#SomeoneSocial: Allison Norton

Meet our next #SomeoneSocial Allison Norton – Editor for LaurenConrad.com! With a bright feed and on point photography skills, it’s no wonder that she is also the co-founder of a Digital and Social Media Strategy company. Read on to find out all about her work, as well as her hot spots in LA!

Q: Introduce yourself to the Something Social LA community via your top three favorite Instagram accounts (any cute puppies and Instagram-friendly food accounts are welcome)!

1. @laurenconrad_com – Our LaurenConrad.com Instagram is my #1 favorite because we’ve put so much work into it over the years! It’s such a fun Instagram destination for daily inspirations, and we post a mix of food, beauty, fashion, and just fun finds.
2. @lucylaucht – Lucy’s Instagram is my ideal travel mood board. The way she captures moments during her travels makes me want to plan a trip every weekend!
3. @lumalist – Emma has been one of my Instagram crushes for a few years now. She’s an editor for the Australian digital wedding blog The LANE and has the best eye. I also had the pleasure of meeting her in person this past fall and she is a gem of a person.

Q: As well as a managing editor at LaurenConrad.com, you’re also a co-founder of your own Digital and Social Media Strategy company. What is some of the best business advice you’ve received? What is some of the best you can give to women looking to start their own projects?

My business partners and fellow LaurenConrad.com editors Ilana Saul, Rachel Rosenbloom and I started Polka Dot Media in January 2014, and it’s crazy to believe that we’ve just celebrated our three year anniversary! The best advice I’ve received along the way is to have open communication with your business partners and employees. Communication is the key to any successful relationship, and a business relationship is no different. For women looking to start their own projects, I would say just go for it. You can spend endless amounts of time planning every detail—and don’t get me wrong, planning is super important—but when it comes down to it, you will eventually need to take the plunge and dive right in. A lot of the learning will happen along the way once you’ve started pursuing your project, so go for it!

Q: You help run a website that covers a plethora of topics – everything from fashion to food to lifestyle. Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?

Our team gets together and has amazing brainstorm meetings where we discuss trending topics, DIY projects we’d like to try, recipes that our readers would enjoy making, and blog posts that each of us individually is interested in writing. It’s a great way to bounce ideas off each other, and it’s all one big collaborative effort.

Q: Tell us about your favorite piece you’ve written – what made it so appealing to you?

My favorite articles to write on LaurenConrad.com are ones about beauty, health and fitness, specifically ones where I experiment with new products or trends and report back about my experience. I wrote this post when I was on a skin cleanse diet for two weeks, and the results were incredible. I also wrote about my experience with my first palm reading in this past fall… it was fascinating!

Q: No matter who you talk to, everyone has an opinion on how social media has changed the world. How has social media impacted your professional life? Is that impact different than the one it has had on your personal life?

Since my whole job revolves around social media and digital media, it has really impacted my professional life quite a lot! I studied print journalism in college at USC, which feels ancient now. Little did I know at the time that I would later take everything I learned in my classes and transfer that knowledge to online platforms. Social media is a constantly changing and evolving beast, but it has also made for the most amazing career opportunity for me. As for personally, I think I view social media as a dose of creativity when I’m feeling uninspired. I don’t always have time to scroll through every single Instagram post on my feed each day (does anyone anymore?), although I’d like to be able to. But I do find myself looking at Instagram and Pinterest more often when I’m in search of new ideas for photoshoots or needing to feel creative.

Q: What advice could you give our readers who are looking to establish their own professional voice via social media?

My best advice is to keep a cohesive theme on each platform, and across all platforms. That means making sure your instagram feed has a theme and tells a story. When I discover a beautiful account that makes me wants to scroll down two or three swipes down their feed, there’s a good chance I’ll become a follower. So, not only is each photo important, but so is the flow you create with each photo collectively. As for establishing your voice… Be yourself! Find your voice, and keep it consistent in each post and caption. Don’t force it because that becomes very transparent.

Q: Leave us off on a positive #SomethingSocial note – if you could Instagram anything from anywhere, what would it be?

That’s a tough one! Right now, Nantucket is at the top of my travel list. So, my “dream Instagram” would probably be a photo of their picturesque shingled houses, surrounded by hydrangeas, of course. I’m thinking this might need to be a must on my summer bucket list now…

Quick Rounds:

Guilty pleasure song?
Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” It reminds me of my girlfriends and is an instant mood-booster!

Favorite LA spot?
This might sound silly, but my Santa Monica bungalow is my happy place here in LA. It has the perfect dose of old Santa Monica charm. My roommate Jillian and I do a lot of entertaining and dinner parties at home, and the little outdoor patio is perfect for sipping rosé on summer nights.

Favorite social media platform?
Instagram. Pinterest is a close second!

Embarrassing celebrity crush?
Liam and Chris Hemsworth. Heart-eyes emoji!

If we looked in your closet we’d see
Colors for spring and summer; black and grey for fall and winter. And lots of shoes!

Loving our #SomeoneSocial series? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

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#SomeoneSocial: Lara Gillman

#SomeoneSocial: Lara Gillman

Our next #SomeoneSocial is one of the great minds behind our favorite addiction: Cycle House. With her partners, Lara Gillman grew Cycle House from a boutique cycling studio in West Hollywood to a brand with national recognition, a cult following and a purpose to help those in need. We sat down with this soon-to-be mama & got the insight on what it takes to grow a company from the ground up & how to shift a brand as trends change.

Q: How did you manage to create a business with such a cult following?

Lara Gillman: I would say part hard work, part luck. I am from New York where everything happens extremely quickly, people jump in and out of their workout and are on to the next item on their to-do list. When coming up with the concept of Cycle House, it was as important to me to create a community as much as it was important to create the best possible workout. When you focus on the workout and the community together you set yourself up to cultivate a strong following of people who not only want to workout at your studio, but be an active part of your community. The luck comes from the riders and staff we have. They are our biggest advocates and brand ambassadors; together, they created the cult following we have.

