Archive of ‘Fab Features’ category

Blavity x T&J Designs

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As some of you may know, T&J Designs was part of the recent batch of 500 Startups and we recently finished our program with them. We met so many different companies and it was such an worth-while experience that we were so happy to have been a part of. One of our favorite companies we met along the way was Blavity. Blavity is a community of the most exceptional multi-cultural creators and influencers in the world. They partner with diverse content creators and influencers to help them reach a wider audience, amplify their message, and fund their hustles. They believe that the world shifts according to the way people see it. We love to share new companies and we are proud to say that we have partnered with Blavity and were so excited to launch our curated collection that you can shop on our website!

To get an idea of who and what Blavity truly is, we interviewed their team members, Sabine and Morgan:

T&J: Tell us about Blavity and your readers.

Blavity: Blavity is a digital community of black millennials covering everything from content, tech and culture. We are on the pulse of what important conversations and movements are happening in our community. Our readers are a highly engaged community of influencers, entrepreneurs, and creators. Many have started their own companies and initiatives; while others are leading conversations and cultural movements.

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T&J: What’s the most recent important topic discussed?

Blavity: Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest is an important topic being discussed recently. The conversations surrounding his protest, which other athletes are now joining, confronts notions of constitutional rights and an athlete’s role in activism/social movements.

T&J: What separates you from other media companies?

Blavity: Blavity is about bringing people together and building community. There is a unique and authentic voice. We are consistently thinking about how to tell a story that is unique to that platform, that drives culture forward, that is engaging. We’ve focused getting to know our audience and deepening those relationships.  Part of knowing our audience is knowing where to find them. Blavity is shaking things up by thinking about digital first. Reaching our audience on Instagram, Twitter, or in their inboxes.

T&J: Your voice is so important, can anyone submit an article or do you have dedicated writers?

Blavity: Blavity has an open submission platform where members of the community can submit to share their experiences and opinions. We also have a dedicated editorial team that stays highly engaged in current conversations and aims to drive culture forward.  

T&J: Since we love fashion and style, who are some inspirational favorite designers/models of yours?

Blavity: We have had the pleasure of featuring and discussing some amazing designers and models who are challenging convention and creating fresh new looks. To name a few: Solange, Zendaya, Willow & Jaden Smith.

T&J: What’s your favorite T&J Designs item?

Blavity: We love T&J Designs’ killer style. One Blavity favorite is the Miss Boss shirt. Women are killing the game right now and we are claiming our successes.

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Mrs. Boss Tee | Gunmetal Candy Necklace

T&J: What key message do you want to give out to our customers/readers?

Blavity: Your moment is right now. If you’ve been researching and thinking and plotting…just start!  

We decided that for Blavity to understand who WE are as a company, we sent them our favorite T&J Designs pieces, that they rocked so eloquently! Here are a couple snapshots of Blavity team members rocking our stuff:

 

unspecified-8You Had Me at Merlot Tee | Miss Boss Tee | Brown Double Layer Pom Pom Necklace

unspecified-9Pop the Champagne Black and Gold Glitter Tee

unspecified-7Champagne Luxe Wing Earrings

unspecified-6Modern Black Marbled Stone Choker

unspecified-5Four Strand Gray Metallic Bead Choker

unspecified-3Turquoise Triple Layer Pom Pom Necklace

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Turquoise Beaded Tassel Earrings

 

Fab Feature: The Wandeleur

We’re so excited to feature the ultra-cool lifestyle and inspirational website the Wandeleur, as well as the lovely ladies behind it. This site (if you don’t know already) is a serious source for inspiration and creativity. Along with highlights of exceptional individuals AKA “Wandeleurs”, they feature highlights on travel, beauty, home decor, recipes, practical tips/tricks and overall how to tap into your authentic creative lifestyle. We spoke with Emily, one of the founders, and she is sharing some insight into what inspired the 3 ladies to start Wandeleur and what inspires them day to day. Check it out, as well as a few of the photos they shot for our Sequin Soiree Holiday Lookbook, below!

