Riley Rose Empowers Millennials With New Instagram-Worthy Makeup Concept Store

A new makeup concept store, Riley Rose, empowers Millennials to try on Korean beauty products as if they were getting ready in their own bedroom.

Riley Rose is not like Sephora or Mac. No one’s going to give you a makeover. Instead, Riley Rose tapped into Millennials’ obsession with makeup and learning from social media. The popular makeup Instagram account, Wake Up and Makeup has nearly 12 million Instagram followers. The New York Times depicts Meghan Roark who spends $300 a month on makeup and skincare and watches about 3 hours of YouTube tutorials weekly. And these aren’t stand alone examples, they represent the new way Millennials and Generation Z want to shop and learn about makeup.

Using the Millennial’s dream of an Instagram-worthy location, the daughters of the founders of Forever 21, Esther and Linda Chang recently launched their new makeup concept store in several cities including Chicago’s Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue.

Some Riley Rose store highlights include:

  • Selfie lighting vanities for you to sit and swatch and apply lipsticks and highlighters
  • iPads next to the vanities with step by step makeup tutorials
  • Online-only Korean makeup brands like  RMS Beauty, Tonymoly, Too Cool for School, Winky Lux, R & Co, Stila, and CosRx
  • A fridge filled with face masks and much more face and skin care products
  • Beautiful packaging that makes everything look cute and original and sayings on them like Huxley’s “Great things never came from comfort zones”
  • Lots of pink – “Millennial Pink”
  • A pink brick wall “Wish You Were Here” photo booth with a selfie-camera and seats for all of your friends
  • Notebooks and supplies cuter that Urban Outfitters
  • Glitter injections and cute party favors
  • A candy section with sweet and sour treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • Hair product section that brings you a new tool that makes amazing beachy waves

Online Only and Korean Beauty Brands at Riley Rose:

Watching YouTube makeup tutorials and seeing beauty bloggers explain how to apply makeup is fun, but not having that makeup at home can be a problem. Sure there are apps where we can virtually apply makeup and hair dye, but nothing where we have a lighted vanity and endless Korean beauty products. And let me emphasize – Korean beauty products.

When I walked into Riley Rose, I didn’t recognize a lot of the brands. But for internet beauty buyers, there are popular beauty brands like Lime Crime, RMS Beauty,  and Winky Lux. This, of course, made me excited to try on the Koren makeup brands.

There were so many different beauty products in cute packaging to try on and take with me to a selfie lighting vanity next to an iPad with makeup tutorials.  The marble countertops, good lighting, and neon signs made for an Instagram-worthy backdrop. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fun trying on makeup and taking selfies. I was literally in the store for hours.

The Quality of Riley Rose Makeup: Lipstick

There’s been some debate about the quality of the products as Bustle mentioned because Riley Rose does have low price points and high price points and most of their products are not usually found in-store.

I quickly found that the pigments and packaging were all very alluring, but there were two things I noticed. The lipstick and gloss applicators weren’t the best – that’s something even Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits its improved on as YouTuber, Andrea Renee showed. Although the packaging is cute at Riley Rose, it isn’t cute to have pink and red product smeared on your face. Applicators are like paint brushes and just like you wouldn’t put a paint roller on a small cabinet, you don’t want big wands to apply vibrant colors on your face.

The second issue, and I think it’s because of the applicators, is that too much of the product would go on my face. So, it just felt like a wet kiss on my lips at times – something that a) never feels good and b) I haven’t experienced from other beauty brands like Elf, L’Oreal, or Mac.

What I love about sharing this with you is that I tried on several different makeups and compared them to learn what beauty products worked and what didn’t. I found Riley Rose to be so empowering – to not just see makeup in packaging, but try it on and discover how to apply makeup and what looks best. Best of all, the store has great lighting.

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The Perfect Everyday Lip Color:

Hands down, try on everything. I found two of my favorite everyday lipsticks and glosses at Riley Rose. I spent hours at the pre-store opening trying on several Korean lipsticks and found my new 2018 lip color – which is the Winky Lux double matte whip liquid lipstick in shortcake. It comes on wet but dries quickly and doesn’t smudge. Plus, it’s a darker red like a burgundy that makes me look like the girl boss I want to be. When I went to The Chicago Woman’s Magazine food industry cocktail party in January, I got a lot of compliments on my new lip color.

