Meet Lorena and Sakura – the brains behind The Bloguettes. The girls first met each other at a business dinner, and it just so happened that they were attending the very same leadership meeting that weekend. From there, their friendship blossomed, and a lightbulb went off. With both of them having a background in online and business, they could start their own venture together, helping others grow their brand into what they really want it to be.
And so that’s exactly what they did. They started by holding workshops to help women struggling with the difficulties of branding, but now, their brand has grown into a full-blown creative agency split into two parts: Wela Creative and Stock That Rocks. They hold a brand’s hand and help them go from nothing, to everything.
We spent a day with co-founders Lorena and Sakura at the Hotel Adeline in Arizona learning all about their creativity, their brand strategy and how they continuously strive for success…
“We started with the idea of empowering people through education, but now we’re continuing to empower people in a different way, holding their hand while they build their business.” – The Bloguettes
Taylor Magazine: Tell us about The Bloguettes and how it came to be.
The Bloguettes: The Bloguettes started almost five years ago, and the whole idea came from noticing that there were a lot of people who wanted to have an online presence, but were finding it difficult to stand out. People were finding it hard to catch the essence of what branding really was, having a social media strategy, and putting all of these things together. We started by creating a workshop, where we taught people about: branding, social media, blogging and content creation. In those three days, we also did a bit of graphic design. We’d teach people how to use Photoshop and effectively empower them on how to take control of their business. There were a lot of small business owners, influencers and bloggers who were relying on a lot of people because they didn’t know what to do. So, the objective of the workshop was for them to get a basic understanding, and even if they didn’t want to do these things themselves, at least they would understand all of the things that needed to be done to create strong branding and online presence.
We had four workshops in Arizona before we ventured out to other cities, pretty much every major city over four years. Every workshop was sold out, and we had around 30-40 people and that’s kind of how our name grew. We grew because of social media and these workshops and how they looked. We ended our last workshop in May 2017 in Nashville and decided to change our business model slightly. On the face of it, we were doing workshops, but behind the scenes we were doing branding for businesses. We were helping them with their brand strategy and just knew that it was a way we could really sell our business. We were both becoming so busy and had to stay home for various reasons, so we changed our business to a creative agency that helps small to medium sized businesses create their brand – we help with their name, website, brand photography, social media strategy and all of these sorts of things!
We started with the idea of empowering people through education, but now we’re continuing to empower people in a different way, holding their hand while they build their business.
Taylor Magazine: Amazing! How did you guys meet and come together? When did you realise that working together would be a great way to start the business?
The Bloguettes: We met at a random business dinner in 2012 or 2013 (we can’t remember!) That Saturday and Sunday we just so happened to be signed up to the same leadership retreat, which brought us really close. We both found that we had the same interests, we love entrepreneurship and we built a friendship out of that. We’d meet up all the time for coffee, lunch, dinner and talk all about business and what’s going on in marketing. Our friendship grew because of our mutual love of entrepreneurship and the online world. We quickly realised that we wanted to work together and had both learnt so much from our separate internet businesses and thought, well why don’t we teach other women what we’ve learnt. And The Bloguettes workshops began!
Taylor Magazine: Now, you have a team of people that work for you. At what point did you realise that this was going to be a lot bigger than just a side project?
The Bloguettes: Probably the first workshop – we thought, wow, a group of women (and my husband!) were there. We just thought how amazing it was that they gave us a chance, and when we saw the transformation that happened on those two days, we just knew that our idea was going to work. I mean, we made a million mistakes at the beginning, but we knew that people liked what we were doing and that gave us the confidence to continue and work hard with it.
Taylor Magazine: And did you think that this would be something that you would go into when you were younger?
The Bloguettes: No way! We always wanted to be involved in business, but neither of us really wanted to be an entrepreneur. We just wanted to do what we love – be creative, but we never thought it would be in this type of way!
Taylor Magazine: What is your favourite thing about what you do and your business in general?
The Bloguettes: There are soooo many! One of the most amazing things, and this will sound so cliché but it genuinely is true, is when we can help people. When someone walks through the door and has no idea what to do, and we can actually help them with what they’re struggling with; it’s amazing. Seeing them watch their dreams turn into reality for the first time is incredible. A lot of people come in here and their expertise aren’t in branding at all – when they come to us. They realise that branding is really important and we listen to their story and create a brand that truly represents who they are, it’s so exciting! From there, being able to see all of that on printed merchandise, or labels, or whatever it may be, is super fun.
“When someone walks through the door and has no idea what to do, and we can actually help them with what they’re struggling with; it’s amazing. Seeing them watch their dreams turn into reality for the first time is incredible.” – The Bloguettes.
Taylor Magazine: What challenges did you face when you initially started up?
The Bloguettes: As a small and growing business, one of our biggest challenges was, and still is, finding the right people. We’re a great team, but it’s difficult to find the right people for the right job, and it’s also impossible to grow without the right team. That’s been a challenge for sure – but as we grow as a business and as entrepreneurs, finding a team that you can rely on is key, but also challenging. Because of that, our time can sometimes be spent on the day-to-day when maybe we need to be looking at the bigger picture. That’s probably a lot of business owner’s problems though – it comes with the job!
Taylor Magazine: Social media has been really useful for you guys – that’s how we found you! How have you found social media as a tool for your business, and what would you say is the most positive thing about social media in your experience?
