40 Under 40: Melissa Kane

By Connect Staff, May 4, 2017

Melissa Kane, 30, works in Rochester, New York, as co-CEO of Black Bird Design. As a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree, Kane discusses her passion for the events industry.

What I do: I head the sales and marketing side of Black Bird Design, which means I attend events and network to gain new business. Black Bird helps organizations brand their events through promotional products, signs, banners, flyers, etc. We provide hundreds of business products to hand out as giveaways at events.

How I got here: When my business partner, Brady Fogle, and I first opened Black Bird, we ran it out of a two-bedroom apartment. We were fortunate that Black Bird grew, retained clients and built a solid foundation quicker than we had ever imagined. In less than six months we moved Black Bird into a warehouse and expanded, bringing print options in-house. Hard work, endless hours and a lot of coffee brought Black Bird to where it is today.

My greatest career accomplishment: We have helped so many organizations brand themselves, promote their business and grow. Being involved in our community and giving back is a heck of a feeling.

Impressive stats: We recently helped a nonprofit with print materials for an event it was hosting. Afterward, we received a thank-you card sharing that Black Bird helped it raise over $5,900 at the event.

Advice to planners: Spend the extra 10 cents on a better item. When you choose the cheapest items to hand out, they go straight into the garbage. Hand out a quality item and people will use it. The best giveaways at events are tote bags, especially if your event is a trade show. People will use your branded bag to carry the items they collect at tables throughout the event, and the sponsor’s logo will be seen all over the event.

What I’m working on: Black Bird Design is currently helping a local group host its first 5K this summer. Tents, banners, giveaways, signs, T-shirts and invitations are just some of the items we are providing.

What I do outside of work: I blog about life, my career and things that motivate me. I’m always in my kitchen, whether I’m cooking dinner, packing lunches for the next day or planning dinner for the next night. I also love getting involved in the community, like running a 5K for a local charity.



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