Dazey Lady Feature: Chelsea of Bossladies Magazine
I first discovered Bossladies Magazine in a stationary shop. The soft pink cover and Bossladies title instantly got me! I had only recently started Dazey and was obsessed with learning more about entrepreneurship from a female perspective, and still am! I happily bought my first copy and haven’t stopped since. They are designed more like keepsake coffee table books and are now all proudly displayed at our Biz Babez office. Each magazine comes out quarterly and the Bossladies boss, Chelsea, curates the most inspiring group of women located in the city she’s highlighting. As a writer she really knows how to ask the right questions to get authentic and real stories behind the amazing women she features. Her and the Bossladies team shoot each woman and really spend the time to tell their story and do it justice. Everything about this brand is thoughtful and heartfelt, which is why I love it so much!
I began following Bossladies on Instagram and that’s when I first saw Chelsea’s stories. She is very much the face of her brand and exudes the same warmth and authenticity as her magazine. I began to follow her journey and saw she kept talking about this Work Sesh, her monthly boss meet up held at new gorgeous locations around town. I was so curious and as soon as we began to put together our Biz Babez office I instantly thought to reach out to Chelsea. We chatted about collaborating since both of our brands are so in line. During our first few months of Biz Babez Chelsea said she had a few friends attend events at the space and told her she had to host a Work Sesh there. During the month of January we were so excited to actually make that happen! We met so many rad women and had a great time. I also took the opportunity to snap some photos and interview Chelsea while we were under the same roof! As a woman who has personally impacted my business I’m beyond stoked to feature her. Below is the full feature, Q & A, photoshoot, and some snaps taken at her Biz Babez Work Sesh!
Before Bossladies was a twinkle in your eye what did you do?
I was an in-house editor for a novelist. I worked with her off and on for about five years, helping to bring her vision to life and get her stories out in the world. She was an incredible mentor to me.
What was your path to get there?
I studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Colby College, which is a small liberal arts school in Maine. There I studied creative non-fiction: travel writing, food writing, feature writing, the personal essay – and poetry. After school I moved to LA – spent some time working for a commercial real estate firm building communities on their properties, worked for the author, and started a small events business.
What inspired you to start Bossladies?
At some point it became clear to me that I’d like to start my own business, so I began studying other women entrepreneurs. I had no shortage of role models; Los Angeles is full of ambitious women. I followed their businesses closely on Instagram and came to realize two things:
1) The most successful creative women in LA all seemed to be best friends, and they all supported each other.
2) They all got lots of press in lifestyle publications -- but not in business publications. They were revered for their style and their aesthetic, but no one was recognizing them for the businesswomen they were. I set out to do two things: create a community of entrepreneurs that any woman could join and design a business-focused publication that showcased the women I admired.
I know you had originally started with a Kickstarter. How did that go? Would you recommend it to someone interested in getting a project off of the ground?
Kickstarter was an incredible platform for us. It allowed us to test the market before we launched the magazine. (We discovered that women were hungry for a business-centric publication.) And it was a great tool for spreading the word about the project. I would certainly recommend it for anyone creating a tangible product that takes capital to produce.
How do you go about finding the right women to feature and getting them on board? What’s the process involved in a feature?
Curating the group of women we feature is one of my favorite parts of my job. It requires a lot of research, following my curiosities down the Instagram rabbit hole, and asking friends which women they find inspiring. We have a series of guidelines that govern the types of businesses we feature; for example, we like to feature sustainable, ethical businesses that are rethinking their industry and using design to drive innovation. My team and I travel to our featured city and spend about two weeks interviewing and photographing each woman.
So on top of Bossladies being a gorgeous female-driven magazine, it’s also a monthly gathering called Work Sesh. Why don’t you tell us all about that!
Work Sesh is a weekly event series that we host here in LA. We gather with 30 other women entrepreneurs for a morning of relationship building, resource sharing, and support. It’s my favorite thing in the world. I love the way women share their hearts with one another and show up to support each other.
How do these two entities work together under the Bossladies umbrella? Was this a part of your original plan or something that came about after?
Bossladies as a company is focused on providing inspiration, education, and community for women entrepreneurs globally, so the magazine and Work Sesh nestle really nicely under that driving mission.
Bossladies recently underwent a big branding change, and you were very transparent about your thoughts and struggles with it. What was your thought process on the rebranding and future image of Bossladies?
The rebranding was such a fun process for me because it forced me to really interrogate what the brand represents, who it is for, and what I want it to feel like. I’m really happy with where we landed. I think our new visuals communicate the strength, elegance, maturity, vulnerability, and intimacy that are central to the brand.
Right now I’m exploring ways to allow the brand to continue evolving but to give it certain parameters, so it feels contained. I think that brands can (and maybe should) evolve as quickly as their founders and creative directors do; otherwise things can feel stale. But you also need certain elements of the brand to remain constant and create a visual home for the brand.
You are always active on Instagram Story and very much the face of your brand. How has this benefitted your business? Are there struggles that come with it?
Instagram Stories have been an incredible tool for sharing more of the behind the scenes moments of running the business and creating space for ongoing conversations with our community. One of the trickiest things about being so forward-facing in that space is that it requires being really open and vulnerable with thousands of people, and, of course, there are moments when you crave a bit more privacy and yearn to keep more of your life sacred. I tend to give
myself permission to share everything or nothing depending on how I’m feeling in the moment.
What’s in store for Bossladies future? In both the not so distant future and beyond!
So many things! Our San Francisco issue will release May 2018. This will be the first issue that has full chapters on each of our featured women, and we’re doing some innovative and beautiful things with book design.
Events-wise, we’ll continue to strengthen and nourish our Work Sesh community. And we’ll host our first annual conference this autumn. The conference will look much different than any conference we’ve ever seen, and I think it is going to be a really special experience.