Jane Nakagawa Returns to Product Development with New InterTrend Sister Company Portia Consulting

It’s all come full circle for Jane Nakagawa, who says serendipity brought her back into product development and strategic planning after launching a second career in the advertising world.

Jane NakagawaNakagawa started at Long Beach’s award-winning InterTrend Communications in 2009 after spending nearly two decades as Director of Advanced Planning and Strategy at Nissan.

“Up until then,” she says, “my career was based on products—the conceptualizing of a product and bringing it to the point before it got made. I never saw what happened after the product got made. Now, being on the marketing side, the product is already done, and there’s nothing we can do to change it. We have to create customer desire in another way.”

InterTrend is a full-service communication firm specializing in the Asian-American market and working for CEO Julia Huang fulfilled Nakagawa’s desire to abandon cutthroat corporate work and re-connect with her community.

But Nakagawa still missed the product side, coming up with new ideas and dealing with advance planning work. Over coffee at Berlin one day last year, Huang suggested Nakagawa start a consulting arm that would exist as a sister company to InterTrend.

Portia Consulting was born.

“The joke is that I asked her if she was trying to fire me,” Nakagawa laughs.

Launched this year, Portia Consulting consists of Nakagawa and a team of global experts who have helped companies like Toyota, Pepperidge Farms, AT&T and Disney develop products, marketing and design strategies. 

With her designers, social scientists, product planners and marketing experts stationed in America, London, Tokyo and Shanghai, Portia can run 24 hours a day to create comprehensive plans for their clients.

“The whole idea is to have a global influence and make sure you’re looking at things from many perspectives and on many levels,” Nakagawa says.

Portia joins a growing family of sister companies held under the InterTrend umbrella. In addition to InterTrend’s main marketing and advertising work, its Imprint Culture Lab and Imprint Venture Lab incubate small, design-minded companies and help them find micro capital to bring projects to life.

With a specialty in advanced planning work, Portia will remain separate-but-related to InterTrend, meaning their clients don’t need to have any interaction with InterTend if they don’t require it. The idea is to keep Portia independent, but allow room for partnerships if communication services are required later.

“I felt a great sense of responsibility that I’d have to get some new clients, people who would be willing to pay for everything I was going to offer,” Nakagawa says. “To go out there and say, ‘This is a new brand; this is what we can do for you’ was daunting, but I figured, here comes another second chance.”

For more information on Portia Consulting, visit portiaconsulting.com

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Sarah Bennett is a contributor to the Hi-lo and the editor-at-large at the Long Beach Post. She is also a professor at Santa Ana College where she was once a student before transferring to USC to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Sarah has written about music, art, food and beer in local, national and international publications for over a decade. An L.A. native and longtime resident of Long Beach, she is the co-founder of Long Beach Zine Fest and managing editor at theLAnd magazine. She never sleeps.