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Guest Post by Sonia Smith-Kang, Blogalicious 2015 Perfect Pitch III Finalist

I walked up to the stage at Blogalicious ’15 ready to pitch my butt off. I had spent numerous hours memorizing all my facts and figures about my small business, Mixed Up Clothing. I created a beautiful slide show and brought in samples of my children’s clothing line that represent cultural diversity. I felt ready!  I was given the “ok” to start my pitch.

My voice cracked immediately and I couldn’t shake it. I was nervous but I finished and waited for feedback from the judges. What they had to say wasn’t pretty…

“You had all your samples yet you never showed us any of them”, one remarked.

“You rehashed all your facts and figures which we already had as part of your application. That time could have been spent talking more about what you would do with the money”, another commented.

Needless to say I didn’t win the competition and I’m not going to lie, it sucked. I felt like a failure and I after the winner was announced, I headed back to my room as I could feel the tears welling up. I took the back way to an elevator when one of the judges caught up with me.

“Can I be honest with you”, she asked. I nodded and she told me “You needed to own your s-it!”  You went on stage shaky and rehearsed. You shared all you had accomplished: being on the Today show, The Real and other media outlets. You included celebrities that you have worked with as if to give you cred. You gave others the credit for your success and as a woman, I get it. I’m telling you this because I want you and other women to take ownership of your accomplishments and not give anyone the power. It is YOU who made your business happen. YOU got your clothes in boutiques and in the media. YOU are the story behind your brand. You failed because it wasn’t YOU who was on the stage today.



She said right now, right here, I want you to tell me why YOU left being a critical care nurse and started your kids clothing line? I opened up and shared with her my background and how my business came to be as a result of struggling to find clothes that represented my children’s mixed-race background.


(image credit: Sonia Smith-Kang)

(image credit: Sonia Smith-Kang)


“That’s it,” she yelled. Your face lights up and I see what this means to you. We couldn’t see that on stage. YOU are the brand and when folks are trying to decide whether or not to give you money, they want to get behind the person who is making things happen.

It’s been a year since I was on stage at Blogalicious ’15 and I have learned a great deal since that wonderful event. I wish the next finalists the best and would share this last bit of advice I take with me every day: if you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else? Know that you belong there, on stage and in business so own it!  Thank you to all the wonderful folks at Blogalicious who saw the need for us to get together and learn from one another. To my co-finalists: wishing them continued success. To sponsors like Wells Fargo who want to see small businesses succeed and to the judges who take the time to offer feedback to those like me who want to improve. And finally, to the judge who saw something in me and helped me find my voice.


Wells Fargo is back again at Blogalicious Weekend with the Perfect Pitch IV. Submissions are currently being accepted until Friday, October 7, 2016. More details here:

WF Perfect Pitch IV


Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!





Blog Tip: Meet Us At Blogalicious!

Okay, so one might call this a shameless plug, but truthfully, this year is the year to be at Blogalicious. Our conference, appropriately themed Content Is Life, will put you in front of speakers and digital marketers who will teach you how to create content that resonates (and sells) with your audience.

As bloggers and influencers, we see every day that “content is king”, but if you’re struggling in that area, that statement can sound pretty bland. At #Blogalicious8, our goal is to break down the importance of king-level-content, why you’re not creating it, why you should be and the best ways to do it with confidence. The best part is that we’re going to have tons of fun while bringing you the goods!




5 More Reasons to Meet Us at Blogalicious

1. You’ll receive real live training and teaching on how to be a better blogger, influencer and entrepreneur.

2. Your friends will be there! It’s always a party when Blogalicious comes to town. Come out and catch up with your “blogger boos” and make new friends along the way. Think of it as Selfie Central!

3. Your favorite mentors will be there. From Stacey Ferguson to Arsha Jones, we’re bringing you boss leaders who get results in their business from the awesome content they create. (You might even learn a thing or two about how to effectively market your content to new audiences.)

4. You’ll be in Atlanta! So many of our community lives in The A, so this will be a family reunion. But if you’ve never been or need a reason to return to the south, #Blogalicious8 is that and so much more. At the end of each day, schedule time to tour the city and view new sightings.

