While creating her LinkedIn profile, Alexis Clova Cadavid found that the website was painting its creative users slightly short of their talents.
The sophomore writing, literature, and publishing major said the only way she could show her abilities and experience was by checking off “creative writing” as one of her skills.
“It felt very not personal,” Cadavid said. “It made more sense if your profession is medical—that’s different. You could put more things there that would make sense in showcasing that, like ‘I worked at this hospital for x, y, and z, or, I did this research.’”
Cadavid, 20, took this frustration and used it as the idea behind her new startup, Boundless Thought. The WordPress site gives platform space for an artist to upload their portfolio and contact information for potential employment and collaboration. Once someone is a registered user, according to Cadavid, they’re given a code that allows them to access a collaboration board so members can interact with each other for further partnership.
“It’s not a profile, it’s a portfolio,” Cadavid said. “You have your galleries, it takes you through a whole process of getting to know this person without being like ‘Hi this is me, this is my work.’ You see their work, you hear their artist's statement and—then it takes you to their experience.”
She brought the website to life last semester in her Topics in Business Studies: Building an Arts-Based Business course and has been expanding it ever since. She said people are beginning to catch on and new users are signing on and contacting her regularly.
The course instructor, Ja-Naé Duane, said she thought Cadavid’s project was unique because it was not just a website, but a community.
“I think the idea really resonated, because of that fact that my first career was an opera singer,” Duane said. “Just seeing the need for an online community like this, there was the need then. To see that it still exists and is still pretty prevalent is astounding to me.”
Duane said Cadavid appears to be on the path to success, because she is conscientious of her audience and pays attention to the feedback she receives.
Cadavid said Boundless Thought stands out from other sites, like the aforementioned LinkedIn, because of the different way an artist’s information is displayed. It’s not just a list of skills at the bottom of the page.
“As a writer, you try to put yourself online,” Cadavid said. “I was kind of annoyed by all the platforms that are out there, it just felt very not serious. I want to be where people can enter a realm online where it’s more professional.”
Boundless Thought may be in its beginning phases, but Cadavid said it has limitless potential to grow, which is how it got its name. Cadavid said she hopes the website will expand in function, particularly, to develop a site chat to facilitate direct contact between users, but upgrades like that will take time and money. So far, she has been funding the project out of pocket, and said she has invested over $300. In the meantime, she said she has been looking into applying for grants from both the government and private sectors that are for arts-based startups so she would be able to make the project less of a financial burden.
Although she originally planned to market the website just to other college students, Cadavid said the site already has users from outside Emerson and artists who are in their 30s.
Self-proclaimed guinea pig for the website, Nick Janowicz, 19, said he has uploaded his whole portfolio to Boundless Thought. Janowicz said he is looking forward to using the site to find other artists to work with.
A former Emerson student, Janowicz said he thinks the collaborative aspect of the website is particularly helpful, because accelerating the process of partnership helps to get artistic minds together more quickly and expediates the creative process as a whole.
“For an artist, that [the website] is advantageous,” Janowicz said.“I could wake up and be like, ‘Man it would be really cool to work with someone who’s capable of shooting a bunch of different lenses like a fisheye.’ I can just hop on and reach out to them really quick.”