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OneRouge Community Check-In: Week 199

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a stark spotlight on the challenges faced by mom and pop shops. These small, independent businesses, often run by families or passionate entrepreneurs, have been among the hardest hit by the economic repercussions of the pandemic. During COVID-19, many mom and pop shops struggled to navigate sudden closures, supply chain disruptions, and a significant drop in foot traffic. Without the financial resources and corporate backing enjoyed by larger corporations, these businesses faced an uphill battle to stay afloat, with some sadly succumbing to closure. As we cautiously transition into a post-pandemic world, the road to recovery for mom and pop shops remains fraught with challenges.

While restrictions may ease and consumer confidence gradually returns, the scars left by COVID-19 run deep. Many small businesses continue to grapple with accumulated debt, shifting consumer behaviors, and an uncertain economic landscape. Moreover, the accelerated digitization of commerce during the pandemic has further intensified competition, posing additional hurdles for traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.

As we look to the future, it is imperative that we recognize the enduring resilience and invaluable contributions of mom and pop shops, and actively work towards creating an environment where they can thrive once again.

Please learn with us as we listen to our speakers about their experiences.



Casey Phillips: All right. What up, Manny Fresh?  How's it going? 

Manny Patole: You're driving to or from Dallas? 

Casey: It is the driving too. And the drive has been so enjoyable because my lovely bride and I have been listening to the new Beyonce album this morning at sunrise across Louisiana. And Ooh, it's good. It is good. It is amazingly good so far. Yeah. Has anybody else listened to it yet?  

Manny: I haven't, but I, there's already a Times article out about it, and a friend of mine said it's good, but it's, you're getting your money's worth there, apparently, it's very long, too. 

Casey: Yeah, that's what I'm saying, I haven't even we haven't even, we're only halfway through, but I was the person for the last couple of years, but, Queen B is amazing and she doesn't need my opinion to be one of the greatest of all time. So I felt it was okay for me to say that the Renaissance Part I album wasn't one of my favorite albums that she did. I know everyone loves it, but it just, it wasn't my, it wasn't my favorite. This is incredible. It's really, it's it's, the soul of it is incredible. It's heavy. It's really emotional and it's beautiful at first listen. It makes me happy. I'll take some musical Friday happiness, alright, so 

Manny: How long is that drive usually? 

Casey: I had six. Yeah, it's six. Yeah, it's six hours and it goes by really fast Especially when I get to talk to all my favorite friends on friday morning So and that is the space that we are in right now patrick. Hey patrick see your face now Can we hear your voice? 

Patrick Mulhearn: Yeah, I hope so. Can you hear me?  

Casey: Yes, sir Yes, sir, we can well Patrick. We are just opening up the doors now. And so this is It is going to be a I think it's an apropos, right? Welcome everybody to another fantastic Friday together. And we have a nice cross section of voices today. It's been four years. We're coming up on the four year mark of one Rouge and one of the heart were hit during the pandemic was small businesses, mom and pop shops. And then just in general, it was a really difficult time to do business. And like all things in America, when it's out of sight, out of mind, people have the attention span of a net and you forget about it. And the reality is that the mom and pop shops are still here and a lot entrepreneurs are still paying off those loans. To be able to get through COVID and to keep their doors open. And, you have with inflation, which quite frankly in America, yes, I'll say it, we should be counting our lucky stars with how our economy has been compared to the rest of the world with inflation, but it's still been challenging. And so we wanted to give voice to some entrepreneurs to be able to talk about I won't take Pepper's thunder. So I'll let her finish framing it. But what I wanted to we wanted to open up the space to Patrick because Patrick and I come from the creative industry, which, It's very hard to understand if you haven't done it before. And people have a lot of myths and a lot of myths and romanticism about the entertainment industry, but the reality is it is an industry, it's very much a business and it's a great career. Not only is it fulfilling creatively, but it can be quite lucrative. And even if you're not in it just to make the money, you can absolutely carve out your own unique lifestyle in the creative industry, which I think freedom comes in a lot of ways and the currency of freedom is important and Patrick is Taking a huge leap of faith and all entrepreneurs do, he's taken a huge leap of faith from his previous career post to start something magical inside of the city of Baton Rouge and the state of Louisiana. And he is here to take the first five minutes to let you all know about it and to ask you all to help get the community engaged, which that will be your call to action. Patrick, welcome to the One Rouge Fridays and the floor is yours, sir. You got five minutes.  

