More Than a Point of View, It’s the Power of Vulnerability That Leads to Good Business, says Refinery29’s Amy Emmerich



“When we strip away shame and own anything that is bothering us, that is truly when we will feel our power.” — Amy Emmerich, Chief Content Officer, Refinery29


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A  P.O.V. is typically defined as a “point of view,” but Refinery29 Chief Content Officer, Amy Emmerich, thinks it is time to switch that definition to a more empowering one: Power of vulnerability.

During her five years at Refinery29, Emmerich says she has found that many things need redefining in a general sense and she discussed how the digital media company continues to try and do their part in both a nurturing and powerful presentation at #SMWNYC.

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Brands no longer want to exploit vulnerabilities, but celebrate them, according to Emmerich. Strength over weakness. Connection over isolation. Joy over shame.

She even broke it down into a simple equation: Vulnerability + Allyship = Good Business.

How can brands use vulnerability to power business?

Emmerich said the people behind Refinery29 had to go back and look at success stories to realize they came from vulnerable moments. She showed examples of how insecurities are being honored and celebrated with movements like #Freethepimple. Brands should no longer aim for perfection, rather authenticity, in order to connect with real people.

For instance, when Refinery29 created its show “Unbothered”, which has enabled a spotlight for black lesbian or bi millennial women, Emmeric shared that they were not trying to go after an audience. “If that’s what we would have done, we would have failed,” she said.

The results speak for themselves. Emmerich said that 50 percent of “Unbothered” followers are part of a new audience and it has also garnered 50 million press impressions, with people saying that the content is what they would like to see more of.

Because Refinery29’s central goal is to have a wide representation of women, Emmerich stated that there is still has a lot of work to do, particularly with “threading allyship in everything that we do.”

Being an ally

To Emmerich, being an ally means that the burden of creating representation is not on the underrepresented, rather those aiming to partake in allyship, like Refinery29. “It’s a lifelong process,” she emphasized.

While she agrees with those who say that people need to be courageous to be vulnerable, and it certainly leaves an impression, Emmerich says that women ultimately do not need to be sold empowerment.

“When we strip away shame and own anything that is bothering us, that is truly when we will feel our power,” she said.

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