I also found the perfect lip color to brighten my face. It’s the Peri’s Ink Velvet. I got the wow pink color. It comes on like whipped cream.

Ohhh let’s debate. How many days can you hibernate before you get cabin fever/go insane? I’m on day three and going strong. I see all you boo’s ordering pizza cc: @agirlandafoodstagram. I just feel bad for those delivery people going out in Siberia like temps. Tonight I’m having a dinner party with one of the first journalists and friends I met in Chicago (you can still hear her on WGN). We met on a street corner and she turned to me and said “you look like you’re going to the same event as me. Do you know where it is?” We’ve been friends now for over 7 years 😮 And tonight I get to make dinner for her and do my face with @rileyrose cosmetics without leaving my house. If the salmon doesn’t taste good, there’s pizza around the corner 💁🏻‍♀️ PS this texture spray is goals

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Skin Care Section:

Let’s be real, LUSH bath bombs are a thing and so is taking care of your skin with facials and bedtime routines, not just covering up bad skin with makeup.

Riley Rose has a whole tub full of bath bombs and a whole fridge filled with face masks, not to mention other cute Korean face masks and feet masks. Yes, feet masks! I bought one to try after my 30 days of hot yoga.

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Lazy Girl Skin Care Routine:

While I was at Riley Rose for their grand opening at Water Tower Place, I learned a lazy girl skin care routine that took 5 minutes and you could do in the car or plane when you’re on your next Intagrammable vacation. 

Step 1: Apply Banila Co Clean It Zero balm with your fingers. It feels so refreshing on your skin because it’s kind of oily and brightens and refreshes your skin while also removing makeup. No more harsh toners to take off all the makeup.

Step 2: Apply Huxley Secret of Sahara Essence to hydrate the skin.

Step 3: Apply Dr. G Red-Blemish Clear Cream. This is especially good for people who have redness or who have dry skin.

Three steps and you’re done. No water necessary and very simple!

 

Conclusion:

Riley Rose is a dream. Honestly, you can spend hours at Riley Rose and still want to try on more makeup and take more Instagram-worthy photos and selfies. It’s Millennial pink. Most of all it empowers you to try on different lip colors and experiment with highlighters and creams.

If playing with makeup and finding new skincare and lifestyle items are something you love to do, then this bright, pink store is your dream.

Riley Rose is located on the 4th floor of Water Tower Place next to Victoria Secret’s Pink in Chicago.

 

 

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5 Chicago Lifestyle Bloggers: The Story Behind Their Following

Chicago Lifestyle. How do you become the Chicago cosmopolitan city girl you’ve always aspired to become? At Windy City Cosmo, we focus on building genuine relationships and the beauty, events, skills, and cocktails behind them.

There are a lot of Chicago lifestyle bloggers with a lot of followers. As we’ve dined with and liked their Instagram posts, a few of them stood out. I’ve spoken with some of the most active Chicago lifestyle bloggers to learn why they blog and how they build a following. These bloggers post about food events, botox and beauty trends, the next best cocktail, how to get over your exboyfriend, and how to throw your next holiday party.

If you’re looking for what to do on a Friday night, an event to take your girlfriends to if you’re a Dior girl, or if you are more Chanel, and some fashion tips, then let me introduce you to some of my trusted Chicago lifestyle bloggers on Instagram.

This article includes the following bloggers:

Hungerlust Travel, I admire her photography and how she makes me want to wanderlust.

Now You Know Events/Appetite 4 Adventure, I love how she is always on the scene at the latest food events. She always makes me hungry with her cheesy pizzas and boozy cocktails.

Once Upon a Dollhouse, I love their personalities and their twin vibes when it comes to photo shoots. If you are looking for outfit inspiration, they are always adding a little sparkle and maybe a bow.

The Haute Seeker, I love her weekend events roundup. She always has something creative.

