Cafe-Girl Thriving Artisit INC
Gabriel Flores 0:00
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I'm here with the owner of Cafe girl thriving artists Incorporated. We actually connected online. I'm very excited specifically about this one because this is my first Southern Oregon entrepreneur live, how are we doing?
Lia Dugal 0:21
I'm good. I'm good. Thank you for having me on this morning. This is my first time being in the interview this seat. I've been starting a podcast last since last year last fall. And I've been the interviewer. So this has been interesting,
Gabriel Flores 0:35
nice, what's your podcast called?
Lia Dugal 0:37
It's called the fan girl hour. And it's been a lot of fun, helping me with the rebrand, which we'll be talking about in a little bit. Because the idea was, you know, I was looking at all of my fandoms growing up, and they've actually been sort of a source of healing from, you know, when I was little with Nightcore, all the way up until, you know, in my 20s and 30s, with Doctor Who, just the connection we have with these pop culture references, or whatever they are. And so I, you know, contacted a lot of several of my different closest friends and started, you know, I have a series of questions that I asked about, and it's been so sweet to hear what these television shows or whenever they would be, I interviewed someone about a friend of mine that really loves the Kennedys. And she has all this knowledge and it was just really, it's just been very, very sweet. And I think goes along with the theme I want to go forward with Cafe girl thriving artist is using our souls to create art and find healing. So
Gabriel Flores 1:50
love it. Love it. Now, before we get going into the cafe, let's go ahead and introduce the podcast audience to Leah. Okay, just give him a little background.
Lia Dugal 1:59
So my name is Leah Dubeau. And I live in Ashland, Oregon, and with my partner of nine years going on 10 years, we have two cats named Leo who was 21. And whenever I say that people are like, wow, I'm like, he's fine. Like, as of now he's walking. Yeah. And then I have my kitty, tansy who is nine, and she'll be 10 next October. So she's kind of the baby of the family even though she's nine. And I actually moved here originally in 99. To go to college at Southern Oregon University. I graduated in 2002. I was a transfer student. I graduated, I originally came to Ashland to study theater, and I ended up graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Human Communication and a minor in theater. And then, a few years later, I went back to California for graduate school, I got my teaching, credential credential, elementary school, I taught for a while and kind of realized that I wasn't meant to be a teacher that wasn't, I'm good with kids. I like kids. But the aspect of teaching, especially public school, the time was just not, it didn't wait, I didn't wake up in the morning and go, Oh, my God, I can't wait to get you know, to go teach and be with these kids as I think teachers should have been a lot of my friends that are teachers they have that. My passion, all my life was I really was just drawn to writing naturally since as as old as I could hold a pencil and write words. And then Yeah, seriously. And I mean, it was just almost instinctual, just being able to write and I loved reading and then as also acting, and I took singing and music and piano in high school, in college, or high school, college, all that stuff.
And so, and then also at the same time, I think there's I was never interested in being part of like, the social standard, you know, going to college, getting married, getting the house getting, you know, having the kids. There's nothing wrong with that. But I think at first when I was younger, I rebelled against that norm in society. Now as I get older, I see the value of it, of having that stability and security and giving someone having raising someone and loving them. But at the time, you know, and growing up for many years, it was I rebelled against it because I'm naturally more of an artist brain mindset. And I think that, as I've been pondering it My purpose is not to is to be a little bit out of that norm and to shake things up, you know, and cause people to think in order to transform the world, you know,
Gabriel Flores 5:04
yeah, and that's kind of what you're doing right? So that's, that's kind of the the goal of Cafe girl. So for the listeners at home, let's give them a little info what is Kafka? Now you're in a pivot, right? You're talking about it briefly about rebranding. So go ahead and give it given to them the brand previously, current stage, and then what you're transitioning into.
