Shante Bacon Starts Marketing Agency Using Lessons from Time at Def Jam


Entrepreneurs who make it aren’t just the ones who went to Ivy League schools or know certain people.

They come from all walks of life, and it’s their background and drive that pushes them to become successful.

Shante Bacon grew up in Jamaica, Queens. She had unabated ambition that eventually gave her an astounding eight-year career at Def Jam.

Living the Dream

Bacon was the senior director of marketing and product/brand management at Def Jam. In this role, she was in charge of marketing musical juggernauts like Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z.

Naturally, this was a demanding role. Bacon was almost always kept on her toes.

This helped to prepare her for any unforeseen hurdles that might appear in business.

Bacon refers to the position as her boot camp for marketing and entrepreneurship.

At the time, the iconic record label was still young, scrappy, energetic, and vibrant.

When she began working there, the entire label had only about 36 staff members.

Yet it was up to these people to do the same amount of work as a major label.

This, of course, attracted attention from large labels, who wondered how they could consistently make plenty of new high-quality releases each year with only their small team.

In the industry, people used to say that no team member in Def Jam left any stone unturned.

This, according to Bacon, was thanks to the leadership of Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles.

The Start of Something Special

The lessons Bacon learned at Def Jam acted as a catalyst for her next career move: launching One/35, her own marketing agency.

With One/35, Bacon wants companies in the industry to make significant investments into Black business owners, and not just on Black Business Month or Black History Month.

According to Bacon, these businesses need customers and support throughout the year. There is a lot of money circulating in the tech world, from startups and VCs to established companies.

However, hardly any of this money goes towards Black-owned businesses.

By prioritizing Black-owned businesses, One/35 has made a considerable mark in the industry. It has clients ranging from The Oprah Winfrey Network to YouTube and Google.

An Unforgettable Journey

To Bacon, entrepreneurship is a constant battle. Her agency has thrived for almost two decades thanks to her preparedness and stubborn determination.

For any aspiring entrepreneur, she reveals that running a business is the wildest ride you can ever take.


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