blanc’s big break + next level challenges ahead

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This summer has been one for the books. Though I’m not sure which book… because honestly I don’t see a lot of people interested in reading it. Sure, the highs trump the lows, but sometimes it’s the lows that we remember most. Not always because they hard or hurtful, but because we learn something from them. The sum of this year’s summer is equivalent to x2 = y6 + zy7k ^ 42 

 

What does that even mean, you ask? In lamest terms, it was challenging. It seemed as if life threw me sour lemonade and expected me to work my ass off to make it back into a whole fruit.

 

Between the added leadership and responsibility that came with my powerhouse coworker leaving for her NYC dream job, my identity being stolen and my bank account being hacked two months later (literally, I have zero dollars to my name at the moment and the most generous coworkers who buy my lunch), and the type-A “Planner’s Curse” that includes the big-ol’ stress ball of forever looking into the future. Will my boyfriend get a job in xyz city? Would I go with him? Is my portfolio prepared for that? What if I can’t get a job? Do I want to stay in graphic design? (Am I really admitting this online?!?) Some things never change (see my very first blog post).

 

Hence, the blogging break. Am I grateful for these challenges? 150%. They have  influenced me to step it up a notch and explore where I want this life to take me. This summer and the people in it have inspired in more ways than one.

 

I’ve always been one to oogle over a strong female entrepreneur. Motivational talks, how-to guides, inspirational quotes – I eat that stuff up like it’s ice cream about to melt. There’s always been a part of me that gets those entrepreneurs. It feels as if I have all the tools to start my little fire, I’m just waiting for my spark to catch flame.

 

Over the past few months, I’ve gained three new big sisters in the professional world. Though I’m not sure they know I exist, nor that I stalk their accounts on the reg, but they have proven to be my some of my best advice givers. Has anyone ever told you something that stuck with you for longer than you expected? That’s it.

 

Let’s hear the list, shall we?

 

Mandy Rye, founder of the ever popular and always innovative Waiting on Martha blog. I met (yes, MET!) Mandy at The Southern C conference in Charleston, South Carolina. Her talk about social media was one of the biggest highlights of the weekend. My hands chicken-scratched notes as I tried to restrain my major girl-crush on the stellar Mandy.

 

Mandy’s Advice that stuck: Ask yourself before posting, does this reflect my brand? Never, ever publish a photo unless it’s in natural light. Quality is better than quantity.

 

Aliza Licht, DKNY’s famous PR girl and author of Leave York Mark. Aliza’s taught me to love Twitter again. She also taught me that it’s more important to be the listener. It’s the listener, not the loud mouth, that is the more intriguing.

 

Sophia Amoruso, founder of the fastest growing fashion brand, Nasty Gal and author of #GIRLBOSS. My current obsession and frankly, my motivational bible for the professional world. I’m reviewing #GIRLBOSS and why you just HAVE to read it later this month on Blanc. Stay tuned, my friends. Sophia’s advice that stuck: Work. For. It. You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

 

With a summer of new challenges behind me and a reel of professional advice spinning in my head, I finally started to feel like I could write again. I am inspired again. With this inspiration, I want to start a whole new version of blogging. Let’s get to the nitty gritty. Let’s get to what really helps us professional newcomers. Mandy, Aliza, and Sophia inspired, I’ve come up with a little something I like to call the #nextlevelchallenge.

 

Each month, I will present a 10 day challenge that will push you (and me!) to do and feel better. My first #nextlevelchallenge is 10-days of early rising. For some, this may mean nothing. For me, it will be a challenge worth taking. I have a bad habit of setting my alarm for 7, snoozing until 8, and getting into the office at 9:30 (oops).

 

In one Forbes study, specialists link rising early to optimism and satisfaction in your day. Early risers report using their morning quiet time for organization, goal-setting and planning out their days and weeks ahead. Early risers are also less likely to get easily stressed or depressed throughout their day. And let’s not forget the metabolism boost that comes with a morning run!

 

So here we go, my friends! I’m back at it. Ready to share all that I’ve been saving up this summer and ready for my first #nextlevelchallenge. Who’s with me?

 

Share your #nextlevelchallenge ups and downs with me on Twitter via @blancblog
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Blanc on The Everygirl’s Home Tour

Today is filled with excitement as I share something very dear to me – my home! I had the pleasure of hosting one of my favorite blogs,The Everygirl, and photographer Nancy Beale at my Charleston abode, where we talked about home decor, graphic design, and Blanc’s “ah-ha” moment.

See the entire feature on The Everygirl!

