Digital Divas on Starting Your Own Business

digital divas

As a female business owner, lately I’ve been delighted at the amount of women in business that are gathering together to assist, connect and uplift one another in their diverse ventures.

Recently, I was invited by Stilettogal (a media company targeted towards Millennial women in business) to attend the first of an event series called Digital Diva. The event brings in speakers and panelists from various industries to teach women how to build their brands online. On the invitation I noticed that Glamsquad was going to do complimentary hair and makeup touch ups before the panel started, which was just icing on the cake given that we were also privileged to hear from two very successful women: Marleine Pacilio, Director of Digital Global OPI Products and Katie Ann Rosen Kitchens, Co-founder of FabFitFun.

After grabbing a cupcake and a lovely glass of white wine, I settled in at my table with open ears to learn from this fabulous panel.

Katie, who currently oversees FabFitFun’s marketing, social media, sales, business development, and PR departments is someone I’ve admired for a long time due to FabFitFun’s large following and high level of social engagement from its community. The main takeaway I had from her was a comment about fear. She said that many times with our online or social platforms, we’re afraid to make our audience angry so we don’t “try” anything.

She said that one of FFF’s main secrets is first identifying the four or five different “types” of people in your online community. For example, you might have conservative or liberal readers, more girly types, more tomboy types, people interested in x,y,z, people not interested in that, etc. So, after this identity happens they become your “market demographic” and then you “test, test, and test” with them.

Katie also said you just try things — try anything! Put out a post, or a product, or something targeted at one of these groups and see what the metrics are. Look at Google analytics and see what it did for your brand. If it works, great. If not, who cares? She said that we can’t live in fear of losing people or even of polarizing them, because that’s what can create buzz and conversation and force different camps of women to start talking.

… we can’t live in fear of losing people or even of polarizing them, because that’s what can create buzz and conversation and force different camps of women to start talking.

Marleine with OPI is a highly successful digital marketing executive with proven experience leading strategy and creative execution for omni-channel marketing, media, and promotional campaigns across multiple platforms. My main takeaway from her was her advice on really knowing what’s out there and educating yourself daily on it. Now, I don’t know if I’m as dedicated as her, but she said she’s constantly ON: always scrolling Instagram, always checking out every new platform and website trying to be ahead of what people are doing.

She said that once people start doing what you’re doing, or you notice that you’re caught up in doing exactly what someone else is doing, move on. “Keep it fresh, keep it new, and push ahead,” says Marleine. This is an exhausting feat, but it’s also necessary to grow a huge platform. It’s about discerning the times, what people want to move into next.

Afterwards I caught up with Marleine to hear her thoughts on the event.  “In general,” she said,”we talk a lot about, ‘empowering women, yay!’ It’s almost talked to death. But it’s about looking for ways to actually remove the competitive spirit and have us build each other up.

“You’ve seen my resume: Warner Brothers, Disney, Nintendo, a lot of them are very male-centered, a lot of the gaming space for example. And I am an anomaly in that I am a woman, but I am a geek. I taught myself HTML when I was twenty-something. I am a tech geek and I love science, and I love how things work, and all of that tinkering. There’s such a possibility there, there’s such a sense of creation and control and power in the digital space that I feel hasn’t been lined with its potential. I think that’s why Hillary wanted it to be Digital Divas, especially in this space, because there aren’t many of us.

We’re growing, but we’re not as dominant. We have the opportunity. We could either be competitive, because there are only a few of us. Or, we could band together and take over the world. I’d rather do the latter. So, there you go!”

Speaking of Hillary Gadsby, she’s the co-founder of Stilettogal and along with her co-founder and CEO, Dr. Rhea Kim, put on this event. I caught up with both of them afterwards to learn a bit more about the vision behind Digital Divas.

Hillary started out by saying, “There aren’t a lot of women coming together and supporting one another these days, but it is happening more than it did in my and Rhea’s generation. We decided to partner with Pink51 — a platform that uses collective buying power to grow businesses with women in leadership — because they are a strategic partner of Stilettogal. So, it’s really two amazing brands and three amazing women coming together to help elevate other women in businesses. It’s for young women to learn how to build their own personal brands, whether they’re a blogger or whether they’re working for another company. We wanted them to be able to learn the tips and tricks of how to do that. And the networking is really important, too, because that’s where the magic happens. That’s where women actually connect with each other and they can find out, ‘Oh my gosh, I know somebody who can help you, and I want to help you.’”

 We want action plans; we want something that we can all benefit from.

Rhea added on, “Our premise is pretty simple: It’s to inspire, it’s to inform and it’s to connect. We wanted to create a real space for these women, aspiring women leaders, to come together, share, exchange and get insights. We want to provide real resources. No fluff, no more of these events where you just come to the event and that’s it. We want action plans; we want something that we can all benefit from. We have people from Microsoft. We have people who make cupcakes. People who work at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, all across the board. This is exactly what we wanted.”

While I was at the event, I was refreshed by these women’s mentalities, that we should always be asking the question, “What do you need, how can I help you?” It isn’t healthy to have a scarcity mindset when it comes to business, wanting to hoard your contacts or protect yourself from others.

We actually grow by sharing; all ships rise with the tide.

Image via Edith Young



Sarah is creative director and Editor-in-Chief of Darling Magazine. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, and is a lover of well told stories, Chai tea, cats, nature, and Paris.

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