One day I was online searching for Housewives clothes.
What do I mean? I was literally looking for the outfits that Kyle Richards, Dorit Kemsley & Lisa Vanderpump were wearing.
I stumbled upon Lauren Sebastian’s blog Big Blonde Hair where she was literally breaking down exactly what I was looking for. She had all these outfits organized, per reality TV star, & I just thought it was the most genius thing I’d ever seen.
Lauren pays attention to the Real Houswives shows, finds the exact same outfits & accessories they wear, then posts about them on her blog. Talk about a niche.
We got to talking & I came to discover that she is funny, witty & loves a detail. We decided to collaborate with a blog swap & I couldn’t be more excited for what she has in store for us.
Lauren is going to come on The Skinny Confidential for a 3 part series, so stay tuned for her other posts on Housewives fashion ( spotlight on Dorit – my favorite housewife ) & how to get 5 Housewives’ looks for less.
But first, I wanted Lauren to share with you guys how Big Blonde Hair came to be. She really built it all by herself by HUSTLING. It’s a really inspiring story & just goes to show what can happen when you follow & stay true to your passion.
After you read this post, head over to Big Blonde Hair to check out my 5 must-have Amazon finds, fashion edition. Think the most perfect white t-shirt, an oversized jean jacket & the most verstaile body suit you’ll ever find.
How To Launch a Brand and Be a Mom
Anyway, let’s get right into part 1 of Lauren’s series & hear all about how she built her business & juggles being a mom & entrepreneur.
Being a mom & an entrepreneur can be tough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s the story of how I stumbled upon my path to BigBlondeHair.com, how Lauryn & her brand inspire me, & what it takes to live your dream as an entrepreneur.
Throughout my 20s, after college, I always hustled to support myself but struggled with what I wanted to do career-wise. I went through jobs in SO many industries. They included, but were not limited to: selling commercial insurance ( nice paycheck, but very off brand ), working in sports marketing ( good luck where I was unless Dad knew someone ), temp staffing ( pass the Xanax ), being a wholesale rep for women’s apparel lines ( enjoyed it, learned, but long story short, one of my bosses is now in jail ), working for a speed dating company ( yes Bill, I love to travel but have been planted here ) & a ton of other gigs.
I learned a little about many things but never really loved what I did. I always supported myself but quit jobs left & right, not because I wasn’t performing well, but because I totally preferred to do my backup bartending job than be miserable at a 9-5.
Though it was never in my life plans, mostly because I really lived in the moment, I got married at 26.
Young, relative to everyone I knew. By 27 I was pregnant & totally confused about my career. I knew I hated working in an office & I loved fashion & writing. I lived in Chicago, not NY or LA, so there was definitely a low ceiling in the fashion industry & for me it wasn’t one I was super intrigued to reach.
To top it off, in my “new life” I knew nothing about babies ( like legit had never changed a diaper ), & after I had my oldest son, Mark, I became super anxious about leaving him with anyone. I also dealt with some postpartum depression & ultimately I decided to be a stay at home mom as I wasn’t sure what to do. I know this is a dream scenario for a lot of women. But as it ends up, even though I really loved my son so much, for me staying home was the hardest job ever, mentally.
But it totally lead me where I needed to go.
There I was, mid-ish 20s, friends all at the bar. Me at home with a baby while my husband went to work as a trader. As I said, I lived in the moment, & that moment made me feel like my social life was over & that I had to start wearing mom jeans ( back when they were NOT on trend ).
This may sound selfish, but it was my reality whether it was actually what was going on or not. I loved Mark to death but I was going crazy. And then one day I turned on the TV, saw the Real Housewives of Orange County & thought wow, there are moms out there that are hot AND have a life. Maybe mine isn’t over? What are they doing that I’m not?
And that planted the seed for Big Blonde Hair.
