Cafe with Audrey McClelland

Audrey McClelland picture

We invited Audrey on June 23, 2010,  to share her story so we can uncover a way of living and creating our lives so we are thriving.  Obviously, as a mother of 4 and a full time blogger, she is busy.  But there is more to her story than the juggle.  This is about risk and rewards, going bold, and of course why 6 months matters!

Audrey started blogging in 2005 as the "second" wave of mommy bloggers. That year, after working for Donna Karan International in New York City for six years, McClelland returned to her home state of Rhode Island and co-founded the site MomGenerations.com, a go-to resource for the entire family, with her mom, Sharon Couto, and her sister, Jane Porricelli. She had gained so much support online with other mommy bloggers and forum conversations that she knew this was the next “big thing” to connect and get support from women.    

Although her work in New York City was engaging and thrilling, upon starting her family, Audrey realized she wanted to work from home. Prior to Mom Generations, Audrey had also started a product review site called "Pinks and Blues" which reviewed baby products.  She added a blog to further inform site visitors and found that the blog was more popular!  That got her thinking:  "this is where I need to be" and she put on her business hat and realized that she needed to carve out a niche. Here she is, passionate about fashion, where Vogue was her bible, and in 2007 a mom with two toddlers and another baby on the way, she had somehow "lost" her fashion sense.  What about other moms, she wondered? Perhaps she could blend her love of fashion with her reality as a mom. 

Blogging Fashion 2009:

Yet after 3 years of blogging, Audrey still wasn't bringing in the income she wanted.  She wanted to go bold.  So on December 31, 2008 she announced to her husband, "I am going to write  "365 Days of Fashion Advice for Moms" on Mom Generations, offering one piece of fashion and/or beauty advice each day of the year, either through a blog post or vlog.   Up until then, no one had merged two market verticals: motherhood and fashion.  Plus Audrey researched this “merger” of passions online, and at the time there were no real fashionista moms.This was the niche, and so a new trifecta "Tech-mommy-fashionista"

This daily practice was her commitment and process: a post everyday.  However, she lamented she wanted to see success or give up. Her husband chimed in, "you don't have to think so long term, given it 6 months, then see where you are."  Audrey pulled down the family calendar and flipped to June 2009, and circled the date. That was it, she would post every day, and if she didn't see some movement upon her deadline, she would reexamine her direction.  So she went to work on her daily posts. 

In the meantime, she worked with her blogger community and collaborated with 10 other mommy bloggers and approached Lifetime with a proposal to get "Lifetime Moms" up and going.  The proposal was accepted and Audrey is now the "Fashion Mom" on Lifetime Moms. This led to other opportunities and Audrey is now a vlogger for Johnson & Johnson’s “Real Moms” Health Channel, one of Hanes’ Social Media Comfort Crew members, a member of the Walmart Elevenmoms, and she holds a position on Hasbro’s Playskool Panel.  Audrey was named as one of “The Power Pack” Moms in Nielson’s Online 2009 Power Moms list.

Now in 2010: she is adding "Get Glamous" events in NYC to get moms on the fashion track, and anticipates rolling this out to other cities, iincluding RI!  Regardless, Audrey's next challenge is another 6 month timeframe:  to get a level of income that can support her family through her online work.  The paradox here is that this will take her away from her family yet she is determined to integrate as much as she can.

From Audrey's story, we found numerous tensions or paradoxes that she was thriving and evolving:  Mom and Fashion, Virtual relationships and Intimacy, City girl to Suburban mom, attending to work and to home, risk and reward, making a living and doing it for free.  We also learned about her style of venturing out:  she is dogged in letting everyone know what she is doing, she researches thoroughly (including getting a phone book to call every fashion house in NYC to find her first job out of college), she presents who she is authentically, and knows when to say "no that isn't me" (she doesn’t use her blogging as a soapbox). She is open to learning- from new technology like vlogging, to putting on events-because she sees it as a way to meet her audience where they are at, rather than approaching learning as a step-wise lesson. 

More Links:

Following Audrey's story, attendees identifies key themes to discuss in small conversations. It is from these conversation that leads to connecting, enhanced community to build committed action.  Read below about the conversation themes and outcomes. Do tell us what your committed action is next after reading about Audrey's story. Café

Topic 1: Using your community to be accountable and stay present.  Be bold and tell everyone what you are doing- define it before others define you.

Key strategies from conversation:  CafeConversationwAudrey

Café Topic 2: How are you redefining work and how are you doing so to lean in y our own terms to pick and choose.  This is about process vs. routine, we are "creating" our lives.

Key strategies from conversation:

Café Topic 3: Wildcard: What we need to feel fulfilled!

Key strategies from conversation:

Any thing else to add?  Please comment:

About Audrey:

AudreySpeaksatSoulatWorkAudrey left the fashion world of Donna Karan International in NYC to raise her brood of boys in her home state of Rhode Island. She’s learned that you can take the girl out of the Fashion District, but you can’t take the Fashion District out of the girl. Audrey brings her fashion expertise and mom experience to Mom Generations.

Wife… Mother of four boys 5 and under… Gemini… Brown University grad… Co-author of Preconception Plain & Simple… Contributor to conceive magazine (Winter 2006 and current Spring 2007 issues)… Former NYC fashion world maven… City-girl to Suburban-mom… Subways to SUVs… Designer duds to sweaters and jeans… Late nights out to early evening eat-ins… Cosmos to bottles… Feels equally at home on Madison Ave. and on the playground with her boys. See her blog: http://momgenerations.com/audrey/  



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