outdoor, J’adore Detroit has become a platform for connecting the city’s artists and entrepreneurs with local and national customers.
Candice also founded her first restaurant, Alley Taco, a California-style Mexican cantina in the heart of bustling Midtown Detroit.
Candice has received awards such as Corp! Magazine’s Diversity Business Leader, 2017 Enterprising Woman of the year, and Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000” encompassing the fastest growing-companies of 2018. Here, we look at what inspires this inspiring Google supplier.
What gets you fired up in the morning?
Every day is completely different at Brooklyn Outdoor. I never know what the day is going to bring, and it is exciting to go with the flow and see what each day offers. The out-of-home advertising industry is full of life and color – so are we.
Every morning, I drive into Detroit. That's where our company is headquartered. We have offices in New York, Chicago, and L.A. as well, but there is something magical about driving into Detroit and seeing the city wake in the morning. Detroit has an energy and aliveness that matches mine. That energy fires me up to get the day started and attack its challenges with that same intensity.
How does your background influence your professional success?
My background is extremely diverse. This led me to what I am doing now. I’m a busy person, and I have always had my hand in many different projects.
When I was growing up, I started working as soon as I possibly could. At a young age, I worked at all the odd jobs I could find. I worked in a hair salon; I was a personal stylist; I taught dance; I coordinated events, and I have always been told that I march to the beat of my own drummer. Naturally, always taking my own path, the diversity of my experiences led me to start my own business.
My dad was an electrical engineer at General Electric. He was very focused, and clear-thinking. He instilled in me the practice of setting goals for myself, following through and achieving them. Into that process, I sprinkle my own flair.
That brings me to where I am now with Brooklyn Outdoor. Our business sprinkles in our flair! My path from growing up to where I am now makes complete sense, and it led to the birth of Brooklyn Outdoor.
What inspires you most about your work?
I started Brooklyn Outdoor with the inspiration to form a company where people come first and uniqueness is celebrated.
People, and cultivating relationships, are key for me and at the heart of our culture. We have the best of the best – not only on a professional level but also personally. We have a lot of fun, and our people are beautiful from the inside out. They inspire me every single day.
Not only are the people that lead Brooklyn Outdoor inspiring, but also our clients. They all are coming up with amazing, crazy ideas that we can bring to life. Whether through hand-painted mural advertising, sky high wallscapes, experiential marketing, or unique digital billboard displays, our clients are at the heart of making inspiration real.
What advice can you give someone who wants to start a woman-owned business?
My advice to women who are thinking of starting a business is to just go for it. Don’t overthink it.
As a woman, you are probably already juggling a million different things and being pulled in different directions. If you can balance all that life throws your way, you can definitely run a business if you put your mind and your heart to it.
If you have a great idea, and you bounce it off other people who also revel in that idea, then I would move forward.
Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart as the highs are high and the lows are very low. Being a woman business owner can make you feel siloed, so it is important to connect with your community and other entrepreneurs. In my opinion, I highly suggest becoming a certified women’s business enterprise.
As part of WBENC, resources are there for you if you ask for help. If you put yourself out there to companies like Google, they are willing to help make those vital connections easier and provide resources to assist your growth. After connecting with the supplier diversity team at Google, they invited me to participate in the Tuck School of Business Digital Excellence Program . Not only is Google one of our outdoor advertising clients, but we have had an excellent partnership internally with Google because of their supplier diversity team. I am thankful to be a part of the women-owned business community and strengthening our partnership with amazing companies like Google.
Photo credit: Jesse David Green