Back in 2010 not a lot of people had blogs, but my husband ( also an entrepreneur, which is one of the reasons I love listening to Lauryn & Michael ) had one about stocks that had inspired me to start one of my own. I called it Big Blonde Hair because I hoped to somehow make money on it to pay for my hair extensions. Since, as you know, I wasn’t working. I couldn’t fathom making my husband foot the bill for something that redic, despite all the work I was doing at home.
Update: It has paid many times over for the past 10 years of me getting them, & they’re so not redic.
I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to go with it. But knew I now liked Reality TV along with fashion.
To start, I dabbled a little in posts about The Bachelor & my style but ultimately decided I liked finding what the Housewives were wearing & sharing it. One day Tamra Judge from the Real Housewives of Orange County shared one of my posts about her Beach Bunny swimsuit on social.
I got 50k hits in a day & gained a ton of traction.
Then the hustle started. How was I going to make money on this? Especially since my husband clicked on my Google Adense Ads so many times they banned me ( smh )? Affiliate programs didn’t really even exist in current day form yet. So I began to call ( no lie ) boutiques that dressed the Housewives to sell banner ads that I mostly created ( think the Paint program ) with no experience.
Fun fact: I still work with 2 of the 3 retailers I started out working with directly 10 years ago, & I shop at the others!
Long story short, I hustled at combining direct advertising with affiliate links ( once they were available ) for years to come.
Whenever my son was asleep, I was working. I was watching him full time & still working almost 40 hours a week for years. And though I was making some money, I did this for about 4 or 5 years before I was actually able to say okay, this is a decent paying job. In my 6th year I was able to hire my first employee & Big Blonde Hair has grown from there.
Do I have “normal” vacations where I can be offline? No.
Am I writing this at 10pm after working a full day & putting kids to bed? Yes.
Is it often thankless & do people often think I don’t have a “real” job? Yep.
Do I love almost every second of what I do? Totally.
The ability to work from anywhere affords me the opportunity to be at all of my oldest son’s sporting events & school functions & to at least be around home to work while my youngest son, Valentino ( hell yes I named a child after a pair of shoes ) grows up.
One major “secret” I can’t leave out is that I have some amazing women surrounding me ( shoutout to Jessica Knottek, Faryn Wegler & Chelsie Shackelford who keep BBH going & attempt to keep me organized ) which I never take for granted. Even when I had no employees, women helped me make connections, helped me learn, supported my site & I continue to love being in a female-dominated industry.
Speaking of amazing women, what drew me to being super into Lauryn & The Skinny Confidential is how she is so organized & into routine, which is the opposite of my nature!
I learn so much listening to her & am such a fan of her brand. I’m just so impressed with what she has built.
All of it is total #goals for me. Now that she’s mom to Zaza I love to hear about what she’s doing to manage work & parenting as I’m always learning something new that I can try to incorporate into my life & work routine. I plan to grow my brand more over the next few years & I always look to her for inspo.
In my mind, whether you’re super structured & organized like Lauryn or like me, who needs to see a project evolve & sometimes relies on employee suggestions before organization is implemented, it all comes down to hard work if you want to start your own business.
Whether you’re talking about me, Lauryn, or any other entrepreneur, if you want your business to thrive it definitely ends up being like another child. You have to continue to educate yourself, not be afraid to fail, figure out your strengths & network on top of the daily responsibilities of running your company. Like anything else, you get out what you put in & it’s always great to have a little luck & help along the way.
Be sure to follow Big Blonde Hair on all our channels:
Also, check out our new Instagram Live Series, Closet Confessions, where I interview Reality TV Stars & more fashionable faves about fashion, beauty, their lives, their castmates &more!
Love sharing stories of moms, hustlers & inspiring women with you so I really hope this post brought you value.
As I said, stay tuned for more posts from Lauren on Housewives fashion. Literally so excited for the one about Dorit, I can’t even.
& be sure to checkout Big Blonde Hair for my Amazon clothing essentials.
+ tips for taking your side hustle to the next level.
++ 10 ways to delegate in life & business.