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    Women Wednesday: Melissa San Vicente

    June 6, 2018

    Photo Credit: Weekend Creative

    We have a special Woman Wednesday feature with one of the co-founders of Femme Fair,  Melissa San Vincente!

    Melissa is a multi-talented woman. Besides being the co-founder of Femme Fair, she is also the Digital Art Director of Charlotte Russe and runs her personal blog, Melsanv.com. Her creativity, heart, and hard work truly inspires us.

    We were lucky enough to attend Femme Fair’s second event a few months ago, and we are still amazed by how Melissa and her team created a space that blends fashion, beauty, entrepreneurship and a space for women in creative pursuits to meet and inspire each other.

    Read on about this funny, savvy, and passionate woman that inspires us to share, connect, and boss up.

    Photo Credit: Jess Onesto

    How did Femme Fair come about?
    Truthfully? Probably via a group chat on a Wednesday at 1am. Kidding aside, Stacey and Christina had this idea to host a blogger garage sale about two years ago. I was also itching for a project that served a greater cause and had been toying with the idea of starting a non-profit where I could dedicate my time in helping the community. After a lot of back-and-forth, Stacey, Christina and I joined forces to create something bigger than we could have ever imagined. We wanted to not only provide a platform for women to sell their clothing, but to also promote female empowerment in the San Francisco community. Our first year around, we donated to Planned Parenthood and had more than 200 women in attendance. This year, we supported Global Fund for Women, a global champion for the human rights of women and girls. As many stories go, it all started with an idea and the rest is history!

    This is your 2nd year of Femme Fair, did you do anything differently the 2nd time around?

    This year, we really wanted to branch off and provide more networking and educational opportunities for women. We decided to include a panel discussion from 3 very different women in the industry, a headliner that shed light on the darkness of sex trafficking, and we also included mentoring sessions for our attendees. In addition to growing our team, we included more photo experiences, a DIY table, and had more bloggers to participate as well! As with any project, I think you always utilize your next go-around to get better and more efficient. I hope those things were apparent this year.

    Photo Credit: Jess Onesto

    What was the biggest challenge of Femme Fair?

    Definitely getting bigger. More sponsors, a bigger team, a bigger venue… all of these things mean more leg work and require more time. Along the way, I think we all found our separate challenges in helping prep for Femme Fair but I think that’s just something that comes with the business of event planning – a lot of late nights!

    Your proudest moment?

    I was honored to be the moderator for our panel discussion. I truly learned more about myself in that moment that I have in my entire blogging career. I am an extrovert with anxiety. Getting to open up and speak with other women in our community was both rewarding and terrifying. Finishing that panel allowed me to check off an item on my bucket list that I’d always feared doing. I also truly love our community and was so proud of our social media growth over the past year. It made all of the late nights scheduling content SO worth it.

    What characteristics do you admire most in other women?

    I really admire hard-chargers. The ones who push the status quo, question everything, and raise hell. I think we are often drawn to mirrors of what we aspire to be. When I see other women running businesses, while having a voice of their own, balancing a social life, and overall owning it; I’m in awe. The characteristics I admire most? Empathy, tenacity, imperfection, adaptability, strength, courage and self care.

    What was the best piece of business advice that you’ve received?

    “Jump! Then, build your wings on the way down.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve applied this throughout my career. Every job I’ve ever taken, there was always some sort of skill or program that I needed to learn, which ultimately helped build my skill set for the years to come. I utilized every step in my career to grow, learn, and get better. In business, you’re not always going to have the right answers and the answers you do have may not always present themselves in a timely manner. I once changed my business name on the way to a conference and made digital business cards in the car (from my phone) to text to new contacts. You have to always be willing to jump even if you aren’t ready.

    Photo Credit: Luis Landestoy

    What is your personal or professional motto?

    “Check your ego at the door.” I’m a serious student to the world and love soaking in new environments, new processes and new ways of thinking. I never allow my ego to get in the way of my work or in collaborating with other people. I’m never afraid to ask the stupid questions in a meeting or to tell someone that I’m not sure of an answer. You learn so much from someone else’s experience and wisdom, so to let an ego get in the way of new possibilities or ideas is a damn shame.

    Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently when you started?

    I would have worked on my negotiation skills. Graduating from college, I was excited to land any role that I could get my hands on. I was eager and hungry to take the first number that was thrown at me and I know now that was a mistake. While adding to your resume is important, don’t shortchange yourself. Know that your skills, your personality, your background, and your experiences all bring something new to the table. Even if you are scared or uncomfortable, always practice negotiating. Whether that’s a bigger salary, a longer deadline, or more PTO – there’s always room for negotiation!

