Most people know Gabi Gregg, 24, as the winner of Follow Me: The Search for the First MTV TJâ€”a triumph that translated into a one-year, $100,000 contract to tweet (and blog) the latest news for the major music and entertainment networkâ€”but sheâ€™s no stranger to the social media scene. In fact, Greggâ€™s plus-size style blog, Young, Fat & Fabulous, has earned her plenty of pre-MTV press featured by various media outletsâ€”including The New York Times, ABCâ€™s Good Morning America, Glamour.com and Vogue.it, as well as other well-known international glossies.
The Detroit nativeâ€™s quest to expand her writing abilities and meet the demand for a youthful, chic voice in the plus-size fashion industry, birthed YFF in August 2008 for only $12, the amount needed for a domain name. Not a bad investment considering her blog now boasts nearly 80,000 unique visitors and between 150-200,000 pages views per month. Even big name retailers from American Apparel and Forever21+Â to Asos and City Chic are reaching out to the social media connoisseur to advertise and review products on her site. For promoting positive body perception amongst womenâ€”regardless of sizeâ€”throughout the blogosphere and mastering the art of microblogging, BlackEnterprise.com recognizes Gregg as part of our first annual Black Blogger Month series.
I started blogging becauseâ€¦
I had an interest in fashion journalism and I didnâ€™t really have any experience, but I knew that I had a strong interest in it. So I decided to start a fashion blog specifically geared toward plus sizes just because, at the time, I knew there were very few, if any, resources for younger, trendier plus-sized girls as opposed to just the kind of matronly like Lane Bryant customer. No offense to Lane Bryant. Theyâ€™re great. Itâ€™s just not my aesthetic, so I wanted to provide a different type of resource for people my age who wanted to keep up with runway fashion and figure out what stores really cater to them.
Young, Fat & Fabulous stands out becauseâ€¦
I have a strong and unique message thatâ€™s really about body acceptance and wearing clothing that expresses your personality as opposed to wearing clothing that makes you thinner or hides you.
People trust my brand becauseâ€¦
Iâ€™ve always been really authentic and honest with what I like and what I donâ€™t like and I give an honest opinion about what my taste level is.
Building a brand is important becauseâ€¦
If you build your brand both online and in person, you can control exactly how youâ€™re seen by other people and what you want your messaging to be.
I realized blogging was a business whenâ€¦
Companies started approaching me and emailing me to advertise on my site, and asking me for rates and asking me to review clothing items for my audience. Once I saw that other businesses were really seeing me as a valuable voice, I realized that there was potential there for me to really make money from something that I love to do.
Microblogging is a good marketing tool becauseâ€¦
Itâ€™s another way to connect with people, especially with the younger audience. Getting in there and really getting on top of whatâ€™s the latest thing online is super important.
The best piece of business advice I ever got wasâ€¦
Basically to dive into social media. I was really against Twitter for a long timeâ€¦ Not against, but I didnâ€™t just see the point of it, kind of like a lot of people. My friend convinced me to start up one and she was saying how it could be beneficial for my blog, so I took her advice. It definitely took my blog to a new level and obviously opened up opportunities with different companies, as well as with MTV, so I think that if anyone is still hesitant about getting into social media and doesnâ€™t think itâ€™s worth it that they should reevaluate that because it definitely can be worth it.
Working with MTV has beenâ€¦
A great experience and definitely has taught me more about social media. Before this, I used it as a personal tool, but I think using it in a professional setting has just taught me more about all the ways that you can really connect with not only friends, but also consumers.
Having a day job isâ€¦
Optional. I think far too often people feel like itâ€™s a necessity to do the 9-to-5 thing and forget that you really can, especially with all the great things that the Internet has provided, be an entrepreneur and a successful one.
In business, you should never be afraid toâ€¦
Fail. If it doesnâ€™t work out, it doesnâ€™t work out. But I think itâ€™s better to try and fail, then not try at all.
I measure my success byâ€¦
My happiness. I think no one can really tell you what your definition of success should be for some people, myself included, itâ€™s not money. For me, success should be measured by happiness and how personally fulfilled you are in what you doâ€”obviously, with the addition of hopefully being able to pay your bills and do what you need to do financially.
Anyone that wants to follow in my footsteps shouldâ€¦
Just do it!
Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to BlackEnterprise.com/BlackBloggerMonth.