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MY Testimony Archive

2015 Perfect Pitch III Finalist Sonia Smith-Kang Talks About Life After Contest

Sonia Smith-Kang, owner of Mixed Up Clothing, shares her heartfelt experience after taking the Blogalicious stage last year. She, along with two other finalists, competed for the Perfect Pitch III contest, where the prize was $5,000 cash and financial mentorship from Wells Fargo. With our fourth contest racing around the corner, we asked Sonia for words of encouragement for anyone interested in submitting for this year’s contest. Read what she had to say below.


 

soniaquote

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 continued, “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.

“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.”

(image credit: Sonia Smith-Kang)

(image credit: Sonia Smith-Kang)

 

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, thank you.

Follow Sonia on social media:

ShopMixed Up Clothing | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


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: http://bit.ly/ppivb8

WF Perfect Pitch IV

 

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

#Blogalicious5 Roundup

by Jazzy Jonez

 

Conference Collage

Another Blogalicious has come and gone!  It was a banner year for us. Not only did we celebrate our 5th birthday in the city where we first launched, but we had our highest attendance yet. We created a space for 400 bloggers and brands to connect and build lasting relationships.

By now you know that our theme this year was Create. Build. Fund. We hope that we have provided you with some resources and connections to support you in growing your brands and businesses.

There really was so much going on, if we were to highlight everything single awesome experience at BlogaliciousFIVE, this small post would become a novella. If you follow the still active #Blogalicious5 hashtag on twitter, you’ll find a bunch of links with Blogalicious highlights. Below are a few of our favorites.

In Your Words:

Javacia Harris of The Writeous Babe shares what it means to be Blogalicious.

Miss. Daja of No Boiz Allowed returned to Blogalicious for the 2nd year in a row and shared her favorite quotes.

Nae Carter-Staggs of  I Choose the Sun couldn’t pick just one. She listed her top 10 favorite Blogalicious moments.

If ten weren’t enough, Lorraine C. Ladish of Mamiverse shared four more conference highlights.

Diana Ramsey of Sisters with Beauty probably said it best: “You had to be there to feel it!”

Our event is made possible, thanks to our sponsors. Here’s what you had to say.

My Black is Beautiful brought their documentary, ‘Imagine A Future’ to BlogaliciousFIVE and attendees had an opportunity to have an intimate Q&A with Director Lisa Cortes. The film was relatable to Stacy Taylor of The Sistah Cafe who shared her thoughts on her blog.

McDonald’s returns every year to celebrate and they know how to throw a great party! This year they hosted the Freshest Jam Ever, complete with 80’s hip hop and a rap battle. TOY!! was crowned a winner of the battle and thanks for Stacy Taylor for capturing some of the fun on video.

Kia, our title sponsor not only planned an awesome closing party, complete with a southern grits and pasta bar, they also offered test drives on their latest models. Terrance Gaines of Brotha Tech took a bit of video footage. Terez Baskin said it best: She had a ‘Kialicious’ time testing driving and posing next to their model cars.

BlogaliciousFIVE premiered the same night as hit TV show: Scandal. Many of us are fans of the show and weren’t missing the premiere for the world. Comcast XFINITY CelebrateBlackTV.com pulled out all the stops to host a fabulous watch party. They brought in super bloggers Luvvie and Kailei to run the show. Gladiators came dressed in their best Olivia Pope outfits and Essence Magazine collected some of the best tweets from that night.

Wells Fargo hosted “The Perfect Pitch” contest. After receiving a host of really awesome submissions, three finalists were selected to present before a judging panel before a winner was selected. The Pitch Contest was a huge success and competition was fierce. At the end, Arsha Jones of Capital City Mumbo Sauce won the $5k grand prize. Wells Fargo didn’t stop there. During the conference, they offered complimentary headshots. The pictures have come back and conference attendees loved them! Erin, Founder of Bag Ladies Radio sang her praises.

23andMe joined the party for the first time and came armed with boxes of DNA kits to give away to conference attendees. Some attendees were lucky to sit with the 23andMe crew to a through education on just how useful the DNA testing kits are in terms of learning about family background and medical history. Jazzy Jonez was especially excited to win a kit and she shares why on her blog. Briana Myricks of My Own Shero sent her kit in right after the conference was over! {Psst: She’s giving one away!}

We had a treat on Day 3 of the conference when actress Adrienne Bailon stopped by for a candid Q&A about her life, career, aspirations and her role in “I’m In Love With A Church Girl” opening in theatres TODAY!  Weather Anchor Mama shares how she was inspired by Adrienne’s message and her journey.  She also shared just how much she learned from the speakers from PicMonkey!