    Photo Credit: Luis Landestoy

    What resources do you recommend to someone starting in your industry?

    In the graphic design or user experience realm, Behance is a great way to stay on top of design trends and to showcase your work for constructive feedback. Creative Market is also a site I wish I had when I was starting out in business. You can buy everything from business expense templates to website builders, all for a fraction of the price you’d pay on other sites. Additionally, make friends in your industry. Join facebook groups or find networking events in your area that cater to your area of expertise. Having friends in the field really help you navigate when you’re starting out. Not sure if you’re charging your client enough? Trying to find a photographer for a photoshoot at the last minute? Social media and networking fill the gaps and help you answer all of the lingering questions you have when you’re just starting out.

    If you were given an extra 2 hours a day, what would you do with it?

    I would facetime my family or spend more time with my husband. I grew up in Florida and left my family behind to pursue my career in SF and I miss them every. Single. Day. Our time difference makes staying connected pretty tough sometimes, so having those extra hours a day would give me more time to dish about work and hear all about the newness in their lives. My family truly keeps me grounded and brings me back to why I work so hard everyday. I think we all need a good support system in our lives. Any extra second I get will always go to building those relationships that I hold so close to my heart.

    Photo Credit: Luis Landestoy

    What inspires you?

    I’m constantly inspired by the hustle. My mom worked 2-3 jobs while raising 4 kids and I’ve always been drawn to those that stop at nothing to see a vision come to life. I’m also inspired by kind people. Kindness goes such a long way in my book and has such a ripple effect on the world around us.

    What’s next for you?

    My hope? A life full of love, growth and happiness. This year, I’ve learned so much about myself and the relationships around me. I’ve been challenged in unthinkable ways and I’m in constant amazement of change. At this very moment, I’m typing my responses from an airplane as I travel to visit family during a difficult time. Life does not have a pause button. I hope that the next chapters in my life will be filled with new adventures and experiences that make me a better person in the life ahead.

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    Femme Fair

    May 7, 2018

    Adrienne and I got the chance to attend Femme Fair last month, and  we are still feeling the positive energy of the event and all the women present. The event originally started out as a way for the public to shop their favorite bloggers’ closets, but it has since gotten bigger. We definitely felt welcomed and connected to the community; not only were we able to do some shopping, but we got a chance to meet other amazing women, share stories, laugh, eat, and find ways to support each other in future creative endeavors.

    We sat in on the morning speaking engagements. The first conversation centered around finding your voice in a sea of many. It was so inspiring to hear women in the creative industry talk about their own fears and vulnerabilities in this field, and how it’s so important to be your most authentic self. The second conversation was the keynote given by Chloe Elisa with the core focus on putting a light to sex trafficking. The topic hits close as a lot of my career focused on supporting young folks who have been abused and/or trafficked. Her words were incredible, and if you were to just spend 5 minutes talking to her, you’d want to get out there and serve the greater community. She also works for Selah Freedom, the nation’s leading anti-sex trafficking organization. Definitely check it out, and support our most marginalized groups of people.

    We were also in awe of the beautiful detail put into the event. Saying it’s IG-worthy doesn’t do the justice the hardwork the women of Femme Fair put into it. They really converted a space that was open, inviting, colorful, and effing fun. We were taking pictures like crazy and were also admiring all the care that brought everything together. Check out our photos below! Make sure you’re following Femme Fair. We believe it’s only going to get bigger from here. We can’t wait for next year, and we’re hoping to see more of our readers there!

    Photo Credit: Jess Onesto

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    Women Wednesdays: Dominique Drakeford

    March 28, 2018

    We are so excited to feature Dominique Drakeford in our Women Wednesdays series. She is making waves in more ways than one in the sustainable and ethical movement. Dominique is an environment educator, community advocate, sustainability stylist, and also founder of Melanin and Sustainable Style (MelaninASS) – a platform dedicated to celebrating and giving a voice to communities of color in sustainable and ethical fashion, beauty, and wellness.

    Dominique is truly inspiring, and we are excited for you to get to know her and her story a bit more. We’ve been focusing a lot on sustainable style, and she has been one of our go-to women for socially conscious and environmentally sound style. Whoever says that you can’t do both hasn’t met Dominique because she not only champions an ethical and sustainable lifestyle, she rocks it so damn well.

    1. When did you first realize that you wanted to focus on sustainable and conscious clothing? What drew you to it? 

    I would say sometime in my early college years. I knew in high school that my passion lied in some sort of creative environmental work. I think around Sophomore year in college is when I started to fuse my love for fashion and sustainability together. I was always drawn to fashion’s ability to communicate – culture, politics, attitude, etc. I think it just became second nature that fashion can creatively, culturally and politically convey the importance of sustainability without compromising style.

