{ #WCW }: Annie Spano, the mastermind behind Style Collective, spills turning her passion into a bonafide biz!

{ WCW: Annie Spano, founder of The Style Collective }

Happy Wednesday!

I am SUPER stoked for today’s #WCW feature with a major girlboss, and honestly, someone I have admired for some time now.

This mega-babe is no stranger in the blogging world. She runs the blog, The Lovely Girl, full-time but also launched a collaborative community called The Style Collective for bloggers by bloggers.

I recently joined and the wealth of knowledge and support is incredible.

She is truly a unicorn in the blogging industry, accomplishing a major goal of so many bloggers or influencers which is creating a full time company out of it.

Not to mention, she is insanely knowledgeable on social media, online marketing, the business world, and blogging as a whole.

To be completely frank, I learned SO much from her interview below and have a ton of plans I want to start implementing with the blog as I work on both refining a product and taking the blog to the next level.

Personally, I LOVE her advice on social media… after all, it’s called social media for a reason, yeah?

Not to mention, it’s so cool to share the knowledge of someone I look up to in the blogging world.

Not only is she an inspiration, but her energy is just radiant. She is one of those people though we haven’t met in person, feels like we’ve been friends through the years from the e-mails alone. She is such a beautiful woman inside and out, and whenever I need some positivity in my life, I love catching her snaps or instas.

Now, without further ado, meet major girlboss Annie!

{ WCW: Annie Spano, founder of The Style Collective }

Introduce yourself!

Hi! I’m Annie Spano and I live and breathe fashion via my blog The Lovely Girl and my marketing company Style Collective. I’m originally from New York and lived in New Jersey for a few years before moving to beautiful New Hampshire with my husband!

 Tell me about your blog, The Lovely Girl!

The Lovely Girl is a destination for multi-faceted millennial women who love fashion, health & wellness, hair & beauty and travel.

I like to share a little bit of everything that a “lovely girl” would love! The Lovely Girl is a classy & sassy, balanced & mindful and smart & driven. Basically a stylish, fitness loving #GIRLBOSS!

⚜ You also launched the Style Collective! Tell me about your fashion journey & how it evolved into SC.

YES! This is my favorite thing to talk about because SC is my heart and soul.

The Style Collective was formed as a reaction to an experience that should never happen to other women. In late 2015, I left my job in corporate marketing after being bullied and harassed by another woman in the workplace. The experience had left me feeling defeated and emotionally drained. I really wished that there was a better way for women to work together and help each other achieve success.

During this time, I had started a fashion and lifestyle blog as a creative outlet and became friendly with other female influencers. I started a chat group with my new friends to share ideas and support each other with the intent of promoting community over competition. The result was amazing – not only did everyone eagerly share their blogging tips and tricks to help each other grow, but also we formed friendships that added a meaningful dimension to what we already loved doing.

Our small group quickly grew into a large influencer network that was officially incorporated as Style Collective LLC in early 2016. It’s crazy and amazing!

Today, Style Collective continues to offer sisterhood, support and empowerment for female influencers in the fashion and lifestyle industries in many ways – from discussion forums for idea sharing, to online courses and guides for influencer education, to in-person meet-ups and group events, to opportunities to work with brands one-on-one and in group campaigns.

I’ve made it my mission to empower other women, improve their happiness and help them achieve their goals through sisterhood and support of a shared passion. Style Collective is that mission.

{ ^^^ Shannon chiming in here, but I have to echo what she said. The community part of blogging is seriously the best – it’s so collaborative and empowering so I personally love that she created a medium for this. As the blogging world gets more saturated, that just means more seats are added to the table. #youCANsitwithus }

{ WCW: Annie Spano, founder of The Style Collective }

⚜  Tell me about balancing a full time company and managing a blog full time

Okay, wow. Well I really do try to balance starting my own company and managing my blog.

I make sure that I work out each morning, make my breakfast and enjoy my coffee before heading to my laptop for 14-hour days. I also have the best team in the world.

Team SC helps me with other parts of the business and this really allows me to focus on the strategy, marketing, creating content/courses, negotiating partnerships with brands and getting to know other women in the fashion industry for strategic partnerships.

I really would be lying if I said that I had good work/life balance, but I love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work. For my blog, I only post once or twice a week. It’s been getting more difficult lately because I have been traveling a lot more for SC but I try to be consistent.

⚜ What are your short-term and long-term goals?

++ Short Term Goals: I want to put together another E-Course this Fall that includes all of my juicy details about pitching to brands. Being your own VP of Sales is a huge part of being an influencer and it’s really hard to learn these skills on your own. Another big goal is to start building our brand directory for the girls to have access to brands to pitch to! { <<< sign me up, babe! }

++ Long Term Goals: I’d love to speak at conferences and host our own SC conferences across the country. I organized a meet up in August and seeing the photos of all the girls brunching and sharing tips/tricks just filled my heart with so much joy. { <<< COME TO SF, PLS }

 Favourite books?

I love marketing books and leadership books. Start With Why by Simon Sinek and True North by Bill George are my favorites.

⚜ Biggest Beauty Secret? Spill!

Baking!! I love to bake my makeup before a photo shoot to give myself that dewy under-eye look that will last through 100-degree heat. It’s a game changer! Check out this video on it here. { <<< sooo interesting, I’ve never heard of this until now! }

 What is your “Go To” Timeless style advice?

I’ve learned a lot about style from blogging. It helps to pick a theme: a color, shape or outfit that works for you. If you aren’t into orange or tassels, then don’t force it.

Go through your closet and notice what you wear the most: what is the common theme? Are they all cool tones? Warm tones? Do you love shift dresses? Pencil skirts?

