Bee Shapiro is not your typical editor. Lawyer turned top beauty columnist; Shapiro is a perfect example of the modern day woman - mom and wife, hustling non-stop, whether it be a New York Times article, a piece for Vanity Fair, or in the lab constructing a unique scent with the chemists for Ellis Brooklyn. To say Shapiro's repertoire is anything but admirable would be an understatement.
Her arsenal of accomplishments don't just consist of her coveted beauty column on the Styles section of the New York Times profiling the hottest products and people in the industry. Always tackling a new project, Shapiro just launched her new book Skin Deep, featuring her noteworthy columns and new exclusive interviews with the innovators in the beauty world. As a chunk of Bee's job is testing and trying the latest and greatest luxury products, Bee felt a sense of emptiness in the fragrance aspect of the beauty product realm and created Ellis Brooklyn to fill that void.
We turn the tables, and Bee is the one who is now the interviewee. Read along to find out Bee's inspiration for her brand, the story behind its exponential growth, and much more in our Q & A!
1. What is the story behind the name "Ellis Brooklyn"?
"I was pregnant with my first daughter Ellis when I came up with the idea for the line and we live in Brooklyn. I was keeping it simple!"
2. How has having your own beauty column for the New York Times inspire you to create your own brand?
"Being a beauty editor, you're constantly swabbing, testing, trying, experimenting. You get to know products and ingredient lists really well. I think there's a point were you've seen it all in a sense, but then you get the light bulb moment to make something specific and unique and special. That's how Ellis Brooklyn came about. There was this amazing green or conscious beauty movement happening in skincare and makeup, but nada in fragrance."
3. I remember you telling me that creating a brand is a very personal thing, can you elaborate on that?
"When you put it out there, it's truly your baby. You've put your heart, soul and creative energy into each product. It's a culmination of months-long, sometimes years-long creative journey, so it becomes very personal in a magical sort of way."
4. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about having your own brand?
"Favorite thing is all the amazing people I get to collaborate with from my perfumer to package designer to chemist. The downside is all the no-fun homework stuff like making sure I get all my invoices and POs to my bookkeeper-- bleh."
5. What is the afflatus behind each fragrance scent?
"Because I wanted to keep it very personal, each scent is about taking an ingredient and really doing it in a way that hasn't been addressed well before. For example, SCI FI, our latest scent is taking vanilla, which is very well known, and keeping all its warm beauty but doing it in an elegant, almost clean way as opposed to your typical gourmand, cupcake-y vanillas of old."
6. If you had to describe your own personal scent, what would your top three adjectives be?
"I specifically created Ellis Brooklyn Myth for myself. To me, it's pretty yet urbane, modern yet warm."
7. What do you look for in a fragrance, and how have you applied that to each scent you have produced?
"I think finding the right fragrance is like dating. When you know, you know. It's the pathway there, which can be full of doubts and outside influences and opinions that is tough to navigate through. For me, because I've smelled SO many fragrances at this point, my starting off point is: does it smell good. I think so many brands I've reviewed miss this point. I want people to wear my scents. I want the fragrances to be part of their lives— to create memories where the scents play a role. Then, my next thought is: have I smelled this before? Is this unique? Is this special enough to warrant yet another fragrance out there in the marketplace? I am also a stickler for making sure the fragrances smells incredible from start to finish."
8. Can we expect any other beauty products, such as skincare and makeup, from Ellis Brooklyn in the future?
Right now, I think there are enough amazing skincare options out there right now. I feel like I could have a few things to say about natural or green makeup but it's not really something I'm planning on. I'm truly focused on fragrance.
9. How does beauty resonate with you in terms of current-politics and issues in the world? Is it an outlet of expression, a symbol for feminism, a distraction from the real world, or all of the above?
"For me, it's all of the above. Scent, above all else, says something about you in a very subtle yet primal way. When you breathe in a scent, it goes right to your frontal lobe where your instincts are. You're going to be remembered that way. You're going to be identified by a scent. That's very powerful and exciting from an expression point of view. Because of that scent can be playful and transformative too."