5. You can connect with real brands. Working with brands do two things for bloggers — 1: provides an additional stream of income and 2: curtails the content they create. At Blogalicious, you’ll have the opportunity to connect directly with some of your favorite brands and ask them questions you’ve been dying to ask. (Don’t forget to let one of them be “How can I work with you this weekend?”)

We could go on, but these 5 reasons are enough to purchase your ticket for our 2016 Blogalicious Weekend conference. (In case you haven’t, get them here.) Are there any of other reasons that you’re going to #Blogalicious8?


We can’t wait to see you there! Go Blogalicious!

We See You Being Great, Luvvie!

This post contains affiliate links, however, the opinions written below are our own.

i'm judging you we see you being great luvvie ajayi


We’re eating ALL of the jollof rice tonight in celebration of our girl Luvvie Ajayi’s launch of her debut book: I’m Judging You, which is already a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. Shonda Rhimes calls the book a “truth-riot that gives everything from hilarious lectures on bad behavior all around us,” while Issa Rae comments on Luvvie’s special way of “tapping into universal things that make us suck as people.”

I’m Judging You is the handheld version of Luvvie’s insanely popular blog, Awesomely Luvvie, but a whole lot better. It’s funny, witty, critical and makes you reconsider making terrible human mistakes. You can buy the book on Amazon right now by clicking this link.

If the book isn’t enough, grab an I’m Judging You t-shirt and mug created exclusively in partnership with Tees in the Trap.

i'm judging you we see you being great luvvie ajayi


Take it up a notch with Luvvie’s I’m Juding You and JudgeyPop pins, exclusively created with Pin Vibes LA.


i'm judging you we see you being great luvvie ajayi

We can’t wait to dig in (to the book AND the rice.) Congratulations to you, Luvvie! We’ll give you an official Blogalicious hug in Atlanta at the conference.

Purchase your copy of I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual here.

More #Blogalicious8 Speaker Announcements: Say HELLO to a Few Familiar + New Faces!

This Week’s Speaker Announcements

We’re just going to keep the announcements coming! We’re so excited to introduce a lot of new faces to the Blogalicious community and to bring back a few familiar ones.

Without further ado, we’re excited to welcome the following speakers back to Blogalicious Weekend:

Trina Small: The Baby Shopaholic



Pamela J. Booker: Koils by Nature and Black Biz Scope



Amber Wright: Talk to Amber



And say hello to the fresh crop of faces that will be in Atlanta in November:

Melissa Potter Forde: Think Big Think You



Tara Gates Anderson:



Maia Kotlus-Gates: Twitter



Lexi Felder: Lexi with the Curls



Lauren Thomas: Lauren Thomas TV



Kim McCarter: Kim


Maggy Francois: Maggy



Courtney Rhodes: The Brandista Guide 



Ashely Danyel Freeman: Don’t Die Afraid 



Adeea Rogers:



Whew! Guess what? There’s still more to come! Spread the news and tell a friend to tell a friend. Many of you asked about our online agenda, well you’re in luck – you can find it HERE! Note that it’s still a work in progress, but you’ll get a sense of the awesomeness in store.


#Blogalicious8 Sponsor News: Wells Fargo is Back with the Perfect Pitch IV!
WF Perfect Pitch IV


Calling all Small Business owners: Blogalicious and Wells Fargo are back with the fourth edition of The Perfect Pitch contest, providing the small business owners with an opportunity to pitch their business ideas in the big leagues!! Not only is the $5,000 cash prize at the end of the rainbow a major incentive,but you also receive the chance to craft a pitch, business plan summary and case study with the guidance and resources from Wells Fargo – a leader in small business investment. Feedback from the accomplished judges’ panel is icing on the cake. Think about the information and advice that you’ll be able to take back and use to better your brand.

Ok! Ok! I’m sold! What do I need to know?

We’re glad you asked :-) Here goes!

The Perfect Pitch IV
Small Business Pitch Event

Saturday, November  5th @ 10am

Pitch your business to our expert panel of judges for a chance to win $5,000

Contest Eligibility: No more than five years in business. View Official Contest Rules Here.

