Hello, Working Girls: Fatou and Lauren of Women in Wonderland
Q: When did launching Women in Wonderland first pop up on your radar, and how did you take the steps toward launching such a dynamic site and network for women?
A: The funny thing is that launching Women in Wonderland was an idea that manifested itself naturally for us. There wasn't an initial plan to create a network and we really didn't expect for it to turn into what it has. Now, it's not only an organization, but a resource for entrepreneurial Queens. We've also embarked on a journey to launch our own blog platform as apart of the organization as well – so a lot of big things are happening for us that are completely unexpected!
In reality, the original idea for WIW was to have an event centered around female entrepreneurs. We've both got backgrounds in business development and wanted to create an event that celebrated creative female entrepreneurs that was interactive. Through planning this event, it dawned on us that one event wasn't a proper representation of the message that we wanted to get out there.
We wanted to focus on a supportive community – we've known each-other since we were 15 years old and have been consistent in supporting one another in our respective endeavors. It's something that we've both been grateful for and we wanted to share that with other professional women. Thus, after hours of brainstorming and binging on macaroons, we were able to mold what that community looked like and Women in Wonderland was born.
Q: Women in Wonderland has flourished thanks to your great branding and voice – what are some of your marketing tactics that have gotten you media love as the site has grown?
A: Having an eye for design has really helped us – we know what our niche is, as well as what type of Queens we're catering to. We live by quotes, flat-lays, and real-life experiences and connections. That's something that we try to ensure we illustrate in everything that we do.
Because we're visual, were always looking for ways to take our branding efforts to the next level. Videos have kind of become our thing, we love making mini graphic films whenever it's feasible.
When it comes to marketing, we try to envision the things that we would want to see if we weren't behind Women in Wonderland. What appeals to us as early 20-something young female professionals? What's the right blend of career perspective and everyday tips? Those are the questions that push us in our marketing strategies.
Q: Walk us through what a day in the life of the founders of Women in Wonderland is like – lots of meetings, calls, and networking?
A: Both of us are quite the busy bees during the day. Lauren is in her last semester of nursing school, owns a bakery and has her own lifestyle platform - Miss Laur. Fatou is the Director of Digital Communications for DID Jeans and owns a design studio called B by Design where she focuses on brand + website management. Every day, we take the time to send emails, take calls, and ensure that we're consistently connecting with the Queens in our network and beyond.
Because are days are so jam-packed we're fans of coffee meet ups in-between tasks and you can always catch us e-mailing away throughout the day, making plans to meet with vendors, affiliates, and/or sponsors. We try to maintain a work-life balance that allows us to pay attention to both our professional needs and personal needs.
Q: One unique facet of Women in Wonderland is the great offline relationships that you facilitate through workshops, conferences and brunches. How important is it to have a strong community built behind your brand?
A: This is probably one of the most important aspects of what Women in Wonderland is to us, we see a lot of digital communities with little off-line interaction. Relationships thrive through in-person interaction. We pride ourselves on creating opportunities where women can meet in person, face-to-face.
That personal connection and opportunity that comes from being around someone who is similar to you goes a lot farther then people think. We want to be able to shoot a fellow Queen an e-mail, but we also want to ensure that professional women are getting in the habit of staying connected to one another in real life.
We want "Jessica" and "Chelsea" to pick up the phone and make plans to meet for coffee or a drink after work and chat about what they're working on outside of meeting at a webinar. So for us, having women create these relationships offline is very important.
Q: What advice would you have for fellow women looking to embark on their own digital, entrepreneurial adventure? How should they prepare before taking the “leap”?
A: I think the best advice we could give to any female entrepreneur is to be led by what they're passionate about in anything that they embark. Take the time to hone in on what aspect of what you want to do really resonates with you. Use that as your driving force - the reason WIW works for the both of us is because we're 200% dedicated to our mission, as well as helping other women navigate their way.
We like to work backwards a lot of the time – picturing the end goal and trekking through the steps in the opposite direction. If I want to be here at the end of it all - what does the step before that look like, and the step before that one?And so on and so on. Knowing where you want to see yourself in your digital, entrepreneurial adventure allows you to take a few steps back to identify what you need to do to get there. So Queens should always be pursuing passion and working their way to the top by identifying what the bottom looks like!