The Bloguettes: Social media is great because it allows people who don’t have large financial capability, access to a huge network of different people. It’s been instrumental for us to grow our company – we didn’t have money for anything at the beginning. We had ourselves and social media. It’s an incredible tool to be able to represent your brand. If it’s done right, it can do wonders for you and your brand, even when you’re sleeping! It’s all about putting the right presence out there and for us, a big part of why our company grew, was absolutely because of Instagram.
Taylor Magazine: For sure – If someone came to you to start a business or project, what is the one key piece of advice you would give them?
The Bloguettes: Perseverance. Starting your own idea and following your dream is a road that is full of ups and downs. Don’t quit, and if you have a dream, you can definitely achieve it. You can be a big dreamer, as long as you work hard and keep going. A lot of people quit at the first hurdle, but if you believe in something, keep at it. You have to be passionate about it in order for you to keep going.
Also, know your strengths and weaknesses – sometimes wanting to do everything by yourself is not the best use of your time. If you’re able to delegate tasks and you know your strengths and weaknesses, that will actually help you in the long run and help you grow. You are the success behind your company, but you can also be the detriment too.
“Starting your own idea and following your dream is a road that is full of ups and downs. Don’t quit, and if you have a dream, you can definitely achieve it. You can be a big dreamer, as long as you work hard and keep going. A lot of people quit at the first hurdle, but if you believe in something, keep at it.” – The Bloguettes
Taylor Magazine: It’s interesting as well, because when it’s your own business it can be really difficult to switch off. How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
The Bloguettes: Lorena becoming a mum has definitely been a challenge for her to maintain that work/life balance, but we’ve accepted that there is no such thing as a work/life balance, and we’re ok with that! There are priorities in life and just accepting those is important – be nice to yourself, and be ok with working a little longer on a Saturday if need be. There are so many people obsessing about it but just cut yourself some slack, be patient with yourself and don’t work towards perfection, work because you want to work for you.
It’s all up to you – when we first started, we worked all day, all night, over the weekend, but to maintain somewhat of a balance, you have to know when to stop. If you didn’t quite get to a task on Friday, it’s fine, you can get to it on Monday. We don’t bother each other about work 24/7 over the weekend, and that’s helped us maintain a balance. It’s so important as well when you’re working with a business partner that you respect them – if one is constantly on the go working, the other one will feel bad. We’ve established an amazing balance between us, and we’re not too hard on ourselves.
Taylor Magazine: Every day must be different and varied, but talk us through an average day for you.
The Bloguettes: We both have completely different routines, but for me (Lorena), I wake up around 4am (I’m a mum and wife, so this is quiet time for me!) I clear my thoughts, reply to emails, work on tasks, because as soon as I get to the office, it’s meeting after meeting. At the office, it’s client meetings, team meetings and the day really flies by! It’s super collaborative, and our team have recently decided to work one day from home. Sakura has her own schedule, but it’s pretty similar! Maybe not 4am, but definitely 5:30am! Pretty much throughout our day, we’re in meetings which can be productive, but also unproductive! This is why we have to get up early to get things done.
Taylor Magazine: Your business model is incredible, and it’s fascinating to watch you guys grow. What is your plan for The Bloguettes over the next few years?
The Bloguettes: We want to continue to grow our creativity, and that part of the business, take on bigger projects, work with brands that are making a big impact. We’re going to be more selective on who we work with, and focus more on working on projects we are also extremely passionate about and ones that we can really make a difference with.
Taylor Magazine: We’re all about self-care and taking time to look after yourself. What is your favourite thing to do when you’ve had a really busy or stressful day?
The Bloguettes: Watching a TV show that doesn’t use our brain! It’s so nice to switch off that way. Social media is a massive part of our company, but it’s the last thing we want to do when we come home from work… primarily it’s work for us. We like to work out, and spend time with family and friends. Being at home is such an amazing way to de-stress. Finding a quiet place, and not hearing things is also good – whether that’s a yoga class, or just being in silence, helps so much.
Taylor Magazine: Who are you inspired by, and who do you look up to to gain motivation?
The Bloguettes: My biggest inspiration would be my Dad. He’s always been an amazing example of achieving balance and I’ve always been surrounded by that. He’s always worked hard, but has always been compassionate and been there for people, so he’s definitely my biggest inspiration. (Lorena)
Mine is definitely my Mum. She’s always been a dreamer and was a full-time working mum, but had her passion project on the side, and I always admired her for that. I’ve always wanted to achieve what she did in that way. (Sakura)
Taylor Magazine: Where is your favourite Arizona hang-out?
The Bloguettes: I have to be biased here… probably my boyfriend’s new business place, called The Churchill. It’s a cool hangout with restaurants, bars and shops. It’s so fun to see lots of different types of people hanging out. (Sakura)
Taylor Magazine: What do you guys like to do in your spare time?
The Bloguettes: If I have any spare or extra time to spend, I’ll most definitely be with my family. In the free time I have, I want to spend it with my husband and my son. That’s where my happiness is! If not spending time with family, learning and reading is my favourite thing to do. (Lorena)
And for me, I truly love photography. Whether it’s capturing brunch with my boyfriend, or a mini road-trip, creating content is my favourite thing to do. Any free time that I have, I’ll take lots of photos! (Sakura)