10. What does being a powerful creative woman in the beauty industry mean to you?
"One of the beautiful things I've discovered since starting my life is how there are these wonderful female entrepreneurs out there who have been incredibly generous. I've gotten advice from Bobbi Brown. Laura Slatkin, founder of Nest, introduced me to Sephora. Mona Kattan, the business brains behind HudaBeauty, has shared with me countless resources and info. Jen Atkin of Ouai has connected me with her Middle East contacts when I was doing research on the region. The list of amazing women to thank goes on! That to me, is the definition of being a power woman: being secure enough about your success that you're down for lifting other women up."
11. If you had to name someone(s) as your muse for your fragrance line, who would it be and why?
"I don't have a muse. I actually would like to get away from the idea of a muse for fragrance. I feel like I see a lot of muses being created that are not at all like what real, modern women or men are like. I want each scent to stand on its own."
12. Where do you see yourself, and Ellis Brooklyn in 5 years from now?
"Taking over the world-- kidding! I would love to see us making an impact not only as a brand, but also in sourcing and sustainability. This is an area that green brands need to be more and more aware of. All this demand for green and natural ingredients means we have to be all the more responsible when sourcing. I would love to have a program in place that impacts environmental awareness and education in a big, important way."
I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post, a review of all my favorite Ellis Brooklyn fragrances and candles will be up here shortly! In the meantime, shop Ellis Brooklyn on Sephora, Barneys NY, and other select stores.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sir John, to chat about all things beauty, politics (gender/sexuality, feminism, etc.), and his new TV show with Adriana Lima; American Beauty Star. Sir John is a celebrity makeup artist and L'Oreal brand ambassador. Sir John is known for his iconic work and relationship with Beyoncé. We even found out an exclusive Bey story that you won't want to miss.
You asked, I answered. How I edit my Instagram photos and plan my feed! Watch this video to learn how I edit my photos step-by-step to achieve a professional minimalist blogger-esque photo and then learn how to plan your cohesive feed.
Apps used: VSCO Cam, Darkroom, Snapseed, Color Story, Retouch, Facetune, and Planoly
Let me know what you guys think in the comment section down below! Any feedback, suggestions, tips, and more. Hope you enjoyed this post. Stay Ruff!
Instagram is definitely my most populated platform. And success on Instagram takes time and effort, and trust me I’m still figuring it out. I recently hit 27 thousand followers, so I am putting in my “two cents” as to how to grow your Instagram following and engagement. And from there, how to work with brands to receive free products, attend events, and MAKE MONEY. I hope you guys enjoy this video and take notes. I will be making a new series on my channel all about Instagram tips and tricks.
Let me know what you guys think in the comment section down below! Any feedback, suggestions, tips, and more. Hope you enjoyed this post. Stay Ruff!
I'm sure if you have an Instagram account, you see all the models and bloggers in tinted lenses sunnies in all shapes and sizes, from aviators to round shaped. The trend is definitely a "blast from the past", if you will. Trends from all different decades are appearing in modern style today amongst us, millennials. Oversized tinted sunglasses are reminiscent of the 70s. We don't want to bring back everything from the 70s, such as wide collared shirts and immense amounts of chest hair, but this prominent sunglass trend is a keeper. 10 years from now, in retrospect, we will probably all laugh about these sunglasses being all the rage, but for now they are cool as hell. Shop my picks down below by clicking on the selected image. My sunnies are from Urban Outfitters for less than $20!!!!! I know, so good!!!!!
Today, August 4th, marks the 44th president's 56th birthday. Barack was definitely one of the most stylish presidents, especially in contrast to you know who. Let's just say that orange is not a color in Barack's wardrobe. Now let's look at my fave style moments from his blush pink button down on the Fourth of July circa 2013 to a tan suit he wore in the briefing room back in 2014 (SO ME, I know right).
Inauguration Parade, 2009
First things first, red is definitely Obama's color. The subtle red scarf goes to show he knows what compliments his outfit and Michelle's outfit. Obama's coat, leather shoes, and gloves are the icing on the democratic cake. I know style when I see it.
MBA All Star Game, 2009
Obama definitely called the whole "Dad Jeans" look before us bloggers did, and he rocks it. Vintage is definitely a look for Mr. President.