Jodidangerous, I love that this Instagram has spunk and variety, but also serenity.

Hungerlust Travel:

Meet Lily from Hungerlust Travel.

She’s a food and travel blogger based in West Loop Chicago. When she’s home, she introduces you to new and classic restaurants around the city, and when she travels, she post photos of my activities and meals to inspire you to visit those cities as well!

How did you get started?

Hungerlust used to be solely a food Instagram, then I started to feel too restricted that I couldn’t post what I was seeing on vacation, only what I was eating. I’ve had my Instagram since December 2015, and just started blogging this summer.

Lakeview, Chicago: Earlier this month I attended a @dablonvineyards wine tasting at the beautiful music box theatre. Dablon is a winery in southwestern Michigan that is aiming to chance the face of Michigan wine! The reputation is that all wine in the area is sweet, given the cold climate. However, they're growing a lot of traditional dry grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir! I went on a Michigan tasting a few years ago that involved mostly ice wine and s'mores wine so this year I'm going to plan my own and start it off at Dablon! Their tasting room has been recently renovated and they have a brand new private room that I can't wait to visit! #hungerlustlakeview #dablonandcg #dablonwine #chicagogrammers

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What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

I am solely Instagram at this time, but I know I need to start working on Pinterest more to grow my blog viewers.

How much time do you devote to blogging each week?

I spend about 10-15 hours on Instagram per week, but blogging is more sporadic. When I sit down to write a new city guide, I will spend 5-10 hours on it over a few days, but then I go weeks without adding new content… oops! (which is actually one of the current trends according to Orbit Media’s research with over 1,000 bloggers). I post on Instagram once a day.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

I share a photo if it’s visually pleasing, and I enjoyed the story behind it. I could have a beautiful picture, but if I didn’t enjoy the activity or meal, I won’t share it (which is similar to what Erin from 312 Food does, as well).

You can follow Hungerlust Travel on Instagram or her blog below:

www.instagram.com/hungerlusttravel
www.hungerlusttravel.com

Now You Know Events:

Meet Katie Cahnmann from Now You Know Events.

Katie created Now You Know Events (NYK) to offer a comprehensive site to share cool events and openings happening in and around Chicago. It’s an easy way for anyone to find something interesting and fun to do. She tries to share a little bit of everything to cover everyone’s interest from fashion to charity, food, sports, art, free, etc.

Kate
How did you get started?

I was working full-time as the Director of Social Support at a charter high school on the south side of dealing with really heavy issues with my students – anger, depression, suicide, gang violence, etc. I needed an outlet I sought out fun things to do in Chicago and would invite friends out. Everyone encouraged me to start my own website as I knew about an eclectic mix of events going on in and near the city. That’s how NYK was born!

What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

I have a website (www.nowyouknowevents.com) where I share all upcoming events as well as recaps/reviews of events and places, occasional interviews with cool people doing cool things in Chicago, photos, and more. I also use MailChimp to send out newsletters and social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I used to use Pinterest but not so much anymore.

Who inspires you in the blogging community?

The entire group of incredible bloggers. There are so many. I’ve belonged to different groups of bloggers and stayed up-to-date with some including Chicago Bloggers Network, Windy City Bloggers, and Chicagogrammers to name a few. There are so many amazing bloggers in Chicago and it’s been a super supportive community.

How much time do you devote to blogging each week?

I used to devote a lot more but given everything that has happened in my personal and professional life over the last couple of years that time has decreased. I used to update the blog daily but now I do it weekly.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

I really try to be conscious of my readers, subscribers, and followers and only share what I truly believe they will appreciate and enjoy. Occasionally, I will share things I personally love and just hope my followers do, too. My hope is that anything I post resonates with my readers.

You can follow Appetite for Adventure on Instagram or Now You Know Events blog below:

Website: http://www.nowyouknowevents.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NowYouKnowEvents/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NYK_Events
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/appetite_4_adventure/

Once Upon a Dollhouse:

Meet Caitlin Campbell and  Danielle Sommerfeld, the dolls behind Once Upon a Dollhouse.

