After watching her projected revenue stream start to dry-up in front of her eyes in March of 2020, Ally Pintucci leveraged her creative skills to produce a top-charting podcast that has since spanned 8 countries sharing with listeners the unfiltered conversations everyday life does not always afford. Today, she is leading the way for women worldwide to bring their voices to the podcast industry.
If ever there was someone with an iconic story about collecting their ashes and starting again, it is Ally Pintucci. The entrepreneurial powerhouse has proven to be nothing short of a phoenix, emerging from the flames of adversity time and time again stronger than before the blaze.
Based out of Vancouver, Ally is the founder of the social + digital storytelling agency Agency-ish, a celebrated photographer, and a captivating host of her podcast Unfiltered w/Ally Pintucci. Through her collection of creative outlets, it is palpable just how deeply she cares about brand-building and storytelling, a passion which she brings to each and every one of her projects.
With COVID19 acting as a leach to the viability of many small businesses and start-ups, Ally was amongst the countless entrepreneurs who saw her projected revenue streams dry up at the onset of the pandemic. Instead of succumbing to the stress of the situation, Ally was quick to pivot, directing her untapped creative energy towards the inception of her successful podcast.
But before we get ahead of ourselves… let’s begin by learning about who Ally Pintucci is today, and what path she walked to get here.
Who is Ally Pintucci?
Like many, Ally began her journey on a much different path before finding her true passion and becoming the success she is today.
After dominating in the travel sales industry for 8 years, Ally managed to push her way into a field she always loved: marketing. If asked, Ally will share how she always tried to sneak into the marketing department while working in the tourism industry. However, her expertise in sales kept her tied up and far from the action that she yearned for. Like any creative, she couldn’t turn off her curiosity and went off to explore her interest in storytelling and photography
Instagram started gaining heavier traction for her in 2015. It became a space for Ally to share her passion for building community. “It was a place where I could really use the platform to break the stereotype of Instagram being a highlight reel,” said Ally, explaining how she used the platform to share her photography with a bigger emphasis on telling the real-life stories in the caption. “I remember someone commenting on a post being so grateful that I was sharing my struggle with heartbreak and mental health. She told me that post humanized me and helped stop the comparison that felt stuck in with me. That comment really rocked me and gave a whole new perspective on the downside of social media.”
This curiosity eventually landed Ally her first “real” marketing job. After getting attention for her social media, brands started to turn to her, seeking advice on how they too could leverage their social to build their brand. Eventually, Ally was hired to build community, take photos, sit on the brand team, and run social media for a local athletic apparel company that was breaking into the market. “From there, my experience grew. I made it a priority to be a sponge and soak up everything around me, get extra education, and take on as many projects as I could.”
She eventually left the 9-5 world in pursuit of freelance marketing, a decision that shortly landed her a position at a Vancouver digital agency. “Agencies are beautiful,” Ally reflected, “they have so many talented individuals making up their team and it was amazing to get to learn from them. But after 6 short months, I realized that I was the common denominator in every unhappy job situation. It was my time to really take this freelance thing seriously.
At the time, social media managers were a relatively new role for a lot of companies. After doing some research of what was being offered in her city and having developed a strong social following of her own, Ally was finally ready to jump in with two feet and start her business.
“There weren’t a lot of people doing social media management back then,” shared Ally. “My diverse experience had also boosted my confidence. I had been a social media manager, a freelancer, an agency member, a photographer, a producer, an influencer – I realized I was really lucky to have a very good understanding of how that creative ecosystem worked. Not a lot of people can say that they have that understanding and I’m very grateful to have developed it. In the end, it was the agency experience that really helped me make the jump. It was astonishing to see how much money brands were willing to pay for agencies, social media management + influencer marketing programs.”
After three long years of trial and error, lots of hustling, and relationship building, Ally produced some amazing work alongside brands of all sizes including reputable high-end clients like airlines, hotels, and TV networks. After putting together her yearly client calendar, Ally was set to make $350,000+ in 2020. Things were looking up and she was ready to bring on her own team members to tackle the tasks before her. At least, that was the plan. Then COVID19 hit, throwing a massive wrench in her otherwise seamless plans.