The Social Squad Crushed It.

Our volunteers really do help make the conference experience amazing for everyone. You could easily spot them by the bright purple flower lapel they sported. Being a member of the Blogalicious Social Squad is a very serious job. The Social Squad shared Ten Commandments one needs to abide by should they become interested in joining rank next year.

Want more Blogalicious? Check out our YouTube page. Brotha Tech and Doug Lehman posted a few videos highlighting the conference experience. And view our Flickr photo set HERE.

Thanks to our community and sponsors for another great year!

See you at #Blogalicious6

 

 

Blogalicious: MY Testimony ~ @digitalsisterhd @anandaleeke

Xina Eiland and Ananda Leeke (Photo courtesy Carol Cain, NYCItyMama.com)

Blogalicious Gives Birth to Digital Sisterhood

Public relations and communications professional Xina Eiland and I met during the Blogalicious Weekend Conference’s opening night reception held at the W Hotel in Atlanta in 2009. While sipping cocktails and recording video interviews, we learned we were both born in Michigan and currently living in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Throughout the conference, we reconnected with each other and other women like “WhimsiGal,” founder of Whimsicard, LLC from the D.C. area. When we returned home, we used social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in touch. We also discussed our Blogalicious experiences on Digital Sisterhood Radio, my Internet radio show.

And then it happened. We reached out by telephone and agreed to meet face-to-face in D.C. Our first meeting occurred on a Sunday afternoon at the U Street Café in December 2009. Xina, “WhimsiGal,” and I sat at a table for a few hours discussing our lives, life goals, ways we could support each other, and ideas for a local Blogalicious meet up. That one conversation paved the way for our Blogalicious D.C. community building efforts.

Together, we were able to help the Blogalicious co-founders organize two D.C. meet ups in February and April 2010. Xina played a major role in securing space and media coverage, promoting the events on Facebook and Twitter, identifying speakers and sponsors, developing the agenda, and obtaining in-kind donations for both events. I served as panel moderator for the April meet up.

In addition to supporting the Blogalicious D.C. community, we also made a professional commitment to support each other and our business goals. We launched our commitment with a breakfast meeting at Busboys and Poets, a popular D.C. hangout, in January 2010. Seated on comfy chairs with herbal tea and delicious breakfast items to keep us company, we shared our expertise. Xina became my public relations coach. She convinced me to follow her instructions on branding for my books, artwork, yoga practice, speaking and sponsorship opportunities, and coaching services. I became her creativity coach and helped her develop a social media plan to support her intention to blog and learn more about social media tools.

Throughout 2010, we met monthly to assess our progress and seek feedback. We attended several D.C. social media meet ups, participated in the Blogging While Brown’s White House Visit and weekend conference, hung out at the Red Pump Project and Blogalicious’ Say RED: Cocktails and Conversations event, and live blogged with the Blogalicious D.C. B-Link members during President Obama’s education reform speech at the National Urban League’s Centennial Conference. We also traveled to Miami to attend Blogalicious’ second annual conference and served as co-moderators of an open-mic luncheon sponsored by McDonalds.

Xina and I had an amazing time moderating the open-mic luncheon. It was a soulful discussion that included personal testimonies and stories shared by women who were Blogalicious newbies and alumni. They opened their hearts and spoke with such passion, clarity, candor, and humor. Their collective energy made it a beautiful experience filled with wisdom, laughter, lessons learned, and a plethora of blogging experiences that revealed how women discovered their authentic selves and voices online and offline through the support of other women.

When I look back on the experiences Xina and I shared in 2009 and 2010, I realize the greatest blessing was the way we constantly encouraged each other to step up our game and pursue new opportunities. We also shared information, insights, and introductions to people in our network that could support our efforts. We laughed, learned, and listened to each other when we achieved and struggled. Our Blogalicious bond created a digital sisterhood that supported us in 2011 and continues to support us in 2012. What a blessing!

Digital sisterhood is one of the many gifts you will receive when you attend a Blogalicious conference, meet up, Twitter chat, or webinar. Once you attend one event, be prepared to attend more because Blogalicious is positively contagious! It’s also magical. Why? Through the celebration of Blogalicious’ diversity, women own who they are through the content, connections, communities, collaborative partnerships, and commerce they create as they share experiences, insights, opinions, humor, creativity, expertise, and information.