Once Upon a Dollhouse chronicles the dolls’ friendship and their adventures as they celebrate the beauty of life. Their ultimate goal is to inspire readers to become their healthiest and happiest selves – whether it’s through your own best friend, yoga, music, crystal healing or even fashion.

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How did you get started?

This has to be one of our favorite questions! Of course we have a story behind it. Shall we start with Once upon a time… ? We met by a combination of serendipity and magic and became the fastest of friends. Soon enough, we became roommates and moved into the glam pad that will forever be remembered as our life-size Dollhouse. The Dollhouse became the meeting place for all of our best friends where we shared laughs, meals, girl talk and plenty of champagne. Before we knew it, people started to ask us what events we were going to, our favorite music to listen to, our workout routines, our favorite boutiques and more. Then, we decided to write it all down and to share our sparkle with the world! Once Upon a Dollhouse was officially launched in January 2016 to chronicle our best friend adventures and celebrate the beauty of life. In this world, our ultimate goal is to share positivity and inspire our fans and followers to become their healthiest, happiest self.

What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

Instagram is our absolute favorite! Our main resource is each other. It’s important for us to always be in constant communication so that we can maintain an authentic brand message that we are both proud of. We encourage each other and celebrate our ideas and every milestone we hit along the way.

Who inspires you in the blogging community?

We have met so many inspirational women in the blogging community right here in Chicago! We are proud to be a part of such a strong network of women that supports one another. A few of our go-to gals are Windy City Cosmo (duh!), Julz Chez and Caroline Taft.Everyone has their own unique story…. WCC is always there for us . and right now is training for a marathon, Julz Chez is the sweetest small town gal turned fashion maven and Caroline Taft is a former U.S. Army Reserves Intelligence Officer turned culinary creative and photographer. The best part about these inspiring ladies is that we’ve become great friends along the way!

How much time do you devote to blogging each week?

It really varies week to week. For us, it’s all about balance. We balance our friendship with our business to keep our motivation, consistency and vibrant energy in tact.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

We like to share content with our readers that sparks a sparkle! We’re an open book and looking to share our light and positivity with others – especially at a time when we need it most! Stay tuned for a more “risque” topic coming up on the blog soon about aging gracefully.

We like to share content with our readers that sparks a sparkle! We’re an open book and looking to share our light and positivity with others – especially at a time when we need it most! Stay tuned for a more “risque” topic coming up on the blog soon about aging gracefully.

You can follow Once Upon a Dollhouse on Instagram or on their blog below:
www.instagram.com/onceuponadollhouse
www.facebook.com/onceuponadollhouse
www.pinterest.com/OUADollhouse
www.onceuponadollhouse.com

The Haute Seeker:

Meet Taylor Justin from The Haute Seeker.

The Haute Seeker is a curated lifestyle blog that seeks out and shares the unseen fashion, food, arts, and community good in the city of Chicago.

How did you get started?

I am not new to this. I’m inquisitive by nature. I moved to Chicago out of college and had no family or friends in the city. I wasn’t going to sit at home so I would go out everyday and visit neighborhoods that interested me. I became very acclimated to Chicago and always knew where to go and became a resource to close friends. I decided to challenge myself and become a resource for others who are culture vultures and that’s when I started The Haute Seeker.

What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

Instagram by far! I treat it like a mood/ inspiration board.  I use Buffer to keep my social media in check. Thank God I discovered that tool. It helps me so much!

Who inspires you in the blogging community?

I am inspired by the stories that people share. It’s awesome to seek fellow bloggers shine and grow.

How much time do you devote to blogging each week?

Every single day. If I am not writing I’m planning my content and generating leads. My post goals are two a week, 3 if I’m being very ambitious.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

I share what I would want to read. I’ve realized my content is not for everyone and it never will be because not everyone likes the same things. And that’s okay! If you are inspired by everyday people, you like interesting things, or are moved by cultural innovations than you will love my content.

