I am super excited to kickoff this interview series highlighting girl bosses all over the world. Women entrepreneurs are popping up daily and it’s amazing so many people are stepping out and making their dreams a reality. With this first interview, I wanted to keep it close to home and feature someone I know who is taking 2015 by the horns. Only meeting this past year she has displayed from the beginning to not only be a great person, friend, and business partner in crime but also a REAL person who STAYS real and honest no matter what this crazy world throws. This #girlboss shows daily how she’s a kickass #girlboss and making her own way.
1) Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Stephanie Drenka. I was adopted at the age of three months from South Korea. I’ve lived in Atlanta, Chicago, and New Jersey but consider Dallas/Fort Worth my home. I graduated from Carroll High School in Southlake and moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University. I graduated with a degree in Communication and minors in Asian-American and Women’s Studies. Currently, I’m employed with an internet marketing firm that offers web design services, social media management, and more. I live with my husband (we’ll be celebrating our 1 year anniversary this month) and two dogs in Farmers Branch.
2) How long have you been blogging?
Unofficially, I’ve been blogging since I was in high school—probably as early as 2002. I started my first self-hosted WordPress during college, and have had several different blogs since then. My current blog, Geek Glam, was started in January of 2013.
3) Describe your personal style?
I would say that my personal style is evolving. I’m at a weird transition between post-college life and full-blown adulthood. Trying to wean myself off of trendy Forever 21 items and begin building a professional wardrobe. I love blending traditional pieces with unique, personal items—especially “geeky” ones! Working from home, you’ll typically find me in comfortable clothes, but I love dressing up for a night out. As a former show choir/theater nerd, red lipstick is my staple—I even had red lips for my wedding day!
4) Give us a run down on the history behind your blog and how it came about?
After a few failed fashion blogs, I finally realized that I didn’t necessarily fit in the typical style blogger mold, and I needed to be more authentic. I started Geek Glam to showcase more of my individual personality and also help promote some of the products that my husband designs. We met while working at a company that makes licensed apparel and accessories for brands like DC Comics and various popular video gaming properties.
5) What are your long term and short-term goals for you blog?
Short-term goals involve some of the business/housekeeping aspects of blogging. Understanding taxes, creating a media kit, posting consistently, etc. Long term, I see Geek Glam evolving beyond being primarily a fashion blog into a user-friendly tech resource for other bloggers. I have plans to start writing more posts about my favorite apps, SEO advice, and other more “geeky” topics. I’d also like to expand my coverage of pop culture and video gaming by incorporating reviews, walkthroughs, and convention recaps.
6) What are the top three things you wish you would have known when you first started your blog?
1.Blogging is an investment! I thought that I was ahead of the game, being a web developer and having a graphic-designer husband. But, even still, costs add up quickly—hosting for the website, WordPress themes, photo-editing software, apps… not to mention the budget needed to buy clothes, beauty products, etc… to wear and review.
2.Blogging can be lonely—and it’s up to you to change that! I was originally drawn to blogging, or online journaling, because I’m an introverted person by nature (INFJs for the win!) and it was easier for me to be behind a computer screen than out in the world interacting. At a certain point, I realized that I could only get so much out of my blog staying at home, and pushed myself to attend events and get to know other bloggers. It’s made all the difference!
3. It’s okay to take a break from your blog. When I became engaged, my blog took a backseat to wedding planning (and wedding planning drama). It wasn’t until after we got home from the honeymoon and I didn’t know what to do with my free time that I went back to blogging consistently. Blogging should be fun, comforting, and inspiring. If it gets to be a source of anxiety or stress- it’s okay to take a step back and recharge.
7) So along with your blog, you also own a photography business correct? Tell us more about that:
Haha… so along with my blog and full-time day job, I’ve also started “Stephanie Drenka Photography” which has basically consumed my weekends! Photography has always been a passion of mine—I like to joke that I was born with the “Asian Tourist” gene… I used to be a newspaper nerd and loved photojournalism. My grandpa gave me my first digital camera when I was 15. Blogging was always a way for me to be creative and use my photography skills. When I started connecting with other bloggers, I loved volunteering to take outfit pictures of them. My husband is a great photographer, but sometimes I hate bothering him to take my picture after a long day of work. I was sure that other bloggers could relate! I finally got the nerve to start the business officially when I was reunited with my birth family recently and learned that my biological father had been a photographer—he used to own a camera store. It felt like kismet, and maybe my calling.
8) Where do you hope to see this new venture in the next 6 months?
I hope to have a steady roster of awesome bloggers to work with on a regular basis. I love meeting new friends, and helping them grow their online presence through quality photographs. I’d also like to expand beyond blogger portraits and into more lifestyle and editorial photography for brands and publications.
9) With your main clientele being bloggers, do you think blogging or better yet fashion blogging is dead or will eventually become a thing of the past?
The fashion blogger world is becoming incredibly saturated. I don’t think that it will die so much as become more difficult for bloggers to stand out and differentiate themselves. In this way, photography is incredibly important. Brands and readers respond so much differently to a professional-looking image vs. a selfie from an iPhone. I do see people investing more time on Instagram (and potential future social networks) and not relying only on their actual blog to grow their community. Like they say, pictures are worth 1000 words!
10) Being a #girlboss is hard work and it is not for faint at heart, what is your one piece of advice to all aspiring girl bosses?
Always remember and follow the Golden Rule: Treat others how you wish to be treated. It’s easy to get caught up in competition or comparing yourselves to others, and sometimes you forget that as women— our individual success helps pave the way for our entire community. We have to build each other up, because there is a legacy of discrimination and plenty of prejudice still today to tear us down if we don’t stand together.
11) One piece of advice for people wanting to hop into the blogging world or just starting out?
Embrace what you’re most passionate about, and find your niche. I wasted so much time trying to project an image that wasn’t authentic, and found the most success and happiness when I finally let myself be me.
12) What are your go to business resources or apps?
VSCO Cam is my favorite iPhone photography app— I prefer their filters and editing tools to the native camera app. I love Adobe Lightroom for editing my blog (and blogger) photos. Dropbox helps me keep files from all my devices accessible. The “Followers” app helps me manage multiple Instagram accounts more efficiently (but beware, it can get pretty depressing when you see who unfollows you). I use the Tempo calendar app to keep my work, personal, and blogging schedules organized.
13) You’re a busy bee, how do you keep sane and balance both your personal life plus entrepreneurial life?
The most important thing as an entrepreneur is to remember what (or who) you’re doing all of this for. I’m so guilty of being glued to my phone during dinner, or worrying too much about taking pictures of my food than actually enjoying it. As a newlywed, I have to set time aside to spend quality time with my husband (and dogs). When I can, I also try to involve him – he often comes with me to shoots, and helps me design things for various projects. Making friends with bloggers has helped me—I feel like we’re almost a support group! We’re able to socialize AND motivate each other.
14) Describe your self in five words or less
Proudly geeky, unapologetically independent, compassionate
Any Closing Remarks you would like to share?
Honestly, I’m so embarrassed by how much I’ve already rambled, so I’m gonna go ahead and stop monopolizing your blog!! THANK YOU!!