We had the good fortune of connecting with Elisse Gabriel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elisse, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
While book authors are often recognized for their signature style, copywriters craft content to reflect their client’s brand and mission, and attract the target audience. We’re used to shifting gears, adjusting tone, phrasing, and verbiage depending on the media and the intended goal. After stretching our writing muscles to produce a range of short- and long–form copy, creating new types of content is usually just a matter of understanding the length and layout of the piece. We’re very adaptable.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My career began largely by chance, though in retrospect I’ve always contributed as a writer or editor in nearly every job I’ve ever had. When I returned to San Francisco after earning my master’s degree in counseling psychology, I was hired to work as the editor of an educational publication in Marin County. I used my knowledge of child development to transform the publication into one that kids were excited to contribute to and read (its online version was featured on CNN).
Early in my career, I reached out to professionals in my field for informational interviews, which led to writing and editing opportunities for companies including Pottery Barn Kids, Restoration Hardware, and Creative Publications. Since that time I’ve been lucky enough to craft content in a wide range of industries, from corporations, retailers, and tech companies to startups, nonprofits, and educational sectors. My roster of clients includes Williams Sonoma, MasterClass, Genentech, VISA, and CLIF Bar, among others.
When I’m not writing for work, I write for myself, and just finished a draft of a middle grade fiction book about the superpowers of empathy. In 2015, I published a nonfiction middle grade book, The Emerald Matchbook, based on my mother’s extraordinary experiences as a hidden child in Belgium during WWII. It’s a testament to the power of a mother’s love—and thankfully has a happy ending (otherwise I wouldn’t be here writing this today!).
I’ve certainly had challenges along the way. Balancing parenting and work, especially while my sons were little, was a major juggling act, but I learned to be efficient and create daily schedules to ensure that my work was submitted on time. I’d work when my kids were at school, before they awoke, or after they went to sleep. My sons, now young adults, have both become talented writers themselves.
I think I’ve gotten where I am today by saying “Yes” as often as possible—to new opportunities, to learning, to meeting people, and staying in touch with colleagues through the years. I’m most proud of the fact that I’m still able to work as a writer after so many years; it’s a true privilege to do creative work that I enjoy.
I named my company Red Balloon Creative Content because of the images a red balloon evokes—of rising above the fray, gaining clarity from a fresh vantage point, and inspiring a story that’s engaging and resonant. Plus, balloons bring out the child in all of us, as well as a sense of fun—a nod to my love of working with and for kids.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’ve lived in the Bay Area for many years, and I’ve always loved showing friends and family the sights. I tend to stray from the tourist traps and instead focus on the amazing natural beauty here. We often go for hikes in Marin and Berkeley and of course, spend time at the beach. Some local favorites include Stinson, Limantour, and Muir Beach. We’ve also visited Muir Woods, whose redwood groves are awe-inspiring.
One of my favorite spots is the Olympic-size mineral pool at Calistoga’s Indian Springs, filled with warm water from their on-site geyser. After a decadent mud bath and a swim, I would take guests wine tasting in nearby Napa and Sonoma.
Our family has often stayed at The Other Place in Boonville, where each cabin on the 600-acre property makes you feel like you have your own acreage overlooking the Anderson Valley. Pure heaven. Nearby are some of our favorite spots, including Navarro Winery and The Apple Farm in Philo, and the charming seaside village of Mendocino.
The trip wouldn’t be complete without a tour around San Francisco. I’d begin at the Ferry Building, then the Warming Hut (at Chrissy Field’s West Bluff), where the view of the Golden Gate Bridge is spectacular, especially if you walk up the hill across the street. We’d continue our tour of the Presidio, stop at the picturesque Palace of Fine Arts, then take a walk along Lands’ End, and have lunch in Japantown—such a fun place to explore.
We would probably venture into San Francisco another day to check out the De Young Museum, California Academy of Science, or SF MOMA, walk around North Beach and Chinatown, explore the Mission and Noe Valley, or hang out in Golden Gate Park. So much to see and do in this 7×7 sq. mile city!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother is a born teacher, a talented writer, historian, and wordsmith. She’s been my go-to reference as far back as I can remember—my personal dictionary, voice of reason, and unconditional support. I still share my pieces with her before showing anyone else. So the shoutout goes to my mother, who inspired my love for and appreciation of the written word.
Other: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisse-gabriel-67836a7/