You can follow The Haute Seeker on Instagram or on their blog below:
@thehauteseek
www.thehauteseeker.com

Jodidangerous

Meet Jodi Dudek. Her blog will be launching in the next couple of months. For now, you can find her on Instagram: @jodidangerous

Jodi wanted to use my actual name, but make it a little fun. The “dangerous” is because she does what I want. 😉 People should follow her because I’ve experienced a lot in life and continue to enjoy a good adventure and try to share that in a thoughtful way. She’ll be working on some fun things shortly, she’d love to grow interest.

How did you get started?

I was interested in blogs and eBay stars years ago, have been in the design community for over 15 years, joined Instagram when it very first started, and am even now head of social media creative for a large company. Travelling and being naturally curious have been huge catalysts, and I have grown to really love meeting new people and sharing great stories!

What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

Instagram, hands down. Specifically, I post an Instagram Story nearly every day.

Who inspires you in the blogging community?

So many people. On a large level, Brit+Co and Bri from DesignLoveFest really kill it. Beyond that, I appreciate anyone who is well-curated, and even informative… thoughtfulness, organization, and beautiful content!

How much time do you devote to blogging/content creation each week?

It used to be a decent amount, but due to having a full-time gig in social media, my presence has been minimal.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

First, I don’t over-share. Relevancy is fairly important, but also things that I am passionate about.

You can follow JodiDangerous on Instagram here:

Jodidangerous is the only one that I’m comfortable with at this time… stay tuned!

Conclusion:

There’s a lot of Chicago bloggers. Some are sassy, some take a killer #ootd (outfit of the day) photo and others build a community around cultural events or the love of shoes.

I hope you connect with some of these Instagrammers and bloggers.

Who do you love to follow and why do you like or comment on their content?

 

 

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Chicago Women Talk Social Media, Charging Clients, and Why They Pursued Entrepreneurship

Six female entrepreneurs shared their stories of success at Kristin Ford’s first LevelUp – Building a Stronger Her event at The Frontier in Chicago, IL in October 2017. 

This was better than a Forbes article – it was the real women – all young, all successful, all entrepreneurs sharing their stories about how they – well, how they got terribly ill, how they were under-resourced, how they were deemed too young, how they failed and how, despite all of those things, they made it. They built the businesses they said they were going to build. And some went on to build more businesses.

Kristin Ford, a successful entrepreneur, who has extensive work coordinating and running events for Nike Inc., and then in LA where she’s assisted with big events like LA Fashion Week and movie premiers, decided to break out on her own and start a company.

For her first event, she gathered strong, female entrepreneurs for a ladies brunch in Chicago at The Frontier in October 2017.

After a mimosa and some of the freshest and decadent food, including beignets, we all gathered to hear from these six women.

By the end of the luncheon, the bartender turned to me and told me about his dream to start his own company.

Female Entrepreneur Panelists:

Samantha Frontera- A former morning news producer at KQTV and television news reporter at WFFT-TV, Samantha didn’t want to be told she wasn’t good enough every day. She decided to take her talent and build her own PR company, Exclusive PR. Windy City Cosmo has worked with her agency on several occasions including this female entrepreneurship story and this Grateful4Her campaign. 

Chrishon Lampley – Despite several setbacks, Chrishon followed her passion for wine and in 2013 founded Love Cork Screw wines. She also has six wine scented candles in Target. As she’s built her brand with 20,000+ social media followers, she’s been recognized for her brand. Chrishon was awarded Fifth Third Bank’s Entrepreneur of the Year and is a tastemaker for Mariano’s. 

Chrishon Lampley, a sommelier who founded Love Cork Screw in 2013 and partners with grocery store chain, Mariano’s. Photo: Love Cork Screw

Chiara Graham – Chiara believes in creating a lifestyle with multiple forms of revenue.  She is the co-owner of Graham Financial Mall. She is also a realtor in Atlanta at Keller Williams. On top of that, she founded iGoalDig, where she helps others become an entrepreneur and tap into their passion. From Chicago, Chiara now resides in Atlanta.

Theresa Siaw – Theresa is a serial entrepreneur. She is currently directing Omni Healthcare, a multi-location Chicago health clinic for the underserved. One of the projects at the  Omni Healthcare Division Street location is to launch a program to reintegrate former gang members back into the Humboldt Park community in a positive, productive way. You can read about one of their back to school initiatives here. 

