Niki Shadrow Snyder – Co-Founder of Project Pop Drop and The Givefluencer Network

Episode 176

What a great conversation with Niki Shadrow Snyder, co-founder of Project Pop Drop and The Givefluencer Network. We talk about her amazing career journey and how giving back and helping one another is the key for everyone. Niki also tells the sweet story of the founding of her philanthropic adventure, Project Pop Drop and The Givefluencer Network. Listen to this wonderful episode on #TheKaraGoldinShow

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be, I want to just sort of make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked out knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kara golden show. So join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go Let’s go. Hi, everyone. Its Kara golden from the Kara golden show. And I’m so excited to have my next guest here. I have Nikki shad wrote Snyder, I knew Nikki before she was had the Snyder on the end of it. So I have to hesitate for a minute. I’ve known her for a long time. So Nikki is the co founder of project pop drop. But she’s also the life and Style Editor from Hollywood weekly magazine and the co founder of project pop drop, obviously and the co founder of the gift influencer network, and also a co owner of Platinum international products and services. So lots of amazing stuff. She lives in Los Angeles. And today we’re going to talk a little bit about a lot a bit about Nikki’s journey, because it is so interesting. We had actually met I’ll let Nikki share a little bit more about this. But we had met years ago, when we started working with Nikki I think she was interviewing me for hint, initially, but I mean, she is just this total badass, amazing female leader turned entrepreneur and she just makes it happen along the way. And so I invited her to come on the podcast to really share her story because as everyone knows, I mean just through stories that’s how we go and build and have a great interesting journey and and do lots of things that we didn’t necessarily think that we we could so welcome so much Nikki too excited to have you.

Niki Shadrow Snyder 2:29
Thank you so much for having me. You could not be more excited than me to see your face right now and listen to your voice. After so many years of fun, shenanigans and hardcore business together.

Kara Goldin 2:42
You’re so fun. Well really excited to see you as well. So tell everybody a little bit about little Nikki. So who was Nikki shad row from? Were you always this just go out and get it person that that went out and overachieved or tell me a little bit more about little Nikki?

Niki Shadrow Snyder 3:03
All right. Well, it’s funny that you say little Nikki, I’m definitely little Nikki now I don’t know where any of my heels are. They’re all collecting data. But when I knew you Kara when I was in my early 20s pre motherhood, I was in seven inch heels every night and Little Nicky was actually a lot taller than she is now. Because I was on a red carpet every night in heels. When I that’s when I last was hanging with you

Kara Goldin 3:26
notice funny,

Niki Shadrow Snyder 3:28
it’s so true. And it is funny. It’s funny to think now that I would put on a pair of heels and not tripping them. But it I had a very interesting journey. It’s true when we met. I was the life and Style Editor for I think a few different publications. I worked with Brett one Media Group, which owned a few different titles. They owned Brentwood magazine, Malibu Beach magazine, Beverly Hills magazine, they owned Hollywood Hills magazine, they had a couple different titles under the publishing company and I was the life and Style Editor with that syndicated column and all the publications. So not only you know, was I writing my columns, but I was going out every night I was basically like Carrie Bradshaw, I had a column I was in like a fashion II fashion he said type of outfit and going out every night and that was definitely my whole 20s. But over the years, I started working with a few other different publications and my work with the publications kind of threw me into the event business to where people were saying, okay, Nikki can produce a photoshoot for celebrities and do covers and, you know, coordinate photoshoots so why don’t we just have her coordinate the events as well. So I took a crack at it and I never really turned back after that. And that’s how we started working together past me writing about you in my column, which I was so excited to write about a female founder with such an amazing idea and i i knew it was gonna be special, but I had no idea how insanely amazing the brand wouldn’t become. I mean, I knew it was going to be good. Because first thought tasted amazing. And I always had them in my house like for the last 20 years, they’re the only water besides actual water that I would have in my house or would have on the set at any shoot or any red carpet event. It was like my go to brand and water that I would always pull from. So you’re my girl, Kara.

Kara Goldin 5:23
You’re so sweet. It’s so you worked as a, as a writer, as an editor on so many different magazines. Did you know that you always wanted to write? I mean, how did you start writing initially?

