Jillian Goltzman is a multi-passionate lifestyle writer and social media manager with a passion for inspiring positive change in the lives of others. As the founder of Cup of Charisma, a socially conscious lifestyle blog, Jillian covers fashion, philanthropy, and life advice to empower millennials through her writing. As a blogger, Jillian has been featured by outlets like Racked and has forged partnerships with popular and trusted brands like Clinique, Toyota, Office Max, Gap and Vera Bradley. She is a writer for Miami Herald, Miami.com, Huffington Post and LAPALME magazine. When she isn’t dissecting the dilemmas of a 20-something or writing about a new trend, she spends her time meeting new bloggers and drinking copious amounts of coffee with her corgi by her side.
- To leave with actionable items to help you identify what your unique blogger style is
- To create a set of rules that will help you stay on track
- Find out what you do better than anyone else
Are you looking to define your brand and stay true to your passion? Join April Guzik, branding expert and founder of Day Zero Creative, in an interactive brand discovery and development workshop. Build your brand, get a clear sense of your message and aesthetic, and get the tools you need to hit the ground running. Attendees will be given the option to choose the track of their choice that aligns to where they are in their blogging journey. Whether you want to overhaul your current look, find a new core message or are just getting your feet off the ground, this workshop is for everyone.
What to bring:
Computers + Notebooks
What to wear:
Think cute, comfortable clothes. (There will be lots of moving around!)
What to expect:
Choose Your Path
Track 1: Dip Your Toes Into Branding (Beginner)
Are you fairly new to blogging or preparing to launch soon? Immerse yourself into the early stages of branding. This track will require you to exercise your DIY skills as you build your own inspiration board, filled with the images and words that you’d like to define your little piece of the Internet. (Participants can also create a Pinterest board in place of a vision board.) From there, you’ll be faced with a series of brand discovery questions to help define your style and goals. Last but not least, you’ll be tasked with determining the style and colors of your logo with help from our creative expert April.
Track 2: Get to Business (Intermediate)
You know your big picture, but you need the tools and clarity to get you there. Dive into a new thought process and ask the big questions that matter alongside a table of your peers in our brand definition session. From there, we’re getting into the nitty gritty areas that will help you dive into an action plan. Be prepared to design the perfect logo to fit your brand, defining everything from the color scheme to the typography. On a closing note, prepare to write your heart out and put the blog post you’ve been dying to write on paper!
Track 3: Hit the Ground Running (Advanced)
You’ve defined your voice and know what you want, now it’s time to create content and put all of your ideas to the test. Track 3 will require you to get creative, technical and strategic as you create your logo, write that blog post you’ve been craving, and get expert tips and tricks to navigate WordPress. Ready, set, soar!
June Houston Blogger Union Meetup
Jaclyn Kent, of Beauty and the Binky, and Elly Brown, of Uptown with Elly Brown, will share expert tips on how to grow your blogging business, pitch brands, coordinate sponsorships, set rates and more. Network with local bloggers, get a take-home guide to brand partnerships, and learn to know your worth. Join us!
About Jacklyn Kent (Beauty and the Binky)
I wear many hats and not all of them are stylish. I am in a small, self-created corner of the internet that combines fashion blogs, mommy blogs, and lifestyle blogs.
I am a young, fashionable mom. I never cook, but I do get dressed every day. I truly believe in and advocate for a woman’s ability to birth, breastfeed, and maintain her own identity after conceiving. I wrote the book on night wakings, I graduated from the University of Pumping at Work, and I built a 30 pound child with my breasts alone. All while wearing a pencil skirt and heels. I admit that I’m not “good” at anything, I just try really hard. I believe a little effort goes a long way.
At 27, I feel as though I am finally becoming more myself than ever. Follow along as I explore my personal style, all of the knowledge behind breastfeeding, and my motherhood journey.
About Elly Brown (Uptown with Elly Brown)
Hi there! I’m Elly and I am a wife to an incredible hubby (Jordan) and mother of our two adorable little boys who are one year apart (Jadyn and Colin), no we did not plan that but we wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m a busy stay at home momma living life and serving my family the way God has called me to. I started this blog in order to escape from the madness of life and to be able to connect with other women, like me, who have a love for faith, fashion, beauty and everything in between. Thank you for stopping by and joining with me on my journey. If you have any questions, or simply just want to chat I would love to hear from you!
Interested in sponsoring Houston Bloggers? Contact us!
Bright whites, pops of vivid colors, sweet treats and a top-tier speaker—the Houston Blogger Union launched at Sugar & Cloth Studio on May 15 and we still can’t get over how perfect every detail was. We invited Ashley Rose, the creative force behind famed DIY blog Sugar & Cloth, to speak at our May meet-up. In case you don’t know Ashley, she is a leading DIY and lifestyle blogger who has received recognition from Better Home & Gardens, Design Sponge, Yahoo, Martha Stewart Living, The Every Girl, Glitter Guide and so much more. She shared her wisdom on building a social media presence, marketing a lifestyle brand and what happens when your side hustle becomes your full-time grind. Check out some of the key takeaways:
Small Beginnings Can Have Big Results
One of the most remarkable things about Ashley’s journey with Sugar & Cloth can be found in perhaps the most unremarkable of places, a restaurant in League City, Texas. I’ve heard the story of how Sugar & Cloth began about seven or eight times since the day I met Ashley. No matter how many blogger conferences I attend or sidebar conversations we have at events, it’s a narrative that never gets old to me. Originally from West Virginia, Ashley had a graphic design college scholarship… a full ride to be precise. During the course of junior year, she decided that college life and the path she was on wasn’t for her. After quitting school, moving to South Houston, and waiting tables, Ashley still was trying to figure out her next steps. Sometimes signs reveal themselves in unconventional ways—Ashley’s sign was in the form of tartar sauce. After an irate customer fought with her over condiments, she knew it was time to start to pave a path that would not only lead to an exit sign from waitressing, but ultimately lead the rest of her life. “I knew I had to put something out there for it to come back to me,” Ashley says. She thought “this will open up a door at some point.”