Theresa Siaw, Chicago Entrepreneur in the healthcare sector. Photo: Omni Healthcare

Dominique El Jones – She is Miss. Illinois United States 2016. She is also a project engineer at Reed Construction.

Jessica Zweig Fisher – Jessica is one of Inc. Magazine’s  top digital marketers to watch in 2017. She founded SimplyBe Agency where she does content development and content growth and much more. Prior to that, she built Chicago’s largest magazine for women.

THIS IS A PVA: (Positive vibes announcement) Yesterday, my team and I went out for cocktails at @thechicagodelta for a Friday happy hour. (My new favorite bar in Chicago, PS.) The guy who sat us was named Eddie, and as he passed out our menus and filled our water glasses, he casually asked us how we were all doing. "Great, thanks. You?", we casually replied. His response: "Living the dream. I get to wake up every day, breathe, live this life, work this job, be in this cool city, hang around new people all the time. Living my best life." He meant every word of it, I could feel it. It wasn't cheesy, it was 100% sincere, and it shell shocked me. It made me super present to the language I use when describing how I am. It reminded me that we can ALL "live the dream," in any moment, of any day, no matter what it is we think we are chasing. The fact that we get to wake up to a life that let's us breathe, connect, work, do and meet people like Eddie IS the dream. So next time someone asks you "how are you doing?," consider that your answer could change someone's entire perspective, and that genuine positive vibes are not only effective, they are essential. Happy Saturday, guys. 💛✌🏼#positivevibes #livingthedream . . . . . . . . #liveyourdreams #followyourdreams #liveyourbestlife #spreadlove #kindnessmatters #positivevibesonly #vibes #vibesdontlie #youareloved #sincere #ootd #stylesaturday #styleinspo #igstyle #connection #girlboss #bossbabe #ladyboss #dreamteam #dreamwork #hustlehard #bareyoursoul #realtalk💯 #happysaturday #saturdayvibes

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What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?

“Entrepreneurship was always in me,” Chrishon Lampley. 

“I think I got turned down a lot of times in the job market. I started my own business. It was very hard to get my first client. I saw a check for $5 one time. I loved being my own boss. I started with one employee and now we have 20. Everyone has it in them – you have to find your own passion and what you’re good at,” Theresa Siaw.

“Right now I still work for a corporation. I think it’s important to understand your own goals. Yes, you’re working for someone else but it’s going to benefit you. Never lose your dream while serving someone else’s dream.  I started my first company when I was 26,” Chiara Graham.

“I did what a lot of entrepreneurs did – I solved my problems. I launched Cheeky Chicago,” Jessica Zweig Fisher.

“I feel like I fell into being an entrepreneur. I was a broadcaster and it’s not glamorous. In small markets, you don’t have your family and the women are very competitive. I didn’t love going into the cornfield and hearing I wasn’t good enough for the news director. I worked at an agency who fired everyone a week before Christmas…Someone just said, ‘why don’t you try to do this and go for this?’ Having that one person who believes in you, helps you take that step forward,” Samantha Frontera. 

When Do I Start Charging Clients? And When Do I Start Charging Them More?

“Money. I have none. It has to move off the shelf. And consistently move off the shelf. You always have to feed profits back into your business,” Chrishon Lampley. 

“When I started iGoalDig, it was just a t-shirt line. I wasn’t charging people for picking my brain and for consultations. I was talking to strangers for 30 min. I realize the value of just talking. Everything costs. Someone asked if I can sit down with a stranger about business. I thought, ‘You want to have lunch? You have to pay,'” Chiara Graham. 

“A year ago a couple came to me who owned a restaurant. Again, my company is a re-launch. So, I was willing to take smaller clients…Now, people try to low ball me, I just say ‘no.’ Know you’re worth. It’s okay to have a lower price contract, but once you have several case studies, you need to keep going,” Samantha Frontera. 

“When you feel that fear rise up that you’re going to ask for more money than you’re used to, lean into that,” Jessica Zweig Fisher.