    2. Tell us more about MelaninASS.

    MelaninASS is literally my baby – and like most socially conscious platforms – it grew from 1) frustration and 2) love. I was frustrated about the lack of visibility for POC in this space. I was frustrated seeing all of the appropriate in the fashion world but also in this community as well. I was frustrated that not enough platforms for and by POC were covering sustainability. Now the love – I have such an unwavering love for black people and POC in general. We are an incredible people who so much to offer that gets overlooked and exploited – and my sheer love for melanin made me want to share the brands and stories that aren’t vocalized enough. With the right resources, tools and influences – POC can become the driving force to take sustainability to the next level. It’s starting to become a conscious hub for creative global pioneers of color.

    3. What characteristics do you admire most in other women? 

    Beauty – Women may be complicated yes, but the sheer beauty of women is the driving force for everything. And I’m not talking about the outside necessarily – the beauty of passion, of skill, of resilience, of being a change agent. The beauty in women is what connects us and drives us to be leaders.

    4. What was the best piece of business advice that you’ve received? 

    Create your own opportunities.

    5. What is your personal or professional motto?

    Invest in work that feeds your lifestyle and life purpose.

    6. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently when you started?

    NOPE – I believe in alchemy – the shitty things that have happened, the “mistakes” that I’ve made and the things that I “regret” are part of the journey that transforms you to becoming the person you’re destined to be. So as far as I’m concerned, as difficult as it may to swallow and as easy as it is to complain, I’m right where I’m suppose to be and wouldn’t change a thing. Everything happens for a reason – the universe is working some magic that I may not see yet.

    7. What resources do you recommend to someone starting in the fashion industry especially when it comes to sustainable and ethical clothing?

    That’s a tough one – because the suggestions I would have given 5 years ago are very different from now. Fashion and Sustainability are such huge under takings. A documentary I would suggest watching is A True Cost which is on Netflix. Then I would suggest reading different books and articles but based on what aspects of sustainability you’re interested in. But True Cost would be my very very 1st resource to dive into – and then from that documentary – you will have a bunch of thoughts, feelings, idea etc and from there you can navigate the direction you want to go in terms of resources.

    Otherwise … I think it can be very overwhelming.

    Also – simply follow people and/or brands on say Instagram that resonate with your style and/or activist values.

    8. What inspires you?

    The earth and indigenous cultures (which as the basis of sustainability) despite whatmainstream advocates convey.

    9. What’s next for you? Anything exciting that you’d like to share?

    I’m not sure LOL – I’m working on a few different projects but I’m honestly just taking my journey one day at a time. I’m most interested in doing more work focused on up-lifting communities of color to be more sustainable in their fashion, beauty and wellness.

    Photos Courtesy of: https://www.dominiquedrakeford.com/

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    Women Wednesdays: Erbose

    January 24, 2018

    Audrey pictured

    We’ve been having an amazing time with our Women Wednesday series this month. We’re feeling so deeply connected to our community and are enjoying the responses we’ve been getting from our readers both on the web and in real life.

    This week, we’re featuring the women behind Erbose, one of our favorite skincare lines. Sisters Audrey Dombroski and Jen Schachtebeck created Erbose with a focus on clean beauty. They are committed to self-care through holistic skincare rituals and creating a community of wellness. Audrey and Jen are truly inspiring and have created beautiful products that are environmentally and ethically sound.

    Jen pictured

    We’ve talked about Erbose products before, and we’re happy to say that the results from using their products have been nothing short of amazing. We’re excited to share Audrey and Jen’s story of how Erbose began and what continues to inspire them.

    1. When did you first realize that you wanted to start a skincare line? What called you to it?

    Audrey: I’ve always relied on various self-care rituals to support my physical and mental well-being and while I was studying herbalism, my new found relationship with plants only solidified my commitment to health and wellness. I’ve always been conscious of what I was putting into my body, but only then did I start looking into what I was putting on my body. I began formulating plant-based skincare products for myself, quickly realizing the healing qualities these products provided my skin. I then branched out and started transforming plants into useful products for our family and friends and received great feedback about the effectiveness these products offered. It was then that I became committed to creating and providing products in hopes of empowering others to look at their daily beauty routines through a holistic lens.

    2. What characteristics do you admire most in other women?

    We really admire women who are comfortable in their own skin, who appreciate themselves exactly as they are. We’re also really inspired by women who empower and support other women. Having a community of women who encourage other women to pursue their goals is key. Let’s build each other up instead of holding each other back!

    3. What was the best piece of business advice that you’ve received?

    Measure your degree of passion. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, why would anyone else?

