Boss Lady: Katrina Caspelich

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business.This week we chat with Katrina Caspelich, founder of Kiss and Wear, a blog transformed into a lifestyle brand that seamlessly combines the perfect mix of west coast cool and east coast chic. Katrina shares with us everything from her inspirations to advice for young fashion gurus.   Boss Lady: Katrina Caspelich

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
I’m originally from San Diego, CA but moved to NYC right out of college. I was so eager to start working I didn’t even walk at my college graduation (which I kind of regret to this day as I’ve had a few nightmares about not graduating). The first job I had in NYC was at a high-fashion modeling agency called Race Model Management as a junior booker. The transition from CA to NY workwise was pretty easy for me as I worked at Jet Set, a modeling and talent agency as a booker in San Diego as well. After a year at the agency, I decided to pursue my dream of being a fashion editor. I eventually got a fashion editor gig working for an online magazine called Page Daily and finally got to attend Fashion Week, which was a childhood goal of mine. Although I thought I had “made it,” I wasn’t getting paid much as an editor, so I took a part-time job at Billabong in Soho. Because of that retail job, I forever hang clothing I try on in a fitting room and neatly put back items I do not purchase. After the magazine I worked for closed, I got a job as a content manager at a fashion start-up, The Impression, which focused more on the creative and behind-the-scenes aspect of the fashion industry. It was here I learned a lot about websites and content creation in general. It also helped that my boss took me under his wing and was willing to let me experiment, pushing my creative boundaries. Although I did enjoy working for the start-up, I ended up doing in-house PR and marketing for a scarf brand called Bindya NY. As a child I always loved accessories so working at a company that made them only seemed appropriate. I probably learned the most at this company. Not only did I do PR, I eventually ended up doing sales and helping with production. I was able to see the complete cycle of fashion from beginning concept to in-store display. And the whole process intrigued me.

2. What is a typical workday like for you?
Each morning, I wake up and spend a good 15 minutes in bed answering emails and updating social media. Once out of bed, I put on my contacts (as I am blind without them). I usually have breakfast (sliced bananas and peanut butter on a waffle or some sort of unhealthy sugary cereal) then start working. Recently, I’ve started freelancing in addition to running Kiss & Wear. So, each day, I go to the office I freelance for for about 4 hours, come home around 2pm and work on Kiss & Wear for the rest of the day. Daily, I update the website, fulfill orders and press requests, shoot fun images for social media, reach out to buyers, work on content, and go back and forth with suppliers. I also Google a ton of how-to’s because most of the time it’s just me running the show. I try to work until 6 or 7pm because if I don’t put a time limit on work, I won’t stop. At that time I usually treat myself to a nice home cooked meal and catch up on reality TV.

3. What was your inspiration behind starting your blog, Kiss & Wear?
My best friend, Lindsay, and I started the blog right after Page Daily, the online magazine we were both working for folded. I actually met Lindsay at Page Daily; we didn’t really like each other at first. I guess we’re living proof that first impressions aren’t always correct. Anyways, she was the beauty editor and I was the fashion editor; at the time, it only seemed natural to start our own thing. It allowed us to continue to pursue our passions and keep in contact with all the connections we had made throughout the years working at the magazine. We came up with the name Kiss & Wear because it was the perfect play on beauty and fashion; the two things we loved and wanted to write about.

Boss Lady: Katrina Caspelich

4. On your website you have a charity tab. Can you tell us what charities you collaborate with etc? Any specific that are near and dear to you?
Right now, I’ve only collaborated with Bright Pink which is the only national non-profit organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. In the future, I would love to work with more cancer charities as I lost my dad to the disease 3 years ago.

5. How did the idea of the Kiss & Wear blog escalate into an online store? A successful one at that matter!
Thanks for adding successful, haha! Although I had stopped blogging for quite some time, Kiss & Wear was a brand name I always liked; it was catchy, a bit sentimental, and for a brand, it was a play off loving what you wear. So to me, the online store kind of grew organically from the blog. I always wanted to launch my own accessories line and I already had the Kiss & Wear domain name, so why not try it out?

