Do Well Dress Well with Founder Chanele McFarlane

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Tell us a little bit about who you are?

I’m an award-winning consultant, speaker and writer passionate about bridging the gap between competence and confidence for women. As the Founder of Do Well Dress Well, I create content, build community and host networking events around topics like personal branding, networking, entrepreneurship, personal style, career advice and professional development. I’m also the Editor-in-Chief of the blog for Make Lemonade where I have the honour of interviewing some of the most inspirational women in Toronto.

 

What three words would you use to define you?

That’s a good question! I would say colourful, friendly and inquisitive.

 

What inspired you to start Do Well Dress Well?

I initially started Do Well Dress Well as a creative outlet that I could work on outside of my 9-5 job. I felt as though I didn’t really have anything I could call my own and I needed a place to talk about the things I was passionate about - personal branding and style. In all honesty, I had no intention of ever making it into a business. However, once I started to build an audience, I began to see the potential and I have used audience feedback, analytics and my own creative intuition to expand it into what it is today.

 

What has been your biggest accomplishment since starting your Do Well Dress Well?

I know, it’s probably expected that I say leaving my full-time job in November 2017 is my biggest accomplishment but if we’re really being honest, my biggest accomplishment is my personal growth. What has been so fulfilling for me is watching myself evolve into the woman I’ve always wanted to be. I was a complete introvert prior to starting Do Well Dress Well and within two years, I’ve become so comfortable with speaking in front of others (especially on topics I’m passionate about) and speaking/leading workshops is a core part of my business. I’ve also become more confident in pitching myself to others and I’m able to go after the opportunities that I want. Most importantly, Do Well Dress Well is the first thing that I’ve committed to long-term. I had a really bad habit of starting things and not seeing them through to completion. I’d either get bored of it or if I encountered a challenge, I’d just drop it. The fact that I’ve been able to do this for over 2 years consistently is a big accomplishment in and of itself and this is how I know Do Well Dress Well is something I’m meant to be doing. I truly believe it’s why I was born.

 

What has been your biggest lesson throughout your entrepreneur career so far?

I need to become comfortable at saying no. When I first started, I wanted to say yes to everyone and everything. I felt as though I had to get my name out there and any opportunity was a good one. Unfortunately, this has caused me to experience serious burnout several times over the last two years. I’m the kind of person that loves to please people and I give way more than I ever receive. It’s just who I am and although I don’t regret this, I’ve had to learn how to get better at knowing my limits because I’ll be running on empty yet I’ll pour into other people before I realize I need to pour into myself. Success as an entrepreneur is heavily reliant on relationship building and providing value but before you can do that effectively, you need to value yourself.

 

I see that some of your work was featured in Her Agenda, I absolutely love the creators and the ideas behind the agenda. Can you elaborate more on your piece that was featured?

Yes, I’m excited to be a contributing writer for Her Agenda! My first piece was on How to Stand Out as a Panel Speaker as it’s something I wanted to write about for a long time. When you’re not the keynote speaker and you’re sharing the spotlight with others, you have to be a lot more strategic with your presence to ensure that you provide value and leaving a lasting positive impression. I walked through the key questions you should ask the event coordinators so that you can prepare your messaging and outfit accordingly. I’m all about making intentional decisions and so my goal with this piece was to highlight why it’s important to plan ahead time when you’re speaking on a panel. If you’re not creating a full presentation, speaking on a panel may seem like you can just show up and improvise but it requires just as much preparation to ensure you leave value and, of course, receive value whether it’s right away or later down the line.

 

What advice would you give someone who is trying to define their personal brand/image?

