Fashion, food, film. They’re taking off in Nashville, and behind the business boom are women. The city has been named the No. 1 city for female entrepreneurs, and they’re playing a major role in the It City’s economic growth.
One successful women-powered business is StyleBlueprint, the fastest growing digital media company in the South, according to co-founder Elizabeth Fox, who launched the company in 2009 along with Liza Graves. “The concept of StyleBlueprint started on the back of a napkin,” Fox said.
StyleBlueprint – found at www.styleblueprint.com – describes itself as an “online lifestyle brand,” pumping out local articles and guides in an effort to help its readers, mainly women, feel more connected to their community. There’s also an app version of the online publication.
“Both of us were in a position to contemplate what we wanted to do next with our careers. I had taken a seven-year hiatus from working when I became pregnant with my third daughter and my mom was terminally ill.
“Liza and I both knew that women were busy and missed girlfriend time. We also knew that connecting them virtually may be a good thing,” she added.
Articles on the website touch on style, home design, food, dining and upcoming events.
“We realized early on in StyleBlueprint’s history that the city was booming. [Liza and I] had so much to write about and a loyal audience. To this day, readers come up to me and tell me how proud they are of us and that they were with us from the beginning. What a gift,” Fox said.“We are proud of our mission to support local and regional businesses in the South.”
Currently, StyleBlueprint is in five other cities – Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Louisville and Memphis. A separate Southern edition caters to a broader audience.
Each morning, Fox and Graves connect via email with 100,000 people via StyleBlueprint Daily. They also just rolled out SB Travel, as a response to readers wanting to know where to go to travel.
A frequent ask of fans is for a men’s edition. “We have about 20 to 30 percent male readership – the cool guys – so we know that StyleBlueprint [already] writes articles that speak to both men and women,” Fox said. “Since we tell our readers all the great things going on in their cities, it makes sense to me.”
As for staff, the majority are women. “Liza and I pride ourselves in helping women get back in the workforce and mentoring the young women that work for us. Our first intern is our senior writer and we hired her fresh out of The University of the South,” Fox said.
Further, Fox and Graves know the balance of managing family and work is tricky, and those experiences have shaped their current work culture.
“When Liza and I started, we both drove mini-vans with over 100,000 miles, and each had three children. We offer liberal vacation policies to our staff, as we know striking the balance between work and family is every woman’s dilemma.”
Photo: Elizabeth Fox and Liza Graves, co-founders of StyleBlueprint; Credit: Peter Nash.