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T+J: Why did you start Wandeleur?
W: Maya, Blair and I started the site because we wanted to create a place that channeled creativity to the core. We believe that everyone – from painters to accountants — is creative in their own way. Our site highlights and ignites this.

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T+J: What is Wandeleur? Was it inspired by the work bloggers do?
W: Wandeleur is a creative lifestyle website where we highlight individuals that we admire and share stories that ignite an imaginative lifestyle. The stories we feature range from photography guides, to beauty routines, to interior design ideas. Ultimately, we aim to be a daily destination for those who aspire & inspire – a place where you always walk away inspired to live a more colorful life.

It certainly was inspired by the blogging community, since we’re all bloggers ourselves, but we aim for the site to expand far beyond anyone who is a blogger. We intentionally keep our content varied because we believe people are versatile, and that inspiration can be found in so many different forms.

Creative people and ideas are the heart of the site, and we’re so proud to be a part of something that helps to highlight and celebrate that mindset. If we inspire even one person every day, we consider that a success.

T+J: What is your favorite post you’ve done so far?
W: We did a post called “When Interior Design Meets Fashion” that we just adore. It’s still one of our favorites, because the photography is so unique and fun!

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T+J: What inspires you on a daily basis?
W: Like the core of the site, our co-founders find inspiration anywhere and everywhere! On a personal level that of course is different depending on who you ask. Emily is most inspired by music, Maya is most inspired by other creative women, and Blair is most inspired by travel.

As a site, however, we’re inspired by other lifestyle websites that have become successful. Sites like Refinery29 are places we visit daily for inspiration and we admire the success that they’ve had!

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T+J: On days when you can’t find inspiration, what do you do?
W: Read as much as possible. Surf the internet for inspiration. Or, sometimes even go offline. We’ve found that when you’re feeling uninspired, you just need to take a breather, and take in the world around you. Good things happen when you allow yourself to think.

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T+J: How do you want to grow Wandeleur in the next coming years?
W: We’d love for Wandeleur to become a top lifestyle blog in the US! In just 6 months, we’ve seen so much growth, and we’re absolutely encouraged by all the amazing feedback and engagement that we’ve received.  We have no doubt that if we keep focusing on quality content, that it’ll keep growing!

Special thanks to the lovely ladies of Wandeleur for taking the time to share their story with us and Donna Hall for letting us shoot in her beautiful home! Stay tuned for more Fab Features coming soon.

Fab Feature: Shai from Drunk on Shoes

Another segment of our Fab Features series is here and we’re so happy to put the spotlight on Shai from fashion & lifestyle blog Drunk on Shoes. This girl is talented, down to earth and has seriously enviable style. Get to know her better by reading her interview below, see how she styles some of our favorite new items from t+j Designs and be sure to check out her blog and instagram for endless style inspiration & laughs (she’s got a sense of humor that’s contagious).
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T+J: Tell us a brief summary about yourself and what you do
Shai: Hi t&j lovers!  My name is Shai and I am the crazy brains behind drunkonshoes.com.  I’m just your typical corporate tax gal serving up my personal style on the side and living life in the most hectic but enjoyable way.  I live in Chicago in the West Town neighborhood with my two favorite dudes, my hubby and my pup.  Most days you will find me buried in tax work while trying to fit in blog shoots and city exploring.  It’s been one of the biggest challenges of my life to juggle both but I think if I wasn’t busy or stressed in some way, I would be completely bored out of my mind.  I absolutely love meeting new people and it has been the best outcome of my blog to meet other creatives and like-minded individuals who keep me inspired to push forward on this little project of mine.  I am obviously Instagram obsessed as it is the fastest way for me to put out my photos and connect with people from all over.  Most recently I have found a deep love for SnapChat (drunkonshoes) and I love hearing from my followers personally as they see parts of my real life that sometimes doesn’t show on the blog or my IG.  I hope you all follow me and enjoy my work!

