Alexandra Poelstra is a jack of all trades, and that’s been the heart of her business from the start.
When she started All Maven in 2013, Poelstra brought together her background in business, design and management in a full-service digital agency and business consulting organization.
“I realized that people needed more than just someone to produce a product for them here and there,” she recalled. “That’s when I decided to create All Maven. It’s called All Maven because Maven means connoisseur. … I began to cover all sorts of things: marketing, design, photography, digital media.”
Six years after launching All Maven, Poelstra moved from San Diego County to Colorado Springs.
All Maven works mostly with small businesses with 1-15 employees, but Poelstra also works with microbusinesses and large companies.
“The reason I went into business is because I wanted to provide a service. I am a servant. … I don’t know what to do when I’m not serving others — it’s like not breathing for me,” Poelstra said. “I know that my value is not built around how much I do for others, but my heart is built around service to others. … I believe in a world where people deserve to feel that they belong and that they are supported.”
Poelstra spoke with the Business Journal about All Maven, her journey to becoming an entrepreneur, and her plans for the future.
Why did you come to the Springs?
I moved here because I got married. … Colorado Springs is probably one of the most interesting cities that I’ve had the opportunity to both live and work in. It has a lot of similarities to San Diego County, which is one of the reasons I was excited to move here. It is a very progressive city and a city vested in technology. It has a large military presence, which was important to me. … I was also on the Carlsbad Chamber [of Commerce in California] and I knew I wanted to come to a city with a very active and strong chamber. It has been absolutely wonderful. I love participating. I currently sit on the [Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC’s] Diversity in the Workplace committee.
Talk about starting The Maven.
I founded All Maven back in 2013. It was my first business. … When I first started my business, I had just come out of school and just had my son, James. I was really taking a position in my life thinking, ‘What do I really want to do?’ I started freelancing and doing a lot of graphic design, tech design, and marketing. … I attended Texas Christian University and I attended The Brooks Institute [an arts college in California] so I had a strong background in business and management.
I also had a strong design background. ... That’s when I decided to create All Maven. ... There was a lot of stuff that we were doing in the market that was very new and fresh. … I grew my business as fast as I could when I first started. I doubled my business every year, doing a lot of work with the Carlsbad Chamber.
After seven years in my business, I got married. I was nervous to move because I wanted it to go well. I had invested a lot of time and energy into my local community. I was very active in my church at New Venture. It was going to be a big jump. … I took that leap of faith and this is exactly where God wanted me to be. ... It has been a fun and magnificent journey ever since. Now I have an active, thriving business that is growing.
We changed from being All Maven Agency to now All Maven Enterprise as we continue to launch different businesses and brands. I’ve incorporated a new nonprofit here called N.E.A.T.T., which stands for Nonprofit Education Advancement Training and Tools. We help nonprofits with free and low-cost services.
What were you doing before 2013?
Prior to 2013, I was a college student. I wasn’t thinking so much about what exactly I was going to do. At that time, I was at The Brooks Institute and was studying to be a film director. … I really hadn’t thought about starting a business. [Before attending The Brooks Institute], at TCU, I studied international communications with a minor in criminal justice and Spanish. I thought that I would graduate college early because in high school I was part of the International Baccalaureate program. … I already had a lot of credits, so I went into college as a second semester sophomore. … I was very much into leadership and government. I’ve been in leadership and student government since I was a small child. … I thought I was going to do international communications and then I would ultimately get a seat on the UN or be part of a large corporation and become a millionaire by 21 or something crazy. That was the original plan. That was my role; I’ve done leadership all my life. … I did anything I could get my hands on involving leadership and giving back. I really value diversity and I’ve always loved being a part of organizations that really value people of different backgrounds, different communities, different cultures, and especially different countries.
I eventually transferred schools because a 21-year-old millionaire didn’t appeal to me anymore and I wanted to be a film director, so I transferred to The Brooks Institute. … I got a job on campus managing four different digital labs. I got to sit and interact with all of the other students and all of the other [creative, digital] tracks and learn what they learned.
While I was studying film and video production and learning to be a director, screenwriter, and producer, I was also … learning to be a graphic artist, web designer, and learning all of the elements of photography and media. …
The film industry is a very labor-intensive industry. It was definitely not the industry for me. It takes a very special kind of person to work in that field and that was not where God had called me. I’m a very hardworking person. … I’m the person drawn to challenges, chaos, and fires … but it wasn’t going to provide the family environment that I wanted to have, so I left film school. … I had all of this college experience with backgrounds in so many fields, so I decided to create All Maven and that began my entrepreneurial journey. Now, I am just continuing to expand my business.
What services does All Maven offer?
All Maven is a full-service digital agency. We specialize in advertising, branding, marketing, web design and digital media. We can take any company to the next level, whether it’s just an idea or an established business. … It does not matter the area of business [that our clients] are in because there are several areas that we cover. … Since we [started to grow] as a business, it was really difficult to service clients by myself, so we ended up splitting our brand.
In March, we launched our consulting brand, where we focused strictly on business development and consulting. …We split our advertising agency into Lex Jameson Creative, which opens in April, where we focus on advertising, branding, web design, and marketing, and we teach other designers to do the same. … We do a lot of training, a lot of learning, a lot of teaching to really help businesses grow and that’s really what I’m focused on. I like to stay to busy, and I like to be involved. My next focus is working with the startup community in Colorado Springs.
Do you have any family in your business?
Yes, my business is really successful because my husband is involved. My husband is my rock. He is the administrative and community side of the business.
Do you have a business philosophy?
We have seven F words that we like to build on: Faith, Family, Friends, Freedom, Flexibility, Forgiveness, and Fundamentals. … I’m motivated by my drive to succeed and my drive to be the best and do the best for others.
Do you have goals for 2021?
I have zero concept of time. … My goal is always to get my businesses launched and give more people an opportunity to thrive. My goal every year doesn’t really change. It is always to serve more people in creative ways.
Any parting thoughts?
I am a person who lives by faith. … God is the owner of my business. … I live by scripture — Romans 8:28 — and a quote by Alexander The Great: ‘Nothing is impossible to him who will try.'