Martha's Vineyard, 2010
Obama rocking the denim once againnnnn. Obama could be a fashion blogger in his own right, with the whole belt and sandal situation and the baseball cap matching everything. And those sunglasses upgraded his look from 100 to 1000.
Fourth Of July, 2013
Obama definitely took a page out of my style book with the blush pink short sleeve button down. If I hadn't released my blog only this year, I would take major credit. Any whom, Michelle looks as pleased as we do with this salmon and khaki combo.
Shopping at the Gap, 2014
As I said, Obama knows his color is red. Man of the people inside the Gap, well that is style in a nutshell. Even presidents love bargains.
Obama's accessories are way too cool, including the snow cone, pun intended. Back at it again with the sunnies and the polos, it's a vibe if you will.
Briefing Room, 2014
This tan suit is easily one of the many highlights in Obama's presidential run. Sure Obama was probably conversing with reporters about important world issues, but we all know this suit stole the show.
Don't mind Obama, he is laughing about the fact that he made neutrals a thing, not Kanye. Sorry, love you Kanye.
Let me know what you guys think in the comment section down below! Any feedback, suggestions, tips, and more. Hope you enjoyed this post. Stay Ruff!
Underwear? You are probably thinking, "David, what the f****!?!?", but I have went through a ton of trial and error in terms of picking the right underwear for myself and what I wear. I am really picky but (no pun intended) - I noticed the topic of underwear, especially for men, is rather taboo. Lets face it, when wearing tapered pants such as skinny denim, our "package" needs to be comfortable. Also, baggy itchy boxers aren't exactly settling with tight bottoms, or any bottoms.
Finally, I came across a couple different styles of Calvin Klein briefs that satisfy everything on my checklist. I wear these boxers with skinny denim, denim shorts, track shorts, sweat pants, dress pants, and any other form of bottoms. These pairs work for any occasion from day-to-day errands, to dressy events, to even a hot Summer day at the beach, etc.
The material of my blue pairs are so extremely soft, I sometimes even sleep in them. To say they feel like clouds are an understatement. OK, I'm exaggerating, but you feel me? They are tight enough that it leaves room for you know what, but not too baggy to be annoying in the vicinity of the crotch to leg. They feel like a second skin which is essential to constant comfort. The briefs are visually pleasing too.
The Calvin Klein logo repeated on the elastic band is classic and on-trend. They have definitely appeared on occasion on my Instagram, subtly (of course fully clothed). All in all, these pairs definitely gain points for comfort and aesthetic.
SHOP MY PICKS
Disclaimer I am not the underwear model, trust me I wish I had those abs (sadly not). Anyways, To shop click on any of the images below. Use the code "SUMMER" at checkout for 20% off your purchase.
I hope I helped those whom were silently struggling in finding the right pair of briefs or maybe those who needed a pleasant unexpected change. I find that miniscule changes in my wardrobe make all the difference. It never hurts updating your underwear and sock drawer because at the end of the day we all have those super uncomfortable old pairs that just sit there taking up valuable real estate.
Earlier this month, I took a trip to Puerto Rico! I filmed a lookbook of all different chic trendy items that you can wear on the beach, and from day to night.
My hair is definitely one of my most, if not my most - prominent feature. People are always asking me about my hair and what I do to it. For the longest time, I literally did nothing at all. My hair used to be suuuuppperrrr long, especially when I was a toddler. My (twin) brother and I would get mistaken for girls because of our long curly locks. Trust me, I wish I was lying. Luckily, my hair requires little maintenance, but solidifying my hair's reputation entails a couple of my favorite products.
It all starts when you wash. Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner is essential to making your hair as visually pleasing as possible, and lets not forget about scent. If you know me, I have a tendency to be excessive, so I tend to use lumps of shampoo and conditioner. The aftermath of such excessiveness is just about everybody around you getting a whiff of your hair. My shampoo is basically my signature scent, and even in middle school my friends would actually voluntarily smell my hair (no joke as weird as it sounds). Anyways, my favorite shampoo and conditioner combo is from Moroccan Oil. Shop it by clicking here.
