(#SheForShe) Beyond The Social with The Founders Of Style Collective

We're excited to be running another #SheForShe campaign (+ giveaway) —this time with the founders of Style Collective:  a tight knit community of fashion and lifestyle influencers committed to helping each other get ahead in their blogging careers! 

With it’s strong focus on “sisterhood,” we knew Style Collective would be the perfect fit for a #SheForShe feature, and we couldn't wait to learn more about it from founders: Ruthie (of "Ruthie Ridley Blog") and Annie (of "The Lovely Girl" )! 

Keep reading to learn how Annie + Ruthie got the idea to form their own style network, how they plan to reinvent "influencer marketing," and what's next for the gaggle of gals in the Style Collective community this year (+ find out how YOU can apply)!


 (( Not familiar with #SheForShe? ))

 SOLO's #SheForShe campaign is an intimate interview series showcasing the voices of female bloggers, entertainers and entrepreneurs. We ask interviewees to talk candidly about the obstacles they've faced in their careers, and to provide their best career + confidence boosting advice with their female fans and followers! 

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>> Style Collective interview <<

Tell us a bit about yourselves! (what you each blog about, your background, etc.):

Annie: I am a creative, fashion-loving, shoe-hoarding, avid business book reading millennial woman. I have a BS in Mathematics and my MBA; I’ve had careers in teaching, retail marketing and now, social media marketing. I created The Lovely Girl as a space for 3 friends (+ myself) to share fashion, hair, beauty, fitness and motivational articles to inspire today’s multifaceted millennial woman. I also work with my friend Maura at LillaBlu as her social media consultant where I develop social media content for her clients. Additionally, I’ve created Style Collective with Ruthie. I live in NH with my husband, who is my biggest cheerleader, my behind the scenes business partner who I bounce all my ideas off of, and best friend who loves all the weird, girly things that I do (such as wearing rollers in my hair when I go to sleep).

Ruthie: I am a wife and mom of 3 and I currently work as an RN at a local call center. I typically blog about fashion, family and faith related posts. My main goal through my blog is to be a source of inspiration and positivity. It is a huge desire of mine to portray realism in my posts and a connecting point with my readers through family, life, faith and fashion.

How did you two meet and decide to launch Style Collective?

We actually met through our friend Angelle when Annie was organizing a loop giveaway back in July after having a bad experience with one that she had participated in. Annie’s mission was to make the loop event fun, engaging and a place for everyone to get to know each other. We had been talking on DM about all the activity we saw in the IG DM’s during the giveaways, so we decided to start a Facebook group. Shortly after, we planned a Style Challenge with our friend Angelle and that’s when we really saw it transform into a community movement. After Annie quit her job in Nov, she had spoken with a friend who recommended a few agencies for her to partner with for influencer marketing. After registering for a few and realizing that she was so small, she felt really discouraged about herself and all of her friends who were also “smaller” bloggers like her. Annie really started thinking about influencer marketing, how it is currently setup to only benefit larger influencers and how we could disrupt this model with our community movement. Everything with Style Collective has been one thing leading to another, realizing opportunities and capitalizing on them. We plan as we go.

What would you say is the Style Collective "mission"?

The mission is two-dimensional.

First and foremost, we stress sisterhood and supporting each other. We aren’t competitive; we’re a resource to help each other and empower each other.

Second, we want to help women follow their passion by connecting our community to brands. That is the next level of where we are taking this movement. There is a huge untapped market for brands to utilize a community of influencers, rather than one large influencer. And for the girls, it provides an opportunity that they would otherwise have to wait 2-3 years to participate in, at which point most people quit blogging.

How would you describe the "culture" of Style Collective, and the ladies involved?

We believe in community over competition and love over hate. We encourage the girls to work together as often as possible, share tips, resources, teach each other via webinars. We facilitate community-driving activities like Style Challenges or Follow Friday Link-ups. The girls are very driven, focused, passionate and enthusiastic about what they are doing. You honestly would think that blogging was their full time job, that’s how passionate they are about it, but they also bring this same passion to helping each other. At one point, they started their own hashtag #stylecollectivesisters.

What were some of the early challenges in building the group, and how did you overcome them?

There was one point where the girls started to get a little catty; they felt like everyone had to literally be following each other and engaging on every little thing that everyone else was doing. We had to pump the brakes and say that this is a support team; we have beautiful lives outside of our phones and we need to respect that.

Another challenge was figuring out our information sharing activities, the daily structure and the flow of posts so that we weren’t a link dump/spam group. We asked team leaders to post different topics throughout the week and all posts need to be approved before they show up in the feed. Everyone has the hang of it now and almost all of the posts get approved immediately by either one of us.

And lastly, a big challenge was figuring out our brand: what we look like, how we represent the girls and who they are. They put in hard work every single week and we want to drive people to be apart of this community by setting a standard. We recruited an artist to create our logo, a content curator to help create photos for Style Challenges, and we showcase our favorite member photos on our Instagram account. We want to keep our standards just as high as our favorite heels.

What are the most rewarding aspects of managing this group?

It has been so rewarding to see the momentum; all we did was add structure to what was already happening with the girls bonding. We don’t have to tell anyone to cheer each other on, support each other or anything. They already do it on their own and we gave them a space to do it.

We’ve both received Instagram DM’s and Snapchats saying that Style Collective has changed everything for them: they feel like they have a purpose. We get handwritten letters and emails from the girls and it just fills our hearts to the brim.

What were some of your initial goals when creating the group? (And have you met them)?

