Meet Bianca Jade - Founder of Mizzfit.com, TV Host & Social Media Influencer
Before I started BEHIND the BRAND, I created a list of people I'd like to interview. Everyone I could think of was on that list. But, there were a few people that were on the "I'd love to interview them, but don't think that will happen" list. People who I look up to and/or are very popular who wouldn't take time to answer my questions. Like, who am I? I'm just a little blogger trying to make it in a sea of bloggers. But every once in a while I put on my big girl panties and force myself to hit that "Send" button and pray for the best.
Bianca Jade was definitely on that list so I'm beyond happy she agreed to share her BEHIND the BRAND story of how being laid off was an opportunity in disguise that helped create the first fitness and fashion blog!
Name & Role
Founder of Mizzfit.com, Health & Wellness TV host and social media influencer in fitness.
You're the founder of Mizzfit.com, TV host & a fitness trend expert, how did to where you are right now?
To be perfectly honest, I got laid off from my job in advertising. I was a creative art director at one of the top advertising agencies in the country living in New York City. I lost my job during the 2007 recession, got really depressed and the gym/my workouts were the only thing that stayed constant in my life…and that brought me happiness during this tough time. So I started one of the first blogs in the world dedicated to FITNESS FASHION & TRENDS at a time when the bubble of fitness fashion was just starting to form but had not yet burst into what it is now. I never intended my blog Mizzfit.com to blow up and become my next career path but it did. And before I knew it, there I was on the Today Show putting together a fitness fashion show for Kathie Lee and Hoda. That’s when I knew I had something.
You created the Bianca Jade Quarterly subscription box as subscription boxes were taking off. What inspired you to create the box and what was the initial creation process like?
I read about a company called Quarterly Co., who was doing innovative things in the space of subscription mailings. I thought it sounded cool and thought to myself that it would be a great way to bring the things I was blogging and reporting on straight to the doorsteps of my followers and other health & fitness fanatics.
Quarterly loved the idea and brought me into their curator family very early in the game. I absolutely love working with them. They are the most elite of subscription box companies and every box we work on together takes about 3 months to design. The hardest part of designing a box is convincing the brands I love that they should be inside. A lot of companies don’t understand the concept of subscription mailings and how influential they are in creating long standing relationships with new consumers. Putting the boxes together, on the other hand, is easy. Everything that goes inside is a trend I’m head over heels in love with, and believe will help my subscribers live healthier.
What are some of the challenges of growing and promoting your subscription box?
The biggest challenge is that people don’t subscribe to your box forever, and I wouldn’t expect them to. So I always have to be promoting and reaching out to new people beyond my loyal following. It’s a lot of work, especially when I’m in deep in the design process. I’ve definitely gone through waves when we’ve lost a lot of subscribers and that’s always tough…it’s just part of the business.
Can you speak briefly about the importance of relationship building as it relates to the brands featured in your boxes?
Relationships are EVERYTHING if you work in social media or the blogosphere. But when you start curating a subscription box or launch a subbox company on your own, you learn really fast that you need to have lots of relationships so you actually have stuff to put inside these boxes…that subscribers will actually enjoy! These relationships involve lots of negotiating and "you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of stuff. Because people don’t just hand you product for free! You’ve got to show brands why the box relationship is valuable and beyond that, why your relationship with your followers is good for business.
On the flip side, I only work with brands that appreciate my audience. If they don’t understand the needs and desires of my subscribers, I know the relationship isn’t worth cultivating.
What's been your biggest success thus far?
My biggest success is that I went from writing commercials about the unhealthiest products EVER to starting my own business where I get to be the boss and only choose the healthiest products and services to promote to my followers. Being paid to write B.S. about foods that clog your arteries and contribute to child obesity was a weight I carried on my shoulders in my 20’s. I only work with wellness brands now…and that feels amazing!
Conversely, biggest failure?
My biggest failure is that I let someone redesign my website a few years ago that destroyed all my SEO by creating a brand new site with new page links. It destroyed all my hard earned search ability and traction online, taking me off the grid for a while. That was a mistake on my part because I didn’t know enough about web development or preserving SEO that you’ve built up through the years. Since then, I’ve learned a lot and continue to educate myself.
Top three things you wish you knew when you first started
1. It’s going to be really hard.
2. You will give up much of your personal life.
3. You never clock out for the day when it’s your own business.
But I’m glad I didn’t know these things back then because then I wouldn’t be here. Running a business that presents you with challenges every day (like, how am I going to pay all these bills?) helps you get through life’s even bigger challenges. I’m always problem solving, and I now consider this one of my greatest skills.
So, no regrets.
Top three tools/apps/tech you can't live without
A pen and a piece of paper. That’s where ideas start. I sketch everything out before I dive into creating content. I don’t touch my camera, lighting equipment, or even open up my computer until I can sketch something out worth doing. I’m old school like that. Oh yeah, and maybe my hard drives. I have a ton. They have all my work saved on them. At any given time, I’ll have 3 hard drives in my purse. People are always wondering why my bag is so heavy!
What advice would you give to aspiring fitness/lifestyle entrepreneurs?
The same advice I always give. Stand out by creating something different that no one else has built yet.
Who's your professional crush & why?
Robin Meade. Just watch her on HLN. She’s amazing. Who wouldn’t have a crush on her? She’s been my professional crush for years and it would be a dream to have the chance to meet her.
You've had great success in recent years, so what's next for you?
My next step is to be full-time hosting digitally or on television. It’s something I’ve been moving into for the last 2.5 years and which I’m very passionate about. I have a lot to say about products and services I test and review. Too many words to fit into blog posts! So it’s better for me to just speak them :) Plus, I love being in front of the camera and producing video content. It stems from my background in advertising when I was writing and producing commercials. I feel I’m very close to realizing this next step in my career. I’ve been working really hard to get there.
Extra credit: Who or what inspires you?
The people who support me inspire me. From my loved ones who put up with my non-stop social media-ing and posting, to my creative team and videographers, to my hosting coaches and my publicist/manager Shana Scala who has become a confidant in all aspects of my business and life. I believe you are a reflection of the people you surround yourself with…and I’m lucky to be in the company of some good ones. I could not do the work I do without them.
What's not to love about Bianca's story?! As someone who's just getting started in this industry, stories like this are just what I need to keep pushing and pursuing my goals.
What's your takeaway from Bianca's story? Share in the comments below!