Lia Dugal 5:26
Okay, so. And so in 2016, I had written this script that was it started with a doctor who fanfiction web series that I had based on a dream of it. Yeah, series of dreams that I had, I had these I was married in about 2011 2012. And I'm not married to that person anymore. And I remember having these dreams, he was the one that introduced me to a doctor who is specifically with like all of it. And we watched a lot of the former stuff with the, with Ramana, the companion Ramana. And I've had these dreams where I was Ramana. And all this, the story unfolded every night, and I wake up every morning, and I tell my husband, like I had another dream. And it was like this recurring dream. So I finally wrote it down. And in 2016, early 2016, I got some cast and crew together. And you know, we filmed that during the week, just some scenes, and it was not, it was really kind of thrown together. And previous that summer, in 2015, I was working on a set for another film as a production assistant. And this friend of mine, who was there as an extra at on that day sat down with me, and he's like, you know, I really think that you could be a good producer, you know, you could still act and have that focus. But, you know, he's really encouraging me and I was looking at him, like, you know, but then in that December, I realized and moving forward that I had a natural instinct of, you know, planning things out. And, you know, arranging the schedules, especially with people working in different lives, and finding the locations and putting it all together all the things. And I Cafe girl, the name Cafe girl was inspired or came from when I was in my 20s, I had a group of friends at a cafe that I hung out with for a year right after college. And it was just a really special time, it was maybe only a year or so for me, but all of us really connected and never forgot that now. They're all old and have regular jobs. And I was like, the one or whatever, you know, we're old, we're, it's just, you know, we weren't, that was a youthful time, so much that when we reconnect, it's almost like we're living in that moment again. But I was like the one main girls like me, and there was maybe one or other girls, but it was mostly men. So I was like, are male, those Cafe girl, I kind of adopted that at the time. So when I started the company, I thought, and it was at the beginning, it was just a film and media company or making films, short films, this and that. And Cafe co productions, and then kind of trying to figure out how do you register a business? How do you get the EIN all of that, like on the fly? Yeah. And during that time, I, you know, realize that I always wanted to have my own business, how do I make my own hours, this and that. And I already had been doing that, in the sense that since about 2013, with I'm a dog walker, I'm a dog sitter, I'm an art model I have, I do a full time work without having that nine to five. So I was like, Well, how can I get away from doing these jobs, these side hustles this, these gates and make something more, but the, as much as I love creating these films, these media is creating these stories. It's not something that's bringing in a lot of funds. You know, that's just how it is. And so I couldn't I was just kind of struggling with that until 2020 happened. And I was able to kind of you I like we all were step back, we all had to step back. And during that time, I was able to slow down and start looking at all of myself, you know, everything. And I have an had for many years since maybe 2013. This Facebook group called artists writing network, which is for artists have, it was started out as for actors and people like that to share their audition notices and such. But then it evolved and has evolved to everything and more of a kind of a community. And then I also have a blog With a thriving artist, and I was like, why don't I marry the two. And as I started marrying those two, I also looked at my history of life and everything I've been through and how I have a communication degree, you know, I've done public speaking. And then I'm a teacher, and I'm done, you know, studied acting and all of this. And that's where these ideas of workshops and coaching came out. And, and this idea of, what does it mean to thrive? What does it mean to be a thriving artist? It's not necessarily, you know, being a celebrity and having your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or whatever. It's actually it's, it's just, it's a mindset. So working with that, and I'm hoping that the one on one coaching and the workshops would be the sense of and so workshops would be like a group, and one on one, obviously. And that would be way as I'm creating the lessons plans is that it's not just for actors, not just for people on film and theater, but it's, we're calling it the dragon artists workshops, using the various various facets of art to really connect with whatever you need to work with inside. Yeah. And then through that healing, become a better artist become a better person and truly thrive.
Gabriel Flores 11:20
I love it. And you know, for the folks at home that may not be aware of this. I think you kind of picked a perfect market, you know, in the Ashlyn area because for folks at home that may not be aware of this, they actually have the Shakespeare festival there and Ashlyn Correct.
Lia Dugal 11:35
Yes, they have the Shakespeare Festival, which is obviously the most world wide, something tourist attraction for Ashland. But they also have a lot of other regional theaters that Oregon cabaret theatre, Camelot theater, and then a lot of a very bustling community theater scene. And then on top of that, the film community has really been growing. So there is and then then there's also the artist scene, the fine artist scene and the music scene. So it is, although it's a small town and a small area, there is so much creativity and energy that is happening here.
