Behind the Scenes

29 January

Warning: This post is much longer than usual, but I hope you will enjoy getting to know a little bit more about the behind-the-scenes of the blog. I also hope this post will encourage you to reach out to those who inspire you as you never know what might come of it!

As you know 2014 was a busy one for me. I juggled multiple projects–a few consulting gigs in San Francisco, styling, the blog, and designed / opened a women’s boutique in my hometown of which I’m now one of the partners and buyer, and help manage our team there in Chico. None of this would have been possible on my own.

I receive a lot of emails and have been beyond flattered that many CITNB readers have even asked to intern with me over the years (me??!) although I never took any of those requests seriously until I received Kelly’s note last fall. Kelly was a junior at UC Davis at the time and she emailed me shortly after I had just moved to Sacramento. Her note was so personal (she had clearly been a long-time cheetah reader) and definitely stood out from the rest. As cheesy as it sounds, she reminded me of myself at that age–I had to meet her.

Flash forward, Kelly graduated and is now my assistant buyer for Syllabus and is helping execute more of the projects that excite me. You’ve seen her on the blog quite a bit by now but I wanted to formally introduce her and to have her tell you the story of how we met.

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Kelly | “You may have seen me from time to time on Cheetah is the New Black. The first post I was in, Flower Crown DIY, was the first project I worked with Alicia on. Truth be told, Alicia and I had only met up once or twice previously and I was so nervous and excited to get involved that I brought armfuls of white shirts, dresses, shorts, a train case filled with makeup, and all of my hair tools. In the end, all my props went ignored and unused except for the flowy white top you see me wearing in the photos. I may have been a bit overzealous.”

“I was giddy when I saw the photos finally go up. One of those shots remains my profile picture on social media to this day. To me, the shot is a powerful reminder of what I’m so proud of: that I was able to reach out to someone I looked up to, wiggle my way into the internship of my dreams, and pursue a career in fashion. Let me start from the beginning.”

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“I’ve always been interested in fashion. I first started reading fashion and lifestyle blogs around 2008. I then went on to pursue two biology-related degrees at UC Davis and found myself in a couple of jobs that I felt less-than-enthused about. To me, oncology lab research was depressing, neurobiology research was invasive, and data analysis was dull. Plus, my baggy green scrubs were super non-chic.”

“One morning, I went to get my daily creative fix reading CITNB, and I stumbled across an old interview that Alicia had done where she revealed that she was a biology major in college who later was unhappy in her uncreative job at which time she began Cheetah is the New Black (insert a “ME TOO!” moment). This cool chick Alicia Lund became that much cooler. I had to meet her; I needed to work with someone else who got it.”

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“Over coffee the following week, she mentioned that she was going to Coachella, and I mentioned that I loved making flower crowns (disclaimer: I’d never made one in my life). I went home and frantically watched YouTube videos learning how, placing extreme importance on this task before our fateful first DIY project together. It ended up being a tremendous success. I saw my face all over Pinterest in the weeks that followed.”

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“I worked as her intern for about a year and fell further and further in love with the industry. I’m now working mostly full-time with her as an Editorial Assistant for CITNB and as an Assistant Buyer to her boutique, SYLLABUS. The creative editor and stylist that I looked up to as I scoured her blog from my dorm room years prior became one of my closest friends, confidants, and above all else: my mentor. She opened doors for me that I never thought possible, and I’ll always be grateful that she was receptive to my out-of-the-blue request to meet up for coffee.”

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Wearing:  Helmut Lang Sweater.  Citizens of Humanity Jeans.  Vintage Scarf.  Gladys Tamez Hat.

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“Now, before you all bombard her inbox hoping to meet her (I know she’s so cool, right?), I encourage you to think about the people you look up to. Maybe they’re an established author, an entrepreneurial mind, or a non-profit maven. Remind yourself that they all started somewhere too. Over the next few months, I’ll be reaching out to more creative game-changers in hopes of getting to know them better and gleaning a few words of wisdom. Keep your eyes out for some ultra-cool interviews here on CITNB. In the meantime, though, don’t be afraid to do the same. You may be surprised to see where it takes you.”

