Seven Years + Reader Survey

Bows & Sequins celebrating New Year's Eve!

Holy shit, you guys. Pardon my French, but this past weekend marked seven years of Bows & Sequins. SEVEN YEARS. I started this blog seven years ago, on a Thursday night in 2010 in my college apartment in Champaign, and I really can’t believe how the years have unfolded. I can remember that day like it was yesterday, but when I think about how much life has been lived in these last seven years… wow. Never in one million years did I ever think this little blog of mine would turn into my business and open all of the doors that it has over the years. It’s seriously so wild and surreal to think about! But I will say, I think it was pretty symbolic that I got the idea to start this blog on 11-11… and that the blog turned 1 on 11-11-11. Kind of crazy, isn’t it? (Or maybe you aren’t a weirdo like me and read into stuff like that… haha!)

I’ll go out on a limb and assume that most of you haven’t been following for the entire seven year span I’ve been blogging (pretty sure it was just my mom reading way back when), so let’s start from the beginning. November 12, 2010 was actually a Friday – thank you Google – but I’m fairly certain it was the evening of November 11th that I was ‘studying for an exam’ and got sidetracked on Stumbleupon (remember that website?!) and found a fashion blog and my interest was instantly sparked. I was amidst law school applications earlier that fall and had just decided to postpone going to law school about a month before that night in November. I was just one class away from completing my degree in Finance and Economics, and even though I had no real interest in working in either of those fields, I was not about to change my major and take a victory lap. Not to mention, my parents would have probably killed me… I could have/should have graduated a semester early, but chose to spread out my classes over my entire senior year to basically just hang out on campus. (AKA: party with my friends. I literally only had class like two or three days a week my last semester, hahaha. #OverAchiever) And then I decided I didn’t want to go to law school… If I would have called an audible and been like SURPRISE, I’m actually going to switch my major and stay in school longer, Yeah… Pretty sure I would have gotten a big, fat N-O-P-E.

My biggest “problem,” however, was that I had no effing clue what I wanted to do. One of my roommates had suggested maybe I look into buying and/or planning in the retail realm since those jobs sort of marry my interest in fashion with my degree in finance so those were the jobs I was searching for around that time seven years ago… One of my best friend’s cousins was a personal stylist and I thought her job seemed like a dream, but I definitely didn’t think I had what it took to break into that world, nor did I even know how if I wanted to. (I mean, I grew up showing cows in 4H, you guys. Not exactly fashion-forward, let me tell ya.)

So when I stumbled upon that fashion blog (quite literally), my eyes were instantly opened to this whole community that I was completely unaware of previously. Granted, the blogosphere was much, much, MUCH smaller back then. And, like, no one was doing this as a full-time job. I thought, “Hey, this could be a cool way to just show my point of view and aesthetic!” So I literally thought of the name “Bows & Sequins” within about 10 minutes and bought the domain on the spot. I had not a fucking clue what I was doing and was so completely oblivious as to what I was getting myself into.

But I was hooked! It was so much fun to read other blogs, make these online blogger friends, and connect with other like-minded people on Twitter. (No one had Instagram yet!) Good thing I only had class a few days a week my last semester, because I literally spent all of my time engrossed in this new-to-me community. (Well, minus the hours I was at work or going out with my friends.) Everything happens for a reason though, I guess!

The rest is kind of history… Through the blog, I got my first job at a styling company in Chicago after graduation. And then I moved to New York and ended up getting both the jobs I had there through my blog, too.  (I ran social media for eight beauty and fragrance brands at my first job and did brand and business development for a new jewelry brand at my last job in NYC.) In February of 2015, I took the leap to leave my job and run my blog full-time. We’re coming up on THREE YEARS of me doing this full time. Where does the time go?! It honestly feels like yesterday that I was working in my office in NYC.

Since so much has changed in my personal life since I started this blog, the content I share has shifted a lot, too! It’s never been a planned out change, I simply just write about what I’m personally interested in and see if it resonates with you, too. I started out just sharing things I liked, then I started taking photos of my outfits, and then posting about beauty when I was working with beauty brands and becoming slightly obsessed with skincare, then I started sharing more about fitness when I became hooked on working out as a therapeutic outlet in New York, and then I’ve slowly added in food, wellness, interiors, etc. But as we’re coming into a brand new year here pretty soon, I’d absolutely love to get some feedback from you!

I wouldn’t be here without you, honestly! Because of you, I’ve been able to create my own dream job, pursue my passions, be my own boss, and contribute most of my waking hours to running this little corner of the internet. I don’t say it enough, but I am forever grateful for your support! It means the world to me. But this is a two-way street…

How can I make this blog better? What do you love to see? What do you kind of hate? I’m open to any and all constructive feedback… All ears!

If you’ve got the time this weekend, I’d love for you to take a few minutes to fill out this online survey to help me plan for this coming year and future years of the blog. Help me help you, if you will. 🙂 Responses are anonymous, so please feel free to leave your honest thoughts.

I thought about tying in a giveaway to give back, but I didn’t want to hinder the responses with people wanting to increase their chances of winning. But just know that Beat the Winter Blues is going to be back and WAY bigger than last year come February! Trust.

Love you, mean it.
xx Jessica

Bows & Sequins taking photos with balloons in front of Ikram in Chicago.

Click here if you wish to take the survey!

Leave a Comment

10 Comments

  1. 11.17.17
    Elle commented:

    Congrats on 7 years Jess! Loved reading it from the start. Continue killing it lady! xo elle

  2. 11.17.17
    Tracy commented:

    I’ve been reading for about 2 years and just wanted to say Congratulations! Your style, authentic content, and cute photos keep me coming back!

  3. 11.17.17
    Emma commented:

    Congratulations on your blogaversary! thats so awesome 🙂
    emmastyleguide.blogspot.com

  4. 11.17.17
    Taylor commented:

    Congrats on 7 years! I’ve been following for a few years now and I remember being at work reading yours and Hallie’s posts about moving to Chicago – I was so genuinely excited to you both!

    You definitely are one of the best ‘Chicago’ bloggers out there and your content is always so authentic and well written.

    xo, Taylor

  5. 11.17.17
    Peppermint Dolly commented:

    Wowza! 7 Years!! Massive congratulations lady, what an achievement!!

    Rebecca
    xx
    http://www.peppermintdolly.com

  6. 11.17.17
    Sarah G. commented:

    Have been reading your blog for years and am such a fan! Thank you for always keeping it real and being true to yourself – it does not go unnoticed. I always know I can count on your blog for the best recommendations for outfits/travel/fitness, so thank you for all your amazing work!

  7. 11.18.17
    Rach commented:

    Congrats!! 7 years is an amazing accomplishment!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

  8. 11.20.17
    Gretchen commented:

    Congrats Jess! Your realness and (amazing) content continue to serve as a source of inspiration. You should be so proud of your little corner of the internet! Xo.