Patrick: Thank you very much. Casey. I'm going to try to speed this up the best I can. I'm not sure how familiar you guys are with just jobs behind the camera in the film industry, but that could be everything from grip and lighting to hair, makeup to set construction set deck costume wardrobes. The 1 thing I want you to know about those jobs. That was this. Number 1 is they normally don't require a college degree and number 2, they pay pretty well. Especially for 1st year 2nd year, you're looking at, 60, 000 dollars a year, which is not something to sneeze at.  Especially in Baton Rouge, we certainly need crew in this city. And let me tell you a story real quick. That makes this all makes sense. If everybody knows the actor, George Clooney, I'm not sure if you're familiar, but George Clooney. Was sitting on set I think out in Los Angeles a few years ago, and he asked a very difficult question, but somebody has to ask some questions. He says, why is it that everybody on the set is a white guy? And literally, it was about 90 percent of everybody on the set was a white guy. And they said George, I guess a lot of women and people of color don't even know these jobs exist. And so he says, oh, okay. How do we change that? You need to expose them to it at a younger age. Okay. How do we do that? So now I don't know, George, do you want to start a high school or something? He goes, yes, let's do that. Let's start a high school. Okay. And so he calls his agent who is Brian Lord. Who's again, the CEO of CAA now, probably the most powerful guy in Hollywood, but lucky for us, he is from New Iberia, Louisiana of all places. Okay. And Brian again, was able to get with the Los Angeles unified school district in 2022 and sure enough with a bunch of celebrities, Eva Longoria, Don Cheadle, Mindy Kaling, they launched the Royal film and television magnet in downtown Los Angeles. And when we heard about them opening that, knowing that we need a crew. Knowing that we're a majority people of color city, we reached out or I did. I emailed Brian and I kid you not, the man responded in 9 minutes and said, I was just thinking it'd be perfect for Louisiana.  So that's how this all started. And I visited the place. It's amazing. Just the again, they have the history channel teaching history. They had Spike Lee's production designer, teaching art. Just fantastic and basically, they talked me into leaving my job at Louisiana development to launch a Louisiana version in Baton Rouge. And so that will be opening again in August of 2025. it'll be a soft launch charter school. It will be at Celtic studios that I used to run from 2009 and 2017. Ultimately have about 400 students because we will add a grade each year. And I guess our first graduating class will be in 2029. but yeah, we think this is going to be a transformative thing for a lot of kids. And maybe even the battery economy. Okay. I think that was 5 or close to it now. 

Casey: You did great man and, yeah, so Patrick, if you could drop the survey, we're going to send it out in the Saturday notes. But if you could drop the survey, this is the time where when we always say a nonprofit, you don't do things to the community, you do them with the community. The community. This is the process that they're in right now of wanting to see if, in fact, the community wants this, right? The vision is there. There is definitely the there's a political will around it, but now it's about the community will. And see if because I can tell y'all from running the futures fund for the last 10 years with our team and Helena, has been integral in on our team over the last five years in really assuring the growth of the futures fund, you just cannot I cannot document enough the amount of conversations I've had with parents and guardians that have said. Oh my God, thank God for this program, right? Even though we're just on a Saturday program and we do after school work, thank God for this program. Cause I don't know what to do with my kid, right? Like they, they have a creative genius inside their household that is not looking to go down the path. Down to like work at the refinery and certainly has no interest in being a lawyer or a doctor or selling insurance. And as a parent, they just simply don't know what to do with them. And they don't know how to actually help them develop something that they consider a hobby into an industry. And, I can tell you up close and personal for the last 10 years, there is a demand for this in the market. But that demand needs to have their voice heard and actually to be able to get the powers that be to invest this kind of bread into building into building this program, into the school and everybody's excited about the new campus that's being built on Acadian for the arts for visual arts. It's awesome. And it's going to be world class. And we need more of that because that demand for that school, the waiting list is off the charts. There's literally not an ability to be able to get all the kids into it. So there's clearly a market need, but we need to be able to demonstrate it as an advocate for the creative community and the creative cultural economy  here in Louisiana for Over two decades. I can tell you like this has been one of the biggest Achilles heels in the biggest weaknesses of our film industry. And our creative industry is that there is not the infrastructure. And I know this comes as no surprise in the infinite unwisdom of the legislative back in the days when they did the tax credits, Sherry McConnell and everybody that was involved in it said, we're going to mess this up. If we don't focus on the workforce in the long term solution, and because six inches in front of their face, they never could understand it. And so we're trying to retroactively work on it. Patrick, I hope I didn't put any political words into your mouth there. But that's from my perspective of of where it's at. And I appreciate that. Because ultimately, man, you're sticking your neck out to do this. There's no other way of putting it. And if there's enough people that say that you're doing, that you sound crazy, that means you're doing the right thing in Louisiana. So however we can support you, man besides the link, please make that ask now. And we appreciate what you're doing.  

Patrick: Oh, man, look, I really appreciate you helping us get the word out about this. Again, we're going for the board of elementary and 2nd education. BESE with, we need to be able to show that at least 200 families in the Baton Rouge area would be interested in sending their children to a school like this. Anything y'all can do to get the word out. Again, it's going to be nothing but good for Baton Rouge. And like I said, I really think it's gonna be transformative wealth for a lot of the families that have kids that get in the industry. And I'm always available. If anybody has questions or whatever, Casey can get you my contact info. I love talking about the subject, obviously. So  just let me know.  

Casey: Thanks, Patrick. And please drop your email and your phone number and your survey into the Zoom chat if you don't mind. Okay, sure. We can circulate that as well. And I appreciate you coming on with us today. 

Patrick: You got it. Thank you, Casey. Y'all have a happy Easter.  

