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TLV Note: This week is National Business Women’s Week, and we’re celebrating on the blog by profiling a few of our favorite local women in business. From a top blogger, to a fearless boutique owner, and a duo revolutionizing education, these talented, hardworking women are sure to inspire and motivate your inner boss lady. First up, Laura McKittrick, founder and editor of Greenwich Girl.
Laura McKittrick had a successful career in finance, until she realized she had the itch to do something a little more creative. After starting a blog with a girlfriend “randomly,” she realized she had a knack–and passion–for writing, and that people responded to her candid relatable voice. Though the original blog was only temporary, Laura was hooked on the idea of writing, and launched her own blog, called Greenwich Girl, shortly thereafter. Three years later, with no formal training as a writer, editor, or stylist, she has grown Greenwich Girl into one of the area’s most popular media companies, with a daily blog, a digital magazine, and tens of thousands of social media fans and followers.
Here, we talk to Laura about the start of the brand, when she knew she was onto something, what it’s like to run a budding media empire, and more.
You used to work for a hedge fund. What made you decide to start Greenwich Girl?
I was in finance for 5 years when I randomly decided to start a tongue in cheek, three day blog covering the progress of Hurricane Irene in 2011 with a girlfriend. It was strictly for fun and only for a few days but within the first night we had over 10,000 views and within three days I had four freelance writing offers. I spent the following six months writing a book, Greenwich Girl, and could not get published. After being rejected over twenty times I started The GG blog as a way to get noticed by and hopefully eventually picked up by an agent or publishing house.
In addition to a blog and social media accounts, Greenwich Girl is also a digital magazine. Why did you take such a comprehensive approach to the brand?
The blog is great but I realized that I had tapped into an untouched market with the angle GG comes from in delivery. There was a need for a younger perspective on Greenwich and people, here and elsewhere, are very curious about this whole area. Being born and raised here I have a lot to say about it!
You’ve run the site for less than three years, but it’s already got a loyal (and large!) readership. What do you attribute your success to?
Relentless persistence and not taking no for an answer.
Why do you think Greenwich Girl resonates with your readers?
I have a very honest and often quirky voice. I can look all glam at times when I have a photoshoot but that isn’t me everyday at all, nor would I want it to be, and I am real about that. I think there is a relatable factor for every woman to The GG, we all have a girl in us regardless of age and with the craziness that life can bring to daily schedules and so on, it is nice to have a source that reminds us of that girl within.
At what point did you know you might be on to something with your brand? Almost immediately? After a few months?
I knew the name was good right away because of the hugely positive and supportive reaction but I wasn’t sure of what it was going to evolve to for a while. It took analyzing what topics my readers engaged with the most, what voice was the most relatable and which visuals worked best to really have direction. I would say about 1.5 years into it. When I had clients committing to advertising for a year contract for The GG Magazine I knew I was doing something right.
What’s the day to day like running the site?
Chaos. It’s 24/7 and it is my life, literally. But I love it, it’s my passion and it doesn’t feel like work. Being organized is a huge priority of mine but that has not always been the case! When you start having a million balls in the air you have to get things in order and plan or else they will all come falling down.
What about the magazine – how far in advance do you start working on each issue, and what does each entail?
The beauty of digital is you can truly update it to the second. I like delivering info real time. I like being able to pick up on whats trending and delivering it in an appropriate way that appeals to all types of women. I do however have the magazines blueprint planned about 8-10 months in advance but am always tweaking to the day of publication.
Are there any skills or qualities your learned while working in finance that are applicable to what you do now?
Being good at math helps when it comes to figuring out and analyzing the analytics/stats and mapping out monthly budgets.
What new skills have you had to learn as an editor and blogger?
Before GG I did not do anything like this so every step has been a learning experience. Keeping up with social media trends to learning how to tag articles with keywords, figuring out what type of partnerships make the most sense, how to best allocate my time and having goals are a few among the many things I have learned as an editor/blogger.
What are some of the best opportunities Greenwich Girl has afforded you?
Meeting awesome people, lifetime friends and some fabulous perks!