Diversity in the media has become a pressing issue, and it isn’t moving fast enough. Diamonde Williamson, the founder of Blossom, realized the representation gap in mainstream media wasn’t going to fill itself and took matters into her own hands.
Blossom is a global digital television destination curating the largest collection of content created for women of color, by women of color. The network aims to accurately cast these women in their curated, realistic content. No more cringing when you turn to VH1 or MTV — Blossom is keeping it classy.
Hypepotamus spoke with Williamson about how Blossom is filling an important gap and what sets them apart from other television content mediums.
When did Blossom launch?
Blossom was an idea that came about in Spring 2016, and by July 2016, we were shooting our first piece of content. Currently, Blossom’s Operations Team consists of 6 people and our Original Productions Team consists of 30+ people.
Funding or bootstrapped?
We are a bootstrapped company currently looking for funding and an equity partner/angel investor that will help us travel the country to onboard new content creators and subscribers across the globe.
How did you come up with this idea?
The idea for Blossom came about last year after sitting on my best friend’s couch on break from working “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” a docu-series on the Oprah Winfrey Network. After working in reality television for a few years, I knew I wanted to create impactful content to empower women of color. When I tried to pitch television concepts aligned with this desire, I was rejected MANY times, but I’ve never been one to let “no” stop me so God gave me the vision to just do it myself.
Initially it was only going to be my content ideas but after working at the American Black Film Festival, I realized how many other content creators could benefit from this opportunity. So I got to work.
What problem are you solving?
We are solving two problems: First, women of color who are actually living the stories the media and entertainment consistently portray, never get to tell their own stories. Blossom provides them with a platform. And second, women of color also deserve to watch more realistic experiences of themselves played on television.
Blossom has that content — the type of content that millennial women of color can see themselves in. Plus, we are not just creating content. We are building businesses, realizing dreams, creating mass opportunity for millennials to foster their creativity and incubating future public figures (something I’m extremely proud of.)
What will be the market impact?
There are many digital television networks around and popping up, but none that focus specifically on progressive and disruptive content for women of color that also allows these same women, and men as well, an opportunity to create the content and tell their stories while entertaining and educating at the same time.
Who are your competitors and why do you stand out?
We are currently a subscription-based company. We’re competing with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Black & Sexy TV, which are really big names to compete but that’s who we’re looking at. We stand out because we are FOR women and we provide a mass opportunity for content creators to create and host their content while we work aggressively to make sure their work is seen by people across the country. In order to produce a show for a television network, you have to be extremely seasoned and it’s a hard position to elevate to. We provide an accessible opportunity for content creators right now to channel their creativity into their desired production.
How does Atlanta weave into your story?
I was raised in Atlanta. It was in Atlanta that I learned how to network, start a business and learn how to produce television shows and digital content. It was also in Atlanta that I met a lot of the amazing women that I am working with today. I love Atlanta and I want to continue to build here. Right now, Blossom lives online, but I have intentions of creating physical properties for the city. I want to bring long term economic value to the place I call home.
Why did you decide to work for yourself?
I decided to work for myself because I couldn’t find a job doing exactly what I wanted to do. I’m experienced in many different roles and I wanted to work at a company where I could foster that. But I kept getting pigeon-holed into one specific role. Don’t get me wrong, I still freelance to create income but I work at Blossom full-time. This is my third company. I started a women’s group in 2013 and a cool online book retailer called Volume Twenty in 2015. We’ve halted on V20 but have plans of bringing it back one day.
What were your biggest successes?
So far, our biggest success has been just all the love and support we’ve received. It’s hard to start a business and it’s even harder to convince people to believe in it. We’ve received an overwhelming amount of people that appreciate the work and want to work with us and I am forever grateful for that.
Biggest stumbling blocks and/or failures?
I really don’t believe in failing, but the biggest stumbling block is scaling while bootstrapping. We’re working through it. Applying to accelerator programs and aggressively pitching to investors so we can find the perfect equity partner.
What’s coming up in 2017? What should we look out for?
We are actually participants in WeWork Atlanta’s Mission Possible program, which we are extremely excited about so we are headed to WeWorks across the country to screen short films and pilots created by content creators in each city. Plus, we’ll be hosting workshops and providing an opportunity for brands to create content on the platform as a way to creatively connect with our audience. So any brands want to connect our women of color, we’re ready to work! We are always looking for content creators and filmmakers who want their work to be seen.