Casey: Thank you, Patrick. I appreciate you. So speaking of Easter weekend, some of us knew it was happening. Some of us didn't. So for all those that observe I said happy good Friday. And I'm going to turn it over to Pepper and Tia, but make no mistake about it that's hilarious. Look at Patrick's screen real quick. It's like, how do things get done? Red Bull. That's how you change things. You just drink Red Bull. But I love the holiday weekends. Like these Fridays are my favorite because they're the intimate gatherings for the only the hardcores, Manny, Berna, like the OGs, that's what the holiday weekends are for. When some people are sleeping in, Jen's here, Samantha's here, Kelly Rogers is here and we have some really cool speakers. So I appreciate y'all being here for the intimate holiday weekend gathering. And Pepper and Tia, please take it away, my friends.  

Pepper Roussel: Happy Friday! Happy Good Friday! I don't know how that works, but essentially, I want to make sure that, yes, I fully admit, time is an illusion. It means nothing to me. I just found out this morning that it's Good Friday. I'm sorry that I did not do more to celebrate the occasion. I feel as if it was a lost opportunity. We're going to have to publish You know, a list of days when essentially we've, we are expecting that it will just be a sticking. On this fine Friday, though as I was thinking about it, we're going into the 4th year of covid or however it is that you want to see life. And we've had. These incredible disruptions with the supply chains, those disruptions are disruptions that small mom and pop shops celebrated today. It's mom and pop shop day that small mom and pop shops cannot control on their own. And so trying to understand how it is that not only. Did they, whether the storm of COVID are continuing to offer services and what sorts of things can we help support them with selling, doing, providing, et cetera. And so that said, I am actually going to monitor the chats. For a little bit and let Tia do some intros this morning.  

Tia Fields: See, I was ready to jump in before you had started. So good morning, everyone. And welcome to our One Rouge calls and happy Good Friday. So our next speaker is going to be Reazalia Allen, AKA the attorney, the Southern bell attorney. And you have five minutes to tell everybody who you are, what it is that you do and how you are taking up space in the world. 

Reazalia Allen: Hey, everybody. How are y'all doing today? This is casual Friday for me, but I want to show y'all a little bit what I have on today. I thought it was much appropriate. I have on my, I love trademarks shirt, because I do love trademarks. So I actually help small businesses  in the Baton Rouge area, actually in the United States, whoever contacts me, I help them own their brand. Small businesses and nonprofits. I help them learn about the intellectual property space, whether it's a copyright or trademark or patent, which I don't do, but I have sources who do patent work, inventions, or anything that has to do with the intellectual mind. Of a creative of anybody who has an idea that needs to be protected. I help them protect their brand. So that is basically what I do primarily as a lawyer here in the state of Louisiana and the greater Baton Rouge community. So I'm very invested in that. I think it's something that everybody should take advantage of, especially if you are a creative or in the creative space. Whether you're an author, whether you have a nonprofit or small business, anything like that, because when you protect your intellectual property, you're actually advancing yourself to, to have  generational and that's a big passion of mine is creating generational wealth. So recently, as of Yesterday, the 27th USPTO came to Southern University, which I am a law professor at Southern University Law Center. I'm in the Southern University system as a professor, been a professor for since 2019. What they did was they have a, like an incubator system incubator area. For people to learn about trademarking their trainings there. You can talk to practitioners there like myself. I prefer y'all talk to me. I've been in this for a while. You get to know more about the trademark and the patent space at Southern university, John B. Kate library. So that is something that's here. I'm glad it's here is to spark innovation and entrepreneurship, which I'm very much A proponent of because health is well, but wealth gives you the freedom to do other things than to have the lifestyle That you want to have and we don't have to depend on anybody else We don't have to make anybody else wealthy to go do that for ourselves. That's what I do If you guys have any questions, I don't mind answering.

Tia:  We have a question in chat It says do I have intellectual property and what can I use the trademark to protect it? Or how can I use a trademark to protect it? 

Reazalia: So do you have intellectual property? So that depends. This classic answer So when we talk about trademarking and protecting brands if you have a name if you have a logo like Patrick Mulhearn just put his logo up Mulhearn. He could trademark that somebody has a logo on here It's a red orange blue and white kind of looks like a variation of a peace sign You T I don't know what that's about. But, you can trademark your logo. You can also trademark your wordmark. My brand is Attorney Southern Bell. And I've trademarked that brand. I don't know if y'all have heard of Pumpin and Pearls, but I've trademarked that brand. Is it expensive to trademark? Yes. With USPTO, how it works is very, it's complex. If you contact a practitioner like me, I'm required to do my due diligence to do a search out there. Because if I don't do a comprehensive search, I will never know. What's out there that you could be possibly infringing on somebody else's brand that's already trademarked that has the same name, or there could be an issue of what we would call a likelihood of confusion, or maybe your brand is generic and descriptive, but maybe it's acquired distinctiveness over time. So with that being said I do a comprehensive search and that's how, if you could trademark things that are out there, the practitioner should do those types of searches. And then after that, We search for the classes that you would be in. In commerce, there's 45 different classes, so maybe you do restaurant services. That's what we call class 43, or maybe you make candles. That's what we call class three. So we would put that in a we as a practitioner I'm asking you specific questions to figure out what does this person do in the world and when I figure that out, that's how I do the search and I'll tell you whether it's a go or no, if it's a no, I always provide a brand strategy for you with some brand strategists that work on my team and business engineers that can help you rebrand. Because we don't want to, we don't want it to be where you're infringing on someone else. Now, the infringement part. If you have a brand and somebody is infringing on your brand, even if it's not trademarked, you can't pursue that person because you could prove that you have first use. But I always tell businesses to err on the side of trademarking federally. Do not trademark. Don't trademark. With the state that means nothing to in the grand scheme of things. It means nothing in a court makes me something local court. But when you're going against  if attorney if there's an attorney Southern Bell in California, which there was she was trying to use my name. And I ended up stopping her. So if she was in California saying that she was a Southern bell attorney, that's wrong. I am in this trademark. So I could call her and tell her, look, cease to desist. Send a letter from my office letterhead. You need to stop using this or. I can sue her in federal court and take all of her profits that she earned off my name. So that's a thing.  

