What you can learn from a 14-year old blogger

Tavi Smiley

Precocious blogger has something to say

A couple years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a subscription to the New Yorker. It’s an amazing magazine, but at the weekly delivery rate, I just don’t have enough time to keep up with it. (That growing pile of neatly-arranged New Yorkers silently mocks me from the bookshelf.)

Every once in a while, I do find time to read the articles and when I do, I’m genuinely delighted by the things I learn. This morning over Ancora Espresso, I read the September 20th issue’s article on Tavi Gevinson, the precocious style-blogger who has been making a splash in the fashion world. This isn’t anything new. In fact, Tavi has been blogging for several years. But if you aren’t intimately involved with fashion or subscribe to style blogs, you probably haven’t heard of her.

Why? Because apparently she has refused offers from the mainstream press to appear on shows like Oprah, The Tonight Show and various morning programs. The article explains that she finds this “cheesy” and isn’t interested in attention outside of the fashion world.

Of course, Tavi has her critics – including people who think her blog is an adult-backed construct. I don’t know enough yet to take a stand on this. But what I can stand by are my “take-aways” from the article:

• Be yourself. It may take a while for people to understand you, but those who do are worth knowing. This “be yourself” mantra is nothing new, but bears repeating often as our influences (media, friends, colleagues, etc) are always pushing us to “sheople” mentality. In business, this sometimes manifests itself in the phrase “best practices,” which can be defensive posturing against new ideas.

• Stay away from quick-fixes. In refusing mainstream media coverage, Tavi is solidifying her brand. So often, people/businesses get excited about press coverage or attention, but fail to recognize that most attention is fleeting. You must have substance and conviction in what you do. Remember, sometimes taking a step back and saying “no” is the best way to move forward.

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