For our second guest this season we speak to long time entrepreneur and DreamU CEO, Francis Castillo aka Chise. Based out of the Carolinas, DreamU specializes in marketing and event planning and is the force behind The BrunchCLT.
Gi recalls meeting Francis at TheBrunch CLT in 2019, as part of the promotion team and recalls his branding being an inspiration in her process while creating The Black Vibrations Podcast.
To kick off their conversation Francis talks about being originally from Belize and having to explain his specific brand of blackness to people all the time. After coming to the States at age 3, Francis recalls moving around from city to city until finally settling down in Winston Salem, NC at age 12. "WInston raised me. It got me my soul," recalled Castillo, "but as I grew I knew I had to grow up and get out."
Gi comments that "...a large amount of black people raised in the hood their main goal is to LEAVE the hood."
Francis later tells us that he remembered at a young age he wanted to work for himself, starting his first company at 23 called The CEO's Marketing, which specialized in college parties and events. He tells us that that time taught him a lot of business etiquette, as well as what really goes behind large scale events such as managing street teams, security, venues, outreach and more.
Chise remembers getting burnt out from the party lifestyle and taking time to himself. Eventually, he got the itch of entrepreneurship and came up with the idea of DreamU - rooted in the concept of the Greek deity of dreams - Morpheus. Three years in the game, Chise is thankful for his book of clients and continued expansion as DreamU grows. His clients include event planners, caterers, personal trainers, and more. Gi and Chise also wrap about how connections like theirs, help empower and grow black businesses across the state being that Chise is HQ'd out of Greensboro and us out of Charlotte. This type of bond builds trust and credibility among the black community, which gives power to the amazing black brands across North Carolina.
As they continue talking about the wins and struggles of entrepreneurship, Chise leaves a great quote in telling us that embarking on his journey taught him how consistency is key, but also adapting the mindset that "I need to grind to get this money." This later sparked a conversation about branding and how a large part of it is how to stand apart, whether it is the service, the professionalism, the thought behind the brand, etc.
Although marketing is his main stream of income under his DreamU umbrella, Chise highlighted some very special events to him such as baby showers, sweet 16s, and community charity events. Where he notes gave him feelings of satisfaction. Being able to diversify what events has allowed him to actually say "wow, I am good at this!"
"You look like a Life Coach"
Noting his sharp attire, Gi can't help to say that Chise just "looked like" a life coach. Funny enough, Chise denotes first getting inspired by helping a young boy get over his fear of the pool one day. Impressing those around him on how he helped this person get over the fear, the itch came again. Now Chise has taken his first life coach client, and in that space his role is to help people achieve their dreams. Straight up, there are people who don't have support systems and Chise comes in and helps gives them support and motivation to stay consistent in chasing their goals.
After exploring his journey as a life coach, Gi and Chise talk about his self published book: "Leveling Up with Francis Castillo: Spiritually. Mentally. Financially" which is available on Amazon! Essentially, Chise decided to not shop his book to an agency and published it himself through Amazon which is similarly to releasing independent music, releasing work without the support of a corporate agency. One thing Chise notes was important on his decision to write the book, and that is overcoming fear. Castillo quotes Steve Harvey, and tells listeners to "take that leap," and to not be fearful.
Make sure to check out the full episode on 4/24 at 10am est as a part of our Season 2 premiere batch.
Peace and Blessings!
SUNDAY: Ver Project Pop-up Shop
On Sunday, we headed out to the weekend's final event: the Ver Project Pop-Up where Al set up an art exhibit highlighting his journey to where he is now and had merchandise to sell as he readies for the Spring Launch the following week. The exhibit essentially highlighted Al's life from his early days, the military, becoming a professor, launching Affiliated Apparel and more. Guests began to pour in consisting of attendees from the weekend's prior events, other Charlotte Entrepreneurs, local supporters, and more. Al also gave two live interviews with A Too Cozy Podcast and us.
The Pop-Up, along with all the other events were held in black owned venues as well, so we wanted to shout out the entire Affiliated team for bringing this amazing and classy event to Charlotte, and here at TBV are looking forward to capture the growth of this event in the years to come.
Peace and Blessings!