We had the good fortune of connecting with Pamela & Paloma and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pamela & Paloma, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
What started as two old friends out for drinks, ended up being a conversation that would change our lives. Two Negronis in, one joke about starting a business and 4 years later, we’ve done the damn thing.
After 10 years of working in creative ideation and production, we started Wide Awake as a way to contribute work that sparks curiosity and tells a story. The most important thing was to create a space for female minorities to work in the creative mainstream world without being labeled as multicultural. It’s been inspiring to others and ourselves.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are Wide Awake, an independent creative studio founded by Pamela Rachel and Paloma Cortez. Our work spans experiential, pop-ups and art installations with a goal to shift culture, spark curiosity and have fun while doing it!
A few things we’ve learned: Anything really is possible (with help,) trust your work and dream big.
One of the first projects we worked on was this huge pop-up in Las Vegas with an 80’x30′ footprint. That activation had everything from a brand spanking new Tesla with a photo booth inside, to a 6 ping pong tables, a vintage bubble bath and help stations that looked like you were at an Apple store. We were so driven and knew anything was possible that we felt the two of us could pull the whole thing off (and we did, but with no sleep, few extra hands and alot of work.) And although that’s true (that anything is possible), since then we’ve learned when to hire on extra hands and when to say no. We don’t just want to dream big, we want to do things with excellence, and that’s something that hasn’t changed since day 1.
A Wide Awake installation isn’t just about pushing creative limits or having a cool event. We want our work to evoke awareness on a deeper level. Stay Wide Awake and look at the world around you. There’s beauty and humanity waiting to be seen and helped.
One of our installations that’s active now (has been in the Hopscotch museum for almost 2 years) is the SECRETS installation. There are 6 pay phones up where guests can listen to secrets people left during the pandemic. Our hotline is still active so you could leave a secret anytime, even now.
Oh! And the last thing we wanted to say we’re proud of is our vintage Japanese mini truck, named Chuy. Photo attached. We drive him to events and sometimes he is the event – used as a flower truck!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’re actually based out of Chicago, so I’m not sure if this is about ATL only (although ATL is one of my favorite cities and is where one of my best friends lives.)
In Chicago, it’s all about the neighborhoods for me. Corner bars tucked away in tree lined streets, household restaurants two blocks from home and city life. I had my friends visit this summer (2 from LA, one from MSP and one from ATL.) We did coffee walks to Blue Bottle along the river every morning, ate Mediterranean, hotdogs and my Mother In-Law’s homemade baklava (my husband is greek so they were the best.) A few other favorite spots for night life, were the ACE hotel rooftop, Blind Barber and any place along Hubbard street.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Our tribute is to every female boss we’ve had and to our female friends who are business owners or leaders in their field of work. Each of them gracefully defined what a leader was. It was always the small things that mattered; things like bringing us in on meetings way above our pay grade, taking the time to sit with us on large scale budgets and teach us tips and the most important was seeing how they handled failure. We think of them when in similar situations.
@domsquiat (IG Handle) – Rise & Shine Photography (only the In Living Pixels photo)