What was the inspiration behind The Everygirl?
Alaina and I wanted to create something that would inspire young women like us. I was working as a freelance graphic designer before launching TEG, and while I loved working for myself, I wasn’t doing what I loved. I was content, but I wasn’t truly happy. I would read articles on celebrities but wanted to hear the stories of real women. I initially wanted to launch a magazine with content that was relatable and attainable to women like me. I would read through design magazines or fashion blogs and see people mix highs and lows, but the highs were way too high. Alaina wanted to launch a website, and I’m so glad she won that debate, because I can’t imagine The Everygirl being anything other than what it is today.
Please tell us a little about The Everygirl. What are The Everygirl’s goals?
The Everygirl is a website for women in their 20s and 30s. We profile women in different industries, and ask them the questions you’d want to ask if you could sit down with them for a cup of coffee. First job out of college, how they got to where they are today, and what advice they have for other “everygirls” among others. We also cover decor, wellness, finance, fashion, food, travel, and health–it’s a comprehensive site with the relatable content that we had dreamed of. It is our goal to expand our brand and most important, to continue to help shape well-rounded young women.
How did you choose the name The Everygirl?
The first few weeks, we went back and forth over names and whether the site would be an online magazine or website with daily content. We had some crazy names on our list. Compendium and The Southport Stop were two favorites and make ZERO sense. It all came down to the URL and something that made sense and was easy to spell. I’m not 100% sure when/how we came up with The Everygirl, but the name just made sense to us and the URL was $10. So we went with it. Whether she’s looking for her dream job, to decorate her apartment, figure out her finances, or travel the world–she’s The Everygirl, and this is for her.
How did you meet each other? And what to each of you bring to The Everygirl?
I didn’t know anyone when I moved to Chicago, so I had no choice but to network. A friend of mine sent the link to a Chicago blogger, and I emailed asking her a few Qs hoping she’d ask if I wanted to meet. Luckily she did, and after dinner, she introduced me to Crystal (the editor of Rue) via Twitter. I had an extra ticket to Oprah and invited Crystal to join. She then connected me with Jess Lively, and Jess brought Alaina to my Christmas party. So we actually met at my apartment. I liked Alaina but I wouldn’t say we hit it off or became fast friends. We got together a month later for a girls night with Jess, and again in May for a blogger meet-up. I didn’t see her again until August when I photographed her for Glitter Guide. We got to talking and decided to sit down for coffee a few weeks later to discuss this common goal, to inspire girls like us. On August 13, 2011, we sat down for coffee and ended with “ so we’re going to do this?” and went from being acquaintances to talking every single day from then until now. We got very, very lucky. I barely knew this girl and have never spent this much time with anyone. She’s become one of my best friends, and I’m lucky to work with her and be inspired by her every single day. We’ve definitely developed a sister-like relationship. We have our differences from time to time but get along so well–I can’t imagine my life without her in it.
How has your knowledge of social media helped in growing The Everygirl?
I would say the biggest factor for us was the fact that we had each had blogs for a few years, so we had connected with some great bloggers, and each had a decent amount of traffic (nothing crazy) on our personal blogs prior to the launch. The friends we made through blogging were so supportive around the launch. We had been featured on a few websites as well, and within four months, were named by Forbes as both a Top 100 Website for Women and Top 10 Website for Millennial women. We’ve featured so many amazing women who have all been great about promoting their features, and our following has continued to grow. I wouldn’t say were were social media experts by any means–this was a matter of networking, the support of the friends and connections we had made through blogging, and the traffic that we had on our own blogs.
What does it take to run a successful website?
The willingness to do what it takes to make it work. The first 9 months, we worked almost every single weekend. Late nights, last minute photo shoots, writing, and lots of coffee. My brain sort of went out the window over the past few years. When you’re managing 15-20 different career features, home tours, and articles, that’s going to happen. I make LOTS of lists and am glued to my inbox and g chat. And then there’s the social media. We instagram, FB, Tweet, and Pin everything. It’s about dividing and conquering. You just have to roll with the punches and be up for anything.
Which female entrepreneurs do you look up to?
So many amazing women to look up to. Probably the same ones Alaina would pick. I’ve always loved Jenna Lyons (J. Crew) and Michelle Adams (formerly Lonny and now Domino). I even bought a square arm sofa because Michelle had one and I loved her apartment so much. I was a big fan. Both women running successful businesses. Doing what they love. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but knew I wanted more. That I wanted to love my job and inspire people every day. I’m honestly inspired by anyone who has created something. I’m friends with and know some truly phenomenal women and am always inspired by the amazing women who share their career stories with us on The Everygirl. There are so many incredible women out there to look up to!
What is your advice to women looking to get out there and network?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to new people, and when you do, be genuine. Networking is sort of my thing. I connect with people and form fast friendships. Not everyone, but we’ll feature someone, and I’ll ask about their lives, not because I have to, but because I want to. I get to know people. It’s not possible to sit down for coffee or brunch with everyone, but if there’s someone you really want to meet, shoot them an email. Not everyone will say yes, but it never hurts to say hello. And you never know–you may make a great new friend.
How can Everygirls contribute to the site?
Everygirls can submit their career profiles, home tours, and share their stories on the site. We’ve had women share stories of cross-country moves, losing a parent, sickness, starting a new business etc. If you have a story and want to submit it, just sent to submissions (at) theeverygirl (dot) com. We’re a small team and do our best to reply to everyone, but that’s not always possible.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since launching The Everygirl?
So many life lessons. I would say that there are some incredible, strong, independent, and remarkable women out there. It’s not that I didn’t know that already, but I’ve gotten to read their stories and in some cases, get to know them. And that has been the most wonderful experience. I feel so lucky to have connected with them. I’ve also learned that when you truly love what you do, you’ll pour your heart and soul into your job. This can be both a good and bad thing, because it’s hard to disconnect from work, especially where social media is concerned. It never slows down. Never stops. So learning to balance everything has been a journey, too. But at the end of the day, Alaina and I have created our dream jobs, and I wouldn’t change a thing.