6. What has been your most successful form of marketing?
As far as marketing, my friends and family have been the best marketing tool. Not only are they my biggest cheerleaders, they spread the word and sport my items on a regular basis. It’s through their support; I’ve been able to gain a following. If you were looking for a more technical answer, it’s probably been my Kiss & Wear Clique series. Each month I like to feature a successful woman in the fashion, beauty, or lifestyle industries. I get to share their story and in turn, they share their write up with their audience, which obviously drives major traffic to the site.

Boss Lady: Katrina Caspelich

7. What has been your favorite role so far, whether is be a blogger, designer, or maintaining the store?
My favorite role so far is being an entrepreneur. Ask anyone who has started a company. It’s truly been such a rewarding and humbling experience. Every time I get stressed or break down emotionally from work, I tell myself that I am lucky. To be able to pursue my dreams and make money off of my passion is something I can’t take for granted. My future goal is to grow Kiss & Wear into the next must-have lifestyle accessory brand like Ban.do. In the meantime, I’ll just live in the moment and have fun.

8. What advice would you pass along to aspiring lifestyle bloggers and fashion designers like yourself?
I’ll never forget part of a quote by Marie Forleo. She said, “Guts are required if we’re going to do anything meaningful with our time here on earth.” I totally agree. If you’re aspiring to be or do anything, the hardest part is actually going for it. It’s scary and takes a lot of courage. So, my advice would be to follow your dreams and when things become difficult (because they will be), to never give up. With bravery and a lot of determination, I truly believe anything can be achieved.

9. Who is a #bosslady that inspires you?
This may be random but I really look up to Lady Gaga. Not only is she super talented, she’s such a wonderful role model to girls. She is true to herself and praises individuality. She isn’t afraid to act smart, dress for herself, focus on things other than her body, be odd, and have a stage name like Lady Gaga. From being bullied to bad reviews, she’s always overcoming which makes her such an inspiration. In addition to her talent and originality, she also gives back. Whether she donates money or brings awareness about a specific issue, she uses her celebrity status for a good cause, which I admire. She truly embodies what success means to me.

Behind the boss: Katrina Caspelich’s Mood Board
Behind The Boss
More on Katrina Caspelich:
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Boss Lady: Mary Bigham

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Mary Bigham of The Town Dish, an online publication focusing on food, drink, travel, style and health. With a mission to share their discoveries, Mary talks to us about the importance of quality work to naturally expand one’s reach.

 

boss lady: mary bigham of the town dish

 

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
The basics.  I was born and raised in Gettysburg, PA. I’m seriously hometown proud so quick shout out—it’s more than a battlefield. If you haven’t been since your 8th grade field trip, go back! I love to enjoy hard cider and to dine at incredible restaurants. I chose my college because they had my major and I really liked the dining hall offerings (not kidding). I moved to Ireland after graduating college to work for an international travel company and then followed a relationship to West Chester, PA. The relationship ended, but I settled into a marketing, events and sales career at a company in Chester County and traveled internationally in my free time. On a trip to Turkey I started blogging (mostly so that my mother knew I was still alive—this was pre-social media) and I sold Turkish items online to help fund the trip. I realized that most of my posts were about food, drink, beer and wine, and that I could also make money online (Note: my lawyer has since told me that reselling international goods without an importing license is illegal, so don’t do that—ooops!).

 

2. What prompted you to start The Town Dish? (Note: official company name is Dish LLC.) 
When I returned to West Chester after my trip to Turkey, I approached local newspapers to see if they needed a contributor for the food scene. They weren’t interested because I had no culinary or writing experience, so I started a blog. Dish LLC (The Town Dish and Dish Works) started as a blog focusing on the food scene in West Chester (WestChesterDish.com) because I felt there wasn’t a good resource for interesting food stories in the town. Sometimes something that wouldn’t be a traditional “news” story is still interesting in the food and drink world and I felt that I could help to create that resource.  I met my (now) business partner and programming whiz, Jason Tremblay, and the rest is history.