Submission Criteria:

  1. One-minute video introduction (published to You Tube)
  2. Business plan overview (PDF)
  3. Case study of a successful project (PDF)
  4. Headshot and bio to be provided with the submission (Hi-Res)

Submissions will be accepted via email to: and your contest entry should contain a link to the video on YouTube, a business plan, a case study,  and your bio and headshot. Please ensure consistency in naming across all files: business name_first and last name. (ex: Blogalicious_Stacey Ferguson)

Submission Due Date: Friday, October 7th @ 11:59PM

Submissions will be judged by our expert panelists/judges based on the following:

20% Originality of Business Concept

o  Demonstrate that you have a unique and innovative business concept that differentiates you from other businesses

60% Business Pitch

o  Clear articulation of your business plan and model

o  Clear explanation of financials

o  Concise explanation on why your business should be selected

 20% Package Quality

o  Submission is visually appealing and creative

o  Demonstrates professionalism

Scoring Guidelines:
Submissions will be rated in each category on a five point scale.

Finalist Selection:
Three finalists will be selected based on highest cumulative scores as determined by the scoring process. Blogalicious will notify both the finalists, and those not selected, via email on Monday, October 24th.


Read All About Last Year’s Winner
and Her Tips for This Year’s Participants!


Vicki Sylvain, The Shoe-B

It’s Your Turn!!
Submission Due Date: Friday, October 7th @ 11:59PM

#AllHandsOnDeck :: More Blogalicious Weekend 2016 Speaker Announcements

This just in: We’re 69 days away from Blogalicious Weekend in Atlanta. Can you believe it?

Team Blogalicious is now #AllHandsOnDeck and we have so much fun stuff cooking up behind the scenes for you. We cannot wait to share the online agenda! (Next week, we hope!)

The question on everyone’s mind for last few weeks has been “Who’s Speaking?!” So far, we’ve announced our VIP MasterMind Day Speakers (BTW, that day is 50% sold! Don’t miss out on your ticket.) and we released our #InspoLab Presenters. (Registration for #InspoLabs will open in October.) But what about our conference speakers?

Well, we received 66 submissions when we released our Call for Speakers a few months ago and have finally — though NOT easily — narrowed down our speaker roster. We’re proud of this year’s lineup and the energy they’ll bring to Blogalicious Weekend. Being that this year’s conference will be a hotbed for inspiration and creativity, we’ve broken up our workshops into three categories:

1. Brand Building

2. Technical Skills

3. Content Creation and Curation

With that in mind, we’ve carefully selected community influencers who will bring forth rich content and opportunities to get your creative juices flowing even further. Without further ado, allow us to introduce a few of our #ContentIsLife presenters!

Ashley Marshall-Seward of Mommy Week



Adanna Dill of Rattles and Heels



MJ Jackson-Levine of Fab Haute Mama



Tamara Floyd of Natural Hair Rules



You know every year we incorporate exercise and wellness into our agenda to balance out those hectic days. We’re so excited to offer Yoga & Self Care training from Robyn Donaldson and Keme Hawkins!


Robyn Donaldson of Robyns Healthy Living



Keme Hawkins of Mawu Angels




We have much more to offer you. Until then, congratulate and follow these wonderful ladies on social media. Feel free to ask them (or us) any questions about their upcoming sessions. If you haven’t registered for our #ContentIsLife-themed conference, purchase your ticket while there are still some left here.

More Blogalicious Weekend Speakers

#WeeklyRoundUp — The Word On Instagram Stories Vs. SnapChat Stories

Mark Zuckerberg is the entrepreneur we all aspire to be! Smart, innovative, and unafraid to go for the gusto when necessary. That gusto is called Instagram Stories, also known as the new SnapChat. Last week Instagram released an eerily similar feature that allows users to record live videos for their audience. Users freaked out over the change and boldly called out Instagram for jacking SnapChat’s entire life.