Photography by Ashley Maxwell

  • Love that you were both biology majors. Me too! Sweet story.

  • This is such an awesome story!! I love reading and hearing stories like this — it truly inspires me even more! And to know that Alicia is as awesome as she sounds makes me smile!! 🙂

  • Danielle

    So proud of you Kelly! This has always been your path — ecstatic that you’re following it so fashionably.

  • Great story. Thanks for sharing. Looks like you both had a lot of fun!
    x Fiona
    Daniel Wellington Giveaway here

  • This is an awesome post. Definitely an inspiration. I loved hearing your story 🙂

  • Absolutely darling! Love that you two found each other and Kelly, you’re lucky to work with such an awesome girl! <3 you Alicia!

  • Vivian Zhang

    @Kelly you are so awesome, and props to you for grabbing an opportunity from out of the blue and really following through with it. That’s a really rare character trait these days! 🙂

  • Lindsey Stetson

    Wow! How lucky and good for you! I remember when Alicia did a ‘shop with me’ event at Kate Spade in SF when the current/elliott collaboration came out. I HAD to go and drove up from Carmel. I got there but I was too timid to say anything. I definitely had a star struck moment. Next time, I will speak up!

    • @Lindsey Stetson ~ aw that was SO long ago!!! I’m so touched that you’ve been following for that long, and hope we get the chance to meet one day! Thank you so much for your support and comment, you made my day. xx

  • Liz Schneider

    Such a heartwarming story! And no better mentor than Alicia. You two sound like an amazing duo!

  • this is such an inspiration story. thank you for sharing!

  • What a unique post! It’s crazy how an email, phone call or even picking up the wrong order at starbucks can change your life. This is a good reminder to reachc out to those who inspire you.

    S. Roderick

  • @danielle Aw, thank you!

  • Beth V.

    Great post, girls. I’m proud of you both!!

  • LBG

    So inspiring! Thankfs for sharing how you met

  • Laura

    My favorite post ever (with stiff competition), spoke right to me. Thank you!

    Kelly- way to go for it and form your path. Very inspiring.

    • @Laura aw thank you so much Laura–so so happy you enjoyed it!

  • Sarah S

    Alicia, you’ve always been so generous with great advice. Our first meeting at Prodigy in New York is one I’ll always remember!

    • @Sarah aw! That makes me so happy, I’m so glad we could connect (and keep in touch)… and happy to see you enjoying SF now! xx

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  • seena

    i love reading this inspiration posts! so great to see what you’ve done with this blog and starting a boutique…something i’ve been daydreaming of myself (extremely intimidating idea tho). keep inspiring and being inspired!

  • Melody

    Sweet story ladies!!! I’m hoping one day I’ll run into you lovely ladies at a cute coffee shop in Sactown:) xoxo

  • beautiful hat!

  • Perfect message to share, Alicia. You two have such a fun story. Clearly this partnership was just meant to be. I’m looking for an intern type, that knows about blogging/social media for my travel/lifestyle blog in Chico. Let me know if you can think of anyone who may be interested. Love this post!
    xx, Heather

    • @Heather aw thank you Heather–yes of course, I’ll definitely let you know if I think of anyone! xx

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  • what a great story, I had that same AH HA moment when reading an interview with Ann Mashburn and how she was a fellow psychology major with a love for fashion.

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  • I loved this post! Thanks for the inspiring words and the encouragement to reach out to someone we admire and look up to — I’ve already got a few women on my list that I keep putting off emailing, as I’m afraid they will turn me down. The worst that can happen is that they politely say no, which is not the end of the world, right?

  • I loved this post! Thanks for the inspiring words and the encouragement to reach out to someone we admire and look up to — I’ve already got a few women on my list that I keep putting off emailing, as I’m afraid they will turn me down. The worst that can happen is that they politely say no, which is not the end of the world, right?

  • Thanks for sharing this story-it’s lovely and very inspiring!

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  • Love this post….so encouraging!!

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