A quarterly discussion about the industries and businesses that have contributed to the growth of Charlotte and the marketing strategies behind them. 


LAST quarter’s topic:

Influencer Marketing

Join us for our very first Thrive Talks quarterly panel as we dive into the world of Influencer Marketing in Charlotte, NC. During the event we’ll talk with influencers, a business owner and a marketing firm to get the full view of the strategies, benefits and intricacies of influencer marketing.

Thursday, March 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.

at 8.2.0 Pizzeria & Bar

THRIVE Talks Moderator:


Erin Breeden

CEO & Head Mermaid of Blue Tide Creative

A free spirit with a wild heart, Erin Breeden couldn’t find the job of her dreams, so she created it for herself.

Erin is the CEO and Head Mermaid of BlueTide Creative, a boutique public relations, content and branding firm. Erin works with clients in various industries to ensure that their company's messaging matches their mission. In addition to her client work, Erin is also a contributing writer and editor for local, regional and national publications. She is passionate about cultivating and contributing to a community of creatives and entrepreneurs, and that is why, in addition to her client and writing work, she serves as the Chief Relations Officer at Advent Coworking.

On the Thrive Talks Panel:

Allie Papajohn

Founder of EatDrinkCLT

Allie created @eatdrinkclt when she moved to Charlotte in November 2014. EatDrinkCLT was strictly a platform for Allie to post food photos without annoying her friends on her personal Instagram account. Fast forward a year or so later, and she began to see the value in helping people in Charlotte discover new places to eat and encouraging them to try new dishes.

Allie began working with restaurants and businesses to promote grand openings, new menu items, events, and more on Instagram and her blog,

Laura Leigh Elliot

Founder of Louella Reese

Laura started her blog in 2014 as a creative outlet to express her love for fashion, beauty, travel, and life in general.

On Louella Reese you’ll find feminine, casual style with a classic twist for your everyday life. Whether that means at home or for your home, out and about, or traveling, she’s got you covered!

Ian Kolb

Founder of Cuplux Coffee Drive-Thru

Ian J. Kolb grew up outside of Philadelphia in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Temple University in 2013 with a Bachelor's of Science in Neuroscience, Ian moved to Portland, Oregon starting a job in Ad Sales. While living in Portland, Ian discovered specialty coffee as well as the popular drive-thru coffee model that is prevalent in the Northwest. Two years later Ian moved to Charlotte with the goal of opening a drive-thru coffee shop.

CupLux Coffee Drive-Thru opened in June of 2017 and is the first of its kind in Charlotte. CupLux's goal is to make the best drive-thru coffee possible, balancing specialty coffee with speed and convenience.

April Smith

Founder of Social Ape Marketing

April has been working in marketing for 9 years and founded Social Ape Marketing in 2012. She created Social Ape when she realized that many small businesses were struggling to understand social media marketing and how it could benefit their bottom line.

Social Ape has helped to grow dozens of businesses in the Carolinas region over the last seven years by creating unique campaigns including social media marketing, public relations, influencer marketing and more.