Photo: Undrey/Shutterstock

Anna Brones Launches a Social Media Start-Up

Miscellaneous Interviews
by Julie Schwietert Nov 13, 2009
Anna Brones has been a Matador member since its own start-up days.

As senior editor at WEND Magazine, Anna forged a special relationship between WEND and Matador, recognizing that the core audiences of both publications were people who were living adventures by passionately pursuing their dreams.

Now, Anna’s jumped the WEND ship to set out on her own adventure: launching Under Solen, a social media start-up company, with her business partner, Emily Nuchols. Emily, by the way, is also a Matador member.

Over e-mail, the three of us talked about Under Solen, travel, Scandinavia, and whether they’re crazy to start a business in this economy:

What was the impetus for you and Emily to start Under Solen Media?

Emily and I have both been working in the outdoor industry for the past few years, she in the non-profit world and I in publishing. Because social media had been a large part of both of our jobs, we saw that there was definitely a niche in the outdoor industry that wasn’t being filled. The Internet and new media have changed the way companies, organizations and individuals brand themselves, and so much of marketing is about connecting with a message or a cause.

We want to provide the tools to bring these people together to push these messages out in the most interactive, dynamic way possible. In a day and age where a brand can offer a technical, do-it-all waterproof jacket, which company are you going to buy from: the one that listens to you as a consumer, supports worthy causes, and is committed to a certain set of ideals, or the one that simply markets their latest sales offers?

“How can you not be inspired to get out and explore?”

What does the name mean?

Under Solen means “under the sun” in Swedish. Emily and I first bonded over our Scandinavian heritage, so we figured it was only appropriate to choose something that related to that. And since we’re working with folks who love the outdoors…

Will this job allow you to be location independent?

Definitely! We believe in doing business a bit different than usual and that means traveling, exploring, and getting out the message of our clients on the ground. Plus, when you’re constantly working with a bunch of crazy cool adventurers and causes, how can you not be inspired to get out and explore? That being said, Portland is an excellent place to be based, both for the brands that are headquartered here, the general ethos and the number of amazing people.

Who are your ideal clients?

We started this business because we want to work with people who are driven to make positive change in this world and really get their message out. Since Anna and I are steeped in the outdoor industry, we haven’t had to look far. We are stoked to be connecting with people who are passionate about their causes — be they businesses, advocates, or adventurers.

What do you expect a typical work day to look like?

Every day begins with coffee. Swedes LOVE their coffee :) But seriously, we spend the majority of our time connecting with people — online, on social networks, on the phone, or in our own backyard. We obviously spend a lot of time in front of our MacBooks writing blog posts, streaming content from our clients through social media channels, and promoting our clients.

But Anna and I do things differently and that means a lot of travel and adventure — that could mean jetting off to Brazil to meet up with one of our expedition teams or hitting the trail for a run to mull over a new project.

No one starts a business in a recession. Are you nuts?

Honestly, we didn’t think twice about taking the leap. Some people say that the people we work with are nuts — paddling first-descents on the most remote and dangerous rivers of the world, traveling for months in search of the perfect photo, or going head-to-head with the U.S. government to remove dams…. Well, we’re just proud to call these folks our partners.

We have an amazing group of folks who encouraged us from the very beginning. And we have the connections, energy and passion to succeed and we think that is exactly what is needed to jumpstart a flagging economy. How could we not dive in?

Community Connection:

Planning a trip to the Caribbean? Anna is also Matador’s Guadeloupe expert, and she’d be happy to answer your pre-trip questions.

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