Social Media is All About Me: A Wake-Up Call to Turning Likes Into Dollars:

“People aren’t picking up magazines like they use to. They’re looking at Facebook. Tell people to like your Facebook page,” Chrishon Lampley.

“Social Media is no longer social media, it’s the Internet. I’m in branding. They don’t call it ‘talk media.’ They call it social media because it’s about socializing. You want to inspire, entertain,” Jessica Zweig Fisher. 

She encouraged everyone to read, “Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.” As a branding expert, Jessica shared that people don’t really care about you, it’s more effective when your social media comes from a place of service or value.

Resources to Pursue Entrepreneurship:

This LevelUp luncheon addressed several questions, but one of the main ones is how to start a business. We all have ideas. We all wish that things existed that don’t. But, there’s only a select few that pursue their dreams every single day. So, how do you get started?

I encourage everyone to take these three steps:

  1. Find a group: there are so many female groups and resources out there to help you get started and to introduce you to the people you need to know. There are these professional networking groups and then there are groups like Ms. Tech, SheSays Chicago, and pop-up events like this panelist discussion: Chicago Female Entrepreneurs and ArcLight Partner to Discuss ‘Joy’. Get to know the women who are raising over $1 million for their startups or those who are building their empire in Chicago. We all need people to bounce ideas off of, learn from, and encourage us on the journey.
  2. Write down your goals. Write out your ideas. And put them into a business plan. Do some research about the industry. Find out how you can make a profit. Think about how much money you will need. Consider how you will bootstrap or raise money.
  3. Start. After you have thought about everything that could go wrong – the money you don’t have, the knowledge you don’t have and every other fear or doubt – start, despite it all. Don’t quit your job. Don’t do something irrational. But where you are right now, you can start working on your passion.  

 

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The Future of Jewelry: 3D Printing, AR, and These Female Founders

Combining Augmented Reality and 3D printing, a new female-founded Chicago startup is taking a dive to compete against popular jewelry stores like Pandora with it’s faster, more accurate and personal virtual experience thanks to these disruptive technologies.

It’s not just an app and it’s not just another piece of jewelry. It’s an app with patented digital sizing API that can measure your ring size with 99% accuracy, and it’s metal jewelry that’s 3D printed. This startup was launched right here in Chicago’s 1871 incubator by two sisters who dropped out of law school to carry out what they realized will be the future of jewelry.

This new Chicago startup, De Rigueur Designs creates a personal virtual experience using the company’s BEZEL app, the first-ever augmented reality e-commerce platform.

“BEZEL revolutionizes the way the world buys rings,” said Casey Melvin, one of the founders, “This is just the beginning.  We see the BEZEL platform growing into the idealized e-commerce marketplace where jewelry makers can showcase and sell their own designs.”

Wincy City Cosmo attended their beautiful launch party in Lincoln Park and sat down with one of the founders, Casey Melvin to learn more about this innovative approach to jewelry shopping and being a female entrepreneur. 

The Melvin sisters were both in law school, but Casey Melvin recalled, “We saw this as an opportunity to lean in.”

After seeing the future of jewelry and coming up with this startup idea in February 2017, the sisters applied to a few incubators to develop their idea. Ultimately, they accepted a space at 1871 in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Starting in June, they used 1871’s resources to guide them through their startup journey. They launched their company this fall.

“You have to be numb to asking people for help. It’s better than doing something poorly,” Casey Melvin said, “I applied to the 1871 incubator and it’s been a God Send. They do SEO, look at pitch deck, and numbers. They have mentors that pro bono volunteer their time.”

Using their personal network, the sisters also did cold emailing and reached out to their alumnus at Brown and Princeton.

“We said, ‘Hey, will you meet with me in Chicago.’ I met with 10. All of them had advice. One guy was 3D Printing diamonds – we were both in the startup stage. He was further along in the fundraising,” Casey Melvin explained.

After gaining insight into running a business, the sisters also had to learn about the technology and jewelry industry.

There are a few significant changes that 3D printing and AR brings to the table.

“Augmented Reality is a really cool place to be right now. AR is like a Snapchat feature. There’s a hand tracking algorithm that sees your hand [for sizing],” Casey Melvin explained.