Recently, I have added hair oil to the repertoire of my hair routine. Hair oil gives your hair that extra conditioning that it needs. And my favorite part about hair oil is that you don't have to go through blowing and styling your hair in the morning. I, for one, suffer from tragic bedhead, so hair oil is the perfect solution. In the cover photo, I rolled out of bed that day to meet my friend for lunch and only used this lifesaving hair oil. Shop my fave hair oil from Shu Uemura here
Although, normally I always style my hair. This five minute process consists of gel, then holding in all of the product with hair spray. This gives my hair a finished slick look with an effortless shiny glow. The gel I use is from Rene Furterer and it is unisex! Shop it here. Then I finish everything with hairspray from L'Oreal - the bottle is so cool it comes in gold. And they also make travel-sized bottles too. Shop it here.
For those of you who do not know, I officially started this blog mid February. I saw a bunch of bloggers on Instagram coming up with innovative content that inspired others for a while now. I finally realized that is something that I wanted to do. I would always post my outfits, where I eat, and such on my Instagram for years now but only for a close knit circle of friends and mutual friends. I would always get asked "Where are your shoes from?", or "What filter did you use on this picture?". Something finally clicked and I noticed, why not expand this and have one central outlet of creativity for people to look at.
I have always loved to create and share my creations, so it all made sense for me to share amongst a broad spectrum. Now I have readers from all over the world - I still get shocked when I get an e-mail from someone from South Africa or many other places such as France. It is so cool and I'm like, "woah somebody in another country actually cares about what I have to say!".
Anyways, initially the purpose of this blog was to showcase myself in a creative way that inspired many people. And it still is, but I slowly began to comprehend the business side of blogging and started monetizing my content.
Overall, I have learned there are many pros and cons to the world of blogging and I am still learning. There are many things that I had no idea of going into this and I can finally say now after a couple of months, I know how to maneuver within this expertise.
You will either hate or love a brand, and a brand will either hate or love you too. There is no in between. Working with a brand whom you don't believe in is detrimental because your followers are your friends and they trust your opinion. I would never work with a brand that I wouldn't recommend to a friend no matter how many products or how much money is on the table. My followers and relationship with them is my biggest priority and once you put a brand before them, you loose your credit. Essentially you are your own brand and who you associate yourself with is crucial. Same goes for a brand, not everyone will love you. There are many factors that go into deciding who will be apart of their campaign, and if you aren't the right fit that doesn't mean that you should be discouraged. I have turned down many opportunities and many brands have turned down me. It has to be a right fit because at the end of the day the brand and yourself has specific standards that need to be met in order to satisfy the targeted demographic.
Engagement is key
The amount of followers you have is everything and nothing. This is specifically referring to brands. Many brands have a specific amount of followers in mind that a blogger has to qualify in order to work with them. From there, the brands assess your relationship with your followers. A brand would rather work with someone who gets four hundred likes a photo and has a close relationship with their followers than that of someone who gets four thousand likes a photo and has no communication with their followers. My first collaboration was with Uniqlo (which is a household name brand) - they were specifically attracted to my engagement on my Instagram, and how I connect with my followers. At that time I only had three thousand followers, but if a tenth of my followers went out and bought a shirt I was wearing, then fell in love with more products from their line that is the goal. The main goal is to sell a product and help your followers chose that product. And when your followers trust the brand as much as you that is essential to a campaign's success and forming more relationships. If your followers don't trust you or your opinion no matter how popular you are that is a major red flag.
Many followers are turned off by a sponsored post or an ad. For those who you don't know, a sponsored post is a blogger's source of money. This is where a brand pays you x amount of dollars or sends you their product for a post displaying their product. Followers must believe in your opinion in order to want to buy what your buying. Nobody will listen to you if every post you do is sponsored. Believe it or not many bloggers will just take anything if money slapped on to it. As I said before, selectivity on both ends is integral. Your authenticity is what determines success in all aspects of blogging.
Your personality is your biggest strength and weakness
Blogging is and will always be a saturated industry. Thousands of bloggers will continue to do clothing hauls and skincare tutorials, but the determining factor of one's success is your personality. For example, my friend Patrick Starrr, does weekly makeup tutorials, but how he differentiates himself and the reason why he has reached a coveted two million subscribers on YouTube is his funny personality and powerful messages he conveys in each video. The common thread amongst my advice is your authenticity. Being yourself attracts followers but there are always boundaries as to what is professional and what is not. Always writing formal e-mails and being professional is so crucial. Responding to everyone (even your haters) with the utmost respect is what will make or break you.