Get rid of things you don’t wear that are causing mental clutter. I believe in doing more with less.

{ WCW: Annie Spano, founder of The Style Collective }⚜ Who or what inspires you or where do you find inspiration?

I actually wrote a whole post about getting out of a style rut here, but I am really inspired by all of the SC girls!

I have to curate the social feed for Instagram, which means part of my job is finding images to post that fit the SC content strategy.

I could spend hours looking through our hashtag #stylecollective finding inspiration!

⚜  What are some of the challenges in blogging and how you handle them?

I think the biggest challenges are around not knowing where to find information, where to find brands and proper blogging etiquette.

I’ve navigated my way through influencer marketing by learning from my SC girls, reading books and drawing from my experiences from my corporate marketing job and my MBA program.

⚜ Looking back, if you could do anything differently in building your brand, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change a thing!  I think building a brand is something that is always evolving.

I am a strong believer in REPS, REPS, REPS. You have to pause every now and then, evaluate your progress and adjust as necessary. I just spent this week revamping Style Collective’s Instagram branding and I’ll probably sit down and do the same for my own Instagram.

{ WCW: Annie Spano, founder of The Style Collective }

 For anyone wanting to get into blogging, what is your biggest tip?

Seriously: join Style Collective. When I started blogging, I so desperately wanted to find a community of bloggers to connect with and learn from. The options available were not great so I decided to just create what I wanted! The response has been amazing.

Also, for your content: tell stories. Humans are the only species that can tell stories and it’s how we evolved from hunter-gatherers to where we are today. People connect through stories: share your happy times, struggles and insecurities. Don’t hold back and be genuine. { <<< agree 100% – remember, write drunk and edit sober 😉 }

⚜ Currently, what is your favourite social media outlet & why? Any social media advice?

I love Instagram and Facebook! For SOCIAL media advice: you have to put the time in and be SOCIAL with others. You don’t need to be glued to your phone – 30 minutes a day is more than enough to comment on photos and show your genuine interest in what others are doing. {<<< something I need to work on fo sho! }

Definitely check out my most recent Facebook Live talking about social media trends with my Internet bestie Courtney! { <<< Remember her here & here?! Love! }

{ WCW: Annie Spano, founder of The Style Collective }

#squadgoals with Annie & Courtney!

 What is next for the Style Collective &/or The Lovely Girl?

Just chipping away day by day at my goals that I mentioned earlier and asking for more help as I take on more. Style Collective is my main focus and TLG is my fun creative outlet like a lot of other bloggers. Blogging at TLG helps me to continue to learn the industry.

 Who are some of your favourite bloggers to follow?

Lauryn – http://theskinnyconfidential.com { <<< samesies! }

Tim Ferriss – http://fourhourworkweek.com/blog (and his podcast is awesome) { <<< will def check out } 

Krista – http://hundredblog.com { <<< love this babe too! }

⚜ How do you see social media and blogs evolving and how do you plan to evolve with it?

I think that blogging is a great way to grow your network, learn marketing, copy writing and project management skills.

The most important part is to remember that a blog is a platform that can help you develop skills to do something you love, such as a job in social media, launching an online boutique or creating your own e-books or courses.

Blogging is a really important part of an inbound marketing strategy for a business in addition to being a creative outlet. {<<< totally agree, it’s a form of brand equity }

{ WCW: Annie Spano, founder of The Style Collective }

⚜ What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My strategy professor in business school told us:

“It’s not about resources, it’s about resourcefulness.”

I keep this in mind with everything I do and try to get creative with the resources I have available to just make it work!

 Finally, advice for others who are looking to follow their dreams, but not sure how?

Make a list of things that you love. Get to know people in that industry and really learn what it is all about. You might think of a new way to do something or make a connection with someone who turns into a mentor!

For example, if you love fitness – get involved with your local fitness community: take classes, join the running club, etc. You might be inspired to become a certified instructor, start a new workout class or launch an online fitness program!

The sky is the limit when you have a network of people to connect with and learn from. Your network is your net worth.

 I have to ask… favourite song?! 😉

Soooo not really a song, but a channel! I am obsessed with the “Tropical House” channel on http://di.fm. I listen to it all day long while I’m working. 🙂 { <<< BOOKMARKING! }

fleurfleurfleur

Follow Annie ::
Blog || Annie’s Instagram || The Style Collective Instagram
Join the Style Collective HERE!

 

  • Shannon! Thank you SO much for asking me to do this interview and for your amazing introduction. I am SO excited that you are part of the SC family and I will definitely let you know the next time that I am on the west coast! xo Annie

    • Annie – thank YOU! Your interview was invaluable (not to mention SC) & I love that you created a community to help & empower. Hope to see you SOON! xx Shannoon

  • I loved this interview and of course love Annie to pieces! She taught me how to bake when she was at my place and I love the technique it’s amazing! Total girl boss here!! Love this!!!

    • Isn’t Annie the best?! I personally love the little cameo 😉 baking is seriously SO interesting! I wish I knew it when I was living in humid as hell Texas!! 🙂 XX

  • Wait @thelovelygirl:disqus I’m really really just in shock! You are so kind to have put me as one of your favorites. That means so much, because you are the smartest, hardest working babe I know and if you are my tribe – I am WINNING.

    Shan, you the best too. I am blushing so hard. Thank you both, my very favorite REAL honest smart and down to earth babes. I love you!

    • Oh, girl, you are the best & your blog is one I come for positivity & inspiration on the reg! Not going to lie, I am pretty stoked about this tribe we got here 😉 xx Shannon

    • LOVE YOU BOO!! Thank you for your text that morning too, hehe. Hope you are kicking ass!

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