As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Erica Valcourt of MOON Ultra Light.
Erica Valcourt is the CMO of MOON Ultra. Prior to MOON she worked with several businesses to help build and develop them. From super mogul Mona Scott-Young to younger startup businesses like MYX Fusions and Aglit Italy, she worked with each business individually to take their brands to the next level. She is currently New York City-based.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Sure, I started off my career working in the entertainment industry. I started in media and then segued into music. That then led me to working on marketing and branding initiatives for artists, which eventually led to me working on the launch of Nicki Minaj’s wine brand, MYX Fusions. Once I got a taste of working with startups, I knew I wanted to continue working with new companies. This is how I landed at MOON Ultra.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Sure, I can recall being asked by my first boss to send a calendar invite out for a personal staff event that he was having at his home. I thought I was the most tech-savvy person in the world, but I had never used or even seen Microsoft Outlook before. This was a huge corporation with tons of contacts in the system and I accidentally invited the wrong people to his event. Two of them were new hires that he hadn’t even announced yet. I was super embarrassed and thankfully he was super calm…annoyed, but calm. I can tell you that I never made that mistake again in my entire career. I learned that the most valuable lessons aren’t taught, they’re experienced. My takeaway was that mistakes are expected but work your hardest to learn from the experience.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
There were several books that I read that really helped to shape and mold my career. Books like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” “How To Win Friends & Influence People,” “Think And Grow Rich,” and “Outliers” kept me motivated and inspired as I navigated through my career. I spent a lot of time studying the success of others.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
I absolutely agree with this. When I came to MOON, the business was already in motion and the product had already been developed. There was already vision and purpose, but I was able to bring my marketing and branding skills to really help the team bring that vision to life through our branding and messaging. We took the time to carefully develop our brand ethos and create a culture that really represented us and how we wanted to position ourselves in the marketplace.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
Absolutely, perseverance. There are ups and downs in every business, the people who succeed are those who push through despite challenges and difficulties.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Absolutely. Unfortunately, I lost some friends and relatives during the Covid-19 pandemic, so it was a very difficult time. Also, most of my family works in healthcare, so it was a scary time for all of us. What I can say is that the pandemic allowed me to self-reflect and think about the things that matter to me most. It altered how I make my decisions on both a personal and business level. I think about the “big picture” and the effects of my decisions in the grand scheme of things. I would also say that the pandemic has brought me closer to friends and family. We’ve made time to have weekly calls, where we just talk and engage with limited distractions.
Can you share a few of the biggest work-related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Sure, I think that Covid-19 has forced us to face uncertainty. This is really hard to manage because my line of work requires lots of planning and forecasting. We’ve had to adjust and pivot several times just to keep up with all of the changes that are happening in the U.S. and around the world. We’ve had to cancel, pause and alter campaigns. We haven’t fully figured out the formula, but I would say that being open, flexible and able to pivot when needed is key.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the corona virus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Absolutely, I think that at this point, everyone has experienced some level of anxiety. Personally, I think that talking and maintaining a social connection with family, friends and loved ones is very helpful, whether it’s phone calls or videoconferencing. For the first time ever, everyone in the entire world is going through this same traumatic experience. Talking, sharing stories and supporting one another is key. I also think that self-care is very important — going out for walks, yoga and meditation are critical in maintaining mental health during the pandemic.
Obviously, we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
Sure, I know that it will be a hard time for most companies. But I feel like it’s also a time for the underdogs to thrive. I think that we’ll see a rise in the growth of small businesses, and this will happen to the small businesses that are problem solvers.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
I think that COVID-19 has allowed us to reflect on how we do things in our personal lives and in the workplace. I think that working remotely will be more common. I think that people will continue to social distance, even after the pandemic. There will be a certain level of fear and paranoia that lingers for a while. There will be a lot of attention to hygiene, health and wellness.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
Once we’re there, we’ll evaluate the economy, see how healthy we are as a business, and then re-assess our go-to-market strategy. For us at MOON, influencers and content creators play a big role in our marketing plan. They are our core consumer base and find MOON very useful in their everyday lives. So we will figure out the best ways to continue to connect with this group. We’ll also continue to inform and let
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
I would encourage others to study their market and find creative ways to survive in a post-Covid 19 world. It will be tough but being creative and innovative while staying true to your brand will allow consumers to continue to support your brand. I also think that companies should dive deep and outline what problem(s) their company is truly solving and highlight this to consumers.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life quote is “the best way to predict your future is to create it.” This quote has been relevant in my life because I’m a “creator” at heart. I believe in being innovative, working hard and creating your own path to success.
How can our readers further follow your work?
You can follow me on my LinkedIn page (www.linkedin.com/in/ericavalcourt) and you can keep track of MOON Ultra at www.moonultra.com.