 

3. What draws you to the world of food?
Everyone eats. Food brings people together, it’s interactive,  it’s nostalgic, it’s exciting, it’s creative. There are SO many stories to tell about every culinary aspect. Passion starts with growing or creating a product and continues through to talented chefs, distillers, brewers, wine makers, bakers, cheese makers and then to the consumers. Vegans, bacon lovers, beer enthusiasts and gluten-free folks all are passionate and particular about what goes into their body, so it’s universal, interesting and ever evolving. Also, my heart flutters and I feel giddy (I have a serious crush on a lot of foods) when I have a really good creme brûlée, break the yolk of Eggs Benedict, hear the word “brunch” or when I read a retro recipe in one of my vintage cookbooks. I just FEEL something. It’s the same way my heart swells when I hear a song that I love.

 

4. The site has really grown, with 9 areas now being covered. What are your plans/goals for The Town Dish?
We hope to be able to still focus on our existing communities as well as anything national or international that involves food and drink in the world of travel, style and health. We are also passionate about all things PA and our neighbors in Maryland, Delaware and New York. So, be on the lookout for stories and coverage on a variety of new areas in the next few years. Our Dish Works Division, which creates culinary content, blogs posts and articles for client’s websites or publications to help increase sales organically,  is also on a big growth path.

 

boss lady: mary bigham of the town dish

 

5. What is your most successful form of marketing? 
We have been involved in many longtime food events in our communities and have been major sponsors for these events annually.  We have an active readership and we tell quality stories that naturally are shared and expand our reach.  Our talented Marketing Director, Angela Corrado, and our skilled EIC, Amy Strauss, are the muscles behind those initiatives.

 

6. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Happy clients are a huge inspiration. Creating jobs and employment for our team is another big motivator and responsibility. Talented food producers, creators, entrepreneurs and business owners are a strong influence.  Observing, listening, wondering “what if” often and running things through our mission to “publish and produce culinary content” keep us on track while still pushing the boundaries of creativity. A walk with my dogs, a late-night documentary, an incredible dining experience or a gooey, creamy french cheese with a freshly baked baguette…all and any of that inspires me.

 

7. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
Find a great lawyer, accountant and tech person, and then hire the most talented, amazing and passionate people you can find. Work hard. Be nice. Be prepared for stress. Understand the responsibility of prioritizing others in the company over yourself. Be open about the fact that you don’t always know what to do. Ask for help. Please your clients. Listen. Embrace change. Communicate. Be authentic. Thank your incredibly understanding and supportive friends and family. And remind and show them often how much you love them.

 

Just for fun…
behind the boss with mary bigham

More on Mary and The Town Dish:

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Marketing Tip Tuesday

marketing tip tuesday

Editorial calendars are extremely important in marketing and much like print publications, we plan ours out months in advance. It may sound overwhelming but it’s worth the effort to be as organized (and in control) as possible. Plus, readers enjoy relevant topics that they can apply to their everyday lives.

At Social Stylate, we use our editorial calendars every day for direction on topics to research and cover. Our team uses Google Calendar because it’s extremely user friendly for our on-the-go lives. For a printable version, this one here is great and offers topic prompts.

When it comes to mapping out your editorial calendar, here are our top three things to keep in mind:

1. Think of your company’s monthly goals. Is it to increase viewership? Increase engagement? Increase sales? 

2. Come up with topics that will help you achieve those monthly goals. You want to stay true to your brand while also thinking outside of the box. If it’s to increase your viewership then do a relevant guest post to attract a new audience. 

3. Create then share! Don’t forget to utilize social media to feature what’s new.

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Boss Lady: Suzanna Stein

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. Suzanna Stein is a free spirited go-getter, a blogger and the founder of The Creatives Club + Coffee Scout. Take a peek below as we chat about her inspirations, coffee (yes!) and the need to be original.

suzanna stein of coffee scout

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
I am a blogger, adventurer, coffee addict, wildflower, cat lady, and the founder of The Creatives Club + Coffee Scout. I’m kind of a free spirit and want nothing more than to go exploring. Some of my favorite things are cold brew coffee (and really, all other kinds of coffee), Tim McGraw, mason jars, wildflowers, Almost Famous, fresh mint, Tom Petty, leather goods, traveling, Madewell, sunshine, and bonfires. Although, recently I have been loving the rain!