Tia: There's another question in the chat that says, If you work for a business and create something while working for them, is that business entitled to credit for your work or intellectual property?  

Reazalia: Oh, now that's the thing. Depends on what their contract says. This is what I tell people all the time. You do not do business or talk about your business or ideas with anyone, including the people that you work with without a non disclosure agreement. If they want you to onboard and say, okay, listen, we need your help with this idea. If it is my idea, I want to protect that. And first time say can we have a non disclosure agreement? So for example, I have a client that works with Essence. Right now she works with essence and she has ideas. She has creative works and I review I reviewed I review her contracts. And I told her, we are not discussing this with any businesses. I don't care who they are. I don't care if it's Jet Magazine.

I don't care if it's Essence Magazine. I don't care who it is. Do they have an NDA present? If they don't have an NDA present, we're not discussing it because NDAs are enforceable no matter what. And they could be held in perpetuity. So if you work for a company and they want your idea, they're They should not be able to take the credit unless there's a specific clause in a contract. And me with my smarts, I would say if it's a specific clause in a contract, I want a clause to where I get compensated for my brain, for my idea that I gave you guys, or I'll take the brand. I'll have it. I'll have the idea. I'll trademark it. And I will license it out to my company that I work for it. And they would have to pay me. That's that whole generational wealth piece. So let's say for example I have a curriculum for my master's thesis. And I talk about glass ceilings or whatever. So it's very, it's a very complex situation. I apply glass ceilings and different types of glass to leadership. It's a model. So that piece of my curriculum, I knocked master speech. I could trademark that and I could license it out to universities. I could license it out to other entities for leadership development. I can license that whole thesis out. And so in doing so when I'm licensing it out or whatever, they would have to pay me a fee for that. Because it's not intellectual property and that's a corporate contract type of thing. 

Tia: Thank you. I'm going to ask 1 more question before we give the 5 minutes to our other speaker because we'll have some more follow up questions. On the topic of nondisclosures,  if someone was not familiar with the process of nondisclosures, what they could be used for, is there a way that we could schedule time with you outside of this call to Get more information or possibly host a workshop of some sort to speak more to the non disclosure. 

Reazalia: Yes, you definitely can. Okay. Somebody also said something about, what if kids working at CELTIC students come up with something that is educational, institutional, title system, IP, and with the kids protection. I do have a 12 year old client. She surprised me when she reached out to me. I was like, who are you? But she's 12 and she has IP that she wants to protect.  

Tia: So there is not an age limit on who owns intellectual property. 

Reazalia: There's always a capacity issue at age, you should be age 18, but my 12 year old client has an LLC. So her LLC is going to own the trademark.  

Tia: Absolutely. Thank you for that. We'll jump back in with more questions for you in a second. I do want to take this time to introduce our next speaker, which is Sheena Johnson, nurse and realtor. Sheena, if you can just hop off call off mute and tell the people who you are, what you do and how you're taking up space.  

Sheena Johnson: Good morning. Y’all have to excuse, I'm stopped up.  And I'm in the mid room at work, so it's a let that go. But my name is Sheena Johnson, and basically I do nursing and I'm a realtor.  I guess you could say four years ago when COVID hit I started doing travel nursing. So I did that and I wanted to get into real estate, but I didn't know where to start. When I finished traveling, I came back home and I went to real estate school and also I became a realtor. So I wanted to do something where I still can help people as well as, still feel like I'm being a nurse. So I started real estate and I was like I want to do something where I kind of brain myself a little bit, or. Make people know I'm a little different. So I start going by nurse Rosa and also everything I do for my kids I'm a single mother. I want to do things that make them feel like, you know I can go back and do all this my mama did everything as a single mother I worked three jobs and with a school and got my BS in as an RN.I LP at first  I've been doing real estate a little over a year and a half. My first year I didn't do much. I did one deal and this year it took off or whatever. So my first year I actually just did a lot of branding and marketing for myself, but that's it in a nutshell.  

Tia: So when it comes to sorry, I don't know. I'm sorry about that. So when it comes to COVID and the housing market and you just being freshly into real estate And the current housing market, how has it affected you as a or are you considered an independent realtor or are you associated with a  a broker or your realtor broker? 

