Freelance graphic design and event planning kept Rochon Perry busy for years, from coordinating the filming of Bishop Desmond Tutu's first international tour to curating exhibits for the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum. Finally, after some prodding from satisfied customers, in 1992, Perry left her job as a television station art director to launch Black Ink, the San Francisco marketing communications firm that boasts clients from Seattle to Atlanta and New York City. Black Ink offers complete services in public relations and marketing, graphic design and Web site construction, conference and trade show development, and cause marketing.
Now, Perry, 44, seeks to expand her company's horizons, adding interactive technology to the mix. Recognizing the under-representation of minorities among comics-industry consumers, her plans include the launch of Black Ink's multimedia branch, Blackhawk Games. Its first project, in collaboration with animation consultant Jim Calahan and game designer Phillip Reed, is a videogame designed for minority girls, ages 12 and up, and is set for release in 2000.
Perry's position on the board of the national organization Friends of Lulu helps her pursue her passion: "Whether creating comics, drawing them, inking them or coloring them," she says, "[Lulu's] mandate is to increase the readership and participation of young women in the comic book industry."
When it comes to business, Perry is equally passionate about the aggressive networking that keeps her company on a strong growth track. The key? "Getting involved," she says of her commitment to the volunteer projects and speaking engagements that enable her to keep Black Ink in the public eye.
Projecting 1999 sales of more than $200,000, Perry reflects on the leap of faith that birthed Black Ink nearly seven years ago. "If you have a vision, you have to see it through," she says, offering would-be entrepreneurs the gentle nudge her freelance clients once gave her: "You've thought about it for so long. Now implement it and make it work."
Black Ink Marketing Communications, (415) 928-7329, firstname.lastname@example.org
Color 3 Lab, 560 19th St., San Francisco, CA 94107, (415) 626-2111