BY JENNIFER LAKE
For more than fifteen years, I’ve had the pleasure of working full-time in public relations in Chicago. PR is not for the faint of heart, but I’ve always known that I’m wired to work in a communications-focused industry. It gives me the opportunity to work with so many people, brainstorm creative ideas and implement amazing campaigns. Plus, the agency that I work for, Zapwater Communications, is truly a phenomenal place. The team is crazy talented--I’m constantly amazed at the work they do and the results that they get for brands. Furthermore, our President has been an amazing mentor for me, and he continues to find ways to encourage our entire team to push the limits of creativity.
I absolutely love my job.
About eight years ago, I decided to launch a bridal blog called “Third Coast Bride.” At first, it was just meant to be a resource for friends and family to follow along in our wedding planning process.
The site quickly took off, and I started gaining more readership, advertisers started calling, and I was starting to get brand partnerships.
While it had many similar aspects to my current site today (e.g. puns as the blog post titles and bold imagery), SO many aspects of the site were a MESS. I cringe thinking back to my posts. How in the world did I have even one reader other than my mother-in-law? Lol.
After my husband and I got married, I quickly realized that a bridal blog was not necessarily a long-term, sustainable business. I was passionate about wedding planning when I was actually doing it. Afterwards, I didn’t really have anything to write about. I spent a few months trying to find the energy to do blog posts, but my passion for it quickly fizzled and so I decided to stop and not renew the domain.
Two years ago, I decided to take the leap back into blogging with a more sustainable business model.
Style Charade was born.
I was incredibly fortunate to have many fellow bloggers who took me under their wing to mentor me like Liz Adams of Sequins + Stripes and Kit Graham of The Kittchen/Windy City Blogger Collective. Their advice and help really gave me a solid foundation to work off of from day one.
Furthermore, I joined the rewardStyle affiliate program, and that’s completely changed my blog and business. I’m truly indebted to their team for their support and encouragement.
Style Charade feeds my soul every day, especially since it gives me the chance to connect with readers, brands, and bloggers. I love how it creates community and fosters a dialogue unlike anything else I’ve found in life. Also, I’ve discovered a renewed passion for content creation - especially photography. Our photo shoots give a window into my personal style, and I find so much joy in creating images that make people smile.
Murals are such a fun way to showcase an outfit. Plus, I love how it increases awareness for the talented artists who create them. I feature Wall Guides on Style Charade for various cities so that readers can find the murals that I showcase on the site and my Instagram page. I definitely plan on creating more guides down the road.