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.
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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