• Mj Vieweg

The UpNUp: A Community of Inspiration and Representation

Ermias Haile (l) and Robel Andmicael (r) talk with former Seattle Seahawk Pro-Bowler/Super-Bowl Champion Cliff Avril on TheUpNUp podcast.

This week, I am taking a different approach to the blog. There are a lot of interesting people doing interesting things right in our own communities. This post is the first of what might become a series about that. Let us know what you think.

Robel Andmicael and Ermias Haile, co-founders of the The UpNUp, believe there is an abundance of inspiration in the Seattle area for entrepreneurs. They didn’t see that very much of that inspiration was available to the collective community and wanted to change that.

“The inspiration for starting The UpNUp was to build a community of support,” Haile said. “Building a community that can become so vital to the growth of the greater Seattle area is important to us.”

The UpNUp is a multimedia platform, according to Haile, that cultivates culture through content, and hosting community events and projects. Like so many other small, young ventures (the UpNUp was founded just two years ago), the impact of COVID-19 has jostled the extent of their platform, curtailing the use of their creative community space, Cultivated Culture Studios and expansion of their clothing line, UpNUp Clothing.

“COVID-19 has definitely been felt but we don’t want it to allow us to ‘fall off’ in a sense. It’s challenged us creatively and we’ve been as productive if not more,” said Haile. “It’s also made us hone in on other aspects of our brand.”

While waiting for Seattle to reopen, the two have focused on their podcast, UpNUp Podcast, (hosting as Robino and DJ Erm), to stay connected with their community. “The show is centered around storytelling and representation,” said Andmicael. ‘We’re intentional about having a variety of representation whether that’s industry, gender, ethnicity or culture.”

And that variety stretches from urban farming to artificial intelligence.

Guests talk about the architecture of their successes (often hard won) and are often searingly vulnerable describing struggles they overcame and mistakes they made. The UpNUP podcast audience hear stories that chip away at the idea that success in business is linear and only identifiable by a man wearing a suit sitting in the corporate corner office. In addition to sharing business stories, guests describe their own ways of giving back to and representing their communities.

“We want to give our guests the opportunity to be transparent about how they brought their visions to life and how there is an abundance of options of what success looks like,” said Andmicael. “We knew that using this platform, we could make people aware of others in their same community who made their own path to success. And give our listeners a sense of empowerment/impact that only an accurate and proper representation can bring forth.”

The UpNUp’s emphasis on community, representation and success is literally part of its branding. The company’s logo is a hand with roots at the wrist and the index finger pointing up. “It represents what it means to live life on the ‘up and up’,” explained Andmicael. “No matter the ambition or vision one has for themselves, the sky is the limit. Yet, it’s important to always stay grounded and never forget why you began the journey.”

You can find The UpNUp podcast of Spotify, itTunes, Soundcloud and Youtube (The UpNUp Network). Follow them on Twitter and Instagram: @_theupnup . Check out the website for more information.

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