Hey there! My name is Luca. Incidentally, I do live on the second floor.
In lieu of speaking in third person in a pretty condensed bio, here’s my deal:
St. Patrick’s Day, 1983
My mom, an entrepreneur with a stubborn streak, goes into labor….but not before finishing up a custom order of gourmet chocolates for a customer. She makes my grandfather promise to deliver the order before being dragged to Hollywood Memorial Hospital. I arrive a few hours later.
A pre-school teacher expresses concern after I color an ice cream cone pink and decorate it with cats. My mom explains that I’m not challenging authority but practicing creativity. I still end up with a time-out.
I discover that I can sell discounted tubes of lipstick from Woolworth’s with a profit margin on the playground at school. Third graders clamor to snag a specific shade of red and a bidding war begins. Before I can auction it off, a teacher disbands my small business. My mom again explains that I’m not challenging authority, but honing my sales pitch. I still end up with detention.
My love affair with HTML begins, and I will later go on to offer web design services during high school to pay for my car. Friends will make fun of me for how much time I spend in front of a computer, but I am totally hooked.
I studied Communications at Florida Atlantic University and earned a real estate licence in Florida, working for a large commercial developer and was thrilled by my “Leasing Associate” title. In addition to locating small businesses to occupy commercial shopping center properties, I was charged with the task of maintaining the company website, creating marketing materials, and preparing promotional items. I realized that the marketing and branding aspects of my job were in fact the part that I loved the most.
I determine that real estate, while lucrative, is killing my soul. I plotted my escape from wearing a suit to work.
Lollibomb Beauty is born and Etsy is its birthplace. Launching a handmade vegan bath and body company turned out to be an incredible learning experience that guided me to my passions: Social media marketing, customer/user support, community outreach, and helping other entrepreneurs recognize their dreams and build brands. Lollibomb Beauty has been featured on RachelRay.com, Bust Magazine, Time Out NY, Threadbangers.com, Venus Zine, Alternative Press, and blogged about to the hilt. My efforts and lessons learned through this brand have enabled me to offer others creative insight on their unique projects, and for that I am eternally grateful.
I traded in my sandals for winter coats when I made the move from South Florida to the New York City area. I studied wine and spirits at the International Wine Center and managed the marketing, event coordination, and in-house design projects for an area boutique wine retailer. I identified and facilitated collaborative events to increase the company’s exposure while supporting community happenings. I also worked with high-end wine and spirit brands to coordinate tasting events and increase brand awareness. It was a lot of fun, and definitely gave me a penchant for top-shelf hootch. During this time, I also designed targeted advertising materials and graphics for area businesses as well as to-spec web design projects.
I received a Mayoral Citation from the City of Jersey City in recognition of my contributions as a Jersey City small business owner! I always assumed citations involved points on your license, but this is one Citation I was happy to receive. I also organized the wildly popular Jersey City Craft Mafia Handmade Holiday Market in Downtown Jersey City. It was perfecto.
I assisted in the organization and promotion of the 1st Annual Historic Downtown Special Improvement District “All About Downtown” Street Festival. We had over 60 vendors, 10+ food trucks, and 15,000 attendees. It was a smashing success, and I am so proud to be a part of my Downtown Jersey City community!
Art House Productions, a multi-disciplinary arts organization that serves much of Hudson County and beyond, asked me to be a board member of their esteemed organization. Christine Goodman, the founder of Art House, was a huge inspiration in my move to Jersey City, and I have been fortunate to work with many area artists and organizations that I admire so much.
I again collaborated and assisted with the event promotion and organization of the 2nd Annual “All About Downtown” Street Fair with the Historic Downtown Special Improvement District. This time we had over 100 vendors and over 25,000 neighbors in attendance. Color me stoked.
I also worked with several artists in branding and marketing efforts behind the scenes, giving their events an extra promotional push in front of the press to secure a healthy turnout and subsequent art sales.
I organized the 23rd Annual Jersey City Art & Studio Tour from October 2-6 alongside the City of Jersey City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Pro Arts, a visual arts organization based in New Jersey. In addition to creating opportunities for artists to show and sell within the city, I facilitated the build-out and art curation of the JCAST 2013 Flagship location of the TenMarc Building. Love, love, love.
I also collaborated and assisted with the event promotion and vendor curation of the 3rd Annual “All About Downtown” Street Fair with the Historic Downtown Special Improvement District. This time we had over 150 vendors and over 45,000 neighbors in attendance.
Alongside my partners John Ruddy and John Fathom, we launch The Culture JC, a multifaceted arts organization that serves the Jersey City community in proliferating area arts and culture. I develop the website, branding, and marketing strategy to get us up and running to serve our community.
I was hired by the City of Jersey City’s Office of Cultural Affairs to head up the 24th Annual Jersey City Art & Studio Tour under Mayor Steven M. Fulop. The event was the largest in its history, with over 175 participating venues and 600 artists. In addition to marketing strategy, social media management, and web development, I was also the point person for artist and venue enrollment, sponsorship procurement, and event coordination in association with the Jersey City Art & Studio Tour.
Mo’fessional Version of The Story:
Since moving to Jersey City in 2007, Luca Cusolito has immersed herself in the creative community as a volunteer, advocate for the arts, and developer of cultural event programming throughout the City. Her mission has been to build infrastructure in support of that community through her work with with non-profits, organizations, small businesses and the local government. Her work has directly contributed to well-known community events such as the “All About Downtown Street Fair” and growing existing citywide arts programming, such as Art House Productions’ “JC Fridays” and the annual “Jersey City Art & Studio Tour”.
Ms. Cusolito received a Mayoral Citation for her contributions to the community as a creative entrepreneur in 2010 and was recognized as a “Woman of Action” by the City of Jersey City in 2012. In October 2016, she received the distinct honor of being invited to attend The White House’s First Annual “South By South Lawn” Festival, hosted by President Barack Obama, as a creative leader in the State of New Jersey.
Ms. Cusolito joined Mayor Steven Fulop’s administration in 2014 to increase and proliferate programming specific to Jersey City’s arts community, including expanding the annual Jersey City Art & Studio Tour and providing marketing and communications support for co-sponsored community events. Other initiatives include pop-up exhibitions in vacant and abandoned storefronts and developing funding and grant opportunities specific to Jersey City-based artists, makers and creatives. She later served as Creative Director to the Division of Communications until 2017.
Ms. Cusolito has fired back up her agency Creative Enabler to serve creative professionals, artists, small businesses, and large-scale event organizers with their digital and communications strategies. This includes web development, design, branding, video and promotional strategy with a team of a talented creatives that build community while building brands.