<!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–> <!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 10]> <! /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:”"; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; –> <!–[endif] –> Mattie James is founder of Mattieologie LLC (Image: Mattieologie.com) Blog: Mattieologie.com Niche: Women’s Fashion/Style Founder: Mattie James Twitter: @mattieologie <!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–> Atlanta-based blogger Mattie James is going to let you in on a little blogging secret: Being yourself is what makes you a mainstay in today’s blogosphere. Sounds simple, but with a booming industry, and the pressure to yield month-over-month traffic growth, that ideology can become lost in a sea of voices. The 29-year-old go-getter quickly discovered early on that she had to stay true to her vision, trading the celebrity style roundups and cookie-cutter fashion blog format for one that chronicled her personal style. Hence, Mattieologie.com was born. “It’s very unapologetically Mattie,” says James, who started the blog in 2008, but re-dedicated herself to the digital venture in January 2010, a year after she was crowned Miss Liberia USA. Out the gate, the first generation Liberian American has had business on her mind, establishing Mattieologie LLC—the parent company of Mattieologie.com, Atlanta Style Bloggers, a conglomerate of fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers, and Style Bloggers of Color, a conference designed to unite style bloggers of all hues to discuss maximizing social media and digital content, as well as securing brand opportunities, among other things. James’ dedication to embracing one’s individual style has led the petite fashionista to be recognized by Atlanta, GO and Southern Living magazines and web destinations like Essence.com, NYTimes.com and Jezebel.com, as well as the Independent Fashion Bloggers network. And it’s not just James’ readers checking for her, brands are too; she’s worked with American Express, Club Monaco, Cotton, Sunglass Hut and Madewell, as well as other big names. As part of Black Blogger Month, the young boss tells BlackEnterprise.com how she’s been able to build her booming brand in less than five years. I started blogging… As a hobby in 2008. Then I blogged very, very sporadically about the silliest things—whether I liked somebody’s Fresh Prince of Bel-Air T-shirt, or I really enjoyed somebody’s collection. I ended up doing that, but when I got serious about blogging, which would probably be in the very beginning of January 2010; it was really because I ended up winning Miss Liberia USA in 2009. The overhead for running your blog is… It started out very, very minimal—$12.99 to get the domain from GoDaddy. Honestly, ‘til this day, I still just buy it a year at a time. Once you add tax, it was like $13 and some change. I had a membership for WireImage, which couldn’t have been more than 20 bucks a month. I was probably coming out of pocket 50 bucks a month. It was the bare minimum. I would say now I take pictures of myself, somebody takes pictures of me, so I purchased a SLR—and that was close to like $1,000 once I purchased the camera and the lens. But that’s really it. I think my only cost was really like my laptop, my camera and, again, on an annual basis, that $12.99 that I give GoDaddy. Mattieologie stands out because… I’m not a celebrity. I’m a regular girl who enjoys style. While I do understand designers like Celine, Lanvin, or Versace, I shop at a Target, or a Zara, or an H&M and I think that’s what makes me relatable. Being in a market like Atlanta, I think also helps me out a lot. New York and LA are obviously like the top markets, but very, very easily saturated; so if you’re not at the top of the game, you kind of get lost in the shuffle. I think I’ve worked really hard to not only be the best blogger that I can be, but be a representative of where I live and the culture that I live in and that I’m a part of. It’s very unapologetically me. Once I started blogging about my personal style, I Mattie-fied everything—from Mattie Muse to Mattie Makeup, just to kind of say this is how I do it and, hopefully, I encourage you to find the way you do it and do it well. I really want everyone to find their own ‘ology,’ that’s kind of like the DNA of who you are. People trust my brand because… There’s a humanizing factor to Mattieologie. I’m not trying to be somebody I’m not. I’m really on the same playing field as everybody. Click here to read more… <!–nextpage–> (Image: Mattieologie) My biggest influences are… My parents. I think my mother did a really good job of making me see that you can indeed have it all. She was a Mary Kay consultant when I was growing up, so she really was like this entrepreneur, this wife and this mother, and I can’t name a time when my mom has missed anything that I’ve been a part of, whether it was a pageant or a dance recital. My dad as well. I’m first American generation in a Liberian family and, pretty much, my parents moved to this country because my dad got a full-ride [scholarship] to Ohio State. They started out in this like 400-square foot efficiency and by the time I graduated high school, we were living in a five-bedroom house, so they’re literally the American dream. They really instilled that in me at a young age, just by example. Not even necessarily by anything they said, just watching them. In terms of blogging, absolutely, Claire [Sulmers]. People like Claire from Fashion Bomb Daily, Parice [Yursik] from Afrobella. Not only are they inspirational, and I’ve gotten a chance to meet the both of them, but they were the first ones that had gotten really big endorsement deals as Black bloggers. Networking in the digital space is important because… No man is an island, and that means on the Internet as well. You want people to support you, and then also you want support. It’s full circle so that way when you do have things like conferences, or you do a big brand campaign, those types of people—meaning fellow bloggers—can come in and support you and then their audience can follow you. The biggest mistake you ever made in business was… Underestimating my value. I’ve been a part of a few blogger campaigns and brand campaigns that they’ve asked me to join in as a style blogger. Maybe because I’m in a smaller market, or for whatever reason, I’ve just underestimated myself and then when I calculate the number that I’ve asked for…in certain instances, I’ve downplayed myself and I certainly don’t plan on doing that in the future now that I’ve worked with other bloggers who are in different markets and from different demos. Obviously, if we’re all on the same campaign, I’m just as worthy as you. If not, then they wouldn’t be asking me. The biggest lesson I’ve learned about branding in the digital space is… Being consistent. One of my favorite sayings, because it’s so true, is ‘content is king, consistency is queen.’ Next on the horizon for me is… In the fall, I’m launching two new sites: HauteAfricana and TheCurlNextDoor. 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.
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