Chic Galleria Publications, launched in 2007 in Tulsa, owns and operates Chic Galleria, an online fashion and lifestyle magazine and The Chic Editor, a copywriting and editing service specializing in blog management.
‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching the business: Shopping at the Galleria in Dallas, I thought about a place where multiple retailers were together in one building. It made me realize that I could develop a blog where multiple writers came together in one website. Then after my girlfriend Cindy Morrison attended the first Spark & Hustle conference in Atlanta, she came back and suggested that I take all the writers, PR contacts and celebrity connections I had developed with Chic Galleria and offer it as a service to business owners.
Ideal customer: A small business owner looking to connect with their client or customer on a more personal level via a blog.
First customer: I met my first client after doing a story about her business on Chic Galleria. She has a disability that prevents her from writing her business blog, so I do it for her.
Measuring success: Based on invitations and client referrals in my email inbox each morning. I will never forget my first personal invitation to a New York City fashion show hosted by Tim Gunn. It was the thrill of a lifetime when he complimented my outfit. I was also elated to get invites to contribute content from Lucky, Vogue and Elle magazines. Most recently, I did a short film advertisement for Lancome cosmetics.
Biggest struggle: Speaking in public. I’m absolutely terrified. I have been asked numerous times to speak in front of a group and I always decline. I plan to work on this with help from an expert.
Surprise!: People don’t always contact me during the normal 9-5 business hours. I hear from clients via calls, emails and texts every day of the week at all hours of the day and night.
Pricing: Research your competition. Don’t price yourself the lowest or the highest and be ready to back up why you price the way you do. Stand firm and don’t be wishy-washy.
A few good tips: 1. I really can’t manage all aspects of the business myself. 2. It always costs more than you plan to spend.
The absolute best part of owning my business is: freedom to work my own hours and to be able to take time off when I need it. Plus, I’ve met some incredible people that I probably never would have had the chance to meet.
If I had to start over again, I would: been more frugal and paid better attention to my budget.
I never imagined:marketing and turning contacts into clients would be so difficult.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. You never know who you will meet.”