Kim Kaupe is the cofounder of ZinePak, an entertainment agency that helps the world’s top entertainers and brands engage with millions of fans. Zinepak produces unique, content-driven promotional items like magazines, collectibles and mixed media packages that serve to boost album and/or product sales and convert consumers into superfans.
Kim and her cofounder, Brittany Hodak, were featured as one of Inc’s 35 Under 35 Coolest Entrepreneurs in 2014 as the only 100 percent self-funded entrepreneurs on the list. This attracted the attention of Shark Tank producers and landed the ZinePak duo on the show, where they accepted a $725,000 investment from Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec for 17.5 percent of their company. Today, ZinePak continues to grow and expand, lending their signature creativity to superfan products that pump up everything from album packaging to music festivals to special events.
Name: Kim Kaupe
Job Title: Cofounder
Currently based in: New York City
Originally from: West Palm Beach, Florida
Superpower: Connecting others
A woman in history you admire & why:
I admire Oprah Winfrey. She has done everything under the sun, despite obstacles in her path. More importantly, she has done it with a smile and such radiant energy that she makes those around her — as well as the millions of us at home — feel like she is just talking one-on-one with us.
Quote/piece of advice that you live by: Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
What inspired you to start your current venture?
My cofounder and I were inspired to start ZinePak after seeing a space opening in the market, knowing we could fill it, and having the gumption to say, “Why not us?”
What is your company doing to make history today?
We are one of the 2% of women-owned businesses that make more than a million dollars a year in revenue. All of our employees are women and we work on projects with clients that feel like family. We are making history by showing that you can build a successful company while focusing on more than just cutthroat profits, and proving that females do not have to be regulated by glass ceilings.
What is one thing your company has accomplished that you are most proud of?
I am most proud that over 75% of our business is from repeat clients. It shows that what we are doing is resonating with the market and that people enjoy their experience with us. As a service-based business, that’s the best compliment you can receive.
What is one project you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
We are working with a company called Ace Comic Con, also started by two amazing cofounders. I love the opportunity to work with new and exciting properties and getting to collaborate with fellow entrepreneurs who are trying to change the world, just like we are!
What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
The biggest challenge is the glass ceiling and the number of equal opportunities for women. I work in entertainment, and if there is anything the #TimesUp movement has shown us, it’s that we still have a fairly long way to go.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
I foresee a trend of artists taking matters into their own hands. It is something that big artists — think Taylor Swift or Beyonce — have started to do, and I think that more artists will follow suit in the coming years and decide they want to have a go at things for themselves.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced at this job?
My biggest challenge is separating my work and my personal life. If something goes wrong at the office, I can’t help but take it personally. I care so deeply about our projects and clients that sometimes an issue with one of them can send my entire night or weekend off the rails.
A few months ago, we had a disaster of a situation with one of our clients because of a supplier we used. There was nothing I could do — I was at the mercy of a supplier that kept making mistakes, and I had to go back to my client each and every time to report their screw-ups. I was so upset that I was barely eating or sleeping, and while the project ultimately got done, it was not without a huge physical, mental and emotional cost on my behalf. I struggle to ‘leave things at the office’ and ‘turn it off’ upon coming home — but I’m working on it!
What were you doing before your current role?
Prior to ZinePak, I worked at an ad agency for a few months, but the majority of my corporate time was spent at Conde Nast working for BRIDES Magazine. I loved my time there and learned a great deal, but boy, was it exhausting! The Devil Wears Prada certainly has some truth to it!
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other female founders & change-makers?
Ask for help. The more you ask help, the better. Stop trying to be Superman, trying to do it all yourself. If you know that you are going to do a C+ job on something, ask someone for help who can do an A+ job on it, and they will probably do it in half the time! Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook or networking groups, I would encourage female founders to ask for help whenever they can.
Are there any great resources you have discovered that you would like to share?
Fun fact about yourself:
I’ve been in the Junior Olympics twice for Volleyball!