Niki Shadrow Snyder 5:37
Well, I actually initially went to school for fashion, and merchandise marketing, I went to fidm University. And I majored in Merchandising, marketing and product development. And while I was in school at the Fashion Institute, I was trying to learn all these different jobs because I knew that I loved fashion, but I wanted to see like where my place would be in the business. And I initially thought I was going to be a buyer, how cool every girl wants that job. They think it’s so cool that they can just get a budget and spend money and get to you know, buy clothes for a clothing store. And it’s basically like they think it’s shopping like when you’re a young 19 year old girl, you know, and you don’t realize how much math is applied to that job. And when I did jump into that industry and know how much math was involved, and I said to myself, this is not for me, I need to stay in my lane. Because that’s not that’s not what’s, that’s not how I roll. So I knew that I had the talent and the drive to do it. But I knew I had to shift because that wasn’t for me. So I figured out, you know, the other jobs in the fashion industry were becoming fashion editors and celebrity stylists. And I really started diving into both of those businesses. When I was in college, my first job was for a magazine called first hold magazine. And it was a specific magazine that specialized in the beauty and fashion industry. And that was my first job there. And I started jumping from magazine to magazine since that first job. And then I started working as a celebrity stylist, which actually parlayed to producing fashion shows. And I you know, you have actually been a big part of a lot of these events. But I started doing celebrity catwalk fashion shows, remember when that was a thing. This is before influencers and all this stuff that’s going down. Now this is like old school celebrities, when they were called tastemakers and celebrities. So I just started, you know, I always had my columns, but I started getting into event production and fashion show production and styling celebrities. So I never actually had an agent, I was just such a young hustler that I just used my column in the magazine. And I would reach out to like the it girls at the time, you know, and I would say do you want to be in the magazine. And I would love to style you, you know, so of course they wanted to be in the magazines. So it wasn’t that hard of a pitch. And I started captivating like relationships with designers and I loved showcasing new designers as well, because I really liked to help young talent elevate higher. So it was really something that I really enjoyed and was passionate about doing. So it just, it went from just being an editor for a magazine to a columnist to event production to celebrity styling, and that pretty much sums up like my whole 20s of just working in fashion and entertainment.

Kara Goldin 8:34
That’s wild. And obviously it wasn’t just in Hollywood, I mean, you did some other events outside of Hollywood, right? You did Sundance and a few other

Niki Shadrow Snyder 8:43
I have a lot. I it was a it was a long stream line of events, like internationally. And but I, you know, it’s funny, because I always had the magazines too. So I always went into it like not just as an event producer, like I always had to think about the best interest of the magazines and the branding of the magazines. And you know, I’d be running the event and I’d have to like, you know, make sure that the sponsors have great product placement, but I’d also have to make sure that the images, we’re going to be strong and that, you know, we had great content to put out in the publications in now and I had to meet the deadlines for that too. So it was that balance of like, producing everything for everyone. You know, the sponsors the talent, the publishers of the magazine, like the designers that wanted the photo with the talent like literally running and taping shoes, so you don’t have to buy $900 shoes, they can take a picture on the red carpet and then take them off and then switch the shoes. It was just craziness, crazy town

Kara Goldin 9:44
and all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes that nobody sees. You really made it look so easy for sure. So thanks. Talk to me a little bit about the your next project. Well, I don’t know if it was your next project, but your existing project that you’re working on, and the project pop drop. Talk to me a little bit about that.

Niki Shadrow Snyder 10:05
Sure. So, um, I met my husband in 20. When you have as many kids as me, you your dates get a little blurry. But I think I met him in 2011.

Kara Goldin 10:17
And Nikki, way has four kids. We’re in the 44 kid club. A little bit older, and I didn’t even know you said, Yeah, and but mine are much older. I have three, actually, one just graduated from college, but two, two still in college and when in high school, and yeah, so I’m a few years ahead of you. I do remember those years fondly, but but I never had triplets. So which is what Nikki has three and a half year old triplets, which is, you know, in and of itself can’t even imagine. So the struggle is real. Yeah. And not that she wasn’t busy enough, she just decided I’m gonna go and start project pop drop. So talk to us about what was the inspiration behind founding it, and exactly what it is.

