Exuding confidence, self-worth, and passion, Annie Lawless has become a force in the wellness space with a stylish flair. After experiencing years of chronic eczema in her childhood, Annie was diagnosed with Celiac disease. She learned very quickly at a young age the direct correlation between the foods you put in your body to how you look and, most importantly, how you feel.
Her knowledge and passion for nutrition led her to become a certified holistic health coach, a yoga instructor, and ultimately a founder of one of the largest organic juice companies in the U.S., Suja Juice. Forbes has named Suja in the top 3 Most Promising Companies in the country for two years running. A New York Times Best Selling author and Forbes 30 Under 30 winner, Annie uses BLAWNDE as a platform to share a scope of lifestyle tips, recipes, travel and fashion beauty and more.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Funny, Passionate, Driven
What’s your background?
Health and wellness! I grew up with Celiac disease and extreme food allergies, which led me to co-found a cold pressed juice company called Suja Juice in 2011. I also studied Philosophy in college and am a certified holistic health coach, as well as a certified yoga instructor.
When and why did you decide to create a Travel, Beauty and Fashion blog?
I started my blog in January of 2013 because I was seeing through my social media channels that people wanted to know more about me as a person. I was the face of our juice brand, but people wanted to connect beyond a product. What I was wearing, where I was going, what I was eating, and the products I was using on my hair, skin, and nails were all topics of curiosity and the questions people were continually asking me. I created my blog as my own little world to connect with, inspire, and share with my audience in a deeper way.
Where the name comes from?
My last name is spelled Lawless and I’m blonde, so I merged the two into “Blawnde”, which is really just an alternate spelling of the word “blonde”. I wanted to give a cheeky nod to the notion that people assume girls like me with fashion blogs who care about makeup and clothes are dumb blondes. On the flip side, I am a business person and an entrepreneur, and I pride myself on being very hardworking and savvy. I wanted my blog name to acknowledge the stereotype and play into it as my carefree little fashion space on the internet, but show that I can also be smart and driven as well. There are no rules and we don’t have to fit within the boxes people put us in.
How often do you post content and how do you interact with your visitors?
I try to post 3xs a week, which results in 1 YouTube video on my channel and 2 blog posts. I am active on social media daily, with 1-2 Instagrams and 5-10 snapchats throughout the day. I interact with my visitors frequently as I try to respond to every single comment that I get. It’s so important to show the people who support you and invest their time in you some love.
Do you write all the content?
I do! I do not have one single employee, intern, or helper. The blog and all of my social media is 100% me. It’s a lot of work, but I can’t imagine having someone else creating my content. It’s a very personal process for me.
What part of your job do you find the most challenging?
Managing so many things at once! To do a blog post, you have to plan and style the looks, shoot them, edit the photos, write the copy, upload it all, link every item, get the post live, blast it on social media, and respond to comments/emails about the post. And that ‘s just a blog post! Filming videos for my channel is a similarly labor intensive process. Additionally there are so many emails that come in from readers, brands looking to collab, PR firms, other bloggers, etc. It can be overwhelming! And maintaining a consistent social media presence adds another layer of pressure. But, I’ve accepted that I won’t always get it all done by the time I want or have things out when I had planned and that’s ok. It’s not life or death…it’s blogging and sooner or later whatever I’m worried about will get done.
Did you though in the beginning that will reach millions of people?
No! I am still so flattered whenever someone tells me they read my blog or when strangers come up to me and recognize me from my site. It is pretty surreal. I will always feel that way because I didn’t start my blog with tons of readers or a huge following and it’s still hard to believe how much it has grown.
What do you think has been the key to that?
Authenticity! Being genuine and being myself in everything I post has taken me far. There are so many blogs out there these days, so the only thing you have to set yourself apart and make your site unique is YOU. There is nobody else out there like you with your voice and your perspective and your creative eye. If you try to conform to the “blogger” mold and be like everyone else, you will have nothing more than another generic blog that doesn’t stand apart from the rest. Yes, I post clothes and makeup, but I also share deeper parts of myself and my insecurities or more challenging things I am going through. Being vulnerable and letting my guard down has let people connect with me and see who I really am. My personal posts get the most comments and interaction by far and I think people really relate to realness and want to see it in the world of saturated blogs.
How do you advertise your site?
Through my social media! I am constantly promoting my new posts, new videos, past content, etc. Whenever I have a new blog post, I share the link on my Facebook, add the link to my Instagram profile and post a photo from the post announcing that it’s up, and I do a Snapchat scroll of the new post. It’s a great way to drive traffic to my site because my followers on social media are already my audience demographic and already have interest in me because they are following me, so they are highly likely to visit and share links or tell their friends about my site.
I also do a lot of partnerships with brands that I really like and fit my aesthetic so I can gain exposure to their audience.
Name one your strengths?
I am not easily deterred by hurdles or hardship. When I want to do something and decide to do it, it will happen even if it’s not the easiest path to get there. I really enjoy challenges, so when things get tough or I have a bad day, I am quick to dust myself off and move onward and upward instead of dwelling on it.
Do you have a role model?
I am asked this question a lot, and I have to say that I try to avoid looking up to other people. I wrote a whole blog post about my thoughts on having role models and mentors here blawnde.com/do-you-need-a-mentor, but personally, I am my own role model. I like to think of myself in the exact place I want to be in 5 years having achieved all of the things I want to, and aspire to that. I think role models can be a great thing, but there is often this “looking up to” factor that I don’t really love because I think if you want to do big things, it’s more meaningful to look up to yourself as that person you see yourself being once you’ve accomplished your goals. Your path will not look like anybody else’s and your journey is going to be unique and completely your own. Looking up to someone who has achieved their goals is great, but that’s their story. Instead of looking up to others or molding your career after someone else’s, try writing your own story and strive to be the best YOU that you can work your ass off to be.
Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
My boyfriend. He has always pushed me to follow my passions and always reminds me that even if it doesn’t work out, nothing is really that big of a deal. He inspires me to have fun with everything I do and is the most positive person I know.
Who is your biggest beauty inspiration?
Rosie Huntington Whitely. I absolutely love her. She always looks like herself, but completely polished, sophisticated, and cool. She has figured out what works for her – bronzy, glowy skin, tousled honey tresses, and clean, natural makeup and doesn’t do anything crazy to play into trends. She knows what suits her, but never looks boring because she makes smart statements, like a bold red lip, deep smoky eye, or slicked back hair, while keeping the rest of her look neutral. I really appreciate people that know who they are and stay true to their signature style without feeling the need to try too hard.