Browse Tag

renae bluitt

/

“She Did That.” Places The Stories of Black Women Entrepreneurs on The Global Stage

“She Did That.” is the first full-length documentary focusing the lens on Black women building brands and legacies. The film explores the passionate pursuits of Black women and their entrepreneurship journeys. We caught up with filmmaker, Renae Bluitt to find out more about this dope project.

she did that
Renae Bluitt

What inspired the creation of this documentary?

“She Did That.” was inspired by the resiliency and brilliance of Black women. It was inspired by each and every woman I’ve interviewed and met through my blog, In Her Shoes, which is my love letter to Black women entrepreneurs. In 2015, I decided it was time for me to tell these stories through a different medium.

I wanted to dig deeper, I wanted to give the next generation an opportunity to see what it really takes to be an entrepreneur – the highs, the lows, and everything in between. Social media gives us the highlight reel of entrepreneurship and is often times misleading, as it makes the lifestyle look shiny and glamorous.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely glamorous moments, but it’s also one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. It brings out our greatest strengths and amplifies our weaknesses and insecurities. Despite all of this, it’s also extremely gratifying and to date, has been one of the most rewarding journeys I’ve been on.

she did that
How did you select the women featured in the film?

Selecting the women to feature in the film was no small feat. I knew I wanted someone who has been in the game for years. Someone who launched their business long before social media and the digital resources we have now, but is still relevant and thriving. Someone who paved the way for many of the Black women entrepreneurs we admire and support today. That person is the iconic Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter.

I knew I wanted a woman who was on an unconventional path. Someone who’s road to success wasn’t linear. And someone who wasn’t born and raised in this country. That person is Luvvie Ajayi, New York Times Best Seller and the author of “I’m Judging You.”

I knew I wanted a woman in the film who was honest and vulnerable about the dark times that eventually led to her success and fueled the mission of her brand. That person is Tonya Rapley, founder of My Fab Finance.

And last but certainly not least, I wanted someone in the film who took a huge risk by leaving their “good” job in Corporate America, to bet on themselves. Someone who wanted to fill a void and wasn’t afraid to keep going after hearing “no.” Someone who is committed to disrupting their industry. That person is none other than Melissa Butler, founder of The Lip Bar.

While these are the main subjects, there are also quite a few other dynamic women in the film sharing their entrepreneurial journeys. When people watch the film, they’re always surprised to see how many other women they know and love are featured!

For a decade, you’ve covered Black women entrepreneurs via In Her Shoes Blog. Is there a common trait that you’ve observed in the businesses that have beat that odds, survived and are successful today?

The most common trait is sticktoitiveness. Any entrepreneur who has reached a certain level of success has experienced challenging times and countless reasons to throw in the towel, but they didn’t. Knowing when to pause, take a break to refuel, and get back in the game is key.

The women featured in “She Did That.” have pushed through experiences that would have forced most of us to give up, but they didn’t. They kept going, kept building their legacies, and kept inspiring.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Trust and enjoy the journey. I’ve been guilty of not being in the moment and always thinking about what’s next. Some of this is just who I am (ambitious + a little impatient), but it’s also the world we live in. Almost every time I’m out at an industry event, someone asks me “what’s next?” My response is “what’s next is what’s now.”

We don’t allow ourselves enough time to celebrate our current wins, or even fully maximize what we’re working on, because we’re always looking ahead or to our left and right, comparing our journey to someone else’s. Planning for the future is important, but enjoying the journey, and being grateful for our lives now, the space we’re in today, is key.

In terms of enjoying the journey, we have to understand that even if we haven’t reached our ideal career destination, all of the experiences we’re having are leading us to that next level. I’ve been doing PR for years, and never imagined that the storytelling skills I’ve developed and sharpened with my clients, would benefit me as I explore film as a new medium for storytelling.

Also, my PR and marketing skills have really helped me to build the buzz and visibility for this project. I’ve been able to take this film on as one of my clients, and I must say, I’m extremely proud of where its been and where it’s going.

 

“She Did That.” is currently available on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, Cox, Comcast, DIRECTV, xfinity, Spectrum, target.com and barnesandnoble.com.
/

Renae Bluitt on Creating the Perfect Mix of Passion and PR

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.

renae-bluitt-spring-16-headshot

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.

11059340_10153099289982415_3458246736331406388_n

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.

11295717_10153200641677415_7562518896061120694_n

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.

renae-beauties-brains-brunch

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?

renae-at-style-with-eden

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.

12744418_10153711383922415_591818445984993300_n-1

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.

renae bluitt

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.

12743800_10153711532297415_3316402394840998892_n

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.

image6-1

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.

image5

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.

renae-step-and-repeat-pink-dress

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.

Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson