Ehmonie Hainey is an entrepreneur, marketing and communications consultant, high fashion lover, blogger and freelance writer. She has seamlessly integrated all her loves and strengths into two powerhouse sites: What’s Haute and Handbag du Jour. What’s Haute is a NYC-based beauty, fashion and lifestyle site featuring personal style, celebrity style, news, reviews, interviews and more! Handbag du Jour is where you go to nurse your handbag obsession—no matter how mild. In this COCOBlogger interview, Ehmonie shared a little bit about her background, gave the secret to a powerhouse wardrobe, and of course, spilled the details on her Ultimate Beauty Arsenal.
In 3-5 sentences tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I actually started my professional career as a research scientist – yes, I was a science nerd! But after attending grad school, I transitioned to a career in business and media. Currently I am a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger and freelance writer. Additionally, I am a marketing and communications consultant.
What drew you to blogging and what keeps you going?
I have loved fashion for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would pull looks from the pages of Vogue Magazine and use them as inspiration for what I wore. I designed my junior and senior prom dresses based on haute couture editorials I saw in Vogue. I also loved scouring celebrity teen magazines for further fashion inspiration. And I would use my allowance to shop for unique pieces at flea markets and local discount stores. So I always have been a trend watcher, fashion lover and power shopper.
I began blogging partly because I needed a creative outlet when I was working at a particularly non-inspiring job. Also, I was designing and creating handbags and while scouring the web for inspiration, I kept coming across other independent handbag designers that I loved and wanted to highlight. In early 2006, I discovered the Blogger platform and launched What’s Haute, which originally was solely a handbag blog. Later I transitioned it to Handbag du Jour and expanded What’s Haute into a full fashion, beauty and lifestyle site.
My love of the fashion industry and its novelty is what keeps me inspired. They say in fashion, “What goes around comes back around again” and that partly is true, but there is plenty of newness and freshness that keeps it interesting. Plus, celebrity style coupled with social media has really made fashion exciting to watch!
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about bloggers/online publishers?
I think one of the misconceptions is that bloggers are in it for the free items and glamorous fashion events. A lot of people I know who are serious about blogging (myself included) are not in it for the freebies and for the glamour – they do it because they truly have a passion for fashion.
How has your background in Marketing and in Media Management helped What’s Haute Magazine to get noticed by press outlets like Women’s Wear Daily, Glamour Magazine and the New York Times’ Style Section?
Having a business background has helped me approach blogging as a business–and with any business, publicity is key. Developing a professional look to my site helped to draw interest and of course, content is king. Additionally, building and maintaining professional relationships has helped me gain publicity for my sites.
Let’s talk style and beauty. How would you describe your signature style?
My signature style is eclectic – I love to wear just about anything! I’ve always been a bit of a fashion risk-taker, much to my mother’s dismay! In high school I went through a tomboy stage (wearing oversized Cross Colors jeans and colorful high top sneakers), a 70’s stage (wearing velour shirts, clogs and Rerun-style hats), a 90’s hip-hop fashion stage (wearing paisley print blouses, suede patch front jeans and tons of gold jewelry).
These days I’m still open to wearing many different looks. One day I might rock a jeweled skull top with ripped jeans, a studded bag, edgy shoes and zipper jewelry. The next I’m wearing a floral print skater dress with a hot pink Celine tote and metallic sandals. Then you could catch me in a blazer, neon skinny jeans and classic pumps; or a printed maxi dress and a straw hat. My look depends on my fashion mood, which changes every single day!
What 3 items should be in every female entrepreneur’s closet and why?
- A perfect fitting black blazer to throw on with a dress, for power lunches, or with jeans and pumps for a dinner meeting.
- A classic, statement handbag, like a Chanel Flap bag or Celine Luggage Tote. Most women carry handbags and every woman should have one that can stand the test of time and outlast current trends.
- A pair of black or nude pumps – I’m certainly a fan of fun shoes but nothing beats a classic pump that you can wear to work, or with a pair of perfect fit jeans for a simple, understated sexy look.
What fashion trend(s) are you most excited about for summer?
I love the resurgence of crop tops this summer. They’re interesting because of the different ways people have been wearing them on the street, and on the red carpet. My personal favorite look is a printed crop top with either a matching high-waist midi skirt or a solid colored full skirt. Both looks are very ladylike and flattering to all figures.
What 3 items are in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal–those products you just cannot live without?
Three beauty items I could not live without include my trusty Hana Titanium flat iron, Too Faced Sun Bunny bronzer and a lipstick/lip gloss of the day. For the latter, I can’t pick just one, but I rotate between Chanel Lipgloss in Twinkle, Marc Jacobs Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl in Heart Shaped, and the following MAC lipsticks: ‘Riri Woo’, ‘Heaux’, ‘Lickable’, ‘Russian Red’ and ‘Chili’.
You’ve had great success with What’s Haute Magazine and Handbag du Jour. What advice would you give to other women who want to start their own blog or business, but are afraid to take the leap?
I am all for entrepreneurship so I would encourage anyone who wants to take the leap to do so! But first I would say it’s important to focus on a topic or field that you love so much that you’d work for free if you had to. Also, it’s important to understand the amount of hard work that goes into running your own business, so I would suggest drafting a business plan to launch and help you stay on track with your goals.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I currently am working with a company on a partnership but I can’t go into many details right now. But it is something that’s right up my alley! Stay tuned!