Sheena: I have to when you become an Agent, you have to go under somebody. So I am under a brokerage. She's a small person. It's six of us. So it's black on a lot of people. Yeah. A lot of people got homes during COVID. It was overpricing homes, paying more than what they should. So now those people are trying to sell homes and their homes are not worth. What they were doing and they are upside down. So a lot of those people are either going into foreclosure or forced to do short sales on their homes.  So it have a big impact on the real estate market.  

Tia: Thank you. So you touched on  still wanting to remain in your nursing capacity and focusing a lot on your branding and marketing when you first started out do you feel that nursing has helped with real estate or your clients per se?

Sheena: Yeah, because I'm already in them. Done. Nurse mode and mommy mode. So it's like when people panic and stuff, I don't panic as well. And it's easier because we are already counselors, nurses or counselors. We help people with, everyday prices and we have to think on our feet and we always constantly have to think outside the box, so it helps with real estate, like it's always different things happening in real estate and you have to be able to think outside the box and I think nursing helped me with that as well. 

Pepper: That's, oh, no, that's fine. We'll keep this train rolling. So I have a question. So  for both you and for Reazalia we have been listening to how you sit up the business and as you work your way through it. But Reazalia loves trademarks. What sorts of things have you looked into trademarking? What sort of things can you trademark? 

Sheena: That's for me or for the other lady? 

Pepper: The first part is for you. What sort of things have you looked into trademarking and then for, and then what sorts of things can you trade or can be trademarked as a nurse slash realtor?

Sheena: I haven't tried to trademark anything because I do notice like on social media, if I put in nurse realtor, a lot, some other nurses that are realtors use the tag. So I never like. Decided to trademark it. I just did it here because I started off at KW and my name is so common, even though people don't think it is. My name is Sheena Johnson. So KW had another Sheena Johnson. So I needed to set myself apart from her. So I started using my middle name. I use Sheena Monique. And then I was like I just don't want to use Sheena Monique. I still want people to know me as a nurse. Cause I didn't, I never want to take away from me being a nurse.  That's my love. That's my career. So I wanted to tie the two together. So I said she and Monique nurse real. So everybody in my family loves to call me Monique anyway. So it just went together for me.  

Reazalia: So to that end, I guess I'll stop chiming on that. She can't trade marks. She might be able to trademark nurse realtor. It all depends on if someone's out there actually if the search comes up, that somebody has already trademarked nurse realtor, like some people use hashtags are trademarkable. Some people use these hashtags and things like that. But if she could prove that she had been using it first, and there's nothing else out there that I could see. In the USPTO or anything like that. She is able to get that trademark. Does that answer your question about her situation? Okay.

Pepper: It answers the question of what can she trademark, so she can trademark the hashtag, she can trademark her name possibly are there any other things that she might be able to trademark?

Reazalia: Anything that she has as brand, like her brand strategy, let's say she has a realtor group. If she has a realtor group that has like a logo the nurse, maybe she's banding with other nurses that are realtors and they call themselves the nurse, real estate agents or something to that effect. Then, she's able to prove that through use. And when I say proving it through use, that means that like websites is most verifiable form of use. Websites, maybe some brochures, business cards  if she was doing products, the actual product labels Facebook, social media hashtags and all that kind of stuff that those are things that's how you improve that use. I guess what I didn't say is that anytime you want to trademark something, you always have to do it. You always have to prove use of the thing. Use I gotta be able to show, it's like a math problem, it's a show and tell thing. Okay, yeah, how do you use this in the spaces that you're in? In commerce, specifically. 

Tia: You spoke to if you came up with the curriculum, so her as a nurse realtor, if she had a certain way of how she markets or a way that she reaches her clients and say, she wants to do like a webinar or a workshop to, there are people or students who are interested in becoming realtors, and she just want to say, Hey, this is just the I'm not teaching you how to become because you have to go through the state to do this. But this is a fast track of what you need to know in order to become a real estate agent or a realtor. Is that something that she could also trademark as far as her intellectual property of creating A work plan, a  something of that nature. 

Reazalia: Her curriculum how would she trademark that?  Is that yes. Okay. So if you, if she, okay. Curriculum wise. One of my colleagues in the industry, she did her curriculum. She has a signature speech called the currency of competence. And she trademarked that and she was able to prove the use of it. But she ended up making the Currency of Competence is already trademarked. She has a speech. She just ended up broadening that, or not even broadening it, just expanding it and making it a curriculum. But it's already trademarked. She would just have to prove how she did it. Whether it's on she may have it on her, Landing page are so I have another client. And they all registered. So one is Godspell Brett. She has a tagline But that tagline is also like curriculum based So she makes videos and things and teaches from that tagline, but I was able to trademark that for her it just depends on how you position in it how you in marketing it And what you're actually doing to be able to trademark. So your curriculum, it definitely can be, just how you position it and how you showing the use of it.  That's really what it all boils down to. Did I answer that question?  

Tia: You did for me. There's another question in the chat from Pepper to ask the difference between copywriting and trademarking as it relates for small businesses.

