Lori Pope – Studio Displays



Have you ever walked into a museum or trade show and been bowled over by the “wow” factor of a display or a booth, and thought “I’d like to meet the artist who created THAT”? Well, we’ve got one of them here with us today.

Our guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast is chief operating officer of one of Charlotte’s oldest and best-known display companies, Studio Displays. Founded nearly 40 years ago by the late Tom Pope, Studio Displays carries on the same artistic and creative passion, through the eyes and hands of Tom’s son Thomas, daughter Lori, and brother Chris — and a whole team of creative artists.

This week, we welcome Lori Pope to our studio — thanks for being here!


Scott Hofert – ColsenKeane



How often do you buy yourself a new briefcase? How about luggage? Shaving kit? Wallet? These are all items that are commonly made of leather — or a leather look-alike — and most of us replace them about every 5 or 10 years, depending on what they’re really made of, and how well they’re made.

Our next guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast wants you to have just ONE case for your important papers, and he wants it to be one you’ll never have to replace. Scott Hofert is a former world traveler who wanted to be a homebody… and got to be, because of his passion for crafting leather. His business, ColsenKeane, was born from his desire to create lasting accessories that can be passed down through the generations.


Stephanie & Adrienne Vendetti – How to Be a Redhead



Blonde, brunette, redhead? Or how about auburn, ginger, strawberry blonde? It’s a different world when you’ve got red hair… and Stephanie and Adrienne Vendetti know it all too well.

For years growing up, the sisters struggled with make-up, hair products, and other cosmetics that would irritate their sensitive skin. They say necessity is the mother of invention… or in this case, the sister of it — as the Vendettis made it their mission to find the best products for redheads and let the world know where to find them. They’re here to tell the story of their brand, How to Be a Redhead.


Tim Miner – Charlotte is Creative



Charlotte is known for banking and Bojangle’s, but also a great place for young people to get great jobs, have fun, and maybe settle down and stay a while. Part of the vibe that attracts young folks, though, is how “cool” and “creative” a city can be… and our next guest on BrandBuilders is doing his best to make it that way.

Tim Miner is a founder of Charlotte is Creative and cohosts Creative Mornings Charlotte, the monthly gathering of the Queen City’s most creative people — or just people who want to be inspired by good vibes and creative energy!


Jim Cusson – Theory House



Retail shopping — every November and December we hear that it’s fading away with the rise of online sales, but not everyone is ready to throw in the towel. Instead, brick and mortar stores are learning to “up their game” by looking at new ways to attract people off the street AND on their phones, by tying the two worlds together in creative ways.

Our next guest on the BrandBuilders podcast does exactly that to balance the online and storefront worlds. Jim Cusson *builds brands* as president of Theory House, a Charlotte retail marketing agency. And we mean big names… including Pepsi, Lowe’s, and Starbucks to name a few. Welcome from one BrandBuilder to another, Jim!


Becky Santoro & Sloan Crawford – Foster Village Charlotte



When children are taken into foster care, they usually have very little with them. It is a stressful, emotional time for the children, their biological families, and their foster families.

Four women in Charlotte have gotten together to create a “village” of sorts, to help foster children who are relocating with little notice and few belongings. Foster Village Charlotte starts with giving the children welcome packs — and then goes so much further. On this episode of the BrandBuilders Podcast, we talk with two team members, Becky Santoro and Sloan Crawford.


Caylin Haldeman – Next Stage Consulting



Starting a company can be hard work — envisioning everything from the direction, to the branding, to funding and human resources. It’s no different with a non-profit organization, even if the goals of a non-profit are more socially-minded than profit-driven.

Often on a shoe-string budget, they still need the same type of strategic planning, development, and support as a business. Our next guest on the BrandBuilders podcast is someone who helps them do that. Caylin Haldeman is Project Development Manager at Next Stage Consulting, a company that also launched an incubator program for new non-profits last year, called CULTIVATE.


Ming-Chun Lee – UNCC



By now most of us have heard of, or tried, virtual reality… the experience where you put on the mask or goggles and step into a whole different world. It’s young cousin, augmented reality, allows you to basically create a different world around you without the funny goggles. Our guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast is Ming-Chun Lee, a UNCC professor in urban design, and a fellow with the Knight Foundation. He’s helping build an exclusive Pokémon GO game — and then some — just in time for the September 30 Open Streets 704.


Ryan and Kirk Leaphart – Reel Trail



If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or weekend warrior, you’ve probably got a bunch of used gear in your garage that you hate to throw out. Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, and even Nextdoor are all options… but they all have their drawbacks, too.

Enter father and son consignment shop owners from Charleston who thought there had to be an easier way — so they designed ReelTrail, a buying and selling website and app that also gives back to environmental causes. Ryan and Kirk Leaphart joins us on the Brandbuilders Podcast with The Dunstan Group!


Erin Santos – Isabella Santos Foundation



No cause tugs at our hearts here like fighting kids’ cancer… and Erin Santos has taken the fight to a whole new level. The Isabella Santos Foundation is known around Charlotte for its unique fundraisers — besides your 5K race coming up September 29th, the ISF had trampoline parties, T-shirt campaigns, and as well as golf outings, coffees, dinners, and galas. Erin Santos talks about what keeps her going day after day. She’s our guest here on the BrandBuilders Podcast with The Dunstan Group.