2017: A Year in Review
Written by Chelsea DuDeVoire, Founder + CEO
How do you sum up the most rewarding year of your life in one article?
At the start of 2017, I had just interviewed and published the feature on our 36th Babe. Today, we’ve featured 135 babes and published works from 37 contributing writers. At the start of 2017, I had just hosted our first pop-up at Madewell. Today, we’ve had more pop-ups, events and meetups than I can remember. At the start of 2017, I couldn’t imagine leading a team. Today, I’ve already hired and promoted my first assistant to creative director. I’ve also hired an editor, a business coordinator, and – surprise – will be bringing on an intern to kick off 2018.
At the start of 2017, Babes Who Hustle was still a hobby. It was something I launched (selfishly) as a creative outlet – a place to hone in on my love of (and personal need for) writing, a place to escape to from the soul-sucking media platforms overtaking the internet, a place to produce some sort of positive, uplifting content for myself and others to consume, and ultimately – a place to attempt to create a space for change. Little did I know that Babes Who Hustle would not only fill a creative void in me, but that over the course of just over a year, it would create a global community that would ultimately change the course of my life.
In 2017, I became a small business owner. I learned how to file my taxes, opened up a business credit card and PO Box, put my first employee on payroll, released a line of merchandise, and hosted my first large-scale ticketed event. By fate of hiring my most perfect (and flexible) fit both professionally and personally, I became a boss (while simultaneously figuring out what I wanted the brand to look like, what I wanted my team to look like, and what I wanted my management style and schedule to look like.) The past year of being someone else's boss has taught me more about myself, my strengths, my weaknesses and my goals than I could have ever anticipated.
The coolest part about Babes Who Hustle, though? It’s not about me. While the original idea for BWH came from my brain and most of the finished product still comes directly from my keyboards, this movement would be nothing without the army of friends and family behind me, and the babes, writers, business owners, supporters and innovators who have chosen to get involved from all over the world. My favorite thing about BWH is that it is truly a group effort, having organically grown over the past 15 months with the help, hands and minds of so many people both inside and outside of my world. It has introduced me to hundreds of kind, inspiring and encouraging new people, which has opened doors to opportunities with babes, brands and companies that I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined working with so early on in my career.
Over the past year, BWH has hosted a number of networking events and happy hours, pop-up shops with some of our favorite local artists and businesses, and a kickass holiday party with over 160+ guests. We've raised over a thousand dollars for two of our favorite local women-focused nonprofit organizations, created and distributed a line of merchandise that has been worn around the world, and launched an international book club. We've had business meetings and started projects that we haven't yet publicized, and we're so excited to share them with you (so keep your eyes peeled!)
Through hundreds of cups of coffee (and cappuccinos, lattes, and beers) at our local spot (and at all of the shops across our city,) weekly Thursday nights spent folding and packaging merchandise in my home office, countless phone calls and important meetings from my car parked outside of my day job, too many bagel sammie weekend brunches, countless late-night conversations over whiskey gingers at local bars, nights that turned into mornings spent hunched over my computer putting last minute touches on interviews and articles, and a handful of focus groups and brainstorming sessions in my living room, this year has been an absolutely invaluable experience that I cannot believe I've been afforded.
To our 54,000 website visitors, 118,000 page-viewers, readers in 173 countries and 10.6k Instagram followers, we owe all of this to you, and we cannot wait to see where 2018 takes us. We feel so lucky to be closing the door on such a powerful, meaningful year, and we look forward to the year that's about to unfold.
Thank you for believing in us, but most importantly, thank you for believing in the power, validity and resilience of strong women. I'm not sure how I got here, but I could not be more honored to be leading such a life-giving and life-changing movement. The best is truly yet to come.
Founder + CEO, Babes Who Hustle