Nora Lee by Brandt Ricca owner, Brandt Ricca
Photography Director: Jonathan Thorpe
For Washington D.C. business owner Brandt Ricca, black-tie events, client dinners, editorial photoshoots and community partnerships made for an exciting life before COVID-19.
With a government-mandated screeching halt to gatherings, owning an events and marketing company became impossible. Over the period of a week, an impressive client roster went to a list of zero. Nora Lee by Brandt Ricca, known for high-end events garnering awareness and funds for local and national non-profits, had to refocus, and fast.
Using the quarantine downtime to revisit his business model, and in keeping with the entrepreneurial spirit of his Louisiana grandmother Nora Lee (who his business is named after), Ricca made the decision to pivot the company. Evolving from an events and marketing company to a full-time creative marketing agency, the focus became branding for businesses with a unique twist: offering creative photography and video for marketing strategy.
Amid the pandemic, and with social and racial injustice awareness thrown into the mix, Ricca was inspired to create projects illustrating strength during difficult times. One project took on a life of its own, the Founding Female. With overwhelming content, it became a monthly series. With an excellent network of strong women in business, of diverse backgrounds and industries, it was a natural fit to recreate a scene of the founding fathers signing the constitution. See what Melva LaJoy Jones experienced here.
After such a successful project, Ricca launched #DCBLACKseptember, a stage for movers and shakers in the black community highlighting their achievements. With a Motown twist and hope for the future, additional projects highlighting diversity are in the works.
Owning a business has its highs and lows, and certainly during an ongoing pandemic that process is heightened. Ricca has recently taken a part-time Communications position on Capitol Hill in order to push through as an entrepreneur in what may be the strangest year for business owners yet.