I Could Have Done Better... What I Learned from Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily & Ayo Thomas of W.O.E. Magazine
So, I will be fully transparent with you guys, I have been SITTING on this post for a month!
You know there are days that you are ON YOUR GAME and there are days you ARE NOT. Well, my nerves got the best of me the day of this event and I did not do my best interview in my opinion. Did I totally tank? No, that would be me being dramatic. However, I could have done better. I studied, I prepared BUT I did not position or pivot myself. There's a lesson to be learned and I want to share it with y'all. So here it goes...
Last month, I got to spend the afternoon with W.O.E. Magazine, some of my Blogger Boos and none other than Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily and the E.I.C. of W.O.E. (Women of Excellence) Magazine, Ayo Thomas. To say it was a Saturday well spent is an understatement. All of the attendees looked chic and fashionable. When you have Claire Sulmers in the building you can't show up like no slouch. You better put your best foot forward and stand in your creativity. She'll appreciate it. I love meeting new people when I go to events. I love it even better when young ladies have no issue given each other compliments and helping you out when you need it. For instance, I had lipstick on my teeth, because RED, and my new girl Monica made sure I knew that before I took a picture with Claire. I can appreciate that. Thanks girl!
This event was put together to celebrate Claire gracing the cover not once, but twice on W.O.E. magazine's Spring/Summer issue. Hence the name Cover Talk with Claire Sulmers. Cute right?! W.O.E. stands for Women Of Excellence and Claire absolutely exemplifies that. There was a fashion show styled by Tamiko White, good eats were provided by Chef Christine Hazel from Hell's Kitchen, Sweet Treats by Alexis Streets of Basket Treats and a dope panel discussion moderated by both Tamiko and Ayo. I had the pleasure of interviewing both Claire & Ayo Thomas the EIC of W.O.E. Magazine.
Claire Sulmers Interview
Sommar: I have THE Claire Sulmers with me of Fashion Bomb Daily. She is the woman of the hour. Claire, how are you feeling?
Claire: I feel amazing!
Sommar: Well, you look Gorgeous! So, we have a couple of questions for you.
Claire: Thank you so much! Okay...
Sommar: For my readers, What style trend are you really excited to get into this summer?
Claire: What style trend am I looking forward to this summer? Hmmm... kimonos!
Sommar: Ooooo... Now I interviewed your friend, Ty Hunter, a couple of weeks ago and he said athleisure.
Claire: Athleisure? Okay! (nodding and smiling while saying this)
Sommar: You know with him having his line at SIX:02.
Claire: Right! I know, I know. I love kimonos too!
Sommar: But kimonos are great I love that!
Claire: I also like the pajama trend because you can just be comfortable and basically just wear your pajamas outside.
Sommar: Which is perfect with jeans, with a tank or a tee a kimono is so easy.
Claire: Yes, yes!
Sommar: So Claire, you also have a go-getter attitude. You get it done by any means necessary!
Claire: That's Right!
Sommar: I remember when your computer went down and you were in the lobby of the Marriott (working on their computer). Where do you get that drive and determination because reading your book I realized you've always had that thing about you?
Claire: My motto in life is I will NOT lose. So, it really doesn't matter to me how long is it going to take or what obstacles stand in my way. Obiviously, you have to tweak things sometimes. You know, maybe I'll dye my hair blonde and maybe that'll step it up and make it fun. You know tweak things along the way, always stick to your goals and never give up!
Sommar: I love that! Thank you so much for sharing that with us.
Ayo Thomas Interview
Sommar: I have Ayo Thomas with me the E.I.C., the Editor in Chief of W.O.E. (Women of Excellence) magazine. How are you feeling today?
Ayo: I feel great!
Sommar: Claire looked great and you look wonderful. I have a fun question for you. We are heading in to summer. What is one trend you can't wait to play around with and get in to?
Ayo: I am wearing it. Floral!
Sommar: Yes and a little ruffles.
Ayo: Yes, ruffles, something loose, fun and flirty.
Sommar: And it is easy! You can just put a couple of accessories with it and you are good to go.
Ayo: Yup, definitely.
Sommar: So, what made you say, or wake up in the morning and say, I want to start a magazine?
Ayo: Well I didn't wake up in the morning with the idea. I was a long time dream. It has always been a vision of mine. W.O.E. was really birthed from my women's group I started in 2005 that I had for about 10 years, which was called W.O.E. So, I wanted to take it to the next level which was my dream to launch my magazine.
Sommar: So, you talked about Faith and so did Claire on the panel today. How has faith really played a role?
Ayo: Faith is everything! In my vision and in my dream. This is my marketing plus ministry. I want to reach people outside of the four walls of the church and I feel like with events like this we are still able to empower people and reach those who never been to a church just through our lives. I believe that is what W.O.E. is all about.
Sommar: Yes, I agree. I really enjoyed today's event. You put together such a great event from the food to the decor just everything has really been awesome.
One more question, what can we expect this summer from W.O.E.?
Ayo: Well, we are getting ready to celebrate our first year anniversary. We are putting together a anniversary party towards the beginning of the fall and we are getting ready to shoot our Fall/Winter issue in L.A.
Sommar: Oh my goodness that is going to be amazing!
Ayo: I can't wait!
Sommar: Bi-coastal, I love it.
Ayo: Yes, we are bi-coastal!
Sommar: Tune in and go follow her, go follow the brand. I am telling you this magazine is going places. It is a gorgeous magazine!
I had such a great time at this event and I was nervous when I interviewed both Claire and Ayo. I will tell you some things that I did to prepare and some things you should never do!
- To Do: I did some research on both Claire and Ayo. Now, I have been following Claire for YEARS and I just learned about Ayo over the last few months. I took the same amount of time to research both ladies. I didn't assume I knew everything there was to know about Claire just because I have been following her for years. Do your research. Write down all of the FACTS you know about the person and you that info to ask awesome questions.
- Be Aware: Speaking of asking questions. I honestly wished I would have asked Claire 1 or 2 MORE questions. We were given a limit of 2 questions per person we interviewed. What I didn't do was gage the vibe of the room. Now, what I am about to say WILL NOT work in every instance. Therefore, be cautious! I was the 2nd person to interview her and I asked her 2 out of the 7 questions I prepared. One fun/fashion question and one serious/life question. However, others that followed me asked her 3 or 4 questions. I realized the vibe of the room was more relaxed and I could have sneaked in 1 or 2 more questions to have a more substantial interview. Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission... when permitted.
- Slow Down: When I interviewed Ayo I already had in mind that I would ask her more questions because now I am aware of the vibe in the room. However, I was nervous and mispronounced her name. I was so embarrassed! I knew how to pronounce it but my nerves got the best of me. I apologized immediately and she was totally fine. Just take a deep breath when those nerves build up. If you make a mistake, apologize and rock out the rest of the interview.
- Don't Do THIS: After the event I beat myself up! I was upset at myself for not asking Claire more questions or maybe I should have picked different questions to ask. I was hard on myself about mispronouncing Ayo's name even though she seemed okay and accepted my apologize. I have had this post in my drafts since the end of May because I could not stop giving myself a hard time about this. My insecurities took over in a horrible way. It was ridiculous! I want you to know you are going to make mistakes. You are going to mispronounce someone's name or wished you asked them a better question. At the end of the day if you feel as though you prepped the best you could and you brought your "A" game then reflect, write down what you want to improve on and then move on to the next moment. Do not stay stuck in one place. You have to KEEP moving and forgive yourself.
- Do All of THIS: While Claire was on the panel, Ayo asked her what are some of the challenges she faced building her brand and some of the obstacles she's had to overcome? Watch below.