Meet Taylor Dent, Founder of Orcinus Media

A true storyteller puts all her expertise under one umbrella

A self-taught design technologist, Taylor Dent says her first job after college helped her tap into her creative side to develop content using photography, videography, and marketing strategies. 

A candid photograph of Taylor Dent.
Davorian Ware

That first job was at a robust nonprofit in Washington, DC under an educational pilot program, where she served as a program assistant and social media strategist. After learning different Adobe applications and programming languages, she decided to bring all of her expertise under one umbrella and venture into entrepreneurship. 

After doing similar work as a freelancer for a year in 2019, Dent founded Orcinus Media in 2020 as a company that provides technological support and content development to small businesses, nonprofits and organizations in an effort to increase their online visibility. Dent leverages her expertise in design technology to lead her company. 

"I realized I was naturally gifted within this realm and that I was ready to do things as my own entity," Dent told Lifewire in an email interview. "Our efforts at Orcinus Media are driven by our mission to make high-quality content more accessible to businesses that cannot afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars for PR solutions."

Prior to the pandemic, Orcinus Media provided tech services to underrepresented businesses. The company has since made a shift to offering more candid photoshoots to meet demand from its clients. Business was booming at the start of the pandemic with this shift, but after suffering a dark period with few clients, the company has seen business picked back up following the holidays. 

Quick Facts About Taylor Dent

Name: Taylor Dent

Age: 25

From: Long Beach, California, but grew up in "a Central Illinois twin city called Champaign-Urbana, home of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign." 

Favorite game to play: Currently, Spider-Man on the PlayStation, and she’s patiently waiting for the gaming system to bring Guitar Hero back.

Key quote or motto you live by: "'It ain’t on me, it’s in me.' The power to succeed and be all that God has laid out for me is within me, I just have to stay tapped in and dedicated to my dreams."

Working Through the Obstacles

At Orcinus Media, most of Dent’s work is focused on providing clients with headshots and product photos, building websites, coming up with communication strategies and providing data analyses.

She said the company, originally known as Red Orca Medya, went through a few iterations before nailing down its business model.

"As marketing tools become used more widely, we see a lack of professional stock images or video content that represent Black and brown businesses and that often hinders their ability to tell their story, display their core values, or market their services," she said.

"We attempt to make those materials more accessible by providing high quality images, videos, marketing strategies, how-tos, and more."

"We continue to press, plan, and produce, because we know our creativity, character and drive are forces that will precede us in reputation."

Now with a team of two, Dent serves as the company’s CEO, photographer, and client manager, while her fiancé, Davorian Ware, serves as chief information officer and handles much of the website development, data analysis, and video editing. 

"We work really well together," Dent shared. "One great thing about our relationship is that we truly like each other and it is almost as if we are puzzle pieces, we carry each other where one might not be that strong, and we play well at our strengths."

Though the pair work great together, they are strategizing how they plan to build the rest of their team in the future. As a Black business owner, one obstacle that Dent is having while building her business is finding investors to help expand her team and secure studio rentals. Securing venture capital is an obstacle many minority startup founders have to face, Dent says. 

"We can rarely ever find loan or grant opportunities that we qualify for, and the ones we’ve filled out so far, we have been rejected for," she said. "But no worries, we continue to press, plan, and produce, because we know our creativity, character and drive are forces that will precede us in reputation."

Staying Focused and Motivated

Despite the struggle to secure venture capital support, Dent is focused on continuing her work at Orcinus Media with great hope that opportunities will arrive sooner or later. While Dent is building her startup, she’s also working fulltime as a youth program director at a YMCA in Illinois. One way she stays focused is by ensuring she doesn’t bring that work home, so she can give all her extra energy to Orcinus Media. 

"I dedicate my life outside of work to my business, and I make sure to schedule my personal time around that," Dent shared. "That is very important to me because I know my end-game looks like me running a company of my own, not someone else’s."

Taylor Dent reviewing photos in an offer with another person.
Photo credit: Theresa Niedbala

Most days, Dent gets home from work around 3 p.m. and works on building Orcinus Media until midnight or later. In an unplanned pivot to providing more photography resources, Dent said she welcomed the shift to meet the demand for more personal family photoshoots. 

"It has been enjoyable, but has also changed the scope of our business and what services we provide," Dent said about the company’s shift. "I have enjoyed seeing us shift to meet demands, it has all been a part of a colorful journey."

Currently, Dent is focused on ramping up social media strategies for a few clients and developing some marketing strategies for Orcinus Media’s spring plans. Some goals she has for 2021 include securing another annual contract and purchasing a studio for her company to elevate Orcinus Media’s ability to serve. 

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