Growing takes time and consistency is important
Today I just hit fourteen thousand Instagram followers and it takes time. Making a connection with your followers takes time and so does attracting new ones. The more consistent you are, the quicker you will grow. When you post more and your followers engage, it shows up on other's feeds and they will want to follow you too. What I always say is quality over quantity. If you have amazing content, a follower will tell five friends, and they will tell another five friends and so on. Nothing happens overnight and I am still looking to grow. Setting realistic goals is always great to work with. I know I have been successful in a short amount of time due to my consistency and quality of content, but I know I am not a "famous" blogger by any means yet.
Events are the best place to network
Fashion Week is one of my busiest weeks of the year, if you don't believe me watch my vlog here. Attending blogger events are always so much fun. Recently in LA, I attended a blogger brunch with Bliss. Between fashion week and brunches, I get the opportunity to make new friendships and collaborations. I am a fearless networker and if I see someone I want to work with I will walk over to them and exhibit myself and my ideas. It is important to remember first impressions dictate everything but it is not your fault if someone turns out to be a total A-hole, trust me it happens all the time. Age is a big factor so a lot of people and brands will either love or hate your youth. The younger you are there are pros and cons that come with that. More followers will follow you because the younger generation is more intuitive with technology and has a tendency to look up to others. The con is, well, your age. I was invited to an event by a brand and I had e-mailed back and fourth with the people who were running the event. But my age was looked over and nobody mentioned to me that there was an open bar. So once I arrived to the event the guards would not let me in without ID. Everything in blogging is a learning experience and there will always be obstacles along the road especially when you are not the ideal age.
Being analytical is smart
Knowing your followers and how to attract them and new ones is vital. If you are planning to grow your following, turn on the business account on Instagram. This allows for people to contact you by simply clicking on the email button. In addition, it also allows for analytics. There is a little bar graph button in the top right corner of your profile: its shows all information about your followers including age, where they live, what time is best to post, how many impressions you get, etc. This lets you see what posts are most popular and when to post them. In addition - tagging, hashtagging, and geotagging is best way to attract people in your niche. When you tag the brands you are wearing they will most likely repost it and their followers will follow you because your style reflects that of their brand. When you geotag where you are, new followers in your area will see your post too. I always geotag where I am eating or if I post in a store or new city. And hashtagging in my opinion is the best way to earn likes and comments - also followers! Within a hashtag there are x amount of posts and there are 9 top posts in that hashtag determined by the engagement on that photo. The main goal is to get in that top post section because it is the first thing these people will see when they are exploring that hashtag. The more posts within that hashtag, the harder it is to reach that top post section. Knowing your range of post numbers is essential in order to strategically hashtag so more and more people can find you. All in all, know what your followers like and dislike, and who they are! I know an outfit post will be more popular than a food post with my followers. When you do more of what you like and what your followers like you expand. But stepping out of your comfort zone attracts new groups of people!
There will be fans and haters
When people see that you are exposing your life on social media, you are vulnerable. When you take the risk of sharing your life and opinions, people will praise your for that or hate you for that. I know my loyal followers who I am always DM-ing with, they are like my best friends. But there are internet trolls who will try to kick you down. I will always get a comment or message from someone that is so so mean. Growing a thick skin is apart of the process and not engaging back in shallow activity is important. Learning to block someone and move on is something that took me a long time to do. When you are young you aren't as mature and you want to "clap back". But having a reputation as a sassy person who can't keep their mouth shut is even worse. There will always be more supporters than haters and remembering that will get you through the meanies. The fans definitely outweigh the haters. It is the best feeling getting stopped on the street and someone telling me they read and love my blog.
Blogging is a full time job
Blogging requires new consistent and relevant content. The quantity and quality of your work is the most important factor. Keep in mind that blogging requires hour and hours of work. And blogging is a job of many jobs. You are your own photographer, creative director, writer, video editor, photo editor, model, guinea pig, CE0, founder, analysist, and so much more!
There are more things I could say and I could talk for hours. But these are my main things that I wish I knew going into blogging. I figured all of this out while blogging and I still find out new things about this industry and myself everyday.