Reazalia: Okay, so I have a promise that but I have a pending well a client and my client actually does a lot of t shirts so the t shirt is a brand and so the brand is able to be trademarked because Just like this shirt is a hanes shirt, maybe or whatever the shirt is called gibbs or whatever A haynes shirt or gildan is trademarked And this is a shirt. So this is in 20 class, 25. In order to show my, that my client is using that brand and make t shirts, my client has to put in his shirt on his label that, okay, this is a, whatever his brand is called the show. Okay. I'm actually selling shirts. Then he also has to show that it's e commerce.  If it's e commerce  that, Hey, you could put the shirt in a cart online and you could purchase it. But on different shirts he has different designs  I could copyright his design  his designs are not necessarily able to be trademarked But the artwork that he's coming up with I could copyright all of it.  And so that's the difference. So  Normally copyrights are for written works and your artwork and things like That's able to be copyright  trademarks are for logos and brands And names or taglines and stuff. And then you have patents get into patents are for inventions. Anybody have any questions on that? 

Pepper: No, I just saw that Casey come off mute. So waiting for giving him space there.  

Casey: Yeah, no, I was I was listening intently, this, one of the things that doesn't really come up, I'm I'm thinking about you, a lot of times when we talk about mom and pop and small businesses, people think of, they don't think of nonprofits as that. But obviously non profits are right. That's just a tax designation So Verna, I was wondering have you ever thought about like intellectual property and copyrights? Inside of your non profit and have you know, and then of course I welcome the speakers to maybe talk about Non profit, clients that they've used where they've captured ip And help nonprofits monetize that through products and services or, franchise, not franchising, licensing. Verna, have you ever explored that at all? Because what you do is very unique. 

Verna Bradley-Jackson: No, just this conversation is so interesting. I'm so glad I did come on here this morning. But no, we just, I'm just busy doing the work and it's interesting. Ms. Allen, I will be giving you a call. Thanks Casey for that, for this whole thing in one room, y'all on the boat  soon. 

Reazalia: Thank you, Miss Verna. I think we've met before on the campaign trail. To your point, Casey. When you talk about nonprofits and then being able to monetize in that space and licensing the nonprofits that I have worked. I'm working with. In this city specifically, they haven't really monetized yet, but they are on the move. So one of the nonprofits that I have that is about to be registered through my company with a trade market. I'm sorry. I have a little dog here. She just barking. Sorry. Is FOAM Fathers on a Mission. If you notice that fathers on a mission, they have been expansion expanding so well doing the work that they do in the community with Mr Levar Robinson and so with FOAM like they now have their building And they also have curriculums and things like that. And so I can speak to that point as to where I know that's our programming their curriculum, everything that they're doing right now in this space. That is something that's going to  expand far beyond what we can ever do. Imagine, and now he has that organization has that type of licensing power. One other nonprofit that I am working with, which is my own nonprofit. But it's based out of Fayetteville, North Carolina served on the board for several years. Is the Tulsa initiative, and we have a Fayetteville youth summit that's coming up in April. And we're trademarking our youth summit. Right now the name of it because it's a health and in fact pay a bill or whatever So we're trademarking that and we've also trademarked the name. Tulsa initiative Tulsa leadership and that's for entrepreneurs there in that piece in that space i'm teaching  young people especially young men young males how to actually we provide seed money for businesses and ownerships like that. So that's always been Thank you The it's always the goal. 

Casey: Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, of course you did. Yeah, of course. And yeah, Lavar's making moves and I was like, he and I were talking about that when he was going up to the Northeast to get his certifications and yeah. Curriculum. Yeah. Licensing on curriculum. It's complicated. Especially when, depending on how you assembled it everyone, it really depends on, it's really important if you are going to try. To license curriculum that your agreements with your instructors and the people who helped you develop it is tight. Because that's something that is something that can come back and bite you. But it, you try to get it right on the first hand, but yeah it's complicated. And it's complicated. 

Reazalia: And that's why every business needs, I always tell people, your business needs several things. An attorney you need as you need, especially an attorney that's really well versed, even nonprofits need an attorney on your team as well versed with contracts, intellectual property negotiations, mediation. You need that. You need an attorney in that aspect. You need a financial planner. You need somebody that has a wealth of knowledge about insurance. Those are like three big things that all small businesses and nonprofits need to have.  

Casey: Amen. And she speaks the truth. She speaks the truth. Those are fundamentals that can't be overcome. And Pepper's smiling because all those books that she's read there's a reason for it. I want to bring Paul Franklin into this conversation and then Tia and Pepper, I'm going to lean back out. But when we're talking about mom and pop and talking about entrepreneurs. Paul is a 30 year entrepreneur in the entertainment industry. And I'll let him tell his story, but Paul, maybe you could let people know for your industry in particular, what it's like as an entrepreneur to come out, go navigate through COVID. And now that you're out on the other side of it, what the terrain and the landscape looks like now.Please take it away, sir. Good to have you in the space.  

