In a perfect world, we’d all like to be doing work that we’re passionate about. Renae Bluitt, founder of Public Relations firm, Crush media and the popular blog, In Her Shoes, is doing just that. We caught up with her and this is what she had to say:
SB: What inspired the creation of your PR firm, and later, your blog?
RB: Both were created to fill a void. After working for years in Corporate America and the PR agency world, I realized that I was missing passion for the brands I was representing. Launching Crush Media allows me to hand pick the types of clients I work with. As such, I partner with brands that I truly believe in, mostly owned and operated by Black women or targeting Black women.
As a PR practitioner, actually using, loving, and believing in the the products you’re pitching makes all the difference in the world. In Her Shoes went live in 2009 when there weren’t many places online for us (as in everyday women) to tell our stories of perseverance, dream chasing and brand building. When I realized this was missing from the blogosphere, I created it.
SB: Nowadays, many businesses are creating blogs to draw attention to their product or service. I really like the synergy between your blog and your business. Was this a strategic move or did it just work out that way?
RB: Thank you. The conceptualization of In Her Shoes was definitely inspired by the work I was doing with Crush Media. I was meeting phenomenal women every day who were doing amazing work and creating beautiful legacies. I wanted more people to be exposed to their stories and I wanted women and men around the world to have access to this magic and inspiration I was blessed to be surrounded by regularly.
After launching the blog and quickly realizing that there was lots of synergy between In Her Shoes and Crush Media, I became more mindful and deliberate about how and when the two could support one another.
SB: As a PR professional, the brands you represent are often a reflection of you and your company. How important is it to work with brands you identify with and what do you take into consideration before agreeing to take on a client?
RB: They most definitely are. As mentioned above, it’s important for me to believe in the brands I represent. For example, if it’s a hair care company, there must be products in their collection that I use and would highly recommend to friends and family. How can I expect others to support a brand that I don’t?
Another factor that’s important to me is ownership and/or management of said brand. Who would be my day-to-day contact? Do our personalities and work styles compliment one another? While I don’t believe that I have to be in love with each client, it’s important to have respect for what they do and how they do it (and vice versa). I’m blessed to work with industry leaders that are not just clients, they’ve also become friends.
SB: You are obviously a women who has a personal interest in finding the best beauty and fashion brands. How does it feel to have created business around products that you are passionate about?
RB: It feels really, really great, actually. To be able to shine light on brands I love or work behind the scenes to help elevate the brands I support, gives so much meaning to my work. I won’t pull out the old cliche about doing what you love and never working a day in your life because no matter what they say, there are many times when it does still feel like work. The difference is that you truly enjoy it and want to get up everyday to do it again.
SB: You’ve said that one of your favorite books is The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. He describes the tipping point as “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” Based on your personal observation, what would you say is at a tipping point now?
RB: I think that a renewed sense of Black pride is at a tipping point right now. With so much happening in society today with our community being under attack, we’ve been forced to love on “us” more. Beyond reminding others (and ourselves) that #blacklivesmatter through social activism, I’m seeing more of us celebrating the fullness of who we are and what we contribute to the world.
Whether it’s the popularity of hashtags like #blackgirlmagic, t-shirts that proudly state “Black is My Superpower” and “I Love Black People” or artists like Solange recording songs like “F.U.B.U” (For Us By Us) with lyrics like “this shit is for US” or Kendrick proudly stating “We Gon’ Be Aight,” there’s a collective sense of pride right now in our community. I was blessed to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture last weekend and I’m still processing what I took in that day.
To see so much of the hardships we’ve faced along with the countless ways we’ve contributed to the world under one roof was a life changing and perspective-shifting experience. We still have quite a long way to go but seeing more Black representation in the media (Queen Sugar, Blackish, Luke Cage, Atlanta, etc.) is a beautiful thing and only amplifies our self-love and pride.
SB: Running one business can be tough. You are running two. How important is it for you to carve out time to step back and enjoy your hard work and how do you accomplish that?
RB: I don’t do this nearly enough but when I do take a step back, it’s usually in the form of a vacation somewhere chill and relaxing or a “staycation” experience like a day at the beach or at home doing absolutely nothing. Definitely plan to do more of this as I’m committed to enjoying the journey and process vs. always looking for what’s next.
SB: If you could wake up tomorrow with one superpower, which would it be?
RB: I’d love to be able to just touch someone and heal them/protect them from whatever it is that’s disrupting their world at the time. If someone is heartbroken I’d like to heal their heart. If someone is struggling with depression, I’d love to be able to simply touch them and help them experience inner joy.
SB: Where do you see yourself and your businesses in the next 5 years?
RB: I’d like to see both businesses making an impact globally and operating independent of me. I love the work I do so I’ll always be involved but I don’t want to be involved at this level five years from now. I’d love to be able to take a spontaneous vacation confident that the show will still go on flawlessly.
SB: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs?
RB: Keep going! This journey isn’t for everyone and definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and have figured out a way to nurture and monetize it, don’t give up. We have to create our own legacies.