Christina has a unique spark to her. Dare I say she might be a catalyst of sorts. After stumbling across her company, Underground Attached on Instagram, I blindly reached out to her and introduced myself. I was intrigued by Underground Unattached and more intrigued by who ran it. I received a prompt reply to my email and we scheduled a phone conversation where we talked life stories and quickly realized that Christina was a connector. As the conversation was coming to an end she told me about Feminine Weapon Day. Baffled initially by the name, I was told about this incredible annual event that Christina puts on celebrating femininity through a series of female performers with the star performer being a 90 something firecracker named Ilona Royce Smithkin and benefiting an incredible organization called Orphaned Starfish Foundation. So naturally at the end of this "intro" call, I'm eagerly signing up to be a part of the host committee and was able to participate in one of the most moving events I've yet had the pleasure to attend. Christina wears many hats and the one that drew me to her, as I mentioned, was Underground Unattached. She is launching her debut event in LA on March 24th. Read on to learn more about how she does it and I hope you all as lucky as I was to meet this force in person.
1. Christina you are quite an impressive serial entrepreneur can you tell us a bit about your journey from corporate life to creating Feminine Weapon, Birthday Tongue and then ultimately Underground Unattached?
In my twenties I switched careers often. I was an interviewing pro. During my last gig before leaving “corporate America,” I served as the right-hand to the CEO of a Branding + Marketing Agency. There I wrote numerous proposals for a variety of clients and often times acted as the project manager once the job was awarded. While there I learned to juggle multiple clients at once - Pfizer, Top of the Rock and rug cleaning start-up all in one day!
Feminine Weapon was the first of the three endeavors created. A friend nicknamed me Feminine Weapon during a time when I doubted my ability to be an entrepreneur. With the name came confidence. It was like my friend attached a cape to my back and the ability to fly. So often we fail to recognize our genius until someone points it out to us.
Currently Feminine Weapon is expressed mainly through a concert benefit on Feminine Weapon Day - January 30th - each year. And on instagram: @FeminineWeapon. The brand will continue to evolve in ways not yet fully imagined. Fun fact: I “married” Feminine Weapon during a crowdfunding campaign in 2014 with the purchase of MarryYourDreams.com. We pointed the domain to our indiegogo page, I tattooed the “FW” logo to my engagement finger and then threw myself a concert wedding. Zelma Davis of C&C Music Factory was one of our performers! She sang, “Everybody Dance Now!” The “stint” helped us to raise $27,000!!
Shortly after the crowdfunding campaign and production of three Feminine Weapon concerts, my mother asked me if I was dating anyone. My mind went blank. There was no one. I had been focusing on growing a women’s brand! My time was precious. There wasn’t a man in sight.
With that question I realized that I needed to focus energy on a dating life as well. I want romantic partnership and a family one day. I didn’t sit back and wait for a “good career” to come my way. I worked for it. I needed to play the dating game too!
I signed up for Tinder. Within just a few weeks, I was over it. I found app dating labor-intensive and time-consuming. My friends felt the same way! I thought, there must be another way...
Ding, ding, ding!
The idea to curate cool singles to meet in live environments came to light. This is essentially how Underground Unattached was created. We bring together 20 men + 20 women for three-hour dating experiences. There’s food, drink and the facilitation of activities designed to accelerate closeness.
So far we’ve produced ten experiences in NYC, having shared it with over 400 single souls ranging in age from mid-twenties to mid-forties. We’re now in the process of expanding to the LA market and further evolving the concept.
I didn’t plan to be in the dating space. However, due to demand and the void in the marketplace Underground Unattached fulfils, I was forced to pivot from Feminine Weapon and focus mainly on the growth of the UU Dating Network. On day one we began producing revenue whereas Feminine Weapon is currently a movement which will evolve over time.
