Welcome to Denver, METTA Society
Interview by Carlee Henderson
Names: Claire Fontanetta, Erin Eastburn
Company: Metta Society, @mettasociety
Years active: 2
Tell us about your company! What is your focus?
We’re a boutique social media agency specializing in female owned brands in the beauty, health/wellness, and lifestyle verticals. We also host super fun events called our Metta Mingles, which donate a portion of ticket sales to female-empowering non-profit organizations or charities like She Should Run, Girls Inc, etc. It’s always been important to us to give back in some way, and we find that these Metta Mingles are a great way to both build a community and give back to it at the same time.
How did you two meet?
We met during our time at Colorado State University. We actually met in a class where you had to take a personality test to be grouped with compatible partners. We definitely got an "A" in the class, but didn’t become close until we both lived in New York City. That's where our Metta Mingles were born and where many of our social media clients are now based.
Where did the idea come to start your own business?
We’re both very entrepreneurial at heart. We’d constantly be bouncing business ideas off of each other—some good, some inevitably not so good! One day, we were talking about how living in NYC, it’s super easy to live selfishly—always striving for the next best thing (job, relationship, you name it)—and we wanted to find a way to give back. Metta Society was then born and a year later we launched our boutique social media agency. To this day, we have a shared Google Doc where we still share our latest business ideas, a few of which we think could really come to life in Denver. Stay tuned!
You recently moved to Denver, congratulations and welcome! What was the decision to move here instead of staying in NYC or moving elsewhere?
Thanks for the welcome! We're so excited to be here. Moving is never an easy decision. We both loved our experience in NYC, but we’re not going to lie, it’s a hard city to live in long-term. There’s a quote by Mary Schmich that hits so close to home: "Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard." It was just time for us to leave.
We both grew up in Colorado, and have a network of family and friends here, so we just felt it was time to come back and have a different work-life balance. TBH, there were many tears leaving NYC, but we feel it was the right decision—especially now that we’ve officially turned our side-hustle into our full time gig!
What does METTA Society stand for and how did you come up with the name?
We went back and forth on the name for a while, but landed on the word Metta because it means benevolence or to have an active interest in others—which is something that resonated with us deeply. In such a digital world, we aim to bring connections from URL to IRL via our Metta Mingles. Making meaningful in-person connections is something very important to us.
What are your professional backgrounds and what do your portfolios look like that ultimately brought you here/together?
Erin: I started my career in New York City interning at Tory Burch and Women’s Wear Daily (WWD). Moving from Colorado, there was definitely some initial sticker shock. To afford living in New York, I had to take out a loan and work part-time at Victoria’s Secret. This time in my life really taught me time management and self-budgeting. After my internships ended I found a job at Saks Fifth Avenue as a Digital Merchandiser and Site Analytics. I’m so glad I started there because it’s a top down management style. You learn to swim or sink, and I learned so much about myself, the fashion industry, and management styles. I was promoted twice during my three years there but decided to leave retail and move to the brand side of things. After Saks, I spent four years working at skincare brand Erno Laszlo. Working for a private company was so different—and I loved it! I had creative freedom there and was empowered to implement strategies. At Erno, I managed all digital marketing, social media, and influencer relationships. This is where I really got my skills for social marketing. I came in when Instagram was blowing up and influencer marketing was the new trend.
Claire: When I first moved to NYC, I didn’t have a job—or even an internship. As a naive fresh-out-of-college woman, I thought I’d move to NYC and be able to land an entry-level job no problem. I was wrong to say the least! So, after months of interviewing, I decided to take on another internship in the beauty department at Marie Claire, and that’s where I really fell in love with the beauty industry. A job where you can test makeup at your desk, go backstage at Fashion Week, and learn all the fascinating science behind skin-care? I was sold. So, from there, I got hired on as Beauty Assistant and and eventually got promoted Beauty Editor, where I was travelling the U.S. with a photographer to interview real women for What I Love About Me—a street-style-meets-beauty column that I wrote every month. After four years at Marie Claire, I moved on to become the Senior Beauty Editor at Refinery29, where I worked with major brands like L’Oreal, Sephora, Revlon, Ulta, AmorePacific, SheaMoisture —among, many others—to create custom branded editorial content. This was when I really learned how to work one-on-one with clients to bring their brand priorities to life, in a way that’s still creative, unique, and meaningful!
Current inspirations/ trends that you love?
Erin: I'm not a very trendy person when it comes to fashion or beauty. I mean, I love seeing it but it's not really my thing—hence leaving the fashion industry. Trends that I love following are more on the business and sociology side of things. What are people creating or recreating to fit into our modern world? Right now, I'm loving the notion of mindful living. I think our generation is starting to hate being glued to their phones all day, every day. People are trying to be more intentional about their screen time and being present—which I can get down with. Now that we run our own social media agency, unplugging can be hard. Claire and I like to encourage each other to be specific about our "online" hours with all of our clients and encourage them to do the same.
Claire: In terms of fashion trends, I loveeee a prairie dress or florals. You’ll probably see me in them all summer! I’m a very visual person and also love interior decor and architecture—they both inspire me so much in all aspects of my work. The 70’s vintage vibes that’s trending in interior decor right now is so up my alley. Mustard velvets, beautiful wood work, and rounded sofas—um, yes, please!! After I spent two summers in Marrakesh in college (my grandparents used to live there), I also fell in love with Moroccan architecture and the symmetry and intricateness of it. So beautiful.
How would you describe your personal style?
Erin: I love quality pieces that have an understated sex appeal. Feminine, classic with a touch of vintage edge. I'm pretty simple with my jeans/shirts, but invest in jackets, hats, and shoes.
Claire: In winter or fall, I gravitate to darker colors and neutrals (after living in NYC for 7+ years, it’s hard not to jump on the all-black bandwagon). A simple turtleneck and high-waisted jeans and I’d call it a day. In the summer and spring, however, I love embracing colors and florals into my life—be it via flowy dresses, caftans, or a pair of statement earrings. There’s something to be said with putting effort into your personal appearance. Personally, it makes me feel so good to get dressed “up” every day. Growing up in Colorado, I was always overdressed but I truly didn’t care—I did (and still do) what makes me happy!
What goals do you have for 2019? Personal and professional.
Erin: My personal and professional goals are very intertwined. To move to CO and run Metta Society full-time. 2019 was my year to move to CO to reconnect with all the things I really need in life: my family, close friends, skiing, and hopefully a dog by 2020. The fact that we were able to make the move and be our own bosses in such an amazing city is really exciting!
Claire: I have many goals for 2019. One of them is to build Metta Society up to its full potential now that I’m working on it full-time! Working with inspiring new clients that have a purpose and do good in this world is very important to me. I’m also hoping to get healthier—exercising more regularly and spending more time outdoors. Colorado is the perfect place to do that.
What advice would you give about starting and growing a business?
Erin: Just go for it! If you feel like you have to know everything before you start your business you'll never start it.
Claire: Start it as a side hustle until you’re spending more time on your side hustle than your main hustle. That, and always, always negotiate fees/price with contractors.
Thanks, Claire and Erin!