“You have to be scrappy.”
That might just be my favorite quote from the first-ever Fashion Forward Conference for moms who love fashion. It was spoken by Michelle Madhok, the woman who created the mega brand that is SheFinds. Madhok, tired of having her ideas not implemented, set out on her own to create the SheFinds family of sites. The domain was a former porn site. She purchased the URL for $200 plus $1,000 worth of beauty samples and then transformed it, using her background in marketing to really make it shine.
Fashion Forward is the brain child of Nicole Feliciano of MomTrends, Audrey McClelland of Mom Generations, Brooke Stewart of Power Moms Media and Vera Sweeney of Lady and the Blog. While the conference was intended for moms who blog about style, the message throughout the day was more universal to women working in the digital space: be bold, be you and embrace your drive and wisdom to elevate your work as a business.
A great story came from Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, who founded Digital Brand Architects, a firm that works to connect blog brands with companies for a variety of media programs. “I met my business partner and something just happened,” says Bracken-Ferguson. Within days, the pair had gotten their husband’s buy-in and filed for an LLC. “It’s not about how many people are doing what you want to do. It’s how you uniquely do it,” says Bracken-Ferguson. “It’s about seizing your market.” These days, her firm focuses on finding passionate people in the digital space to represent. “We would never look at someone based on just one number becayse there is so much more than that,” she said.
Samantha Ettus, founder of Working Moms Lifestyle, a media platform that provides inspiration and solutions for working moms, says that you should surround yourself with upbeat, positive people who encourage you to achieve your dreams. Networking and being able to confidently tell your story are important too. “Every one of us has a story. I’m just a big believer in telling your story like a highlight reel,” says Ettus. I love that idea of thinking of it like a highlight reel.
The conference was held in New York last week at 404 NYC. It featured fashion shows, panel discussions and a really interesting keynote by Jill Herzig, editor in chief of Redbook (swoon!). “You’ve got to really know who your reader is,” Herzig said. She spoke about how Redbook approaches what they do with an attainable, helpful, real twist to things. Their readers are women in their 30s and 40s who are more likely to be married with children and own a home — but still love style, much like many women in the room.
There’s something so empowering about hearing how other women have taken their big dreams and really gone for them with great success.
Thanks to the organizers and to the conference sponsors, including iVillage, GM, Stride Rite and Redbook for an awesome day!
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