Welcome to the 360i #SideHustle blog series, where we showcase the awesome side projects, hobbies, start-up businesses, and other ventures created by the entrepreneurial and always-curious employees here at 360i.
What once was a passion project quickly turned into a #SideHustle for 360i Senior Social Strategist Marie Goldstein. When Marie isn’t busy creating social plans for 360i’s top entertainment clients, she’s running her own Fashion and Lifestyle blog and online boutique, ThePreppyMAG. We sat down with Marie to learn more about her #SideHustle.
360i: What made you start a fashion blog and online boutique?
Marie Goldstein (MG): I started my Fashion and Lifestyle blog in 2013 while I was a PR intern at Carlo Pazolini, an Italian shoe and accessories company. After building an influencer database for the brand and identifying who we should work with, I thought, “Well this seems really cool and I can totally do this too.” Ultimately, I was inspired by this project during my internship. That same summer I started ThePreppyMAG.
Four years later, I launched my online boutique. I had been driving traffic to other brands using affiliate links and quickly saw an opportunity to curate my own online boutique. I choose my items for my boutique by seeing what my audience likes, what they click on, and what they end up buying from other brands. Starting an online boutique was a great way to keep impressions and the community on my site.
360i: Where did the idea for the name come from?
MG: I have always had (and loved) a preppy style, think: big bows, pink and green color schemes, and New England proper. Then there is kind of a double meaning for MAG, it is my initials, Marie Andrea Goldstein and it also stands for magazine. A little secret: my boyfriend (who is also in marketing) helped me come up with the name!
360i: Tell us about your online following—who are they, and how did you build your audience?
MG: My following started out as people who I went to college with and it grew from there. I’ve always focused on my content, and because of that, people often find me when they are searching for new brands and styles. In addition to fashion-forward millennials, I’ve also grown an audience of young professionals because unlike a lot of other bloggers, I’m going to work everyday and can share more relatable stories (stylish, but comfortable commuter shoes, work-appropriate outfits, etc.). I’ve also networked quite a bit in the blogging industry which has helped me connect and grow my community. Basically, relatable/interesting content and networking are key.
360i: Your first real job in social marketing was here at 360i. How have lessons you’ve learned on the job influenced the way you run The Preppy MAG?
MG: Everything I have learned in my job here at 360i has influenced how I run ThePreppyMAG. I used to be only focus on posting pretty photos, but now I use real insights to help me make decisions such as taking part in trending conversations to improve my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or building out an organic hashtag strategy on Instagram rather than just randomly tagging all of the brands that I’m wearing. Even the creation of my boutique was inspired by community insights. While it is still a fun side hustle, there are actual insights and analytics built into it now, which has helped it grow. Setting and reporting out on measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) has also played a significant role in my blog as I’ve started to monetize it. Overall, my experience at 360i has helped me learn how to work smarter rather than harder when it comes to ThePreppyMAG.
360i: Can you share BTS on how you manage your boutique?
MG: I originally managed the boutique out of my studio apartment in Hell’s Kitchen and while that was fun there were boxes everywhere. Now It’s kind of a mini family business. I get some of my inventory shipped to my family’s house on Long Island and my mom and grandma help package and ship orders every day.
360i: How much time would you say you spend working on The Preppy MAG during the week?
MG: Ha! Literally, every other minute I’m not at 360i.
360i: Where would you like The Preppy MAG to be in five years?
MG: That’s a hard question. Because this started out as a passion project, I never imagined it to be a business or for me to be a full-time blogger. I’ve focused on my career in Marketing over the past five years, but moving forward I want to find more synergies between the two passions.
360i: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to start a blog?
MG: Just start. I feel like people are so nervous about what people are going to say about them on the Internet. Who cares about the trolls. Just start and be consistent and don’t listen to the haters.