A BUSINESSWOMAN WHO FOUNDED HAPPY WARRIOR AND ARZA
Rebecca Longawa is a business woman from Minnesota in the USA. I met her some months ago on Twitter. She is strong, determined, creative and in the same time has a contagious smile and is full of positive energy and believes that dreams come true. After some experiences in the field of Photography and film production, Rebecca has spent years working alongside professional athletes and brings a keen understanding of sports clients as well as a passion for building personal brands and relationships. This encouraged her to start her own company in 2013 called Happy Warrior. The name was inspired by a poem written by William Wordsworth in 1806 titled “The Character of the Happy Warrior.” From concept to execution, Rebecca focuses on both the day-to-day management of brands, as well as the development of their future potential. With experience working in web, print and film, she has mastered the art of launching brands across multiple channels. Her clients, as She says in our interview, are athletes from WNBA, NBA, NFL but all the names are confidential. A curiosity, Rebecca’s second commercial initiative, totally different from the previous, is Arza, a jewelery business set up two years ago but already very successful. Knowing Rebecca, I am sure the story is not finishing here…
You Are the president and founder of Happy Warrior. What is it and why this name?
After years working in professional sports, I began to notice that players were actively building the brands of their teams, league and corporate sponsors that they were tied to. However, aside from top tier players, many athletes did not have resources to assist them in establishing and maintaining their own personal brands. This minimized their ability to capitalize on their successes and create a strong foundation and plan for life after sports. I witnessed many talented individuals get lost in the busyness of sports – and become completely lost once their days of playing were over. I felt I could use my background in advertising and marketing to help players develop a brand vision for themselves, define what they believed in and were passionate about and translate that into a strong brand voice.
Your work, like you said above, consists in managing, launching the brands and develop their future potential. What brands are you working on now?
I am currently working with clients in the WNBA, NBA, NFL and a political personality. My work with each varies from social media management, publicist, website development, corporate sponsorship opportunities and foundation branding.
You work alongside professional athletes and entertainers. Who are they? How do you find working with them?
Most of the clients I work with are on confidential basis. I do not use their names in promoting my services or business. I rely on referrals for my client base from either existing clients who share my name with their teammates or from other professional service providers that work with athletes.
Is there a project that intrested you in a particular way. If yes, why?
The work that i am particularly passionate about is the work I do with female athletes. I feel female athletes are underrepresented in our industry and I find great joy in helping females find their voice and create new opportunities.
How was the idea of Happy Warrior born? With whom are you collaborating to garantee all services?
In order to make our ideas come to life, I work with talented freelance print and web designers as well as film production companies and photographers. I contract talent on a project to project basis based on each of my clientsindividual needs and budget considerations.
You are a very innovative person, Rebecca. A real businesswoman and also jewels designer. How long have you been projecting jewels?
I first started making jewelry 11 years ago for myself, my young daughter and as gifts for friends. Two years ago, I felt a strong desire to spend more time on my creative outlet. I invested in a large supply of beads that I could recreate into modern pieces and started selling Arza jewelry at art shows, online and most recently at retail locations focused on local artisans.
What is your last collection made of and what is its philosophy?
My most recent collection is compromised of vintage elements up-cycled into necklaces and bracelets. A favorite technique is using a handheld sander to file down the back of a vintage brooch to make it smooth and connect it to vintage chain using jump rings. Vintage brooches are stunning – and there are many of them that sit unwanted in antique stores or vintage shops. I love to give jewelry new life and allow others to appreciate their beauty in these new ways.
From your work projects and your personal life what true picture of Rebecca Longawa emerges?
I grew up in a rural area – my parents both worked hard just to keep us fed and clothed. Neither of them had jobs they enjoyed. I decided at a young age to pour myself into things that I found deep joy and appreciation in. I am fortunate to have turned my life’s passions into a career. I work extremely hard – my mind is always working. Sometimes I have so many ideas that I can hardly document them all. I usually work in waves – getting huge spurts of energy – I try to just stay engaged and focused and maximize my productivity during those times. This allows me to find time to volunteer for local charities and be involved with my kids’ activities. Work/Life balance is always a challenge when you are an entrepreneur so I try to be mindful of setting days aside where I can be 100% focused on my family.
PHOTO GALLERY: Jewelry photography by Rebecca Longawa @ Portraits by Traci Kern Photography