Today we’d like to introduce you to Sophie Gibson.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sophie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I got my start with business back in 1988 when I worked for a small fitness center on the upper west side in Manhattan, in New York City. The center was fitness home to many movie stars and celebrities. I started out teaching swimming. I had just turned 20 and my College swim coach recommended me to his college friend who owned the fitness center. I taught swimming alongside another older lady, who a couple of weeks into working with her, I learned she was being paid $30 per lesson – which was for 30 minutes, while I was being paid, $6 an hour or $3 per 30 minute lesson.
Before long, my boss Michael had me teaching aerobics, life guarding, giving gym tours and working in the front office. By the time summer came around I pay was now at $8 an hour and myself and the Mexican cleaner were opening the gym at 5:30am and closing it up at 11:00pm each day. I was over worked and underpaid, Michael by now was showing up to the gym once every two weeks. I was practically running his gym.
What I was learning however was priceless. So when Michael told me he had to start cut back with my salary – I didn’t say anything he forgot by now he trusted me enough to be doing the books and payroll and I saw that my colleague was still getting the same amount. Mark you she had far less hours. But wasn’t she getting married to a millionaire in a month?
I took this as a sign to leave. And ended up taking the program he taught me to Canarsie, Brooklyn. This was 1988/89 and Canarsie then was a middleclass Jewish and Italian neighborhood. I rented pool space from Brooklyn College and talked an Insurance broker to insure my newly formed company SwymGym for liability and property insurance. SwymGym grew and I had to eventually hire eight swim teachers.
Brooklyn College told me they would be closing the pool for two weeks and after two weeks when they reopened they had their own learn to swim program. What a way to learn about contracts!
I lost my husband around this time, while I was pregnant with our second son. This allowed me to Segway into magazines, a dream of mine since I was around 14. I ended up talking my way into New Woman magazine, which was well known back in the 90s.
In 1992 this is where I first heard about the internet! I was so curious about the new technology that Murdoch feared would change the way people interacted with publications. He was so right!
In June 2001, I was married again. The boys were in elementary school, my new born baby was just 2 months old and my new husband was a stay at home dad. I was working at an eProcurement/eAuctions software company, called Clarus corporation and JWT advertising was brought in to help us brand and market the company. It was a turning point for me. I saw that the JWT folks were so afraid of technology and deferred any website branding strategy to IT folks. This did not make sense to me. A light bulb went off. I thought – IT will never be able to translate a brand through the web. Most sites I had seen till then were being created by technology driven minds. I was lucky to have been born with an artist mind and technology mind set. I saw the need for merging technology and marketing and created Sojo, Inc. an Interactive marketing agency, whose slogan was marketing through technology. With much success with the company, I changed the name in 2012 due a divorce and wanted a fresh new start. Today we are VIVO360, Inc. (www.vivo360inc.com) Our clients include, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta Air Lines, Voya Financial, The City of Atlanta and the NAACP to name a few. Our strength continues to be brand and social media strategy, designing websites and mobile applications all from the users’ experience. We were born digital and have more digital and social media experience than most advertising agencies no matter how large or global they are. After all we were doing digital work before it was the cool thing to do and when you had to educate before you could sell the services.
My son Egan joined the business and worked with the agency for three years before going out on his own and my son Nage has been with us for four years and focuses on operations, project management and the government side of our business.
My daughter, Skye has told me, she’s very interested in business but only as it pertains to building her own Integrated medicine centers.
The vision for the company today, is to keep growing and build out the government side of our business even more and continue working with our commercial clients, especially on projects that make a significant and positive impact in the lives of their customers.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As the sole bread winner and the business being the sole provider for my family – financial challenges persisted especially when I first started.
My husband started working in the business around six years in and that created another challenge. No matter what our culture says about women making strides – we still have a long way to go and a wife also being the president of a company – can hurt egos.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the VIVO360 story. Tell us more about the business.
VIVO360, Inc. was born digital in 2001. We specialize in and are known for graphic design for all digital experiences, including the web, social media networks, digital signage and mobile applications. I am proud that we predicted the future of just how relevant and important a digital economy would be back in 2001. Our experience in the digital space and the experience in varied industries sets us a prat. We are about solving problems – clients refer to us as an Intelligent agency – mainly because we are strategic in our thinking.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t believe in luck! I believe in a purpose greater than ourselves and when we are prepared – opportunities present themselves to us. So often we will be in the right place at the right time and be told we are God sent – but I honestly believe it’s a higher intelligence lining things, people, circumstances and opportunities just the way they need to be!
- Address: 219 Roswell Street, Suite 230, Alpharetta, GA 30009
- Website: www.vivo360inc.com
- Phone: 7703606330
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: vivo360inc
- Facebook: vivo360inc
- Twitter: vivo360inc