Getting Personal with Society Social’s Roxy Owens

Let’s face it. If you haven’t dreamt about a piece of furniture yet, you are about to. Every night before I fall asleep, I go over my day’s accomplishments and tomorrow’s to-do list (yes, I’m that type A). I think about all the things I’m thankful for, along with how I forgot to pay my credit card bill and how much I really need a new desk chair for my 5-9 pm blogging gig. I ooo and ahh over Society Social’s Matisse Chair on my iPhone and fall asleep in shades of avocado and orchid twill.

Meet Roxy Owens – owner and head designer of Society Social, a home and lifestyle furniture line featuring bold colors and tropical influences. As a leading tastemaker in the home and entertaining industry, Roxy has received high praises from HGTV, House Beautiful, Southern Living, and Lonny.

Known widely for her renaissance of the bar cart, Roxy has taken the home-decor industry by the horns by inviting bright colors, bold fabrics, and fine-detailed materials into the mix. Getting to know Roxy’s business mottos and career overview was easy – two of my favorite blogs had done the heavy lifting for me. As an aspiring designer, I knew I had to say hello – even if it were only to ask some silly questions of my own (Roxy, can we totally be BFF’s?!).

 

9 Q’s for Roxy O:

You almost single-handedly brought the bar cart back to life. If you could pick one other  furniture or fashion comeback, what would it be?

“That is so sweet! Thank you! I definitely took on a mission to bring the bar cart back and have been so tickled to see it make a spirited resurgence. I would love to see classic rattan in more homes, whether it’s natural or newly refinished in a pop of pink!”

 

Give me a walkthrough of your closet. What items are your staples?

“I don’t like to spend a lot of time getting dressed in the morning because it makes me feel like I’m not focused on getting to work, so my closet is filled with easy, casual go-to’s like breezy dresses, linen tees (love!), and my favorite ripped jeans. After hours, I loved to dress up and have a weakness for glam dresses and caftans so there’s a few of those in there too!

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A good hostess should never run out of ________.

“Champagne.”

 

You are designing a friend’s powder room. Do you splurge for the patterned wallpaper or make a statement with a funky mirror?

“How do I possibly choose? Both!”

 

What book should be on every girl’s reading list? 

“It’s summer so an easy, beach read to be enjoyed with a cocktail in hand. Crazy, Rich Asians is hilarious and fascinating all at once.”

 

Beyonce has offered you her private jet for the day. Where do you go and what do you do? 

“I would pack it full of friends and family and off to Positano we would go!”

 

What item doesn’t belong on your bar cart, but is there anyway?

“I live in a small NYC apartment, so every piece of furniture has to double task. The top of my bar cart is styled as an end table, while the bottom holds all our glassware and booze. I don’t think there are rules in decorating! The most important thing is to make the space your own!”

 

What do you love about the first piece of furniture you created and what do you love about the last? 

“What I love most about the design process is the very end of it, when customers send me images of their home and how they’ve made SS their own.”

 

At the end of the day, what complements your gin and tonic?

“I’ve been known to take a few laps around the room, dancing solo.”


I can’t thank you enough, Roxy! I’ll join your dance party any day.

Find Roxy on Instagram via @societysocial

 

 

 

 

 

 

meet the blush label

BLANC_TheBlushLabel

BLANC_TheBlushLabelHow do you define style? Google defines the noun as “a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed.” But come on, isn’t style way more than that?

Some of us dream of Clueless Cher’s revolving closet of the 90’s – bound forever to fashion forward magazines and the styles found in local boutiques. Others focus on style at home – form, function, and originality. There is an entire multi-million dollar industry focusing on this word. Style. It’s quite overused, wouldn’t you say?

Let’s remix this baby. Redefine style and what do you get? Confidence, originality, trend-setting, unexpected combinations, courage, poise, unique details, and ultimately, a defined design.

As a designer, a pet peeve of mine is to see inspired works overused in the industry (chevron, you poor thing…). Skilled designers are emerging daily, but who’s to decide if they have this newly-defined style or not? I’ll tell you one thing, The Blush Label nailed it.

Meet sisters Christie and Mary, the design duo and creative directors of happy hour and home. The two may not have revolving closets, but they dream of a day when the linens in their homes would be as colorful and lively as the clothes in their closets. Posh patterns and layered color combinations rule the scene in their works. There is a sophisticated chicness that overtakes you into a sea of tropical color combinations.

They have formed a brand that truly embodies style. I spoke with Mary to get the label’s full story: where they started, who they’ve become, and what advice they have for women entrepreneurs.