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T+J: Why did you start your blog? and When?

Shai: I started my blog back in 2011 as a creative outlet away from my corporate life.  I wouldn’t say I am the most fashionable person but I know what looks good on me and I thought it would be fun to start a blog about my personal style.  I also love writing about my experiences and rambling about whatever is on my mind, although it’s been harder and harder to find the time to do that.  I don’t really take myself so seriously so I like to make fun of myself in my content.  Yes, most of the time I am fully aware that I am completely ridiculous.  Currently I am really enjoying playing around behind the camera instead of in front of it.  I love photography and I am always pushing for creative shots and different perspectives.  I started playing around with shooting some of my fellow fashionistas at NYFW and I had so much fun.  I hope to do more of that in the future so you can catch my photos on other IG accounts.  Woop!
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T+J: What are top 3 style tips on getting dressed in the morning?
Shai: I like to think about my schedule first and what I will be doing throughout the day.  That usually dictates the height of heel I am able to withstand.  Ha!  Contrary to what you may think, the shoes are usually the last thing I think of when I put together my outfit.  This is probably because I have so many that I’m almost certain I have something to go with any outfit I can dream of.  My advice would be to start with one key piece you really want to wear and build from there.  And since I am so NOT a morning person, I try to think of my outfits the night before so it’s less time in the morning just staring at my closet.
T+J: If you could have anyone’s closet who would it be (or who is your style icon)?
Shai: Nicole Richie for sure!  She is really adventurous but whatever she wears always looks amazing.  She experiments a lot with her hair styles which I find so awesome.  I just absolutely love how eclectic her style can be.  She’s really grown into an amazing style icon.
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Brand new rings from our Fall collection
T+J: What do you love about blogging and what do you not love?
Shai: Like I mentioned, I love meeting people.  Especially if it’s someone I follow myself.  I love getting to know them in real life and hearing about their creative process and what inspires them to do what they do.  Other people inspire me so much and each one comes with such interesting perspectives and it really opens up my mind to new ideas.  I especially love meeting the people behind the camera because I love photography!  I can sit for hours and chat with someone about their shots and picking their brain about different techniques that I could apply to my own photography.  Sure my husband takes the photos but I’m the one working on post editing.  Fixing lighting and contrasts and playing around with different aesthetics is really fun for me but also really time consuming.  I put a lot of work into my photos and my posts and I love exploring different shots and angles.  I actually follow a lot of photographers on Instagram as a way to keep my creative juices flowing.
Which kind of brings me to what I don’t love about blogging these days.  With such a saturated market, I find that most fashion bloggers are no longer motivated to be overly creative.  It’s all about pushing content and product, which I totally understand, but there is no adventure.  I also feel like there is a lack of transparency and honesty out there.  Sometimes you can follow a blogger for a year and yet not really know who they are.  They come off with no scars or flaws and that’s just not real to me.  As bloggers, we should aim to connect with people and not just push product, and to do that we need to show who we are.  The photos might be edited but we shouldn’t edit the messages we want to send out.  Don’t edit your personality or your life so much that it becomes a fantasy world that your audience can’t relate to.  I enjoy blogs that inspire me either with imagery or content that is thoughtful, different, and entertaining.  I appreciate blogs that challenge me and push me in my own work and I truly appreciate brands that allow an open creative process because really that’s why I started blogging in the first place.  I want my followers to know that my life is not perfect.  And though the imagery might look pretty, I have struggles just like anyone else and that I am still a real person with flaws, and yes.. a huge potty mouth.  Sometimes in this blogging world where you start to feel like you are replaceable, it is really hard to remember to see past the numbers and dollar signs and to keep it real.
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Special thanks to Shai for taking the time to share a bit of her story and her refreshing view on the blogging industry.  She is also a local Chicago gal and we love her style, smarts, and smile! Stay tuned for more Fab Features coming soon!

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