Showing our roots: our 10-year journey into fashion and beauty blogging

Q. How did you get started as a fashion and beauty blogger?

A. It’s always interesting to talk to someone about how they ended up on their career path, you’ll often find that it was not a straight line from A to B. This was very much the case for Beth Herbst and myself, and our path to creating StyleBakery.com was an interesting one.

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Shortly after graduating from Syracuse University (I majored in Advertising, Beth majored in Speech Communications), we both found ourselves working at a small media marketing and television production company in NYC. We interviewed for the company after hearing from some friends that they were hiring. I had always envisioned myself as a copywriter at a cool NY ad agency, but the job offer seemed so intriguing, I couldn’t resist.

The company produced fashion and lifestyle segments for television shows such as NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s The View, created syndicated video packages, and wardrobed celebrities. Since neither of us had any fashion or TV experience, our boss and mentor, Pier Piccoli, taught us everything. Working at such a small company was an incredible learning experience; it meant that we weren’t limited to one position or job responsibility. We did everything right from the start, including shooting and editing video, hiring and styling models, media training on-air talent, writing copy, pulling clothes to wardrobe celebrities, and more. Of course, it also meant that we did a lot of unglamorous jobs like schlepping, answering phones, packing and unpacking boxes, waking up at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. for a television call time… But we learned and did so much more than we would have at a large cubicle-laden corporation.

After several years of learning the business inside and out, we decided it was time to venture out on our own. We started a small production company called Reach Marketing, Inc. and were lucky enough to work with the Today Show, Vogue magazine and the NBA almost right from the start. Our company was small — just the two of us — and we worked out of our apartments, still doing all the glamorous and unglamorous aspects of the job but with the added pressure of running and owning our own business. It was an amazing, yet somewhat scary feeling to be on our own and masters of our fate at such a young age.

In early 2003, I taught myself HTML and the mechanics of building a basic website, so we decided to launch StyleBakery.com. At the time, there were very few sites about fashion, style or beauty — and certainly nothing like the fashion and beauty bloggers that are so commonplace today –so we had to forge our own path and learn everything as we went along. What started as an online magazine that published every two weeks as a supplement for our TV fashion segments, eventually turned into a self-sufficient and thriving website that updated every day with fresh content. We soon added specialized sites for teens (StyleBakeryTeen.com), moms (StyleBakeryMom.com) and budget shoppers (Sweet-Savings.com and CheapChicDaily.com) to become the wide-reaching women’s style network that we are today.

Having gone to college in the very early days of the Internet, we certainly never could have imagined our eventual career: that we would be writing and producing content for the Web. Our advice to anyone starting out in their career, or one looking to make a change, is to consider every opportunity that comes your way. It may not be what you studied in school, or what you envision your path to be, but you never know where each new opportunity might lead you.

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