Coffee is probably the most popular beverage amongst Americans. And rightfully so. Many drink coffee for the buzz they need to maintain their focus during a busy day, or for the artificial flavors that so many drool over. When waiting in that obnoxiously long Starbucks line, one never grabs a sizzling hot coffee to curb their metabolism. Coffee surprisingly can help you shave off a couple pounds - but only if you drink it correctly. You are probably thinking how can one drink coffee incorrectly? But there are a ton of different factors to keep in mind such as the time of day in which you drink it, the amount, and what you put in it.
The most obvious rule and widely known rule is NO MILK! My dad always drinks his coffee "black", for nearly twenty years now because of a detox he did at a spa trip. On the other hand, out of all my friends, I am guilty of a serious case of milk obsession. I pour gallons of half and half into my coffee while I eat french fries (probably not the healthiest choice). One of my best friends, Carly, always puts the smallest amount of soy milk in her coffee but not for dietary reasons. Between the two of us the word "diet" is rarely ever used, mainly because we can't talk due to the fact that there is a cheeseburger in our mouths at all times.
So to test this theory of mine, I resorted to research. I read this article on Byrdie all about how coffee can curb your metabolism. The infamous ingredient in our coffee is caffeine, and it helps speed up your metabolism in addition to all its wonderful benefits. A pro tip is to drink your coffee pre-workout for an energy and fat cell breakdown boost. According to dietitian, Dana Godfrey, it helps signal fat cells to break down fat, in doing so it reduces your cravings. Disclaimer - the effects of the caffeine will start to not be as effective if you are an avid drinker of coffee. Dara suggests two to three "black" cups of coffee before 3pm. This means get your caffeine fix in before the afternoon, and stay away from sugar, cream, and milk. The extra sweeteners and ingredients not only add on the weight but increase your hunger. Ditching the yummy stuff is hard, I see that tear rolling down your eye. I know - harsh.
Now lets get scientific. Integrative physician Ralph Esposito, states that, drinking coffee pre-workout boosts Adiponectin, a hormone in your body, that increases the burning of fats and sugars. When you drink a coffee with a ton of flavor like my favorite, a pumpkin spice latte, it kills the flora (good bacteria) that maintains your metabolism and hunger.
But there are also cons. If you are regularly bloated or experience weight gain from this change of coffee-drinking, you should probably stop due to the irritation of your intestines causing further bloating. This might not be for everyone, sadly. I would rather change my coffee habits than going on a full blown diet because lets face it, cheeseburgers aren't going anywhere any time soon.
Hey guys! I know I haven't been on the blog as frequently but I had a bunch of finals so now that school is wrapping up, I can focus on you guys and of course Summer! I promise I will return to YouTube ASAP, too! Having an amazing Summer starts with the perfect wardrobe, and I hate scrambling the last minute trying to find outfits. The epitome of Summer is looking really cool and chic in the best sunglasses - but we all know there is more to an outfit than wearing mirrored sunnies. When going on a destination trip, or if you are staying home tanning in your backyard or on your roof, you want to look #trendy. Bonus points for an "Instagrammable" outfit that all your friends will be talking about for weeks. So in this blog post, I will be giving you all some insight on how to curate creative and cute outfits for whatever Summer plan you have. Click on links to shop your favorite pieces!
It doesn't matter what city streets you are on, from NYC to Paris, they are your catwalk. For the simplistic trendy gal, you might be inclined to go for the classic denim cut-offs and basic white sneakers. The alternative? A diverse denim skirt and white leather booties. A classic gingham print is very popular this Summer, so interpret it into your outfit subtly or be decked-out. And for my guys, you must step up your game as well. Ditch you worn out baseball cap and go for a suede one. With the weather being hot, go for a short-sleeved printed button down and track shorts paired with statement shoes (suede to match the hat is always great).
The Hamptons is the perfect place to show your more preppy side, but lets not look like a Vineyard Vines catalog (LOL). To embody the Hampton's style - blue and white prints are essential, alongside straw hats and bags to get a beachy vibe. I love stripes because they always make you look taller - and trust me that is something that I need to constantly keep in mind. Staying cool during the Summer never seemed so easy!