Gabriel Flores 12:16
There is and you know, for the folks at home that may not have a visited Ashton before, please do that is one of the greatest little small cities, the hidden gem here in Oregon. Beautiful community right there, down on the border of Oregon and California. So Northern California, folks, if you're listening, take a trip up north I five baby, we're right there. Beautiful, beautiful location. Now one of the things you mentioned, you kind of the way this started gravitating and started snowballing into a thought was through dreams. But you also wrote down those dreams, right? Do you do that often? Do you kind of write your thoughts and ideas? And if so, is that pretty important to do?
Lia Dugal 12:55
Yes. Well, I want to specify that that that the dreams were about the story line of of the Doctor Who fan fiction, that's how it started the production company. But yes, overall, I do keep a journal where I just I try to just write I don't try to, you know, put a put it into any format, or it's not necessarily something that is shared, and just let the thoughts come freely. And I also do monthly vision boards were just there, I liked the idea more of excuse me, intentions rather than goals, because I feel like goals, it's like if you don't reach those goals within a set period of time, there's a sense of failure about or even resolutions that same way, but intentions that have more of a fluidity to them. So that's why I do these vision boards. And a lot of times it's the kind of the same intention over and over and over that hasn't been reached yet. But it's just that this is what we're working towards. And it's a kind of a combination of, you know, my personal growth and the business and you know, whatever side hustle, just to focus, right? Yeah.
Gabriel Flores 14:19
Nice. I liked it all together. Now, one of the things you also mentioned was when you're starting this process, you can go into the AI n so the employee identification number for folks at home for tax purposes, right and starting a business now, is this your first business?
Lia Dugal 14:35
Yes, I would say yes. Since 2016. I've been doing that. Now. The difference now is that I've been working with a business advisor to help with the creating the business plan and really getting focused about it. Yeah, and then we it's been an eye on See, and it still is on the books Cafe co productions I NC within next week, I'm hoping to change that name. And because of tax purposes, and because my business partners have a lot like side business or the side, the they have actual normal jobs at present, I'm doing like a lot of the work. So we're changing it, we'll be changing it temporarily to an LLC, until we can really get the workshops on coaching going, and then, and they can come in and do some of that as well, then we can become incorporated, include them in that. And it's so until that time, I will, you know, it's they'll just be like, staff, and I'll be painting
Gabriel Flores 15:41
totally makes sense. Now. Now, what, what would you say, since this is, you know, relatively new, what would you say has been difficult about starting a business?
Lia Dugal 15:51
You know, I think that the hardest thing for me, and this was something previous to 2020 that I dealt with, and I didn't even know it had a name. But this sense of feeling like an imposter, like, I don't know what I'm doing. And I would look at all these other people, specifically in the film world, or the entrepreneur world that seemed to be thriving. And I didn't see that in myself. And so this, I didn't even know that there was really the imposter syndrome until like, a few weeks ago, an old friend said, Well, you know, I haven't felt like this in a while. And I'm like, what is that. And so then I looked into it and realized that had been something that I had felt for many years, until stepping back from the busyness in the rat, right race of it, and 2020, I was able to see all the things that I done, and really see how I accomplish them and find that strength within myself and also realize that something that really, in Scott, to me, a thought that came to me was that you don't have to be an expert, you just have to begin. And so that is taking those first steps, whether you know, whether it was editing, content with effects, or the podcast, or whatever it is writing the workshops, it doesn't have to be perfect, it never will be perfect. You just have to begin and you start to learn as you go. And so that has, and these people that are maybe years and years have been doing this for 30 years, they started out where I'm to, and there's so
Gabriel Flores 17:28
that's very true. You know, that's that's such a great point. And I think for aspiring entrepreneurs, it does not matter your age either to start to learn something new. I, myself as a podcast host have definitely gone through the stages of impostor syndrome. And I don't think I noticed it until this moment right now I think until you sit stated that and a lot of it too. I must admit I had a conversation recently with one of my past guests. I'm like, Man, I feel like I still have so much to learn. I'm I feel like I'm I'm in the middle of an ocean floundering right now he's like, look back at all the things you've done. So for the folks at home that are listening, you know, aspiring entrepreneurs or individuals that are just doing a small project, look back at all the things that you've accomplished to get to this moment, and take pride in that, you know, in fact, if you look back on your life, and you get embarrassed in a moment, good, that means you've grown, that means you have matured. Okay, so look back at those embarrassing moments and like, man, sure, it was a pretty, pretty immature child back in the day. But today, you are different. Right? Yeah. Now look at what has been easy about starting this business. Has there been anything easy?
