by Maxine Tatlonghari
As an e-commerce entrepreneur (www.VanityGirlHollywood.com), I am so beyond excited about what is about to converge upon LA, predominantly in Hollywood, next week. Social Media Week! To me, this is where geek meets chic. When I hear things like analytics, brand evangelists, venture capitalist, I get beside myself with glee.
Once upon a time, I was an ex-PR gal turned fundraiser here in LA and then the recession hit. Like many Americans, I found myself laid-off. I took my severance pay, worked with an angel investor/partner and launched Vanity Girl Hollywood a few months later in March of 2009 on an e-Bay store, with a WordPress blog I built myself.
Two days later, a girl named Crystal M. out of Ohio bought one of our lighted vanities and that was the beginning of our cult beauty brand. Since that time, we’ve worked with some major celebrities and brands including: Kim Kardashian, Carrie Underwood, Four Seasons Hotels, Kandee Johnson, L’Oreal and numerous gifting suites including the Golden Globes and Sundance.
My whole business model is built on online marketing and social media. Since I didn’t have a huge budget, I had to take what I knew, PR, event marketing, networking and reach a much broader audience. Social media allows me to do that. My launch party was actually a sponsorship of a Girls In Tech event where I spoke on a panel as the “new kid” on the beauty/fashion block alongside Macala Wright and Meg of Meg’s Makeup. It was the perfect place for me to launch since the marriage of tech and glam would become the building blocks of my beauty brand.
Blogging was a natural way for me to drive traffic to our site since it was cheap, and I could talk about the things I love most: celebrity beauty, makeup, my customers themselves, Hollywood events, travel and philanthropy. It’s very organic, as Vanity Girl truly was just an extension of all the things I love most and as a result, the brand attracted customers who just want to feel like the leading lady in their own life.
The flipside of the coin is when people — like the all-influential YouTube Beauty Guru — blog about us. In December of 2009, during a slow day in my booth at the Melrose Trading post, a sparkly girl sporting huge hoop earrings stopped by and fawned over my vanity. It turned out to be uber guru Kandee Johnson (who I would Google later to find she had over 100,000 views per video). Once she blogged about me, I got 900 FB fans in one day and my server crashed twice.
I’m attending Fashion Day sponsored by Nokia during Social Media Week because I think Style Saint founder Allison Beal working with the likes of the brain power behind ShoeDazzle is nothing short of genius. My business model was product first, and then the social media side sort of evolved from there. I love that Style Saint is building a strong, ultra hip media side first which will then drive the e-commerce. Beal has VC backing and that’s what I want next.
Founded in 2008 by Maxine Tatlonghari, this hot new brand has already achieved great buzz including becoming a supplier for the 2010 Olympic Games, coverage in cnbc.com, testimonials from leading makeup artists and mentions throughout the blogosphere. Find out more about the company by visiting: www.vanitygirlhollywood.com.
Here are a list of Fashion Events happening during Social Media Week:
|Wed 9/26||12:00-1:00pm||Unraveling the Mystery of True Influence|
|Wed 9/26||1:30-2:00pm||Keynote: Ryan Holiday, Director of Marketing At American Apparel|
|Wed 9/26||2:00-3:30pm||Hot, Hot, Haute: Fashion and Beauty Online|
|Wed 9/26||3:30-5:00pm||Socially Charged Fashion: How Social + Mobile are Building Brands from the Bottom Up|
|Wed 9/26||5:00-6:00pm||Perfect Your Pitch for Web, TV, and Film|
|Wed 9/26||7:00-10:00pm||Zach Galifianakis Presents: Craigslist Joe|