Lastly, Birthday Tongue is a singing telegram company co-founded with Syndee Winters, a Broadway Star (Lion King, Motown). The two of us were living together in Harlem when the idea sparked. Although we’d like to eventually build the Uber of singing telegrams, for now we’re just having fun with this one. The videos on our website are amazing!!
2. What has been the most fun having 3 brands to play with? Do you try to keep them separate or do they sort of go hand in hand?
All three have a similar theme - happiness!
Living life as a Feminine Weapon means that you’re striving to be your best self.
Underground Unattached helps “her” to seek and build soulful relationships through our experiences and a developing content strategy.
Birthday Tongue enables “her” to gift unique / life-savored memories to loved ones in the form of musical performances.
They blend well!
3. In the world of text messages and emails I love the idea of singing telegrams. What is the most common request you receive? How do you market something like that?
The great thing about this is that no one knows what to ask for! Singing telegrams are a lost art that we’re inspired to bring back. We get to be creative and offer our ideas to clients. They fill out a brief questionnaire when ordering:
1. What's your relationship with the recipient like? How do you know him or her?
2. Tell us about him/her. Why so special?
3. What type of music does the recipient like? Favorite songs?
4. Anything else we should know?
Once the responses are received, my partner, Syndee Winters, creates a customized remixed song incorporating the information shared. We’ve been told that the outcome exceeds their expectation.
With my focus being on evolving and expanding Underground Unattached and Syndee’s on a show she created about the life and legacy of Lena Horne, we’re currently not actively marketing the service.
With that said, new business organically comes our way through instagram, referrals, friends, and charity events we donate too. Maybe this article will bring someone new our way too!
4. Every year you host something called Feminine Weapon Day. Can you tell us a bit more what the event is all about? Also what is a "Feminine Weapon" exactly?
Get a glimpse here!
Although Feminine Weapon was given to me as a nickname, I realize that I am not the only Feminine Weapon. Rather it’s the shared identity of a woman who’s aware of her life desires and on a mission to fulfill them. She’s a superhero; your inner goddess; Light. And she desires to receive for the sake of sharing.
Feminine Weapon Day is January 30th. Declared in 2014, the holiday is designated as a day to Honor Your Conscious Light + Beautiful Self. For the past three years we’ve celebrated with concert celebrations featuring musicians like Margot B., Sophie Beem, Mary C and the Stellars and others!
A committee of 15-20+ women who embody the spirit of Feminine Weapon have served as our tribe to host the event. Not only do they invite their friends and family, they participate in a themed art expression.
In 2014, Manuela Rana photographed each women to highlight the Feminine Weapon within: #HerLight.
Leading up to 2015 I felt guilt towards my love of sleep. To rid the negative feeling, we hosted numerous sleepovers and photographed our tribe sleeping for the #SheSleeps exhibit.
Most recently the host committee created vision boards to share their personal intentions for the future featured in the #HerVision exhibit.
In our third year the concert benefited The Orphaned Starfish Foundation + ARTEAMOR, sister charities that bring computers, education and arts to children living in poverty and orphanages all over the world. Being able to produce it all for a trusted cause made the energy invested into it’s production completely worthwhile. (This is an I love my job” moment!)
5. What has been your ultimate "I love my job" moment? Also are there any moments you crave corporate life?
These moments happen often. Like when I get an email from someone who says they’re inspired by our work. Or when people thoughtfully complete the Underground Unattached questionnaire. It’s thrilling to learn of their relationship desires, accomplishments and how they wish to live their life. There are amazing single people out there!
Also, the moments come knowing that I can schedule a meeting anytime I want; that I don’t have to ask permission to execute on my crazy ideas and when I can work until 4am and sleep until 10a if I so desire.
I also get to choose the people I work with so I don’t have to deal with the bullsh*t drama and people who aren’t good at their jobs.
Although I don’t want to go back, I do miss an expense account, a consistent bi-monthly paycheck and when my father could do my taxes. I had a company car once too, I do miss that.