Excerpt from Ananda Leeke’s forthcoming memoir, Digital Sisterhood: Fierce Living Online for 25 Years (late Fall 2012).

Blogalicious: MY Testimony ~ Alisha Walker @iluvbeinmarried

We’re delighted to kickoff an brand new series on the Blogalicious blog called: MY Testimony, where Blogalicious alumni, champions and friends share what the Blogalicious community and conference means to them.  If you’d like to submit YOUR Testimony, email us at: info {at} beblogalicious {dot} com. And…show these testimonialists some love!

“Making Masterful Connections”

Not until I took a look back at the title of Blogalicious 2011 did I realized that I definitely embodied the intent. My husband and I have a blog, The Marriage Coaches, where our tagline is I love being married. We started our blog about 2 years ago but it wasn’t until September 2011 that we started blogging regularly as a part of our business. We provide marriage and relationship advice online and are marriage advocates via counseling, coaching and speaking offline. Prior to the relaunch of our blog we did exhaustive research on what we needed to do to grow our blog and to operate the blog like a business. One of the many suggestions was to get offline and to go to conferences. Blogalicious was one of the first on our list because I had been following them since the beginning.

I had heard about Blogalicious from the first year it started, but by the time I heard about it, it was sold out. I began to follow the women of Blogalicious and was intrigued. The next year, I was unable to make it. So when I saw it come up again for 2011, I was going to go no matter what.

I first met Stacey Ferguson at a women’s business conference in July. I introduced myself and exchanged information with her. We met again at the Blogalicous meet up that was held in Atlanta. I spoke with Stacey about going to the conference but I really wasn’t sure how I would swing it after the other expenses that were already spent for the year. I just knew I had to be there though. I emailed Stacey a few times back and forth and expressed my desire to attend the conference but really wasn’t sure how I would swing it. Ultimately, we were able to swing the conference and I attended in October.

Fast forward to the conference in October, I went by myself not really knowing anyone. I met some people online and at the meet up prior to the conference as well as a couple that I knew from social media as well. Going to this conference, meeting and networking with people without at least a wingman was out of my comfort zone, but I was there to do something different and that was definitely not to be in my comfort zone.

Prior to the conference I had mapped out a plan of the people I wanted to meet, the sessions I wanted to attend and who I wanted to connect with after the conference. I stuck to my plan. Overall, I met everyone I wanted to meet. I connected with several people that I have stayed connected with via social media. I have grown our brand by exposure and contacts. I have partnered with a couple of people and those partnerships should come to fruition this year.  Finally, I was bold enough to ask Jennifer James of Mom Bloggers Club to mentor me.

I was leaving a session and going for a quick break when I saw her chatting with some other bloggers. I reintroduced myself to her because she was one of the people I met and stayed in contact with from the Atlanta Blogalicious meet up. She remembered me. I felt like a little kid meeting Mickey Mouse I was in awe and a little nervous. Asking her to be my mentor was one of the things I had planned. I hadn’t seen her yet at the conference and didn’t want to take a chance on missing my opportunity. I asked quietly with a slight tremble in my voice, Jennifer would you mentor me and without hesitation, she said YES. WHAT! Did she just say what I think she said? Then she told me how to connect with her. Now every Tuesday morning we meet via phone and she mentors me on how best to move our blogging business forward.

The title of Blogalicious 2011 was so appropriate for my case and I know for many others. I took advantage of the opportunity to meet people in real life that otherwise I would not have a connection with. I learned to be bold, ask for what I want even in the face of possible rejection. I learned to be humble, because even though I am a successful and skilled Licensed Counselor I am still considered a “newbie” in the blogging world and I am humble enough and willing to ask for help. I learned that follow up is key to continued relationships via social media and even though I am still considered a “newbie” I give back. I learned to stay connected and I have with many of the people that I met at the conference and beyond.

I know many people are planning their 2012 conference schedule now, make Blogalicious a part of your list of musts. The experience, knowledge, support and business growth for newbie and veteran bloggers alike is well worth it. I’ll be there again this year and I hope to see you too.

Connect with Alisha on her site The Marriage Coaches and on Twitter, and learn about the I Love Being Married Movement.


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