Paul Franklin: Good morning. Good morning,  everybody. A little bit about myself. We, I'm actually from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We're fortunate enough to have a platinum record back in 1988. A record called Anything That Can. Yeah, it was funny because I was attending Central University and I ended up dropping out of school to pursue music career in music. And we're going to be like a way to go back to something or something to teach a course on entrepreneurship and the music industry.

Casey: Hey, Paul Paul, I apologize. And I just want to check real quick. Is anybody else having a hard time understanding Paul?  Yeah, everybody was having a hard time hearing you, man. And I want everyone to sit with your words. 

Paul: Is that better?  Can you hear me now? 

Casey: It is. Yeah, it's still echoing, but you're good. Yeah.  Wonderful. Wonderful. 

Paul: Good morning everyone. Can everyone hear me? Okay. Hopefully we can. Like I was saying, I am originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We were fortunate enough when I was about 19 years old to have a double platinum record coming out of old south Baton Rouge. I currently live in Dallas, Texas. I actually work with the Walls out here as a director of community outreach and partnerships on the ground out here. And again, when I'm listening, and I heard your question, Casey, but as I listen to the conversation, and as we talk about intellectual properties. One of the things that, again, we deal with that quite a bit in the entertainment industry whether it be copyrights or whether it be these trademarks or anything dealing with intellectual properties. And my question to the young lady was, if you do have an idea in that space, does work for hires solidify that, especially if you're creating curriculums? With individuals, getting them to sign work for hires in those moments. Does that protect you and protect your intellectual property and being able to build it out to where no one else has a claim on it? Hello? 

Pepper: Yeah, that was for you. We might have to come back to it.  

Paul: Okay. There's no problem at all. Again just like I said, the entertainment industry was quite, was hit very hard, obviously before, during COVID because no one was able to go outside. No one was able to do events. But coming back after COVID, all the prices of everything skyrocketed. The terrain changed tremendously. I don't know if it was that the industry was trying to recoup. The revenue that was lost during the time of COVID or if just the industry exploded, but the things that were very inexpensive. We've had artists that went anywhere from 10, starting at 10,000 before COVID and are now 45,000 post COVID. Same talent, the fan base didn't grow, nothing grew outside of the price tag for the talent. So again, just looking at the industry, obviously it was a little different pre COVID because again, you had independent talent that you were able to book as  You were able to promote concerts because at one time you were only able to see certain artists in certain venues. They weren't allowed or necessarily being booked mainstream in that sense. But since COVID you can see a lot of your hip hop talent in mainstream arenas, which kind of changed the dynamic, also changed the pricing. On a lot of it. So Casey, I'm not sure if that answered your question about what was pre and post COVID, but that's just a little insight into some of the things that took place in entertainment through the span of the last five years. 

Casey: Yeah, that and then the other side of your business is helping people start businesses, right? So I would maybe, in case there's anybody on here if you can maybe drop like some free wisdom, cause I know that's what you get paid to do, but this is a free space, maybe drop in a couple of nuggets of wisdom that you advise your clients on the steps to take and the things to avoid.

Paul: Absolutely. So that was one of the things that we did just an entertainment. We had so many young people that had ideas and aspirations to be music, to be entertainers, and obviously everyone won't be a superstar. And they will come and they would have minimal budgets. And obviously a lot of these budgets won't attain the level of success that they're looking for. And for a long time, I would just tell them the budget's not large enough and realistically, you won't be able to accomplish your dreams or your goals with the budget, or even with the talent. But then they'll go to another company right down the street and they will sell them a dream and just take their money. So I had to find a way to add value to the artists in that sense. So we started working then and establishing LLCs, the EINs, the Dun Bradstreet, the NAV accounts, being able to set up viable businesses for the artists so that even if their music career wasn't successful, you That they would have, they can have a successful business and something to fall back on and be able to leverage the business and other ways outside of entertainment, if their music career didn't work. So that was the way we started adding value to all of our talent. And even past then it even took us a step further. To say, okay, so now that we have the LLCs, the EIN, the Navi accounts, the Dun and Brad, and we shut all of those things up, what do we do now to really secure it? So that's when I went into life insurance. I went into life insurance because obviously, there's growth in stocks, but there's risk. There's no growth in banks, but you have protection. But there is protection and growth in insurance that I saw, and that is one of the areas. That we're able to build generational wealth. I just think that our communities haven't used it in the fashion that it was designed to be used because obviously we ensure everything that means something to us, we ensure our cars, we ensure our homes. But what happens if something happens to you, your primary investment, which is yourself. And a lot of the times we overlooked that. So understanding how to one operate as a business, even if you don't have a business, you personally are a business, even, and I say this, even if you just named the LLC your name and you operate as a business as yourself has more benefits for you than just operating and paying deals as a regular consumer. Those are things that we added to all of our talent, and we added it to the services that we provide for organizations and a lot of, like I said, a lot of the guys were in entertainment so that anyone ever needs any, any help or assistance or thoughts on what that looks like. I'm always open to answer those questions. 

Casey: Thank you, Paul. Appreciate you. And back over to UT and Pepper. Appreciate the insights.  Yes, sir. 

Pepper: I was looking to see if Reazalia Allen was back somewhere nearby to answer Paul's question. All right, guess not. Sheena, are you around? This sounds like a big 

Sheena: Yeah, I'm still here. I'm still here. Okay. Yeah hey. Okay nice to meet you guys. 

