Rita Forte, The Olive Street Agency

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Who is Rita?

I'm an Oakland native, and have had a long life as a creative here. I ran an East Oakland coffeehouse for some time, and had a career as a DJ (DJ Backside), which led to events production and talent management. I developed my knack for communication and marketing and launched The Olive Street Agency.

Along the way, I also co-founded an all-women's pickup basketball league, and adopted Butters (@ButtersthedogfromOakland).

What is The Olive Street Agency?

We help people, brands and small businesses tell their stories. We have three practices: Branded Merchandise, Social Media Management, and Talent Partnerships.

We let our clients focus on what they're best at, and get at the heart of what makes them unique and memorable. It's often challenging when you're working on a project to know how to reach customers - how to tell your story in a way that gets your audience excited and makes your message stick. We help with that challenge.

What first brought you to Elevator Works?

I came to explore a partnership with Movement Ink, a neighbor of Elevator Works. At first, I didn't think of Elevator Works as something that was relevant for The Olive Street Agency. But I saw that modern fabrication is really great at producing custom, branded items, and that the Elevator Works community might be a good place to find opportunities I wasn't thinking about before.

Elevator Works actually works because it's already part of a growing community of modern manufacturing businesses in West Oakland.

Why did you join the EW community?

I stayed at Elevator Works because I found I was surrounded by all kinds of small companies, working in modern manufacturing business. For example, I quickly made a connection with Second Line Vinyl, who is opening a record pressing plant in West Oakland (also in the same building), and found that our shared music industry connections meant that we could explore ways to work together to help local artists.

The Elevator Works co-working space is a place for the doers, and The Olive Street Agency needs to be in this kind of environment. I work in collaborative environment with other creative and highly motivated individuals and small companies. It's exciting here, and I feel welcome and included.

Sal Bednarz (Elevator Works CEO) asked me to launch and manage social media for Elevator Works, and of course I said yes. I guess that makes me the first B2Barter member!

I'm an Oakland native, and I'm excited about the opportunity to be part of the formation of this new kind of business community. Come find me here at Elevator Works, just about every day of the week!

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