We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Essig-Peppard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brian, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Currently, I’m one of the founders of a tech startup called Ohms. We’ll be launching our first phase in June, which will be a wellness app (also called Ohms) dedicated to combating anxiety through procedurally generated guided breathing exercises and wellness programs tailored to each individual user’s needs. Ultimately, it was a confluence of talented friends all pooling their interests and specialties. I’ve had a great career so far not only telling visual narratives in comic books, tv, and film, but I’ve also had extensive experience with branding and marketing. Given the right place and time, I was very excited to apply those skills to the Ohms team and help the engineers, chemists, scientists, and designers achieve their goals. I’ve worked as a freelancer for so long. That transition took a lot of effort to achieve, and took quite a long time to grow accustomed to. Ironically, after a while I found it would be nice to work on a project I believed in for longer than two weeks. There are obvious benefits to always working on something fresh. Even the projects that don’t really spark any joy will also rotate out and be completed relatively quickly. Freelancing is a nice way to work if the work/life balance can be maintained, but I had been considering looking for something a little more long-term when the opportunity to join Ohms presented itself.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I feel like there were two main things I carried with me through my career that lent directly to success. Starting early on in my career I held tight to Steve Martin’s mantra “be so good they can’t ignore you.” It gave me a drip feed of validity when I otherwise would have (or should have) had none. I still repeat that mantra to myself almost daily. It’s a call to the highest caliber, which is almost by design going to be always just outside your reach. It’s also the gentle reminder that your industry doesn’t care about you. Industries will be slow to change and indifferent behemoths. That’s not to say people in the industry don’t care, because they definitely will and you’ll find amazing people everywhere. The “you” in the mantra is always going to mean “you” as an individual, but it will often also be “you” as an entity. Whatever group you’re a part of, or the project you’re working on. Once you do find others in your industry, set goals, collaborate with them. You’ll become greater than the sum of your parts and that will bring you all higher together. The other thing I’ve kept in mind is a little more amorphous. You know how Han Solo says “never tell me the odds?” There’s something to being dumb enough to try something that anyone with more sense than you would have avoided. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that there’s a privilege baked into that world view. I don’t know what to do with that other than make sure more doors remain open than the ones I’ve found, but I’ll always hold space for that privilege as a reality. But whatever your goal is, give it that shot. Get dependable people to collaborate with, build slowly if necessary, and do it together. Also, if an opportunity presents itself and someone asks “can you do this thing?” your answer is “yes!” Then, when that door is open, go learn how to do that thing real quick. Just be dumb enough to say yes, but smart enough to know you then have to scramble to pull it off.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I argue that one of the best areas of Denver is a couple mile radius around the intersection of Colfax and Colorado. There are so many small businesses and little nooks and crannies to the neighborhoods. Of course there is so much to see and do in the front range, but if I were to stick to that smaller radius: I’d start with the bakery La Fillette on 8th for breakfast. It’s an amazing one of a kind French bakery that genuinely deserves to be on top of the pile of Denver food talent. There’s new things to try there every day, but I highly recommend a custom breakfast sandwich on one of their famous croissants. Make sure to say hi to Michael at the register or Keturah (the owner). Grab a coffee and take that right out on a walk through either the Denver Zoo just up Colorado Blvd, or, if you’re looking for a beautiful free stroll go South through the East Hilltop neighborhood to gawk at the mansions. Regardless of where you go for a morning walk, you’ll need a good lunch afterward. A perfect sit-down is White Pie (amazing New Haven style pizza) or Dos Santos (stupid good tacos and margaritas) on 17th, or, order online and bring your food to Cheesman Park for a picnic. Both restaurants are around the corner from each other and owned by the same local folks. Say hi to the manager Leo when you’re there – he’ll treat you like family. For dinner, I would definitely recommend To the Wind on Colfax. Not only is this cozy restaurant one of the best dining experiences in all of Denver, their waitstaff and chefs really make it a special place. There is a huge amount of talent in this relatively small footprint that deserves all the acclaim they can handle. There are so many more small businesses in that relatively small area – I highly recommend exploring! Be sure to try Coffee at the Point, Smith + Canon Ice Cream co., Axum Ethiopian Restaurant, Honey Hill Cafe, or look for Mo’ Betta Green MarketPlace at any of Denver’s many farmer’s markets!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d definitely attribute the success of my current trajectory to director Warren Fu. He and I were introduced in 2017 so I could storyboard two back to back music videos with him – Paramore and A Tribe Called Quest. We’ve been working together ever since on commercials and music videos for some of the most notable names in either industry. He has a visual art approach to all of his projects and showed me the height an breadth that applying a consistent visual idea can take you. It allowed me to not only see the profound effects modest storyboards can have, but also see the effect our work was having on the music industry or how we fit into the trends of the advertising industry. As a director, he holds a lot of space for his team. It’s extra effort on his part, but it really brings out the best from each department. That space is validating, and allowed me a sense of my own merit to fill into my my roles and ultimately start imagining a place to grow beyond them.

Website: www.brianessigpeppard.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/essigpeppardcreative

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-essig-peppard/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/essigpeppardart

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