Virgen Barnet and Daniel Christian figure they’re on the cusp of something big.
About a year ago, the two cofounded an informal social networking business that slowly evolved into a more formal organization that they have branded as Come Through Media.
In January 2021, the two took Come Through Media to the next level, turning it into what Barnet said will be “a full-fledged media company.”
“It’s a work in progress,” Barnet said, but among other things, she said the company will be a resource for companies who need stock images and video of Black families, workers and individuals to use in advertising campaigns and other presentations.
Although it sounds simple enough, Barnet and Christian said finding stock photos of Black persons is a challenge for companies who want to project an image of diversity because most of the images available to advertising agencies and others don’t include them. It’s a niche with little competition, she said.
“We want to create a resource library that reflected people of color a little more,” Barnet said. “It’s really tough to find B-roll (video) of people of color doing normal things.”
With a background in advertising and website design and a bachelor’s degree in art, digital media and design from the University of California Santa Barbara, Barnet is the creative director and brand manager of the fledgling company.
Before founding Come Through Media with Christian, Barnet said she was a designer for an advertising agency based in Hillcrest.
Christian, a videographer with a background in music production and video editing and job experience in sales and property management, is the company’s co-founder and production lead.
As it grows, the company will continue with its original social networking business, but Barnet doesn’t like using that phrase to describe the company.
“Our focus is really bringing together this whole community, this web based community,” Christian said.
“The common denominator is people who are working on something they care about and they want to be better,” Barnet said. “They come to us because they want to have these conversations in a place that feels safe to do so.”
Although the primary purpose when Barnet and Christian started was to bring together people with similar interests, “We don’t like to call ourselves a networking group because we hope we help people create,” Barnet said.
“We just found opportunities to gather folks together and see where there was overlap, where they could collaborate with each other,” Barnet said. “Peer to peer mentorship” is how she describes it.
“We had people who were writers looking for someone to design a book cover, illustrators looking to tell their story through memes,” Barnet said.
San Diego is particularly suitable for their kind of enterprise because “San Diego is a city where a lot of people come from out of town and they don’t necessarily have these connections to pull from,” Christian said.
“When we first started in January (2020), we came with the idea that we were going to be a group that set up events, events that people could actually go to just to be together, bounce ideas off of each other,” Christian said. “COVID kind of forced us to, I doln't want to say just necessarilly pivot, but it forced us to think out of the box.”
The result was that Come Through Media took its events online.
“We’ve been doing a lot of webinars,” Christian said. “It really turns into a community of people who can help consult with each other.”
For instance, COVID led some people to try going it alone as entrepreneurs with their own business.
In response, Come Through Media put together a session on financial literacy for business owners.
Come Through Media also has been helping people in branding their business, Christian said.