The biggest goal was community and the second was to provide resources. At first we thought it was education, but we realized that we were all learning as we were going; learning from each other has been the biggest asset of this group.

What is your vision (some of your biggest goals right now) for Style Collective moving forward?

Moving forward, we want to dominate an untapped market of influencer marketing for the benefit of the group. Right now brands work with agencies to utilize large influencers or they resort to finding influencers themselves, which is time consuming. Smaller bloggers are passionate, driven, underutilized and collectively we have just as much reach as a larger influencer, so there’s a HUGE opportunity to leverage an entire community of influencers working together to bring value to a brand while providing motivation for the girls to keep pursuing their creative passion of blogging. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Can you each share a piece of advice for women just getting into the bloggersphere?

Get connected to a community because you will learn so much. We see first hand how the girls have grown from each other. Ask questions, always be learning and growing.

Think about who you want to be and what you want to look like. Be your own person; don’t copy someone else. Also, think about your brand and what it means to your reader: can you envision someone looking at the name, the content or the photos and saying “OMG that is SO me”? Create content that someone would be obsessed with – that they couldn’t wait to read as soon as you make a post or send an email. Think about your brand’s business goal when you make it big – what are you creating now that you could take to the next level when you have a massive following? Annie loves to look at Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential and how her mission from day 1 was to create a brand that she has been able to turn into a business. Her blog isn’t a business, but rather a marketing tool to support her brand.

What does #SheForShe mean to you?

It means women empowering women and being supportive of each other. Someone who is mature, isn’t catty and isn’t jealous. It’s about cheering each other on.

 

Who would you like to nominate for #SheForShe?

We love Ivanka Trump because she built a fashion and lifestyle brand that is founded on empowering the multifaceted working woman. Ivanka herself is so inspiring: owning her own real estate development company with her brothers, starting a fashion line, building a lifestyle brand all while being a mother to 2 (almost 3) little ones. She wants success for other women just as much as she wants it for herself. Her articles are relevant, inspiring and just really refreshing. She understands driven, goal-oriented millennial women and strives to empower them through her brand. We just love that.

 

 


(( Now, let's hear from A couple of #StyleCollective members! ))


Kristin Kruse

|| KRISTIN KRUSE :: Fashion // Fitness // Lifestyle blogger || 

How has Style Collective impacted your life?

Style Collective has drastically impacted me in the blogging realm, but maybe even more so personally! When I first joined the group I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from it or what/if I would gain from being a part of it. First and foremost, I have created solid friendships! I am confident if I lived closer to these girls, I would be having regular coffee & workout dates, happy hours, etc. with them {I’m so bummed none of them are closer than 4 hours away!}. Style Collective has significantly increased the confidence I have in what I’m doing and fueled my passion for blogging even more. I thoroughly enjoy seeing everyone’s growth and successes and am continually motivated by each girl on a daily basis.

How would you describe the Style Collective community?

The Style Community is somewhat cult-like, but in the absolute BEST of ways! It’s tight-knit, open-minded and full of incredibly driven women. It is a group that empowers and encourages everyone involved. The community is full of constructive feedback, helpful tips, and is also a sounding board for the positive & negative things we encounter. It is not often that you become a part of a group bonded by a shared passion yet each person involved is entirely unique, and ‘meeting’ all of these girls has been so refreshing and really broadened my outlook on numerous topics! Everyone truly supports each other to the max and it has been amazing seeing the growth and reach we have had in such a short time!!!

What does the phrase "SheforShe" mean to you?

SheforShe to me means that each and every female should have each other’s backs. It is about positivity and building women up, not tearing them down. We encounter so many struggles and trials in our daily lives and I believe because of that we should ALWAYS support the ladies around us. SheforShe represents genuine love and compassion for women, nothing fake; supporting one in other in our successes and being there in times of trouble. It is like girl power to the max! J


|| JORDAN TAYLOR :: Style // Beauty // Lifestyle Blogger ||

How has Style Collective impacted your life?

The community of women in Style Collective have completely transformed my confidence and petiteMODERN from the ground up! I love how encouraging and supportive all of the women are in this collective! From blogging tips and tricks to collaborations with one another and forums for shout outs, it is so amazing to see women supporting other women! My social profiles have seen so many loving and encouraging comments, and the feedback about my flat-lays or my style posts, compliments, praise, etc... it all really boosts your confidence and it truly makes me feel like it doesn't matter how few/many followers I have, that the SC girls are the ones who matter most! 

How would you describe the Style Collective community?

I love that we all love on each-other through our hashtags, comment sections, and through the facebook community. It really is encouraging to have women loving on  you and being your cheerleader, all over the world! I also love how unique our approaches are for working together, and promoting one another. From follow fridays to social media comments, I just enjoy and am so thankful for the love that each and every one of these women has for our community! 

What does the phrase "SheforShe" mean to you?

For me, it's all about finding women who really elevate your life. Girls who only lift you up and never drag you down, but can always keep it real! I love it when I can get real with my girlfriends and talk about ways to defy stereotypes about social media influencers, or bloggers. Being genuine is what petiteMODERN is all about, and I love having so many women in my life who help me along on this crazy journey! 

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Thank you Ladies!

(( SC Members - tell us what you love about the group in the comments below! Not a member? We'd love to hear what you think about the concept! ))

Check out SC's brand new website, and apply to join HERE.


And if haven’t yet entered our #SheForShe giveaway, make sure to visit our Instagram - and tag a woman you admire (refer to our latest #SHEFORSHE post)!  Do so, and you’ll be automatically entered to win an incredible gift box from BeautyKind (valued at $250)!