She didn’t imagine the blog would exceed the eyes of her family, but it was a start that opened doors, led to jobs and ultimately led to her self-employment.
Be Professional From the Beginning
If you want your blog to eventually run like a business, we professional and well-planned from the start. A blog name is essentially like a tattoo, don’t choose one you’re going to regret. As a blogger, changing your branding is a process but changing your name and confusing your readers is a struggle that can be avoided.
“When You Have Something You’re Really Passionate About, It’s Easy to Work Towards”
Ashley talked a lot about blogger guilt—we’ve all been there. There’s always more time you could have been pinning, commenting, engaging, pitching brands, planning posts, etc. You’re a human being, albeit Type-A, and you’re most likely spread thin. Over-exhausting yourself for your blog may actual do more harm than good. “As long as you know you’re doing the best you can do and giving it as much attention as you can while still living a semi-healthy life then I think it kind of all comes together,” Ashley says. “There are always the ‘what ifs’ but at the end of the day it’s just an element of ‘do you feel happy with what you’re doing’ and you kind of just figure out how to make it work.”
When Ashley did finally decide to go full-time, it wasn’t because she was at a job she couldn’t stand (she had moved on from waitressing). It’s because she continued to do what she was passionate about (spread incredibly thin) and realized that if she were her full-time employer, she wouldn’t want an employee who’s heart wasn’t fully there.
The Struggle is Real
Nothing is as perfect as it is on Instagram or in a blog post. Thankfully, Ashley does a REALLY great job at demystifying her journey and transparently sharing the struggles she experienced to go full-time. At one point in her career, she was scavenging her studio for things to share on Craig’s List. “It’s never going to be easy,” she admits.
Here’s the Deal When Working with Brands
Working with brands can be a gray area for many bloggers. Ashley stressed the importance of evaluating if the product would be valuable for readers at the end of the day. While doing things for a quick buck can seem of interest to new bloggers, staying true to your voice and opinions is one of the most valuable tools. It’s also important to be honest with your readers about what’s a partnership and what’s not.
“Don’t allow [brands] to put too many words in your mouth that aren’t your own,” Ashley says. “There’s an element of gracefully standing your ground.” As Ashley stated (before a relentless fry tried to sabotage our Q&A), “you’re your only advocate and you have to stand up for what you feel you deserve.”
One of the most best things mentioned during this talk was the repercussions of accepting free items in exchange for reviews. Do you want to be the person who accepted a free cake for a post or event and is forever indentured to tagging that brand on Instagram? Uh, no. While the example is extreme, every blogger can relate to being taken advantage of over a free product you may not even need or want.
Other key takeaways on partnerships:
Just because a brand can’t work with you now, doesn’t mean they won’t keep you in mind for later. Send those media kits and pitches!
Ashley’s rule of thumb: when creating a sponsored post, keep your costs a 10% of what you’re being paid.
Don’t be the person that makes it “okay” for brands to not compensate bloggers. Know your worth and stand your ground.
Is it Really All About Numbers? Spoiler: The Answer is No
Ashley may boast of a huge social media following, but she still feels that she is a small fish in the national DIY pond. While I think she is in a wonderful place with Sugar & Cloth, the truth is that she still competes for MAJOR campaigns against major talent. If a brand knows you deliver the best content around, it doesn’t matter where you have/haven’t been featured and how many readers you have. According to Ashley, some brands are specifically interested in your content, storytelling and design. She encouraged everyone to come to the realization that content is king and it’s not all about numbers. In a world where bots and fake followers are filling the influencer market, can you blame brands? Sometimes a quality picture or post IS worth a thousand words. (Speaking of photos, be sure to check out Cool Photo School to learn how Ashley gets those awesome images.)
Contributing? Show Them What You’re Made Of
Ever thought to yourself. “why should I strive to put out content for others when I have my own site to focus on?”Ashley has contributed her DIY projects and blog posts to tons of online sites for bylines, with good reason. She reminded us all that one of the best ways to gain an organic readership is to contribute to various sites that may appeal to target readers. Most importantly, we shouldn’t just be contributing… we should be giving our absolute best. If we’re exposing ourselves to potential readers, shouldn’t we make it worth their while so they come back?
May Houston Bloggers Meetup
This month’s inaugural meetup is all about the evolution of a successful blog! Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth, a nationally renowned DIY and lifestyle blog, will be sharing her wisdom on building a social media presence, marketing a lifestyle brand and what happens when your side hustle becomes your full-time grind.
RSVP to Attend Meetup
About Ashley Rose (sugarandcloth.com)
Once upon a time I attended Marshall university for Art & Design. Then, against my parents’ better judgement, I decided to take a break from school. That break accidentally turned into a few years. During that time I moved across the country to Houston, learned from a few mistakes, and found an entirely new appreciation for art and design after waiting tables to make ends meet.
In the midst of all of that, I started Sugar & Cloth in September of 2011. It blossomed into more than I ever imagined, and I finally took the (terrifying) leap to leave my day job in 2014. Now I have the privilege of getting to create and share content here with you as my full time job.