Pepper: No, not at all. I understand that you are doing additional things. All of us are multitasking. Yours is just a little bit more physical than some of us, right? I have been sedentary for months. Here we are. It shows in my jeans. Anyways stupid question for you. You said that you do travel nursing and you also sell real estate. So at one point it feels very much. Oh, so you don't travel nurse anymore. 

Sheena: No, I traveled during COVID. So when the world slowed down for everybody else, it didn't slow down for me. So I did traveling for two years to help out with COVID patients.  

Pepper: Oh, how wonderful because it sounded like there is a natural connection between caregiving and  real estate and you're making sure that small businesses are really handled or taken care of and protected  and I was going to ask. Like, how it is that you how it is that you duggle the two? Is it possible for you to do the, like, all this traveling? But if you are in one place here in Baton Rouge, how do, oh, never mind. I was going to ask, how do we find you in case we want to buy or sell a house? But it looks like Tia has already dropped your card in the chat. Thank you, Tia. 

Sheena: Yeah,  I still do both.  As far as like small businesses, I guess the words of wisdom is don't give up. A lot of days are hard. I have a much older.  And because I know even me with real estate, my full time job has to fund my real estate business, like even with like marketing and putting yourself out there and getting stuff together ads and things like that. I'm still in a negative. So I use my, Everyday jobs to pay for with a C. Even though I'm getting checks in, I'm still haven't made that, negative, but  I just think if you keep grinding, it'll eventually pay out. The first 2 years is really the legwork of your business. And if you make it to year three, I think you'd be fine. 

Casey: Hey, I just wanted to I just wanted to jump in real quick because we have someone in real estate here. And obviously with all the NAR lawsuits, I wanted to actually recommend that we did do that on a Friday to talk about the National Association of Realtors and that seismic thing. Here's something that I learned in the last couple of weeks. And I think everybody here who's ever tried to buy a house will find this surprising. Do you know that real estate agents commission is actually negotiable and they will tell you that it's not, but it actually is, and it is not the fixed amount. Obviously if you haven't been paying attention to the lawsuit, but Sheena, I would, the reason why I bring that up is because you're just getting into the industry right now.

This is a very interesting time, right? And so what are your, what's your perspective on what moves are you making now that has happened? Because for all practical purposes, it appears that the real estate market is about to seismically shift in how we do business. So what's your perspective on it? Especially when someone, There's still like making their way in it and not been in it for 30 years.  

Sheena: Yes, the real estate commission is negotiable as I have listed a couple of properties myself. So the listing agent is the one that actually negotiates the commission for the buyer agent. So  they are trying to do where the listing agent only. List the property with a commission and not pay the buyer agent. I do think it's going to eventually have some problems because it's going to be a lot of first time home buyers that can't pay. Oh buyer agents commission. So the only thing I said I can do as a listing agent is still trying to navigate for the buyer's agent. And still try to include the commission to listen. If that doesn't work as a buyer agent, I would just try to negotiate my commission with the seller within a contract that we've tried to buy the house for, because ultimately a lot of first time home buyers cannot afford to buy houses and pay for commission. It's, they already have down payment fees, closing costs, fees, inspections, appraisal, and then you add the buyer's commissions on top of that. It's just going to probably knock a lot of people out the game.  

Casey: Excellent. And obviously and I realized I did not differentiate. Obviously the difference between agents and realtors and I know it's a lot more nuanced than that. So I was hitting some pretty broad brushes there. But I agree. That's the one side of it that really seems like That's  going to become an Achilles heel because you're not going to be able to finance those fees. And that's going to be incredibly difficult to come out of pocket for while you're already just saving up your money for the down payment and making it work. Yeah, that's thanks for lifting that up. I appreciate it. Sorry, Pepper and Tia. And yeah, I went on a little bit of a sidebar, but it was, I found it interesting giving that. That Ms. Johnson was transitioning from KW to her own practice. It's an interesting time to be doing that. 

Pepper: Not at all. I am thankful for everybody who joined us on this fine Friday. Happy good Friday to all of you. I do hope that whatever you have planned for this weekend is amazing and that you get to spend it with those you love. That said, what's going on this weekend in Baton Rouge, y'all? I would suggest crawfish boil, but I know the price of crawfish is ridiculous. 

Verna: Hey, just want to do a shout out Pepper say that April is second chance month and the last week in April is national reentry month, week, I'm sorry. 

Pepper: Ooh, we should do something. We should do something festive. All right. So that said, thank you to both of three, all three of our speakers, Paul, Sheena, and Reazalia for being here on this Friday. And I hope to see y'all next week, right back here. Same bat time, same bat channel. Also special. Thanks to Tia for connecting everybody today. 

Casey: Yeah, appreciate y'all. Thank y'all for spending the holiday weekend with us on this Friday and honoring the space, and we'll be back with you next Friday with things that will get you riled up and policy and legislative stuff and getting everybody all fired up. And I appreciate the small business sharing today. And y'all have a beautiful weekend. See you later. 



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