Not only is this technology impacting the ability to scale, but also the quality of jewelry.

“Stainless steel is still durable and doesn’t oxidize or look cheap,” said Casey Melvin.

Usually, jewelry stores carry ring sizes 6,7, and 8. They have sizes 3 to 14.

“We invested in 3D models. We own 27 models per ring,” Casey Melvin added.

 

Casey Melvin described this cloud of doubt she felt being a new female entrepreneur, but attributes her success to listening to podcasts, reaching out to her network and joining the 1871 incubator in Chicago.

“There was this guy I met on LinkedIn,” Casey Melvin recalls about her outreach, “He was like, ‘3D Printing isn’t ready for jewelry.'”

“I don’t think he was mean, but they’ve never done it this way before,” she added.

With all of their outreach, the sisters used a few tools to make their messaging manageable. Some of those tools include Mailchimp, WordPress, and a virtual assistant to send email marketing for fundraising.

This year, the female founders have raised $100,000 through friends and alumni at their alma maters.

As for the future of this innovative jewelry company, Casey Melvin said, “We would love to open a store in Chicago. We’re not there yet.”

To learn more about the future of jewelry, click here. As always, make sure you subscribe to Windy City Cosmo so you can learn about the latest startups and events in Chicago.

 

 

 

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3 Easy Ways For Entrepreneurs to Get Self-Care Every Day

As most of you know, Windy City Cosmo embraces the hustle and self-care. As a female making their way and building their career in the entrepreneurial world—I have to! From frequently attending networking events to appearing on the radio, the freelance life can definitely take its toll.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it’s easy to neglect taking care of yourself. Every now and then, we have to pick our heads up from the daily grind and spend some time on ourselves. Over the past few years of living and learning as an entrepreneur in the city of Chicago, I’ve developed a few healthy habits of my own. Call it self-care or a healthy lifestyle. There are a lot of things that you can do for self-care like take a bubble bath or get your nails done or take a walk with a friend but I’ve found through looking at other entrepreneurial sites like Thrive Global and Shopify, that there are some easy ways to incorporate self-care every day that won’t get you out of your workflow – rather improve it. In order to help out those of you who are just starting out or may be struggling to make it to the next level, here are my top 3 health tips.

1. Have a bedtime routine. I set my phone so it tells me when I should go to bed to get 8 hours of sleep. I’ve had issues falling asleep and having a routine has helped me to make bedtime something I look forward to. I usually do a little cleaning, take a hot shower, do my face wash routine and then make hot tea, stretch and heat up my sleeping mask (yes you heard that right!). If I’m still not tired, I try to catch up on articles or read a book in bed.

2. Work out. I’m not saying to work out to lose weight, work out to become mentally strong. When you dedicate time to challenge yourself and commit to moving your body, your whole day is changed. I’ve had many issues with working out. I’ve tripped over the concrete while running at night. I’ve missed waking up early for a spin class, and I’ve forgotten to repack my gym bag. If you have an hour lunch, I suggest working out for lunch.

It helps in four ways

A) it helps you move your body and feel refreshed after sitting

B) it helps you bring your lunch instead of wasting money on eating out

C) it helps relieve stress

D ) it helps you stay focused. When you only have 30 minutes you work out and give it your all.

3. This may sound silly, but make sure you smile every day. It changes everything. I got a positivity journal and it takes 5 minutes to fill out. In the morning you write down what will make today great and at night you reflect. Practicing gratitude and thinking positively is so important. Don’t neglect your thoughts and how you’re feeling. Spending time turning negative thoughts into positive is life-changing. This is one of my personal favorite tips, and it even caught the attention of others as it was included in an infographic (see below) by Elysium Health.

Self-Care for Entrepreneurs

As you can see, there’s more than one way to work some type of wellness routine into your daily life. Also, everyone is different so something that works for me might not work for you. You can check out the infographic to see even more advice from others as well as some science-backed advice from Elysium. For those of you looking to dive even deeper into the more scientific aspects of healthy living, you can check out this resource on NAD+ and how it’s connected to our health.

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