District Boss: Elisabeth Pendergrass of District of Chic
Elisabeth Pendergrass radiates class and confidence.
This D.C. native's love for food, wine, travel, and fashion is expressed on her blog District of Chic.Ahead, you'll be amazed to hear that Elisabeth's fashion blog is a part-time career, top three trends we should expect this summer, and blogging advice for aspiring bloggers.
What is your business? Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well my day job is working as a marketing manager for a software company, but my creative "side hustle" is District of Chic, a fashion blog I started almost 9 years ago. On my blog I like to share my style, as well as my favorite things to do, eat, and see in and around DC. My husband and I also love to travel so I often post about our trips.
What lead you to where you are today?
I actually grew up in the DC area and moved back for a job after college. Back then, DC had a stigma of being stuffy and unfashionable and I wanted to show the cool, eclectic side I loved so much about it. I also thought starting a blog would offer me a creative outlet I could pursue outside of my 9-5 job. The blog ended up becoming a part-time career and taught me a lot of skills I've been able to apply to my marketing day job. I've learned a lot of SEO tricks, web design best practices, as well as getting to network with a lot of talented PR professionals, bloggers, and creatives.
What are the top three trends we should expect this summer?
What’s the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur? The best part?
I think the level of emotional attachment that comes with a business being completely your own is both a blessing and a curse. When you have successes and failures, it's hard not to take it personally when your business is intrinsically linked to your life. I have the luxury of not having to rely on my blog for income (since I have a 9-5 job in marketing), but I've learned that if you want to make money from blogging, it never comes from one individual source. You constantly have to hustle and market yourself to get new projects and work with brands. It's fun and exciting, but it's absolutely critical to be able to self-motivate.
How do you stay motivated and continue to grow, personally and professionally?
Definitely working on projects that really challenge me creatively. I love when a brand presents me with a unique perspective they want to portray. Recently I worked with Donald J. Pliner footwear on their Art of Fun spring campaign. They wanted to emphasize the connection between their new line and works of art - a project that really spoke to me because I'm total art fanatic. I had a lot of fun creating a look inspired by 18th century gentlemen's banyans.
Also networking. It took me a while to appreciate networking, but every time I go to an event that hosts other industry professionals, I get a new boost of energy and inspiration from talking to them about the new projects they're working on or how they've grown their businesses.
What’s your nighttime routine? Or rather, how do you unwind?
Reading. Since I spend so much of my day in front of the computer (and my phone), turning off screens and taking a break from electronic devices is key. I have a stack of books and magazines I love to root through before bed.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to aspiring bloggers?
Find something that makes you unique. Blogging is such a saturated medium right now, it's more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. The new blogs that get me excited to read more are the ones that are completely different from the rest, so really think about what new perspective you can bring to the world.
Thank you so much for sharing, Elisabeth!