Be very clear on who you are, what you want to achieve and more importantly, what your values are before you start looking for inspiration from other people. I say that because it can become so easy to get caught up in what other people are doing and if they’re “successful”, you’ll convince yourself you need to imitate them so you can be successful too. I’ll use myself as an example. I knew before starting Do Well Dress Well that I wanted to impact women but once I began to build a social media presence, I felt as though the only way I could get noticed was that if I added a fashion blogging component. I would dedicate so much time (and money!!) to buying outfits and paying for photographers to take photos of me. I’d get so stressed out if I hadn’t taken an outfit photo in a while or if I didn’t have a new outfit to shoot and eventually this made me miserable. I realized that I didn’t start Do Well Dress Well for this and that I lost sense of what I wanted to achieve. That’s why towards the end of 2017, I began to transition the content on Do Well Dress Well and I changed the logo and brand colours as well to reflect the new direction I’m going in - the direction I should have been going in all along. Instead of spending money on outfits and photographers, I’d rather spend that money to invest in other women to attend networking events. Instead of worrying about what to post on Instagram, I’d rather create a workshop or write a series of valuable blogposts. I am so much happier and fulfilled now.

 

What are some of your plans for 2018?

Well, my word for this year is visibility. When I was working full-time, I was very careful about how visible I made myself on social media but now that I don’t have that as a concern, I feel like I have to make up for lost time! I’ve been expanding my presence both online and offline to build more awareness around Do Well Dress Well as a brand, and myself as an entrepreneur. I plan to host a lot more events and workshops, build new partnerships and launch a shop with digital and physical products. I’m also in the process of transforming Do Well Dress Well into a social enterprise as my goal is to provide financial support to millennial women in Canada. My focus this year is on creating things that will leave a lasting impact, hopefully for years to come.

 

What is one thing you would like the readers to know about you that they may not already know?

If you want to win me over, buy me popcorn. I’m not kidding. I’m obsessed with butter popcorn, especially from the movie theatre!

 

Where can people connect with you?

Everywhere! You can connect with Do Well Dress Well on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and of course, on the website. You can also follow me personally on Twitter and Instagram and connect with me on Linkedin!

 

Q&A with Toronto Creator and Body Positive Ambassador Franceta Johnson

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Tell us a little bit about who you are?

I’m Franceta! I’m a creative here in Toronto, Canada. Full time graphic design student at GBC, graduating in spring of 2018. Part time freelancer of many things (design, web, identity, illustration, writing, content creation, etc) and a self proclaimed closeted artist. 


Your Instagram bio describes you as a creative and as body positive. If you had to choose, which one would you say is more important to you and why?

I think I was only able to become publicly creative once I became body positive… So I would say they sort of go hand in hand with one another, but if I had to choose; Body Positivity, 100%. Changing the way I viewed my body gave me the confidence to pursue passions beyond my appearance. It also made creating realistic representation important and personal for me.


One of your most liked image (over 3200 likes and 400+ saves) is over you being 100% transparent and sharing personal information regarding your relationship with your body, can you elaborate on that post and what inspired you to post it?

At the moment I posted it, I was feeling a bit proud of myself to be honest! I’d taken the picture at the beginning of the week, when I was at the peak of my mania, feeling the absolute worst about myself and really struggling to get outside of my own head. By the end of the week I was looking through the pics thinking “you’re actually crazy, you look hot for a girl who can’t look at herself, what the hell is wrong with you?” So… I *personally* found the contrast hilarious and felt the need to share. 

I’m trying to make a more conscious effort to acknowledge and document not only my highs but my lows as well. As a personal (and public… I forget that part sometimes…) reminder that there isn’t any shame in feeling confused or lost in my body positive journey… its part of it. 

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How would you describe your relationship with social media, specifically Instagram and do you feel it has impacted the way women see themselves? 

*sigh* I have a love/hate relationship with social media… It can be a cesspool of toxic energy, negative attitudes, wrong opinions, self comparison and ego… But, it can also be a wonderful platform for unheard marginalized communities and causes that normally wouldn’t be featured in traditional forms of media. Do I feel like Instagram has impacted how women view themselves? Most defiantly.

There is pressure to keep up with a false “hype” or “lifestyle” and what ends up happening 9 times out of 10 is people live outside of their means to keep up with it and/or end up changing themselves and their own morals to continue receiving positive validation in the form of likes and followers. 

There have been times where I’ve had to step away from social media and ask myself “Why do you feel the need to participate in this?” and “Is what I contribute to these spaces, necessary and/or progressive in society?” and when the answer was no, I had to think long and about how the impacts of social media were affecting me and my relationship with social media as a whole, was this something that was helping or hindering my wellbeing? 