Try not to drool, okay?

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Tell me about the Blush Label. Who are you as a company? What do you stand for?

“The Blush Label is a home decor and entertaining accessories company based in North and South Carolina. We’ve designed our line to be functional and affordable with a bright color palette. Since we launched our line, it’s been important for us to stay true to our design aesthetic and to our affordable prices.”

How did you start? Who had the “big idea” and when did you know it was time to say “let’s do it.”?

“We were on a trip to Puerto Rico in 2012 when we decided to start the business, but it took us two years of prep work before we even launched. Starting a business doesn’t happen overnight! We launched a blog first (Things That Make Us Blush) to make sure there was a market for what we wanted to do, after that we decided to go for it.”

What challenges did you have in your first year? How much did self doubt play into things, if any?

“There were a lot of challenges and of course, there still are! But the important thing is to always stay true to yourselves and true to your customers. We’ve had glitches in the system and orders take longer than expected, but those issues happen when you’re a small business. The important thing is how you deal with those issues that will set you apart. It’s important to believe in yourself – always. We can’t stress that enough. There are times when we’ve doubted projects or product lines and they’ve ended up being huge for us. The important thing is to try and to not take it personally if a particular product doesn’t do well.”

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You started with cocktail napkins. Why is that?

“We launched our business in phases to ensure that we weren’t overwhelmed when we first started. It was a decision that worked very well for us. If you’re starting a business, test the waters with what you can handle first and then expand from there. Doing that will help you refine your processes in small increments along the way.”

What other product have you designed since the cocktail napkin?

“It wasn’t until High Point Market that we realized how many products we now offer! Decorative pillows, coasters, place-mats, glassware, serving trays and silk scarves.”

What makes you different from the other entertaining retailers?

“What makes us different is our design aesthetic and pricing. We offer quality products at an affordable price in bold color schemes, and we also design everything in-house – you can’t find it anywhere else!

BLANC_TheBlushLabelTell me about your individual styles. How did you merge those? How do each of your strengths play into The Blush Label?

“Christie’s style is more bold like Kelly Wearstler, but mine is a little more classic. I love the classic blue and white scheme with pops of color. One thing we do agree on is our love for gold – we aren’t big on silver finishes. Everything in our line was originally inspired by our father’s native Puerto Rico. The island is oozing beautiful, bright colors and we’ve incorporated those in our products. We also love to travel so while we were in the Amalfi Coast last year, we decided to bring in some of the colors we saw during that trip as well.

We each have different strengths, and we’ve divided those up to help our brand. Christie is the Creative Director so she designs everything and builds our product portfolio. I head up the business side of the company and handle our accounts, finances and PR. We both take on a lot, but we’re very supportive of each other in our areas of the business. We are constantly communicating, which is key for us! We hold FaceTime meetings three times a week to keep us on task.”

What goals have you accomplished as a company or personally at this point. What goals do you have for the future?

“It was our goal originally to make this into a full-time career for both of us and we’ve accomplished that, which is huge for us. Starting a business and working on it while having a full-time job is incredibly hard. There are a lot of late nights and early mornings, but as long as you have the drive and desire to make it happen, you can.

As a company, we’ve grown leaps and bounds within a year of launching. Our product portfolio has grown and we continue to open new accounts with great customers, stores and designers from around the world. We plan to continue growing from here by increasing our presence in the marketplace.”

What advice do you have for young women looking to start their own brand?

“1. Stop doubting yourself and go for it! We’re lucky to have each other to lean on when we hit a rough patch. Some entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of having a business partner (especially one from your family) so it’s important to always stay motivated.

2. Listen to the women who have done it before you. We met the founder of a well-established and fast-growing company the other day and her advice was on point for where we are in this stage of business. They’ve been there before and know what it’s like to be where you are in your stage of business.

3. Use the feedback you receive to improve your product. We did this after our first market and it helped us immensely with one of our product lines. Don’t take the feedback as someone being negative – use the feedback to your advantage to improve your line. This can be difficult since there are some products we’re attached to, but take a step back and really listen to your market.

4. Read! There is so much amazing material out there. Newspapers, blogs, magazines, editorials, etc. – stay informed about what is going on in your community and the marketplace.”

What’s your best seller?

“Coasters and glassware – we can hardly keep them in stock!

What’s your favorite piece?

“We both love the pineapple rocks glasses! The Bombay Scarf is another one of our favorites.”

 


Shop my favorites:


See more of The Blush Label online and on social media:

www.theblushlabel.com

@the_blush_label