Photos Courtesy of Tina Wells
Entrepreneur Tina Wells started her company, Buzz Marketing Group, as a teen in 1996. Today it’s one of the most sought-after trend companies in the world. On November 7, hear the 34-year-old’s success secrets at WomenVenture’s annual Fall Event. And learn more about the local Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained award winners, too. The takeaway: Entrepreneurship knows no age.
Tina Wells started her first business when she was 16 years old, collaborating with companies to review their products and giving a voice to her generation of teenagers.
Eighteen years later, her company, Buzz Marketing Group, counts Sony Music, Dell, Microsoft, and American Eagle Outfitters among the brands it has done business with.
“I didn’t really understand that what I was doing was marketing,” she admits of her teen self. “I just knew I liked talking to people about new products and giving my opinion on them.”
Her natural role as a “trend spotter” laid the foundation for her current business model. Buzz Marketing Group now turns to its 30,000 “buzzSpotters®” and 7,000 “momSpotters®” to inform Wells and her clients about how to market to the three M’s: millennials, moms, and multicultural consumers. Her work has landed her on Billboard magazine’s “30 Under 30” list, Inc. magazine’s “30 Under 30” list, and Essence magazine’s “40 Under 40” list.
An inherent passion for the task at hand, she says, is key to running a successful business. “If you don’t get up and love what you do, if you wouldn’t do it if people weren’t paying you, you just don’t have the right job,” Wells says. “I’ve always maintained that. You have to 100 percent love this, whether you’re getting paid to do it or not, and that’s the secret to entrepreneurship.”
At the WomenVenture Fall Event on November 7, Wells looks forward to networking with and learning from other like-minded, smart women throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. She plans to gather ideas, and maybe even come away with a few new partners.
But in the future, she hopes the chatter about women in business quiets. “I hope that in the future there isn’t a conversation about women in business,” Wells says. “I hope it becomes something where we understand that of course there are women running super-successful businesses and men stay at home, too; where it’s just a thing that happens and not something that we have to call attention to because it doesn’t happen often enough.”
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The profits from her hand-delivered honey support a community beekeeping center.