Now a week later, the conversation seems to be more in favor of Instagram Stories, as they’re convenient for existing users and hold likable features. SnapChat is still Bae for millions of users, but the difference in the two platforms seems to be the age groups they appeal to. To help you choose a side — #TeamSnapChat or #TeamInstagramStories — we found comparative blog posts from some of your favorite blogs and influencers. Happy choosing!

the shimmy on instagram stories and snapchat

AddThis Asks: Instagram or SnapChat?

“If you started asking yourself this question last week, you’re definitely not alone. It’s important to remember that it’s more of a “Instagram Stories vs Snapchat Stories” question, not so much an Instagram vs Snapchat one. Each platform still offers it’s own unique capabilities and most marketers or brands reading this have already invested time building audiences on both of them. Definitely don’t abandon yourSnapchat followers!

“What Instagram Stories does provide is way to communicate more intimately with your Instagram followers in a way the app didn’t previously allow for, but is what helped Snapchat take off as a marketing tool. It’s about providing that unpolished, behind-the-scenes look that followers love to see from their favorite celebrities, brands, etc.”

Read the entire post here.

Black Hound Creative’s Concerns About Instagram Stories

“As far as the future of Snapchat is concerned, I’m unsure whether it will continue to grow and maintain its popularity. Our generation is all about convenience and seamless integration – and tying everything together as Instagram has done makes an easy case for those who feel the need to choose between Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Having a Snapchat account is cool until it’s cloned and combined into a social media platform you also have an account for – aka who wants numerous social media accounts when one does it all? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Read the entire post here.

Gorgeous In Grey on the Pros of Instagram Stories

“I posted 6 Instasnaps. My views on Instagram in one hour were equal to what would normally take a 24 hour period on Snapchat. There are nearly 500 million users on Instagram compared to the 100 million on Snapchat. This feature will create an even deeper gap between the two platforms. Depending on your audience most will more than likely already be on Instagram and Facebook. If you have a huge following on Instagram, it makes way more sense to be on InstaSnap than to encourage those users to download another app. And Snapchat is still struggling to gain the downloads of people who are over 21.”

Read the entire post here.

So we want to know. Are you into Instagram Stories or SnapChat Stories?

Blog Tip: Write New Content

Write New Content


Are you a blogger that’s confined to writing about one subject? Do you think your audience will move on if you diversify what you write about? Have you questioned your ability to write new content for your niche blog?

As bloggers, I think we’ve all been there. Before lifestyle blogs became the popular go-to, I’ve seen many bloggers fret over intertwining their passion for activism or relationships or cooking into their fashion or makeup blogs. I’ve sat in the comment sections and watched as they’ve scrambled on how to seamlessly do this without alienating their die-hard fans. I’ve also watched many bloggers remain complacent in this area and eventually lose their love for blogging altogether.

Bloggers, I can speak for Team Blogalicious when I say: We get it! You want to create content that makes your readers happy and keeps them coming back. Not only does this increase morale in your community, but it adds to any income you generate from your blog. The line here is very fine, but sometimes, it is okay to cross it. Instead of feeling afraid or confused, you need an angle to write new content.

Tips On How To Write New Content For Your Blog

Think of new subject matter. Dissect it until you find a correlation between it and your audience. Create 2-5 topics from that new angle. Here’s an example of this quick and easy method below.


Current blog topic: beauty

Desired subject matter: sexism and racism towards women of color

Questions to ask yourself to find a correlation with your audience:

  1. Is your audience mostly women?
  2. Are they women of color?
  3. What kind of response do you want from them on this subject? Write with that desired result in mind.
  4. Ask if they’ve experienced sexist and/or racist remarks at work and what they were wearing? Did they feel less beautiful during or after these encounters?
  5. Do they wear less of that color or garment or cosmetic to avoid sexist remarks?
  6. Can you encourage your audience to wear the same color lipstick on a specific day to stand up against sexism? What about racism? Racism and sexism?
  7. Does a woman’s beauty play a part in sexual harassment? Why or why not?
  8. Do you have male counterparts to stand with you against these issues?