    4. What is your personal or professional motto?

    “Always do what you are afraid to do.”

    5. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently when you started?

    Editing! The excitement of first starting out had us crazy with ideas with what we wanted to create and introduce. That, in turn, resulted in way too many products that ultimately felt excessive—a concept that strays from what we want our products to be: simple, clean and uncomplicated. Keeping things simple from the get-go while staying true to yourself is the best way to start any endeavor.

    6. What resources do you recommend to someone starting in your industry?

    We love reading blogs like Chalkboard Mag, Well+Good, and mindbodygreen  for information regarding all around wellness, healthy eating, and natural health. We recommend keeping up with clean beauty products and trends. We love The Moment for information about beauty products and clean living, and try to check in with organic/natural beauty bloggers on Instagram like sunkissedkateblog, livingprettynaturally, and annalovesorganicbeauty for clean products they’re currently into.

    7. If you were given an extra 2 hours a day, what would you do with it?

    We’d definitely use some of that time for wellness- meditation, yoga, going on a hike- anything to cultivate mindfulness. We’d also spend the time catching up with new shows or hanging out with our family and friends. Maybe read a book (for fun)! Oh, and of course, get some extra sleep in the morning, because a little extra rest never hurt anyone! Can we have more than an extra 2 hours? 🙂

    8. What inspires you?

    We’re inspired by a lot of things:

    • A curiosity for the natural world and its healing qualities

    • A desire to create and work with our hands

    • What others in our industry are doing

    • Community building through clean living aspirations

    • A desire to help and show people just how easy it can be to live a natural life

    The list goes on and on….

    9. What’s next for Erbose? Anything exciting that you’d like to share?

    We recently launched the Erbose Baby Line which we’re really excited about! It’s bringing some new opportunities and allowing us to work with health conscious parents who want to lead organic and natural lifestyles for themselves and their kids. We are also in the midst of formulating new face and body oils, so keep an eye out for that!

    Photo Credit: Audrey Dombroski + Jen Schachtebeck

     

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    Women Wednesdays: Tamryn Miller

    January 17, 2018

    For our Women Wednesdays series this week, we wanted to feature one of our favorite bloggers and all around style queen Tamryn Miller of Wannabe Fashion Blogger. Like us, Tamryn is a Bay Area gal based in San Francisco. Tamryn’s unique style has turned the heads of many and continues to give us inspiration in refreshing ways. She has parlayed the success of her blog into partnerships with companies such as J.Jill, Lacson Ravello, and SoulCycle. Tamryn is no snob and is totally down with pairing a beautiful thrifted dress with a pre-loved Chanel bag. She can rock the bootleg Gucci from Afterlife Boutique, and have a ton of people buying it the next day. Tamryn is that cool. Read more about her below. And when you’re done, be sure to check out her blog and follow her on Instagram. It’s lit.

    1. Tell us about Wannabe Fashion Blogger. How did it come about?
    Wannabe Fashion Blogger was born from an inside joke between my sister and I. I have always been very into fashion and when blogging really started taking off, I would look at my own outfits and think “I could do that!” I would send my sister photos of my daily outfits and jokingly sign them from “Wannabe Fashion Blogger.” Everyone in my life encouraged me to start my own blog and I did just that about four and a half years ago. I kept the name Wannabe Fashion Blogger because it helped me get started!
    2. What characteristics do you admire most in other women?
    The number one characteristic I admire most about other women is confidence. I have always been shy and less confident in myself so when I see women who just OWN everything about themselves, I love it!
    3. What was the best piece of advice in starting the blog?
    The best piece of advice I would give to anyone starting a blog is be true to who you are. When you pretend to be someone else, it shows. Readers want authenticity, they want to know who YOU are, not who you are pretending to be.
    4. What is your personal or professional motto?
    “Wear Outside The Box”
    5. What resources do you recommend to someone starting a creative business?
    Honestly, Instagram has been a huge source of inspiration for me and I have learned so much from watching others. I would also recommend finding a community that can support you and who knows what you’re going through. When I first started, I was really shy and didn’t want to network with other bloggers because I was afraid. Now, I have such a solid group of girls that truly support each other in such a unique business world. It’s amazing!
    6. What drives you? What keeps you going with Wannabe Fashion Blogger?
    I feel like my style is always evolving and that really motivates me to continue with Wannabe Fashion Blogger. I love seeing how my style has changed over the years and I love connecting with my audience. Hearing from my readers makes me so happy and they really push me to keep going.
    7. What’s up next for you? Anything exciting that you’d like to share?
    As of right now, I have a few projects that I am working on and hoping to make it to NYFW in September!

    Photo Credits: Shannon Righetti

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