When I began yes supply co. I set out with the intention to create inspiration and guidance for those who are out there looking for their path to find happiness and fulfilment, personally and professionally. Looking for role models online who I felt like I could connect with usually fell below my expectations. On the quest for finding real career advice, I usually stumbled instead upon interviews full of phrases like “Well, I sort of just fell into this job” or “I had a lot of connections in the industry” Pretty disheartening for the majority of us that don’t have silver spoons leaping at the chance to land on our plates.
I discovered Kate Gremillion and Mavenly + Co a few months after starting my journey with yes supply co. I instantly fell in love with her content, and felt like we had similar goals in mind with our projects. We followed each other and flirtatiously double tapped eachothers’ pictures, almost like when you play hard-to-get with your new tinder crush. Finally I broke the ice and DMed her to see if there would be an opportunity to collaborate. She admired my work as much as I did hers, and after a really refreshing Google Hangout catch up, we were a match made in e-friends heaven.
Kate shared her inspiration for starting Mavenly + Co, what made her build an online community that has honest conversations about work and life, to help you create a life of your own design.
Could you introduce yourself to the yes supply co. community?
I’m Kate Gremillion and I’m the Founder of Mavenly + Co., which is a digital community that supports women in creating a lifestyle by their own design, and I also work with multiple clients in the New Orleans area on communication strategy and digital content creation. The one thing I’m most proud of is the group of women who work with me on Mavenly + Co. every day. It’s truly a labor of love, and seeing their work and passion is humbling.
Tell me about what you are doing now?
This is a great question because Mavenly + Co. is actually in a bit of a transition. When I started Mavenly + Co. a little over a year ago, my top priority was providing thoughtful content and starting conversations about what it means to truly live a life that looks good and feels good to you. Because the internet was the tool I used daily, it’s the first place I turned to create this community.
Our website was a great first place to start, but we realized members of our community were contacting us more frequently to ask about in-person meet ups and opportunities. The piece we missed about supporting women was the value of in person connections and creating tribes in real life.
We knew if we created in-person communities, we wanted the content to be just as intentional and thought provoking as it was online. We solicited the help of experts in the field, and we are in the final stages of creating in person workshops for our Mavenly community for life’s ‘in-between’ moments when women seem to need community most: entering college and entering post graduate life.
What made you begin thinking about starting your own company?
The short answer: I saw a void.
The year after I graduated college I traveled the country as a consultant for a women’s organization and visited a group of women at a different university every week. I saw a trend. At every university, (Harvard, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, etc…) there were women who had invested a great deal of time and money into an education only to leave not knowing what the next step would be, and even worse, not knowing how to solve that problem.
This was a huge red flag to me and it became something I experienced the next year. I knew there were women who had careers and lived the life they loved, so I interviewed numerous women to find out what the secrets were. The information I uncovered through that process was immensely valuable and I knew it had to be shared, and thus Mavenly + Co. was born.
How did you get started?
I was lucky enough to have a communication background, which meant I went to school with amazing journalists. I started by pitching the idea to some friends I went to college with, and they immediately jumped on board and started writing content. We started posting the content and sending it to women we knew who needed it, and the rest is history.
What inspired you to start on this journey?
It was 100% due to the struggle I was having finding my dream job and watching the intelligent and ambitious women around me struggle with this same dilemma. I knew we needed more resources and support, and I was determined to make it happen.
What keeps you going?
The feedback from the women who follow us. Whether the emails are about how we helped them find a new career or if they simply had a ‘me too’ moment reading an article, knowing that other young women are benefitting from our content is the great driver of our work.
How do you stay motivated?
As I mentioned before, the feedback plays a huge role in staying motivated as well as realizing there is so much more to cover. Every day we feel as though we haven’t even started to scratch the surface of the topics we want to discuss with our audience. It makes each day an exciting challenge.
What makes you different from the rest? What is one key factor of your business that makes you successful?
I think our willingness to be vulnerable and share about our own struggles makes us unique in a space where everything is painted as a pretty instagram-worthy picture. When we first started Mavenly + Co. I wrote about my struggle of landing my dream job and then finding out I hated it. That was tough to admit and even tougher to write.
It was failure, and putting your failures on the Internet for the world (and possibly former bosses and professors) to see is hard. But I still to this day get emails from women about that post. I’ve made friends because of that post. It wasn’t about 25 steps to be even better at networking, it was about me sharing with the women I trust and it made me realize that Mavenly + Co. isn’t a website, it’s a community. That makes us different and makes us successful.
3 things that someone who wants to be a start their own consultancy and blog should keep at top of mind:
Make sure you can add value to the space
Know your why.
Find your tribe and figure out how you can work together toward a common goal. The internet is for connecting, not competing.
What were you doing before you started this?
I was doing digital content and strategic communication consulting for a TV personality based in Washington, DC. I still do communication consulting for other brands part time because working 100% on my own work gets me stuck in a creative rut, and it’s fun to work with other people and change things up.
What are some struggles that made it difficult to get from what you were doing before to this?
Starting anything on your own has its struggles. Everything from working on small logistics for setting up a business to finding out how to build a website to continuously working on engaging your audience. There was always a reason to give up, but you have to be truly passionate about what you’re doing and you will find a way to make anything a reality.
Tell us a point in your life when you didn’t ever think you would make it.
There were multiple times during the early stages of Mavenly + Co. where it seemed like we were kicking a dead horse. There were plenty of people who didn’t see a need for it or where it fit in the space, which makes it hard to keep faith in your own idea. Our audience was small, our bank account was small, and our egos were VERY small, but again our belief in the work we were doing was big. If you can’t say yes to yourself even when it seems irrational, it’s hard to start your own venture.
What was your turn-around point?
There wasn’t really one point. It was a series of instances that said to us ‘Hey! We’re on to something.’ We knew we would never get a sign in the clouds that this was worth doing. We simply had to trust our gut and keep moving forward.
If you can’t say yes to yourself even when it seems irrational, it’s hard to start your own venture.
Did you always have a dream to become what you are now?
Not at all. All throughout college I thought I would go to work at a 9-to-5 job in a fancy building in a pencil skirt, but when that became my reality I was miserable. It was only when I started to realized what I truly loved and what made me jump out of bed in the morning that I started dreaming of what I do now.
What was your yes supply moment?
I think it was when I called my parents to tell them I was quitting my job. They are parents and their job is to worry about your future so naturally they advised against it. My parents are my role models, and I respect their opinion more than anything, but I knew despite their advice I had to do what was best for me. It took a whole lot of ‘yes’ in me to say ‘no’ to them.
Do you use any tools for productivity? This could be list-making apps, planners, calendars, etc.
YES! I love sharing these because it’s literally what makes my day possible.
Slack: Our team just started using this to communicate and it’s amazing!
Dropbox: Because duh.
What is something that you do that gives you your yes? Could be working out, taking a walk, reading a book, something that makes you love your personal time.
I have to get out and move around. Now I’ll be honest: I HATE working out. Hate it. But I realized you have to find the workout that works for you. Exercise does wonders for my stress and anxiety, but running and lifting weights is not my thing so I have to opt for Zumba or Spin — something that’s fun and distracts me from all the other tasks in my life.