After more than 10 years in video production across London, New York and now L.A., Sophie Gold decided to open her own shop only months before the pandemic. Her company, Eleanor, is the only Association of Independent Commercial Producers-certified Black and female majority-owned commercial production firm in the U.S., a distinction Gold finds both exciting and challenging—especially as marketers barrage her with requests for resources when they should be sending bids.
How Sophie Gold is building her own Black female-owned commercial production company
“If you want to bid diversely or if you want to have BIPOC directors or companies do your work, it's just as simple as giving them your work,” says Gold, 35. “There aren't PowerPoint presentations that are needed ... Just hire the people that you would like to hire and understand that there is a huge difference between lack of talent and lack of opportunity.”
Since launching, Eleanor has recruited an impressive roster of in-house talent. Many are newcomers who just needed a shot, including Kelsey Taylor, who has headed video spots for eBay and another five campaigns that Gold teases will be coming soon. EBay is emblematic of the many heavy hitters that have called on Eleanor to produce their work. Big brands including Activision, Sunchips, Lexus and Garmin have all featured work from Gold’s company.
“The bidding pools that we're in right now are the bidding pools with the quote, unquote big boys and big girls,” says Gold. “I'm proud that I'm able to be a signpost for what is possible to that little Black girl or little Black boy or whoever wants to step up and own and run a company that's actually doing well and is profitable.”
If you could have dinner with one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
William Blake. He is responsible for my favorite quote: “If the doors of perception,” your eyes, “were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.” That has been my mantra throughout my whole life—to remember that potential is infinite, possibilities are infinite and perception is all to do with how you think and how you see the world.
But the truth is the person I would want to have dinner with, dead or alive, is my mother [who passed away when Gold was 14]. Let's go with my mother because she still, all these years later, inspires me so much. And I always say that she is my inspiration and I am her legacy. She was such a strong and confident and self-assured and kind and loving person that to have dinner with her and tell her that, first of all, "I'm OK, here's a picture of your grandbaby," and just thank her for the 14 years that she gave me on this planet.
What are the top two social media sites you use on a regular basis?
Instagram and LinkedIn. The people that I follow on Instagram fall into these categories: They make me laugh, I love the style, they inspire me or it's just design porn. And then LinkedIn is just purely business.
What’s currently on your bedside reading list?
“Sitting Pretty,” by Rebekah Taussig. It's very conversational, but also very inspiring. And I love that with her, and all the stories that she shares, no matter what you're going through in life, you are sitting pretty. It doesn't matter whether you’re in a wheelchair, doesn't matter the color of your skin, doesn't matter your gender, whatever. You in your moment and in your power is all that’s important.
What was the last show you binge-watched?
“The Mandalorian.” Each episode felt like a film. I love the projection technology that they were using for the desert scenes. I love how the Mandalorian was able to convey so much emotion without showing his face. And even what's cooler is, after you finish watching "The Mandalorian," Disney has the behind-the-scenes with all the different directors from the show.
At what age do you hope to retire?
I’m someone that is always thinking and I'm inspired by so much out there. So, perhaps maybe I'll retire from running a commercial production company, but maybe then I'll get into something else. What does retirement mean? If it means just to completely stop working in any capacity and be on a farm with your grandkids running around, maybe 60? I don't think I'll ever be retired. There’s always something to do.