I have three sites: Noodoso, Coffee Scout, and The Creatives Club. Noodoso is a lifestyle blog, Coffee Scout is a coffee blog, and The Creatives Club is an online community for creative individuals. In addition to these sites, I also manage the two Twitter accounts and three Instagram accounts that are associated with my sites.

2. What prompted you to start The Creatives Club and Coffee Scout?
As a blogger, I felt there was a need for a community that was made up of all kinds of creative individuals. Connecting with like-minded people is essential to growth and creation, and sometimes that can be really hard to do on your own. I started TCC to help people connect, and to provide opportunities for growth and collaboration.

I have been in love with coffee since I was young. Probably younger than I should have been to drink coffee, but my growth was already stunted, so that didn’t really matter. I was a barista for many years, and became fascinated with the process of roasting, distributing, etc. I set an early goal to one day own a coffee centered business, possibly a shop. In the meantime, I really wanted to connect with others that shared the same passion for coffee, and to build a community around this. Before I knew it, Coffee Scout was born!

3. What does your typical day look like?
My days are all over the place usually, but I will let you in on what my favorite days are like! After waking up, I drink a nice cup of coffee in bed while catching up on my Instagram and Twitter feeds. Then I start checking my email and working on member applications, plan social media posts for the day, inquiries, orders, etc. Around 11am my boyfriend comes home for lunch, so I take a break to cook lunch and eat with him. Then I go back to TCC and CS work, as well as taking photographs while the natural light is coming in. Later in the day I will go have coffee at one of my favorite shops with a pal. I come home, relax with Cody, cook and eat dinner, and start writing blog posts for Noodoso. I try to stop working around 10pm (if possible) and relax for an hour before going to sleep. Somewhere in there I post Instagram photos and scroll through my Insta feed. Let’s be honest, I do this multiple times a day!

4. We share a passion for coffee. How do you take yours?
I’ll admit, I have a bit of a reputation as a coffee snob. – I will pretty much drink coffee anyway, but my go-to is cold brew when it is warm out and an almond milk latte when it is cold. Although, every morning I make a nice cup of either black coffee or coffee with a little almond milk to get the day started. I think this is more out of habit than anything!

5. As a full-time blogger, is it ever difficult to create content?
Surprisingly, I don’t run into this problem often. I definitely won’t say it never happens, but I am lucky enough to have a super creative mind. I am constantly thinking of new posts to write, new things to try, etc. I also take a TON of inspiration from my surroundings, my life, my friends, and my interests and that helps a lot. My main problem is running out of hours in the day to execute all of the ideas I come up with. My weekends are filled with preparation for the week taking photos, doing DIYs, etc. My biggest problem is running out of daylight!

6. Do you have any mentors? (Other bloggers? Creatives? etc.)
Honestly, I don’t really have any mentors. (For some reason, I’m not crazy about that term.) I do have two people in my life that I share everything about my business/blog with and trust their advice completely. Those people are Cody and Whitney (one of my best friends and a fellow blogger and business owner). I don’t know what I would do without them!

7. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
It’s different for everyone, but I would say be prepared to do A LOT of work. Being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest, but also most rewarding things you can do for yourself! Also, don’t be afraid to fail. It is going to happen; deal with it and move on. The faster you move on, the quicker you can get started on the next fun idea! Lastly, and most importantly, BE ORIGINAL! The internet may seem like a huge place, but it’s actually a lot smaller than it seems, and while you will see tons of people becoming successful all around you, using their ideas as your own won’t work. The best thing you can do for yourself is create from your heart, everything else will fall into place.

Just for fun…
Who/What is your favorite…
1. Blogger: The Fresh Exchange
2. App: VSCOcam
3. Social Media: Instagram! I am an Instagram addict.

More About SuzannA
Blog | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

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