5 New topic ideas:

  • 3 Ways You Can Use Your Beauty to Fight Sexism Against Women
  • Let’s Talk: Does A Woman’s Beauty Play A Role In Sexual Harassment?
  • 5 Ways Beauty Bloggers Can Speak Out Against Racism & Sexism
  • A Conversation About Feeling Beautiful After Being Sexually Harassed
  • 7 Cosmetic Companies On A Mission to End Sexism

Pretty easy, right? Use this exercise to write new content for your niche blog. Often times, audiences are looking for the diversification of content from their favorite blogs. Doing this can help reinvigorate your readers while finding new readers who’ll love you. Most importantly, you’ll feel good. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and create the kind of content your heart desires!

Will you write new content this month?

Blog Tip: Write New Content

Ariel Williams is the Digital Content Manager for Blogalicious. Email her at: for blog inquiries and ideas.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Meet Your Blogalicious 2016 #InspoLab Speakers

Our guiding principle for this year’s Blogalicious Weekend is joie de vivre – a cheerful enjoyment of life. Just one of the many ways to live richly is to allow yourself to be guided by inspiration. And boy do we have some inspiration in store for you! You know that we love to shake things up and keep things fresh – one of the ways we are doing that for this year’s conference is to launch a series of Inspiration Labs (or #InspoLab for short).

These Inspiration Labs are hands-on workshops with creative instructors passionate about their craft; creative minds in media sharing their processes and career paths, baked into our agenda for maximum enjoyment.

We are proud to announce this year’s inaugural #InspoLab Speakers: 

Chip Dizard



Workshop Description: Do you spend hours searching for relevant blog images? What if you could create your own images that speak directly to your audience? Join wedding photographer /videographer Chip Dizárd for this hands on session where you will learn how to light, stage, pose objects and people to create stock images that look great and speak to your audience. *DSLR cameras or smart phones are suggested.

About Chip:

Chip is an serial entrepreneur with a passion for all things technology and media. He is the founder / lead cinematographer of Chip Dizard Wedding Films a wedding videography firm that films couple’s love stories internationally. Chip graduated from Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland with a degree in Media Art/Communication, and discovered the love for tech in 1999 after he created a web sites for local nonprofit organizations in the Washington, D.C. area.

In 2010 a friend asked him to film his wedding, this was no ordinary ceremony because it was a 2 1/2 hour concert wedding and his most viewed wedding to date on YouTube. After learning the wedding business and hiring the right staff he fell in love with filming them and capturing love stories for couples. He also has a love for teaching and mentoring since he previously worked as the General Manager of Baltimore City Public Schools Education Channel 77, and he taught media production for the school district for eight years.

When he’s not working on editing or teaching or creating tutorials he love going to movies, and analyzing the shots. He also enjoys playing golf, and of course, spending time with his wife and three daughters.



Taylar Barrington


Workshop Description: Subscription boxes are the new hustle! Not only does they create residual income for your business, but they are a great collaboration opportunity between brands and your customers – introducing them to products that would not have ever come across their radar. Easier said than done though. It’s not enough to grab a few amazing products, stuff them in the box and ship them. You need a plan first! Taylar Barrington started UniversiTee Box while she was still a college student and the brand propelled into a six-figure business.

How To Build A Subscription Box Business You Love

Learn how to create residual income through one of the newest ways to curate a consumer experience – subscription boxes! Taylar Barrington, the owner of the UniversiTee Box will teach you how to:

• Develop a subscription box idea that you’ll be obsessed with
• Curate an ideal box by understanding the art of creating a shipment
• Find and locate the audience with the greatest chemistry
• & Connect you with tools that will automate your business

About Taylar: 

Taylar A. Barrington has used her three years of experience as a full-time entrepreneur creating brands that make a difference in the lives of her customers. As a former marketer, MBA graduate, award-winning designer and sales guru, she combined her skills and passion to develop her six figure company. She is the sole Founder of the UniversiTee Box, a vibrant and edgy subscription-based membership for college girls and a Co-Founder of FOAM, a technology startup that generates community funded aid for college students. Taylor jumps out of bed with a big smile each morning because she knows that her contribution to the world is through entrepreneurship. Media outlets like Black Enterprise, American Express, Empire Life Magazine and BRAVA Magazine have taken note, too. For Taylar, this is more than a job; she’s on a mission to impact good, pave a wider path for women and break ceilings in technology.