Even as a creative… there is pressure to put your work online and share every aspect of your process. I don’t have any of my work online and I question if I want to put it there! Realistically, once you put it online (facebook or instagram) you no longer own your work, nor can you control where it ends up or who makes money off of it… but I’m working on how I can use social media to benefit me as an artist in the future.

I’m also a godmother and “auntie” to some very beautiful young women. Watching how they navigate smartphones, social media and search engines is truly, terrifying. Seeing them feel the need to pose or primp themselves before snapping selfies, or watching how they react to the lyrics of music or wording in advertisement… Trying to explain that makeup is fun but not needed to be beautiful, that they do not need to strive to reach a level of unrealistic perfection, or constantly reminding them that they are enough as is… is a struggle for me. So, I often create with them in mind. 


What advice would you give to any females starting out in the blogging world?

Oh god… Be honest & kind to your readers and yourself! 

Um… Self-timer will save you a whole lot of time and money when you are first starting out! Experiment with what you want your content to look like before investing in photography for your brand. 

Oh and community! Reach out in your blogging community! Once you find your niche, find locals in that niche and reach out! The best part of blogging has been the connections I have made over the years. Every brand collaboration, sponsorship or opportunity I have ever received has been because of someone I have met through blogging, and I am constantly recommending other bloggers for opportunities that I am unable to take or that aren’t a fit for me. Cherish your communityyy!


What is one thing you would like the readers to know about you that they may not already know?

I feel like everyone *should* know by now, that I’m six foot four… but people are often shocked that I’m *this* tall when they meet me in person, so… I’m an amazon people! No I don’t play basketball, no I don’t have a tall brother I can set you up with, and yes, I wear heels, often. Not because I need the height, but because I love shoes like any other fashion girl!


Where can people connect with you?

Instagram . @francetajohnson

Facebook . www.facebook.com/francetajohnsonblog

Email . info@francetajohnson.com

BEING AN INFLUENCER ft. @CURLYEDGY 

Curly Edgy

 

With over 133K Followers on Instagram and a Youtube channel growing daily, this Columbian beauty is taking the curly hair culture by storm. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am Edyeliz Ibarra, born and raised in Queens, New York, I come from Colombian decent. I am a full time student as well as a hair model. 

In one word define your brand.

Edgy : I chose this word not because it's my nickname but because it's truly how I can define myself, my style and my brand. 

When did you become a social media influencer?

Two and a half years ago, I took the leap of faith to just begin blogging for fun. It was a hobby at first which then lead to open plenty of doors I didn't even imagine.

 

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What's the best thing about being an influencer so far ?

Being able to create the content that defines me, allowing people to see my personality exude through my images. 

What three influencers do you look up to ?

- @ohhthatsjustflash @christinavega_ @jd_winters These are three women that are genuinely sincere in every post they have and I know them personally and what you see is what you get. They are women you can relate to and show you that it's okay to be yourself, be silly, be happy, be professional, be you! 

What is the most important thing you would tell someone who is starting out and wants to increase their social media following?

Don't lose yourself trying to get "instagram famous" remember why you started and continuously remind yourself of that message alone. Create content with good quality, have fun, be creative, be unique and remain consistent. Just know that anything is possible if you work hard, what's meant to be for you will be for you. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years ?

I honestly see myself traveling the world hosting events, spreading the message of embracing and accepting yourself as a woman. Not necessarily just hair or beauty just overall acceptance of all the amazing qualities we have to offer. In regards of extra details of what I'll be doing I can't say just yet, haha we will just have to wait and see if my master plan comes to the light.

Social media has the impact of making people feel like they know you and every movement of your life so outside of social media who are you and how would you define yourself outside of curly.edgy?

I am truly a ball of energy, I don't portray myself to be one way on social media and another in person. Once people meet me they instantly feel they've known me since forever, I'm naturally a social butterfly, it's who I've been since I was a child. One thing I can say for a fact is, I'm very direct with any and everyone and I'm also a helper which is why I suppose blogging has worked in my favor haha

Where can people connect with you?

Instagram is my main platform to really see who I am, the images, videos, insta stories are all accesible so take a look! 


Instagram 

YouTube

Website