Q: What’s it like running a business with your husband (and his best friend)?

LG: I am not going to lie and say it is easy- it is actually quite difficult. The hardest part is being able to criticize the other person’s business choices or practices and talk as partners about serious topics and not take it personally. It is the constant struggle between two relationships, that of husband and wife and that of business partners. We also have to work a littler harder to not talk business at the dinner table. You see very quickly how it can turn into only talking about work and that isn’t healthy. On the flip side, we get to create this really incredible experience together and Cycle House will always be our 2nd baby…after Eloise (our pup)!

Q: You got into the fitness world before it really exploded. How have you seen it change since & where do you see it heading in the future?

LG: I got into cycling because I was taking classes at the typical big box gym in New York every single day. Cycling became not only a workout obsession but a mental release for me as well. I loved what it did for me but I wanted that community feeling mentioned earlier. When the idea of CH was born, boutique studios were starting to flourish but definitely were nowhere near where they are today. Since we opened CH, almost 5 years ago, there are now boutique studios for each and every workout you can imagine. I love this because it has empowered people to follow their dreams and open their own businesses. It also speaks to the continued upward trend of healthy living. I think we are continuing to move out of the corporate gym era and into an expansive boutique/speciality studio generation!

Q: Giving back was built into the foundation of your brand and its values. How has this impacted your business and what advice would you give others who want to incorporate a pro-social element into their business plan?

LG: Since I was 5 years old, helping the homeless and hungry population has been a passion of mine. From the inception of Cycle House, we knew we wanted to include a pro-social element to the business plan and incorporate giving back into the core of our business.. It is the belief of myself and my business partners that for-profit companies must give back. From that belief, our Take 1 / Give 2 program was born; for every class 1 rider takes we donate 2 meals to a hungry American in need.

Want to learn more about Cycle House? Follow them at @cyclehousela and be sure to Tweet us @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram – @somethingsocial.

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#SomeoneSocial: Julianne Goldmark

Our next #SomeoneSocial is the boss babe behind Emi Jay, an accessories brand with a cult-following for it’s tropical vibes and sassy catchphrases. With her partner Emily, Julianne started Emi Jay when she was fourteen, yes you read that right, fourteen. Quickly expanding from just hair ties to tees, sweaters & all things hair, Emi Jay is now a leading force in the on-trend accessories world. We sat down with this babe and got the dirt on her journey in building Emi Jay & where they’re headed next.

Q: What was it like going to high school and balancing your empire at the same time?

Julianne Goldmark: It was definitely different but we learned so much! Emily and I travelled often for work and our meetings had to be scheduled for after school when normally all we’d have to worry about was homework. I remember being upset one year because I missed a Halloween party due to meetings in New York, but those were the sort trade offs we had to make. Ultimately, building a company at a young age has taught us what it’s like to be in a creative/business environment and that’s something pretty special and important to have already experienced.

Q: How do you keep your brand relevant with the changing trends?

JG: Overall we like taking simple concepts and making them our own. We follow color and trend forecasts even if it’s just for our hair ties. We always have the most up-to-date Pantone books for every season which helps us stay ahead of the game. As far as apparel goes, we make sure our graphics & wording relates to either social media or phrases of the moment. For example, everyone’s into light denim and boyfriend jeans right now – sort of the laid back easy look. So, we’re launching a “boyfriend tee” which is essentially our take on a super soft white t-shirt accompanied by playful graphics on the pocket area.

Q: You had a business before Instagram was cool. How has social media impacted Emi Jay?

JG: Instagram actually didn’t even exist in 2009 when Emi Jay started! Social media allows us to have an outlet to share our brand’s vibe and new products. It requires 2 seconds of someone’s attention just to look at some photos on Instagram which is cool especially if your feed is pretty. It allows our customer to fully understand our aesthetic and see how other people wear our products. We’ve also used it in the past to collaborate with bigger brands which is always fun and introduces new followers to our brand who may not have come across it on their own.

Q: How do you choose who to collaborate with?

JG: We like collaborating with anyone/any brand that goes well with our products and shares a cool story. We work with makeup brands, people, artists and fashion houses to create capsule collections or even just custom hair ties. Last summer we paired up with Frankie’s Bikinis which went perfectly since we are both young entrepreneurs based out of LA, and their bikini prints go nicely with our tees and hair ties.

Are you as obsessed with Julianne and Emi Jay as we are? Tweet us @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram – @somethingsocial.

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Introducing: #SomeoneSocial!

We come across so many babes, bosses and badasses in our everyday routine that we decided to share them with you! We will be featuring women who inspire us, push us, teach us, and help us grow in our new series, #SomeoneSocial.

First up, meet the lovely miss Cara Santana. Because an acting career, blog {and being besties with our founder Calli Cholodenko} wasn’t enough, this beauty co-founded The Glam App a little over a year ago with partner Joey Maalouf, and has been absolutely slaying the game ever since. We asked Cara what her biggest challenge was since starting a business, and here’s what she had to say

“I think for me the hardest challenge is knowing when to lose the battle to win the war, so to speak. There are always decisions to be made, issues that arise be it externally or internally and knowing when to accept a situation as it is or continue to engage has been a powerful lesson for me. We want to do what’s best for our company, our business; every move matters when you’re growing and developing your brand, but there are times you have to let go and times you have to power through. Being able to separate those moments from one another, not let your ego get in the way, and be willing to lose a small battle for the greater good is an important challenge and an invaluable lesson.”

Who else is feeling inspired by this fierce founder? Tweet us @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram – @somethingsocial.

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