Lia Dugal 18:39
Yes, I think so. I think what's been easy is in those early days of, you know, writing the scripts, and coming together was finally finding something where that makes me feel alive. And in that moment of being alive. It's, it's everything comes together. And it's just this, this truly this feeling of, of, of joy, that I am finding my purpose. And that's been something that has been you know, I was struggling with the imposter imposter syndrome. But when, you know, I've done theater and film and so when I got back to that, into that, and about 2012 And when I got back into that, it was like a light bulb went off. It was like this is what you're supposed to do. And so everything that I've done since that time has been this evolution of drilling deeper into my purpose and finding that sense of joy in life. And and so the creative aspect, I would say and opening myself up to different aspects of creativity, whether that isn't necessarily on camera acting now. It's you know, more behind the camera and also even in the sense of just being a producer and You know, stepping back and arranging the funding and doing all that kind of thing. There's an aspect of creativity to that, you know, I was thinking about how when you look at like a child, I've done nanny work in the past, and a child is so inquisitive and curious about all the things that we adults just, you know, take for granted, or kind of love the doing, like paying bills, something as simple as that, as a kid is like, oh, my gosh, what does that mean to pay bills? And so you can look at it in the sense of childlike wonder and this like Game of it all. It's like, oh, wow, you know, I pay bills. And, you know, I clean my house, whereas kids are just, yeah. So I think that that's another way that I've gone deeper into that sense of joy and self purpose is, you know, looking at it through that lens. And that's a childlike, not childish. Yeah. And
Gabriel Flores 20:53
I would say what I wouldn't give to go back to not remember what it was like to pay bills. would give anything to go back. You know, one of the things you discuss right now, too, is funding, right? Because so I want to be very honest with the folks at home, we were talking about passion, right, and finding a passion and growing your passion, right? I think I'm finding mine has been this podcast, right now and doing this, this kind of creative art myself. But it's also parenting to find financial support for your passion. Right? Yeah, if you're gonna turn your passion into a career, you have to have that financial burden. So how do you lay out? How do you mark it? How do you brand your company? How do you get on new clients.
Lia Dugal 21:36
So especially with the rebrand, I'm still adjusting to that I do have, I do claim and call myself a gig worker at present. So I'm working a lot of different types of jobs from dog walking, to modeling to acting gigs. And I have been, I have several, you know, my business accounts and my personal accounts, and I kind of balance it with my income. And as far as the rebrand and it's, it's coming out, it's very fluid, because in conversations with people, as I'm talking about this, you know, the workshops and whatnot, especially with in the film and media, art world theatre world that I've connected to, that is my first focus, I want to expand past that. But in order to have clients, I need to kind of go with what I have. And so I just talked about it, you know, as I'm in a social circle, well, what are you doing? Well, you know, I'm doing I'm a gig worker, you know, as a side hustle, or as the Normie job, but I'm also working towards taking my business to this level, so that as we have these workshops and coaching, I can then funnel that funding into creating this art, and the film and media, and so that it's a sustainable business, we might still have to, you know, go for the crowd funding and such, but that, that's just, that's just something you have to do, but hopefully, a lot of it will come from my own source of revenue for the business as it moves forward. So that's been important and just keeping it you know, keeping people aware of the rebranding, you know, we just, I just changed all the social media to Caffrey growth writing artists, and I am waiting until all the paperwork gets finished for the changeover with the business in the federal to really change the website and stuff like that. But we also have a Patreon so that we don't we have about 10 patrons but so it's not a huge you know, but But it's something and it can continue to grow Yeah, and yeah, I think just there's a sense of fluidity that as I as I take care of myself as I spend a lot of time making sure that I'm caring for my own needs, whether that is making sure that all my bills are paid, you know in the past i i just thought i just want to jump into it and you know, kind of went for broke and that I sacrifice my own needs. So you know, paying my bills getting debt paid off as well as you know, waking up every morning and doing a yoga and meditation and, you know, spending time just in my own self care and art for art's sake. I have this less a sense of kind of striving or, or competition, I guess. You know, that's part of it as an actor going to auditions and such but unless a worry of trying to get there and Just kind of relaxing into knowing that it's happening. I mean, I'm definitely taking steps every day one baby step at a time. But I'm not. There's just, I'm just relaxing into it. Because I know, I don't know, if that makes sense.
