EBONY.com caught up with Renae Bluitt of "In Her Shoes" blog to chat about her newest event, The Beauty and Brains Behind the Brand, and why Black women shouldn't be afraid to work for themselves.
EBONY: I first want to know where the idea for "In Her Shoes" blog came from?
Renae Bluitt: In Late 2007, it was Thanksgiving holiday and the economy was just starting to hit a lot of peoples businesses including mine. I was feeling like we needed a place to be inspired, we being women of color who have taken the entrepreneurial route instead of working a 9-5. At that time, I had just started my company Crush Media. Being in New York, I am surrounded by a lot of women doing a lot of great things; creating their own brands and paths. But I know in other parts of the country, some women may not be exposed to that. So I wanted to create a place online where we can share our stories, where we didn’t necessarily have to be celebrities or we didn’t have to have household name brands yet. We didn’t have to be, for example, a “basketball wife” or an “Atlanta house wife” to get some light shined on what we’re doing. So that was the beginning of it. I started off interviewing women who were within arm’s reach, women that I knew already that had amazing things going on and it just kind of grew from there.
EBONY: Was it all about interviewing these women or did you have an idea of where you wanted to take it to from the beginning?
RB: Well I started off with the meat of the blog being the Fly Female Entrepreneur series, but beyond that I wanted to talk about things that women, like myself, would be interested in. In the beginning, I had a series called In the Bag. It was all about handbags, and particularly being in New York City. If you’re going from meeting to meeting you kind of have to have a bag big enough to carry all your stuff, including some flats, your laptop, your iPad, etc. But it also has to be hot. So I would feature these handbags that I either had myself or I was lusting over online somewhere. I would also talk about other things like technology being such a big part of entrepreneurship. The content beyond the interviews that I’m doing just focuses on things that young women in business would be interested in. Also, a lot of the fashion that I talk about is created by women of color. So it all kind of goes back to entrepreneurship and a lot of it ties back to women who have created their own brands.
EBONY: How have you found your way building a business around having a blog?
RB: Truth is my living comes from my company Crush Media. I do public relations specializing in beauty brands. So my company provides PR, marketing, and social media services for beauty brands and lifestyle brands too. My specialty and my heart lay in the beauty industry, hence the upcoming event. So the blog is really a labor of love and a subsidiary brand or an extension of Crush Media. A lot of clients that I have, happen to be women of color that own their own brands, so they are also female entrepreneurs. So to answer your question, the blog is a business, but my living comes from what I do as public relations expert.
EBONY: Would you love for your blog to be the meat of your business one day?
RB: Absolutely, I love the blog for so many different reasons. As much as people say that they are inspired by the blog, I am inspired by every story I am able to tell. From each woman that I interview, I gain a nugget of wisdom. Each woman has taken a different path to get to where she is, so it’s kind of like the gift that keeps on giving.
EBONY: What compelled you to bring these women together?
RB: I’m all about the girlfriend introductions and being totally transparent and candid. I think it is really important because we don’t want to ever give off the feeling that this whole thing is easy. Not knowing if you’re going to get the same check every two weeks is not an easy life to live. The women I have selected for this panel are women who are honest, who have a story, but who also have some amazing brands and success stories they can share. The first “In Her Shoes” event was two years ago. Every event that I’ve done since then has been for a client or it’s been in partnership with other bloggers. So for this event, I really wanted it to