Niki Shadrow Snyder 11:07
So my husband and I, on our first date, no joke, we say we tell this story on every podcast that we do together. We both were talking about, you know, ourselves and getting know each other, like any first awkward date is, but then both of us really connected on that we felt like there was a bigger picture to life besides us and our careers and hustling and selling something, and that we both really wanted to make an impact in the world. And as you know, like by all the charity events that we’ve done together in the past, which we can, I want to talk about some of those, because there’s been some really fun ones we could have, we could sidebar on. But we both like had we really connected that we were both philanthropic people, and that we really wanted to start something to give back. And to have some more balance in life besides just work, you know, and raising a family eventually, like this is way before we were parents. So we really connected on that. And we really started brainstorming on that first date about the kind of foundation that we would want to have. And he said he I was already very involved with a bunch of different charities at the time on this first date. And he was telling me that he’s in the office supply business, and that on the last Saturday of every month, he goes to a different homeless shelter and brings food. And first of all, I thought he was lying. And like trying to score a second date. I was like, No, you don’t. I said nobody does that. I’m like, I want pictures. And so he showed me pictures, literally made him show me just saw the pictures. And it was like, you know, he was putting the pictures on Facebook. I’m like, Okay, he’s really doing it. And I said, Well, let me ask you something, what’s the name of your organization? And he said, I don’t have a name. And I said, What do you mean, you don’t have a name, I said, you have to have, you know, a name. And you have to have, you have to build up a brand. And you know, a company for this. It’s, you know, a foundation is also a business. And if you want to elevate awareness for it, you have to make it a thing. And he’s like, why I don’t do that. He’s like, I don’t want to brag about it. I’m like, I’m not talking about bragging. I said, I’m talking about growth. You know, meanwhile, I’m telling him what to do on our first date, like literally telling him everything, I’m telling him how to restructure his company, like, I’m like, on LegalZoom. Like, like, seeing if a name is available, like this is first date. And he’s like, okay, yeah, I’m like, I’m pretty sure I know, this guy’s gonna be my husband, cuz I’m telling him what to do on the first date and everything. So it absolutely worked out. And we really talked about what this foundation was going to be. And the next day we hit the gas. And I swear to God, we’ve been doing it for 10 years now. It’s been a decade of giving together. And we recently were just honored by the White House with a presidential Volunteer Service Award and gold medal, which was a great honor. Amazing. Thank you. So it just shows like, you know, you don’t have to just connect, you know, with points are like on an app on like, do you have a six pack or not? Like sometimes you could connect on a deeper connection, you know, with somebody on a first date and actually executed if you really believe in it?

Kara Goldin 14:06
Yeah, no, I love it. And so today is to talk to me a little bit about you know, you’ve got the brand you decided to do project pop drop, and how do you start this foundation? I

Niki Shadrow Snyder 14:18
mean, what how do you? I mean, how do you figure out exactly what you’re ultimately going to do? And I guess, you know, your, your husband to be and now has been sort of had started the concept of it. But then how do you grow it and and what exactly are you all doing now? We started to make the commit, we made the commitment that on the last Saturday of every month that we would go to a different homeless shelter, no matter why rain or shine. If it was a holiday, we’re going to do it the weekend before the last Saturday of the month. We eliminated all excuses to not show up on that last Saturday of every month to hold ourselves accountable. So that was the first thing Pick the date and stick to it of what we’re going to do. And when we’re going to do it, then we had shirts made a website, we bought the domain, we put together a mission statement, we started reaching out to partners and sponsors. And what we really did is we changed the whole infrastructure of our for profit business. So all of our customers knew exactly what we were doing. Now, I’m sure you’re familiar with the business model called cause marketing, right, which is sure that a famous brand, which is my friend that started this, Blake, from TOMS Shoes started the one for one model. And that was caused marketing where you buy a pair of shoes, and then a pair of shoes is gifted to somebody in need, right. So I always think, Kara, and that great entrepreneurs, you know, and great ideas from entrepreneurs always have to evolve, right. And in my opinion, the evolution of cause marketing was something that I coined within our company called customer cause marketing. And that’s what that’s what we talked about on podcast, when we go on, we talk about this customer cause marketing that we created within our infrastructure of our business, where not only do we tell our customers that a percentage of their orders for our for profit company, are going to project pop drop, but we invite them to participate. So our customers have a pop drop, like with my logo on it, they have a pop drop box, within their businesses, whether they’re a hotel, a car dealership, if they’re just, you know, a restaurant business, whoever we’re working with, gets a box, and they get to participate on monthly pop drop, we call them pop drop donation drives. So not only love it, yeah, so that’s I mean, the customer, cause marketing is actually making our customers, our partners to help give back and we show them the way how to do it, we invite them to not only collect the goods, and donations, but on the last Saturday of the month, they’re invited to come hand them out with us. So they can really get all hands on deck and get the full experience of it and they’re not obligated to come they can either drop it off to our office, or we pick it up, or they come and a lot of times they bring their kids, which, as a parent makes me really happy that we are teaching, you know, the youth of America to give back because then we’re really making an impact in the world because now the kids are seeing that this is really the way to do good work in the world by getting your hands dirty and doing it. And on that note, we also partner with schools, la USC is our client. And we partner with them. And we do donation drives with the LA USC school district where we have boxes in the schools, and we have speaker series where we go in, and we empower the students how to be great leaders and philanthropist at an early age and give back and then we give them the tools to do the donation drives themselves. So they’re really a part of it as well.

