Texas Tech University

Innovation Hub Tenant Boosts Entrepreneurship

Kay Boren

September 2, 2019

Flint Avenue Marketing CEO Talks Startups, Team-ups, and Pop-ups

After the corporation she was working for in Houston closed unexpectedly in 2015, entrepreneur Amy Wood returned to her hometown and founded her own startup, Flint Avenue Marketing. "I was in an executive leadership position with that company and had employees worldwide that needed work. They said if I started something new, they would work for me. So I started Flint Avenue!" she explains. That was not the first or last time Wood "paid it forward" professionally. She chose to locate her outsource marketing department business at the Innovation Hub almost from the beginning. Her first clients came from sharing her story and challenges at a monthly 1 Million Cups meeting held at the Hub. Wood currently serves on the local organizing team for 1MC, the nationwide Kauffman Foundation program that provides an entry point for the entrepreneur community to gather, encourage, and support startups. "The Hub is the number one resource for startups in West Texas. It's helping launch amazing companies into the world, and I want to be where that's happening."

Pivot, pivot, grow

Wood's passion for entrepreneurship began at an early age. As a child, she started a company called "Rent-A-Kid" offering to babysit, wrap gifts, and take out trash for residents in her Lubbock neighborhood. She's owned dozens of businesses since that first venture and has also worked for large companies. Marketing was not her first career, however. "I started in customer service and leadership training and grew to include instructional design. Then as my experience unfolded I realized that training departments get budget cuts first, and marketing always has budget. The move to marketing wasn't a huge leap. Content is king in both worlds," she says. Her advice for startups: "Do one small thing. Do it well. Sell it over and over. Then expand."

Startups, entrepreneurs, and pop-ups

A brightly colored sign on a window advertises a Flint Avenue popup shops

You might say startups and entrepreneurship have really started popping up around Lubbock this summer, thanks to one of Flint Avenue's recent projects. Wood and her company have teamed up with local entrepreneurs to offer pop-up shop experiences here. The first one Flint Avenue hosted was in an industrial space downtown. It had a business networking focus along with promoting a coffee roasting startup that is one of the marketing company's clients. The second was a South Lubbock Art Trail hosted in a space on the South Loop. It showcased local artists, promoted the sale of their artwork, included food trucks, and popped up a coffee shop for Flint Avenue's coffee roasting startup client. "The spirit behind a pop-up is to allow a brand that isn't ready for, or doesn't need, a retail storefront ongoing. They just need to provide a brand experience with their product to gain traction," Wood says. She expects Flint Avenue will continue to host startup pop-ups around Lubbock through the rest of 2019.

Promoting and supporting the startup community

Wood is more than just the CEO of a long-time Hub tenant company. She's been a part of many programs for startups here. She says, "I've served on the leadership team for Red Raider Startup, which is a 3-day startup program for the community to take a quick dive into pitches, customer discovery, and forming a team. I've taught the sales/marketing portion of the TTU Accelerator Program with (The Hub's Senior Managing Director) Kimberly Gramm. I've also helped scrub pitches, score pitch decks, business plans, and so much more." Why? "Because the Hub is my community, my people, and it attracts like-minded people. I want to grow this ecosystem in Lubbock and the best way to do that is to align myself and my company with amazing resources found at the Hub," Wood says.

Wood strongly believes community is an important part of the startup ecosystem. "Being an entrepreneur isn't always easy, and we have to encourage each other to keep moving forward." She says that can be especially helpful with maintaining the hustle mindset. "To me, 'hustle' means to keep moving forward doing the next right thing." She adds, "My hustle comes straight from God. He has gifted me with amazing opportunities. I just keep saying 'yes' and He does the rest!"