With the pandemic, her business came crashing to a halt. Many of her clients didn’t have the budgets to justify the projects they had previously planned and pulled out. “I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t getting fired,” recalled Ally, “there simply were fewer products, halting budgets, projects being pulled, companies going under, and fewer customers to allow some of my clients to require my services. I really saw the whole supply chain dry up in front of my eyes for so many different industries, and I had to constantly reflect on the fact that my business failing was not the result of my doing.”
Back to the drawing board. “Even though I was completely devastated,” says Ally “I was left with a bunch of free time to map out a new plan for myself. It also gave me the time to reflect on the past few years and really ask myself if this was what I really wanted to be doing. I just remember sitting there honestly saying to myself that there was room for upgrades mentally, physically, professionally, and spiritually. It was the crash I needed to slow down and rebuild.”
Rebuild she did. Ally officially launched Agency-Ish: A curated collective of talented creatives with an incredible focus within each of their disciplines. “We’re kind of like an agency, but we’re not…” explained Ally. “I wanted to create a business model that would allow me to stay in my inspired zone of genius while also bringing on other talented expert creatives to help me take on larger projects.”
The extra time also gave more space to play. After working so hard for a few years, Ally realized she had given less and less time to play and have passion projects.
Cue The Podcast.
With the time allotted to pursue passion projects, Ally fell into the world of podcasting, launching her own show: Unfiltered w/ Ally Pintucci.
Since October, she’s watched her podcast grow into a global success. As of now, Unfiltered w. Ally has released over 30 episodes with over 10,000 downloads from listeners spanning 8 countries and counting.
For Ally, this was the perfect pivot. In the last decade, podcasts have gone from small radio shows with little recognition to full productions requiring teams of dedicated staff. According to the most recent statistics, there are over 1.75 million podcasts airing across the globe, rapidly growing in popularity.
For example, Amazon, an international behemoth who is always late to the party yet notorious for overriding its tardiness with brute financial force, has spent much of 2020 procuring podcasts to add to Amazon Music in hopes of eventually beating its competitors (Apple and Spotify).
So what does this all mean? That it is a good time to have a good podcast!
That said, one issue has come up in recent years. Podcasting is an industry currently run mostly by men; in fact, only 21% of hosts in the top podcasts are women. Some argue that this is because the audience is generally young men; however when we look at the data it’s not true. In actuality, it appears that 44% of listeners are women. That means there is plenty of opportunity for women-led shows to exist and the audience is there after all.
But why is podcasting so male-dominated? Well, many large podcast networks promote only themselves, reducing the overall diversity of an industry that should be more inclusive given how accessible it is.
Thankfully, this is starting to change with more women joining the party. That in turn is causing their audience to take up a microphone as well, snowballing into even more unique shows run by women. Ally Pintucci is amongst the inspiring women leading this industry shift.
While guesting on podcasts about female entrepreneurship, Ally found herself sharing a lot about the influencer industry and having unfiltered conversations about personal experiences. The microphone gave her the strength to share her voice with others and pass on advice as a girl boss and business owner, an experience that inspired her to set up her own show.
Unfiltered w/ Ally Pintucci strives to create space for important conversations that women should be having with their best friends. The medium of podcasting enables Ally and her guests to open up to give more women access to support and honest inspiration. Beyond that, her experience as a photographer also taught her how to help her guests warm up and feel more comfortable. Listeners are graced with raw stories on all kinds of topics, from classic girl talk, to battling mental health, to navigating relationships and so much more!
If you’ve felt imposter syndrome or social media envy, her show helps you see through the lens of fellow women struggling with the same. Their voices help to show that none of us are alone.
Ally is also keen to share her knowledge on the influencer industry and offers tips for those on running their own creative business. It’s refreshing to see a show out there educating young women everywhere on ways to leverage their experience when talking with big brands and how to negotiate their worth.
With a continually growing audience tuning in to her twice-weekly episodes, it is evident that Ally has gained a following hooked on her every word. She pulls listeners in with her authenticity and genuine desire to inspire. At the cusp of becoming the next phenomenal podcast that the world currently needs, Ally is inspiring girl bosses everywhere with her fearlessness in combating adversity head-on, coming out the other side stronger. As she grows into her wings in preparation to fly further, and this impressive woman is definitely one we’ll be staying tuned for.