Issue No. 50
January 2019 —


057200-R1-23 copy.jpg

A Digital trend publication blending a mix of culture, insights and data.




Welcome to the Resolution Issue. This Issue is extra special as it is the 50th edition of the Shape/Shift Report that has ever been published, well, ever. Fifty! F-i-f-t-y issues dreamed up, planned out, executed, and circulated over the past three years. To think that the SSR was once just a PDF download (cheers to you seasoned vets who know what I am talking about).

With the new year comes new beginnings. And with our 50th Issue comes (hopefully) 50 more. We won’t know this for sure, at least until we lap the sun a few more times. A little over four times in fact at the rate we’ve been working at. But that is part of the beauty of embarking on a new year. I love to think that there’s a bit of a romance in the inevitable uncertainty which twists itself around a handful of endless possibilities.

Anyway, this issue is freaking crammed with tips. As an aside, this year, we want you to feel closer to the team at Matte Black. Which is why we included a dorky photo essay in here. We want to continue to deliver you delicious content. We want you to finish reading every issue in 2019 having learned something new. We want our “launch” emails to ignite a light in you; reminding each of you that together, we are kicking off another month. One that is sure to be filled with buckets of uncertainty and possibility.


Managing Editor

“[…]together, we are kicking off another month. One that is sure to be filled with buckets of uncertainty and possibility.”



057200-R1-4 copy.jpg


Jace lumley

This month, we feature the ultra-charming photographer, Jace Lumley. The photos which decorate this month’s issue were captured in Rio, Brazil and Seoul, Korea: Two focal locations on his most recent travel project. His images convey a wanderlust, making us wish we were anywhere but here. With his bum in the butter, Jace’s upbeat perspective and adventurous take on life has gifted him countless opportunities. With serendipity on his side, there is no where he can’t go.

— Gaelan Simpson, Managing Editor SSR

057200-R1-1 copy.jpg


5 stellar tips for your next pop-up

There is a lot that goes into making a pop up successful. In 2018, Self Employed, either produced, designed, staffed or operated over 12 pop ups for a variety of brands ranging from direct-to-consumer makeup mogul Kylie Cosmetics to Ember, creators of the first ever temperature control mug. Along the way, we have learned a thing or two about what makes a pop-up retail installation successful.

— Sarah Ivory, Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer of Self Employed

057200-R1-36 copy.jpg


flo vitamins says: F**K PMS

Meet Bobby Bitton. He and his sister Brianna Bitton are on to something, well, huge. Meet FLO Vitamins: A revolutionary first-to-market gummy vitamin, that’s not only delicious, but it f**cking works. They swear that this ritual will lead to the end of your PMS.

— Bobby Bitton, Co-Founder and CEO of Flo Vitamins



how i will write about writing in 2019

I’ve been asked to write something that will inspire other creative types as they enter a new year. Something about what keeps me creative. My resolutions. This is how I quickly learn why writers dread writing. The truth is that my resolutions every year are the same: Read, write, ride. That’s all, every year.  

— Erna Adelson, Writer

057100-R1-27 copy.jpg
057300-R1-8 copy.jpg


the marketing resolutions i wish i made last year

Ah, 2018. You’ve been a wild one, but it’s been a pleasure to survive you. And as 2019 draws near, now is the time for many of us to look ahead and start making New Year resolutions that will guide our business growth….

Let me guide you through my marketing mistakes so you can learn from them and, hopefully, help you make stronger marketing resolutions in 2019.

— Patrick Foster, Ecommerce Analyst


2018-2019. a photo essay by matte black

Click this article to get to know the real heroes behind the capes.

— The Team at Matte Black




There were a lot of terrible things that happened in 2018, but one positive that came out of the year was the growing conversation around, and acknowledgement of, sexual harassment in many areas of our culture.

opinion: groundhog day branding

This seems familiar...bold accent colors, gradient pastels, ironic fonts, minimalistic logos. In the past few months, it seems like every ad I'm being fed on Instagram is for a new D2C millennial focused brand with these design blueprints.


the riff 016 - on team culture

At Matte Black, "team culture" spans beyond the weekly happy hour. Tune in as Chelsea and Micah chat through the idea of company culture, and some touch points that business leaders should consider when establishing the culture for their team.

This podcast was first published in May 2018.


subscribe here. we’ll drop you a new issue every month.




Chelsea Matthews


Managing Editor
Gaelan Simpson


Contributing Editor
Micah Heykoop


Aria Davis


Creative Director

Nolan Goff


Graphic Design

Ariel Irby




Jace Lumley







jace lumley

Jace Lumley is a photographer based in Los Angeles, CA.  Before seeking a full-time career as a photographer, Jace was the Senior Digital Photo Editor for GQ Magazine in New York City.


Muse? Stevie Dance

Podcast? Jazz Night in America

Pump-up song: A$AP Rocky - Distorted Records, or Pusha T - Come Back Baby

Dream date: 0 expectations

Go-to cocktail: Negroni

Outfit God: John Mayer

Bliss is ….. a choice.


sarah ivory

Sarah Ivory is the Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer of Self Employed, an experiential marketing agency that specialized in brand strategy and retail installations. Clients include Ember, Westfield, Kylie Cosmetics, South Coast Plaza, Monrow, BeautyCon and Sergio Rossi.

Your new year's resolution: Take excellent care of my mind, body and spirit. 

Your favourite holiday film: Elf

What you used to wanna be when you grew up: When I was 8 years old, I learned the word entrepreneur and decided that’s what I wanted to be.

Go-to snack: I don’t snack, but occasionally my one year old will share his teething crackers with me. 

Screen Shot 2019-01-07 at 2.47.24 PM.png

bobby bitton

Bobby Bitton is the 24 year old CEO of FLO Vitamins. A Los Angeles native whose passions are food, travel, and manifesting positivity.

Weird talent? Walking Star Wars encyclopedia

Favorite quote: “The best way to predict your future is to create it” -Abraham Lincoln

Best coffee in LA: Intelligentsia

If you had to get an artsy tattoo across your back…. Three large circles, representing each member of my family. Circles representing endless love.

Role Model: J.J. Abrams


patrick FOSTER

Patrick is an Ecommerce Consultant for the online publication + company, Ecommerce Tips.

2IMG_2026 (1).jpg


Erna Adelson is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker. She also writes lovely pieces for us, a lot.