How did the idea for Summer Bunnies come about?
Summer Bunnies was a culmination of two websites actually, the first being a site called Ebony Models Online, which was intended to be the equivalent of an ethnic targeted One Model Place; and the website Kappabeachfest.com. It was simply combining the two audiences
into one. There was a glaring disparity of ethnic bikini style sites so it just made sense. I wanted a name that would be easy and hopefully one day household.
What is your position within the Summer Bunnies project?
I'm the owner/founder.
How has Summer Bunnies grown or changed since its inception?
Initially, there was a lot of resistance to the site from females in the South (Houston/Dallas/Louisiana), but it's catching on pretty well now. The model base has improved substantially with time, and the site has gone through a few cosmetic renovations, but it primarily has the same look and feel. Launched in December 2002, I intended for the site to have a 2005 design scheme. We're now in 2005, and I would say the design fits well with the year.
How large is the team that currently assists you with running this project?
For the most part, the "crew" is virtual. I have a right hand man in DC that backs me up on operations and cosmetic changes, there is a products partner in Minnesota, and I'm in process of training someone to assume ownership of the site by the end of 2005 here in Houston.
During an average work week, how many hours do you spend working on the Summer Bunnies project?
The timeframe has diminshed considerably from summer/fall of 2004. I learned how to work smarter thanks to the nudging of someone who was very close to me back then. I would approximate no more than 2-4 hours of work a week now. The groundwork was laid thoroughly, the hours used to be 5-7 a day on average.
What's the most challenging part of maintaining or operating your website?
Continuing to find the best personnel to feature on the site, and coming up with different layout concepts is the biggest challenge.
What are your goals at the current time for Summer Bunnies?
We are currently marketing our 2005 calendar, and we're in model search mode for the 2006 calendar. There are always projects that are on and off the
table, but my goal personally is a smooth transition as I exit stage left.
What are some other projects you're working on, or anticipate working on in the future?
The 2005 calendar projects will take us up and down the central part of the country this year.
What part of operating Summer Bunnies gives you the most enjoyment?
The freedom from corporate America has been the biggest thrill for me.
Do you work a regular 9 to 5 job or is Summer Bunnies your primary project?
I am a website producer full time.
What's your opinion of the industry regarding ethnic models today?
Personally, the state of this industry is very very cloudy. Not to shine a negative light on the interview, but there are too many players with the wrong
intentions out there, and far too many young ladies who are really not thinking about the future when they step in front of a camera. I am leaving the business because I know I have a higher calling, and the fact that I have created a business from this entity requires that I transition it on to not negatively
impact many people's livelihoods. I'm anxiously awaiting my new beginnings.
If you could start this project all over again, from scratch, what would you do differently?
I like the fact that there was a vision and I've achieved my expectations and then some with the vision. I want to send a specail thanks to R'N'B Ntertainment and all of the wonderful calendar models for the sponsorship of our 2005 calendar; it really was the icing on the cake for 2004.
What are the positive and negatives you've experienced when working with models?
This question could span pages and pages of your site....I'll be brief. I've actually had the positive situation occur whereby I met and fell in love with
a very special person. This was the most wonderful experience of my life, and it would not have happened were it not for the site. We were together
for a year, but there were several things that broke us apart, which I won't go into for the sake of the interview. This is the not so positive side.
Our visions of what positive modeling were became darkly contrasting, and she has since produced a website that displays her version of what makes her beautiful. I wish her nothing but the best in life, and although we won't be together, I know you're going to read this - I will always have you in my
heart - you're special, don't ever forget it.
What does Summer Bunnies offer it's visitors that they won't necessarily or can't find on similiar websites?
The site is updated now three times a week, vs the once a week update from 2002-2004. The content is continuously fresh, and the traffic on the site exceeds 4,000 unique viewers on a daily basis, so there must be an appeal.
What advice would you give to people looking into creating or starting a project similiar to Summer Bunnies?
Formulate your vision, know your audience, and market with innovative, fresh concepts at all costs. There are far too many cookie cutter sites out there. Always keep the personal injections out of business operations, and you can never feel as though you've got to look over your shoulder about anything.