Sharon Hadden

Workshop Description: Whether you’re a creative, small business owner, solopreneur or big brand, the cost efficient and highly effective nature of content marketing can enhance brand image, create brand advocates, foster trust, build authority, increase leads, generate demand, and most of all, result in SALES for your business.

Attendees will walk away from this session with a vision-board-like template for an effective sales page, along with the inspiration to think like a publisher, create an effective content marketing strategy and design their best life.

During this session, attendees will scrapbook their way to embracing their publishing power to:

-Create a content marketing plan that drives demand for their business.

-Produce a high volume of content with little time and limited budget.

-Make sense of content marketing tools and overcome distribution challenges.

-Accurately measure impact and effectiveness of content and ‘get good’ quickly.


About Sharon:

Sharon L. Hadden is a communications consultant and content strategist. A former public affairs specialist, Sharon uses vision, research, collaboration and creativity to craft stellar content and digital strategy for organizations, both small and large.

Sharon is a writer first, by passion and profession and helps businesses gain the clarity they need to make smart marketing decisions through courses, consulting and digital products. Entrepreneurs turn to Sharon when they need guidance on integrating their marketing efforts across social, digital and in-person channels. With a specialization in content strategy and social marketing, Sharon nurtures the vision, goals and values of her customers and coaches them on crafting and sharing their one-of-a-kind brand story.

As the founder of Social Savvy Consulting Group, LLC, a virtual communications agency, Sharon has helped her customers leverage the power of social marketing, influencer marketing, copywriting and content strategy. Her background in public relations is the key to her success at building marketing and social media campaigns that build loyalty and excite customers.


All #InspoLab workshops will be held on Saturday, November 4th and are 90 minutes long. These workshops will require advanced registration so spots are limited! You must be a registered attendee of Blogalicious Weekend to sign up for spaces. I mean, you HAVE already purchased your ticket, right? If not, get on that ASAP before we sell out. Click here to register.

See you in November!

#WeeklyRoundUp — August Events You Should Know About

Have you heard about what’s happening in August? Everything! The summer’s on it’s way out, but fun, networking and learning how to level up in your business is here to stay. See what’s going on, how you can get down and most importantly, why you should be there. You could use another reason to travel and learn!

Weekly Round Up 8 1 16 (1)


August Event: Black Tech Week


We love seeing our community thrive! That’s why we’re happy to announce this Black Tech Week event, Grit, Grits & Glitter, featuring superstar Monique Malcolm.

“Grit, Grits,+ Glitter is a creative makers brunch to connect creatives, entrepreneurs and techies. Join us for a panel of creative entrepreneurs as they share their moments of GRIT and GLITTER on the path to becoming successful business owners. The day includes 2 DIY Maker breakout sessions with speakers and an AWESOME catered lunch!

If you loved the Black Tech Week ‘s Women’s Innovation Brunch you will not want to miss this event!

Panel and workshops on Starting up and Staying up as an entrepreneur, monetizing your personal brand, DIY Makers Workshop catapulting your brand  and knowledge through entrepreneurship, creativitiy and personal branding.”

The event will be held at WeWork in Miami, Florida on 8/13/16 at 11AM-2:30PM. For more information, including registration, visit Black Tech Week.


August Event: Replenish & Rejuvenate with Stacey Ferguson


Spots to relax and learn with Stacey are coming to a close, guys. If you’re looking for wellness, business coaching and strategy and creative inspiration, this weekend is one you can’t afford to miss. In just a few days, Stacey will be sharing what she’s learned in the last decade about entrepreneurship, creative work, how to grow and build anything, and what it means to be a successful business rockstar. Additionally, she wants to help you take your dreams to the next level with her proven guidance and strategy.

Spots for this weekend retreat are limited. See if there’s one for you here.


August Event: Blogalicious Pop Up D.C.

In case you missed it, we brought our Pop Up events back! Our first summer pop up was in Miami and we’re continuing the party in D.C. tomorrow. Join us on 8/4/16 downtown at BOE Restaurant from 6-8PM.

Free RSVP –



What events do you have on your radar this month?

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