Blogger, business owner, techie, PR girl–these are just a few of the words we’d use to describe Stephanie, the force behind the blog and online store styled by NOIR. She’s exactly what comes to mind when you hear the word #girlboss, and it doesn’t look like she’ll be losing steam anytime soon. Here she sheds some light on what the first two years of blogging REALLY are like, how she dreamed up the awesome idea of turning her blog into a store, and her advice for staying positive in an unpredictable industry.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog and business.
Hi! My name is Stephanie and I am the founder of online accessory store and blog, styled by NOIR. styled by NOIR was born out of my past work experience and love for all things style.
I started my career in fashion in retail and buying, and after college started working in fashion PR. I worked at a couple agencies and ended up spending four years at a great leading fashion PR firm.
Two years ago, I decided to take the plunge and start my own store combining everything I love: buying, styling, tech (yes, I am a total nerd at heart!), marketing and of course PR.
How long have you been blogging?
Two years, and let me tell you… it was a PAINFUL start! I have always hated being in front of the camera, and it took some good blogger friend’s coaching, a great photographer (Jodee Debes) and and maybe a glass of wine here or there to make me be comfortable in front of the camera. I used to dread shooting, but I have become really great friends with my photographer and now look forward to our shoots where half of the shots are me laughing at our adventures.
How did you come up with the idea?
The concept for styled by NOIR came to me after working with an affiliate blogger program and seeing the power and interest from consumers in bloggers and personal style. I thought, why not combine the two (blogging and shopping) instead of directing traffic to numerous other sites to purchase the items you are blogging about.
This is where my knowledge of the market and brands came in handy. I have been fully immersed in the accessories world, heading those accounts for the PR firm I worked at, and have gotten to know the market very well. I have worked with big box brands such as Vans and Shopbop and also on some of my favorite “boutique brands” that I carry on the site. So finding the best of the best to bring to you was easy!
What was the hardest part in getting started?
I am the kind of girl that makes up her mind and goes full steam ahead, no looking back! Now that I can look back I almost laugh at myself. I had a rocky start with web developers, but I just kept trucking until it was figured out and then looked back to think “man, that was rough”. I think, just like any new project, you are so excited by the opportunity that you don’t stop to make a “to-do list” and you don’t realize how much there actually is to do. People don’t realize how much goes into a blog. Next time you read one, thing about every single image, word, etc., has to be created and entered by someone… now add starting a business and creating a store to that list… Let’s do this!
How do you maintain a balance between other aspects of your life and your blog?
I have ALWAYS been a workaholic. When something goes well, I want to do it 10 more times and bigger and better. BUT… I also believe in the theory of “work hard and play hard”. I really try to be a “yes” person and am always down for an adventure or hike with my pup (he’s adorable!).
I will never miss a friend’s birthday, celebration or not drop everything to be there if you need me. Some of my favorite nights are sitting on my friend Helen’s couch and listening to her dating stories (she is starting a blog soon about them, they are THAT good). I like to have fun just as much as I like to work!
How do you stay connected with other bloggers and creatives/entrepreneurs like yourself?
I am a very lucky girl in that I am surrounded by inspiring people. Most of my friends are either in the fashion, PR, or events world and many of them are entrepreneurs as well. I even come from a family of entrepreneurs and often our family dinners turn into strategy meetings. Most people would hate that, but I feel like that is something we all love and it brings us closer together.
What’s your favorite social media channel for personal use?
Pinterest!!! I could be on Pinterest for hours. It is the first thing I look at when I wake up and the last thing I do before falling asleep. Not only is it a great way for my brand to get exposure, but I find so much inspiration on there myself and often end up shopping from it as well!
What’s your favorite social media to use for business/blog related stuff?
Facebook, only because the tech nerd in me gets super into ads, targeting and the analytic side of it. They are constantly updating the way they structure it and I am like a little kid in a candy store reading every article on it!
Who do you look up to?
This list could go on FOREVER! I have had the privilege of working with SO many inspiring women and business professionals in my career.
To name a few…. First and foremost, my father. I watched him build a business from nothing when I was a child and he has provided for everyone in his life. He is a huge inspiration to me every single day. The powerhouse women in my life including my sister, Leslie, Marilynne, Sydne and Jodee who have all taken the plunge to become business owners, Lindsay who I have watched become a kick ass publicist, past clients such as Ruthie Davis, Susan Feldman, and my first boss in the PR world that taught me a LOT about running a business, Alle Fister. All of these ladies are proof that women can do it just as good, if not better than men 😉
A quote that I really love is “Be inspired by other’s success, not defeated.” I really try to look up to anyone who has become successful and absorb as much as I can from them.
What advice do you have for others?
Work hard and play hard, always be nice to people, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Hard work can pay off but don’t kill yourself and forget to enjoy life. And always be nice to everyone, even if you are saying “you suck” in your head, keep a smile on your face… you never know when they will cross your path again.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
“Tell them what they want to hear and do what you want to do.” I know, this can sound awful… and it doesn’t mean tell them you will work and instead go to the beach…. I learned quickly in PR that everyone thinks their way of doing something is better, but if you have another idea, just say “ok” for the time being and either prove them wrong by doing your way in a kick-ass fashion OR present it to them later in a way that they have to see your way works too or better.. just be careful and make sure you ARE right 😉 ha!
Have low expectations of everyone and thing (except yourself), then you will always be pleasantly surprised.