Alumni profile: Austin Edwards
After graduating from VCU, Austin Edwards (B.S.’15/H&S) moved to Atlanta and partnered with a fellow classmate to create Manila Nine Three, a creative content agency specializing in videography, photography and graphic design for high-profile clients and celebrities.
Although Edwards studied psychology, he says his major has served him well as an entrepreneur.
“My psych skill set has helped my business in tremendous ways,” he says. “I’m a firm believer in making sure I completely understand my client’s needs, and sometimes that can involve in-depth questions, along with a concise understanding of the client’s mindset and behaviors.”
You’re originally from Hampton Roads, Virginia. Tell us how you ended up moving to Atlanta and what attracted you to the city.
Yes, I’m originally from Portsmouth, Virginia. I decided to move to Atlanta after my business partner Reuben Chapman convinced me to partner and become a full-time co-owner of the company Manila Nine Three. Reuben and I met in 2011 in Rhoads Hall during our freshman year of college. After visiting the city a few times, I knew Atlanta was the right move for me. The city embodied a “young hustler’s spirit” that I fell in love with.
Tell us about M93Agency, how you started it and what you do. Were any other alumni included in starting it?
Manila Nine Three is a creative content agency, specializing in videography, photography and graphic design. I handle the operational side of the business, ensuring everything from consultations, negotiations and payments run as smoothly as possible.
M93Agency has worked with a number of celebrities and popular influencers, such as Diddy, Snoop Dogg and Usher. Who has been your favorite to work with and why?
We’ve been able to work with numerous large brands and celebrities. We are very grateful for each unique experience. It would be really hard to claim a favorite, but I appreciate the values and wisdom we receive from each one of our clients.
Do you see yourself moving anywhere else in the near future, or is Atlanta your new home away from home in Hampton Roads?
We (M93) definitely see ourselves expanding the business nationally with intentions of being able to give other creatives around the country a platform to display their creative skills, but Atlanta will always be our home.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who just moved to Atlanta?
Take advantage of all the networking opportunities that are happening on a weekly basis in the city. It’s filled with eager professionals who are looking to collaborate and grow together.