Kara Goldin 17:53
I absolutely love it. And so what have you seen with you know, obviously, with the pandemic? I mean, the homeless shelters? And I mean, how challenging and how much need is there, I guess when when you go in there once a month and sort of what you’re doing? I mean, how can people help more, I guess, but also what, what would you say just from given what you’ve seen?

Niki Shadrow Snyder 18:22
Well, first of all, I can tell you right now, after doing this work, and in this business for over 10 years now that it has only gotten worse, the homeless crisis, especially where I live in Greater Los Angeles, but all around the world, I mean, pre pandemic, it was at an all time high. Now, it’s just completely devastating to see what’s going on. And honestly, like a lot of people pulled back because of the pandemic and just stop donating. The need didn’t stop, but people stop. So I’m actually really proud of project pop drop in our foundation that throughout the pandemic, we have not missed one Saturday of dropping off the donations because we said to ourselves, if we stop that every night, I mean, what happens if everybody stopping, you know, bringing these people who desperately need these, you know, essential items and life saving supplies. So we didn’t stop. And in doing that, we found out an interesting fact, which was that these are the cleanest places that you could go. And the people that ran these shelters said, Nikki, you know, I feel safer here than I do go into the grocery store because we are constantly sanitizing in here. And it’s so clean, and the people that are too scared to come. The funniest thing is is that this is the safest place to be. So it just yeah, so that was that was really nice and reassuring. So we could continue to do the work through the pandemic but honestly, like we also created something that I think is could be helpful to listeners that want to get involved with something like this. We Call what we do and our business model on infrastructure, I call it a social responsibility system. And what that is, is basically, CSR, first of all business, because I thought to myself the same thing about, you know, cause marketing and that we need to evolve from that to the customer cause marketing, because that was so great. And I think that CSR, you know, corporate social responsibility in corporate companies is so great. But why can’t small businesses have that? If small businesses want to give back and want to have a great system and infrastructure for it? Why can’t we show them the way. And that’s exactly what we do with Project pub drop, we created what we call the social responsibility system, which is, like I said, it’s, um, CSR for small business. And that’s how we hold ourselves accountable as small business owners to give back on the last Saturday of every month and weave that into our business.

Kara Goldin 20:58
That’s amazing. So you also launched the gift influencer network. So talk to us a little bit about that.

Niki Shadrow Snyder 21:05
Yes, thank you. That was super exciting. So I was talking to my husband, I said, You know, I said this influencer thing is like not going anywhere. It’s so big. And I’m here nor there on the whole influencer thing because, you know, like, we’ve known each other for a long time. And before this whole influencer marketing, the editors were the influencers, you know, the magazine editors were the tastemakers and influencers. So I’m like, I guess I’m like an older, like an elderly influencer. I’m like a non millennial, elderly influencer. So I’m like, looking at this. And I’m thinking like, Okay, I see that the influencer thing is happening. I know, I’m not mad at it, although I think it has gotten a little out of control, and not as positive as it could be. And I said, I would really like to create a word that was basically could spread as far as the word influencer has spread, but forgiving. So I said, I said, I guess what I’m saying is I want the world to start being good, fluent sirs. And I, as I said it out loud. I’m like, Oh, my God, I’m like, I need to trademark this word. I said, this is a word where when somebody hears it, they’re gonna remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard this word, because it’s a word that can like single handedly changed the world if people get behind it. I believe that maybe it’s like delusional reality. But I really believe that, like, we really need to do better. And society can only truly function better right now at where we’re at right now in the world is if we’re giving back and helping one another, that’s how we’re gonna function better.