Gabriel Flores 25:17
That's great. Now, it's kind of speaking in that terms, right? You're you're kind of speaking on your own past experience, right, and trying to talk about your growth. Now, with that said, looking back on your past experience, looking back at your pivot, you know, looking forward and five years, what advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs or or other creators? What advice would you give them?
Lia Dugal 25:39
Ah, well, I think I would just say that one thing is, you don't have to be an expert, you just have to begin. And in that beginning, one of the things that really is important for me is having that balance and in your life, and really just finding balance and being rooted in just every aspect of life. And then when it comes to my creativity, or my creative projects, whether it's like writing a script, or editing a video, especially ongoing long term, film or web series, you don't have to tackle it all on one day, write a scene, write a couple lines, you know, edit one scene, just do it one day at a time, especially if you still have your Normie job, you have to balance it, you have to find that kind of balance, I keep lists, where I just have a list for the week, and I cross it off as I get through it nice. And it's just a sense of balance and being rooted and making sure that you're taking care of, you know, don't jump into this world of being an entrepreneur without without a background of finances, don't just stress that the money is going to come, you really have to find that balance and take baby steps. And just every day doing a little bit, you will accomplish it, you'll come to that end. I mean, I noticed that with my I had this we have this web series as original web series, there's two seasons, and we're hoping to get into the third season. It's called Nate and Lauren how they met. And it was it was first inspired. I have I had myself and four other friends that I started writing that they would start sharing with me their love life and all their problems. And then I'd also been watching all these like rom com Netflix sitcoms, and I started kind of creating something from that. But how I wrote it was a little a scene each day, or less than a scene maybe even like five lines or something. And that was just a rough draft, like before work, you know, just sit down and write a scene and then go off to work. And then from there, I was able to do a reading of it and get some feedback. And then, you know, start filming it. And I remember one of the actresses asked me how did you write and I said a little each day love it. And so I think that's still something I do to this this point. I mean, back in the day I tried when we did the we had this one summer where we did a big Doctor Who fan fiction it was amazing and beautiful the production of it all and we became a real flat family creating these heartsick and homesick and so when it came to post production, I just sat down and like did it like a month they weren't as long or as well involved. And I did have a little bit more of a team behind to help me but that was fine then but I found now it's been it's easier for me to just do a little bit at a time and then it's accomplished and then it feels good once you do finally call the
Gabriel Flores 28:54
appointments those little accomplishments that just add up so for the folks at home Lea how can they get in contact with you how can they find out more information about Cafe girl thriving artists incorporated currently eventually LLC? What's your social media handles? How can they find out more information
Lia Dugal 29:10
so it's currently Catholic girl productions I NC legally it's but it's Cafe girl thriving artist, LLC to come from but right now, go to the website, www dot Cafe girl productions I nc.com and that will take you all to the links. We are on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, I do have a Pinterest as well. And we have the Patreon if you want to support us www.patreon.com/coffee Girl productions we have also have for the three other web series they have their own YouTube channels and Twitter's and Facebook's and all that. And we have I do a monthly newsletter so if you go to the website, you can sign up to be on the newsletter and that's another way as well. Perfect. Yeah Leah,
Gabriel Flores 30:02
thank you so much for taking your time to share your story very excited about what's going on and Ashley and I next time I'm down there I'll definitely look you up and we will try to connect get a drink. I usually try to get down there about once a quarter beautiful folks at home if you have not been to ash and go check it out good old Southern Oregon University Raiders baby. So please go down there visit beautiful community beautiful environment. Again, Leah, thank you so much for those folks at home. Please visit me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and have a great night. Thank you