Photo by Betsy King
Today’s Biz Ladies Profile comes to us from blogger and Executive Editor of Clementine Daily, Erin Loechner. Erin has been a member of the blogging world since 2006 with her popular Design for Mankind where she shares “creativity, inspiration and meaning in all disciplines.” After having her daughter, Bee, this past July, Erin launched a second blog in honor of all inspiring in the pint-size, kids variety. Most recently, Erin launched the female-centric site, Clementine Daily, that aims to create a space for real women living authentic-sometimes-frenzied-often-harried-but-always-inspired lives, and today she gives us a glimpse into her career path. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Erin! —Stephanie
Read the full interview after the jump…
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I started Clementine Daily because I was feeling overwhelmed with the shiny, airbrushed, glossy lives I was seeing around me and was interested in exploring the fine balance between aspiration and inspiration. As a long-time design blogger myself, I certainly have a love for aesthetics, but I was growing tired of a lifestyle that pushed posed photo shoots and faux moments. I wanted something real and true and authentic – I wanted to begin celebrating the everyday, perfect or not.
At the same time, I wanted to shed light on the many facets of women – from style to beauty to food to home to wellness to etiquette and everything between. We’re complex creatures – ones that cannot be pegged or defined by one interest. So I suppose I started Clementine Daily as a tribute to the modern women in us all.
When you first decided to start your own business, how did you define what your business would be?
I wrote a manifesto, which was actually a page from my journal over nine years ago. I’d written a paragraph about the woman I wanted to become when I was older – the skin I wanted to grow into. (I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but I like to think I’m on my way.) The manifesto is like a compass for our writers, editors, contributors, photographers and partners – it’s a living, breathing mission statement, which is so helpful when navigating any new business. Photo by Ken Loechner
What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?
“Surround yourself with the best people available and let them do their job.”
What was the most difficult part of starting your business?
Oh, there have been many. I’ve always been a one-(wo)man-band, whether freelance writing or art directing or just running my own blogs, Design for Mankind and Design for MiniKind. So switching gears from doing to leading has been a really hard transition – one that I’m not entirely comfortable with yet. Delegation is hard and messy and sometimes you find out that you’ve hired the wrong person. But there’s only one of me, and I’m learning that I can’t do it all and do it all well. So I have to just trust my gut and trust those around me.
I think, too, I’d had preconceived notions about founding a women’s lifestyle site. From the outside, it looked fun and meaningful and inspiring, and although it’s all of those things, it’s also a mix of mundane details that kind of muddy the picturesque waters. (I’ve been coding HTML in my sweat pants for the past three hours, which is very opposite of the pencil skirt in the light-filled office I’d daydreamed about!) I think with every new venture there’s this disconnect between what you’d envisioned and what is reality, so I make a conscious effort to be grateful for the big picture, rather than overwhelmed with the details.
Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business?
The power of a great support system (special thanks to my husband, my Roomba and Chipotle for keeping me afloat!), and a healthy dose of flexibility. Things rarely run smoothly when launching any business, so it’s always a testament to just how far you can bend without breaking. I have a newfound respect for Limbo indeed.
Can you name a moment of failure in your business experiences?
You know, I truly, truly believe that failures are just really really (really) hard lessons served straight to the core. So while there have been many mistakes: impulsive decisions, misspent dollars, wrong hires, miscommunications, lost emails, I’ve learned such a great deal about myself along the way. And for every failure, there have been one million inspired moments, so I’d say it’s been a win/win.
Photo by Ken Loechner
Can you name your greatest success in your business experiences?
The week after we launched Clementine Daily, I received a heartfelt, handwritten letter from a woman thanking our team for creating a site that she could visit without feeling bad about herself. She left our site feeling inspired rather than deflated, that it was OK if her chicken was burned and her shoes were scuffed and her skin was dry. Those were the easy fixes. The important thing was that she loved and was loved. The important thing was that nothing else was really all that important. It was the sweetest letter I’d ever received and I keep it in my laptop bag for the days when everything is frenzied and deadlines are looming and I’m feeling frazzled. It instantly shifts my perspective and I remember why I launched this beautiful space.
What business books/resources (if any) would you recommend to someone starting a creative business of their own?
You know, The Renaissance Soul has always been a favorite for me – I think it was the first book that taught me it was OK to have varied interests and a career that wasn’t perfectly packaged. I’ve always loved dabbling in different mediums and disciplines, and The Renaissance Soul helped me to celebrate the well-rounded perspective I gained from those interests.
In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business?
You know, I think there’s just one thing to consider: are you passionate enough to start? Everything else can be taught or outsourced or discontinued or revised. But passion is innate – it’s what keeps you going when the day-to-day details and the reality of owning a business creep in. Passion is it.