Kara Goldin 22:44
Absolutely. And I think oftentimes, people just don’t know where to go. Right. When they want to do it. Right. Yeah, it’s awareness. Yeah, and more than anything, awareness, and also doing what they know how to do. So setting up this network, I think is is definitely a an amazing first step for so many to be able to go and do that. So that’s amazing. So what do you think is, when you look back on on kind of some of your, your roles, and obviously, you’ve had different careers along the way? I mean, what have you learned about yourself and, and your resilience and, and, you know, just overall, kind of what you’ve been able to accomplish?

Niki Shadrow Snyder 23:29
I think the best thing that I could tell you, as an entrepreneur, and a founder and a mother, is that start looking at the world that everything happens for us, not to us, because the sun’s definitely not always going to shine, no matter what in personal or in business. But if you know in your heart, and your truest self, that things happen to us, I mean, for us, not to us, that no matter what you will be able to elevate higher, and get through whatever that situation is because entrepreneurship is a scary, crazy journey. You know, it’s a risky, very, you have to have a lot of confidence and drive to do it. It’s not for everybody. But if you know that you’re here to learn that none of us are ever done learning until the day work on and just keep learning. Keep soaking up that knowledge. You know, every conversation, like I mean, every conversation that you have in life, is knowledge. No matter where you are and who you’re talking to. You’re going to learn something to elevate higher if you are open to doing so.

Kara Goldin 24:40
I totally, totally agree with you. I think that that is such great advice. And I think it’s so often it’s, you look at the people today who have just who are considered the most resilient and who have done really cool things and then kind of allow them to sort of take us back to when things were challenging. Along the way, Nick You’ve done such great things, for sure that those are the people we all learn from and, and, you know, the fact that you’ve decided to start these foundations out of a, you know, not really knowing how to do it, but you just went and did it. And you’re helping so many people you’re giving so many people an opportunity to give as well. So I think it’s, it’s really, really admirable and terrific what you’re doing. And you’re also doing it as a parent, and which is great. And I’m sure your kids are still a little too little, but they’ll, you know, really appreciate what you’re doing Believe,

Niki Shadrow Snyder 25:37
believe it or not, first of all, thank you for everything you said, that was really nice, and I greatly appreciate it. But I am so happy that my kids are a part of it, that since they’ve all taken their first steps, they’ve been giving back, like, there’s not a weekend in their life on the last Saturday of the month, where they have not been giving back in some way and learning that and having that instilled upon them. So I’m really grateful for that. That’s, that’s such a great thing to to keep in mind too. And bringing your kids in to the business and and letting them recognize, you know, how they can be involved too. I

Kara Goldin 26:16
think it’s, it’s so so important. So where do people find out more about Nicki, and then also just project pop drop and, and obviously reading some of the stuff that you write for Hollywood weekly magazine and and share a little bit more about where’s the best place.

Niki Shadrow Snyder 26:35
So we have project pop if you are interested in finding out more about volunteering individually with friends, or you want to take your kids to events so they can see what’s going on. And I highly recommend that for you know, friends to have a good outing where they feel good about themselves after they come and see for themselves, you know exactly where their good work is going.

Kara Goldin 26:58
And just in LA right now, right?

Niki Shadrow Snyder 27:01
We’re in LA but we also are in Tampa. So we have East Coast, West Coast monthly pop drops with teams. And believe it or not, believe it or not care, our customers are international. So we’re doing pop up events like all over the international other New York DC. We did one in Pennsylvania last month. So we’re popping up pop drop are popping up everywhere.

Kara Goldin 27:25
poppin poppin. I love it. And then obviously, hollywood weekly magazine are how frequently Are you writing in that

Niki Shadrow Snyder 27:36
I have monthly columns there. So my columns will be there monthly. And we’re a print magazine and we’re old school but we are digitizing slowly but surely.

Kara Goldin 27:48
So great. Well, thank you so much, Nikki, this was so inspiring. And it’s so great to see you and you to learn a little bit more about your journey and good luck with with the three and a half with all your kids. But the three and a half year old triplets, well we’ll be thinking about you for sure. Being a mom and, and doing amazing things. That’s it’s so so great to hear all that you’re accomplishing and all that you’re all that your journey brings all the goodness and the gratitude and everything else that you and I have talked about. And thank you everybody for listening. And we are here every Monday and Wednesday meeting with amazing people who are doing cool things, founders and CEOs that are starting new things that are you know really great and their journeys are really important for us all to learn from So thank you everybody for stopping by and listening and definitely can’t wait to hear from you and, and have a great rest of the week. before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book calm and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara golden and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn Kara golden golden thanks for listening