Rising Sports: Tragic City Rollers

Birmingham has become a city of revitalization and promise over the years.  That’s why it’s no surprise that it’s home to one of America’s growing sports, women’s flat track roller derby.  The sport now has over 451 leagues worldwide, according to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s (WFTDA) website, since it’s beginning in 2005.

Birmingham’s Tragic City Rollers were also founded in 2005 and joined the WFTDA as a full-time league member in 2010.  President of the Tragic City Rollers Diana Bostick, also known as Lana del Slay, ensures that the league is operating under the guidelines of the WFTDA.

 

Bostick fell in love with the sport because of the strength and diligence of the derby women.  “I was in awe how these women moved, fought and displayed amazing talents and skills. I knew immediately I wanted to be apart of such an ensemble,” she said.

Another one of Bostick’s role is to manage the organization’s presence within the community.  The Rollers have seen growing attendance at their bouts, according to Bostick, and the organization is excited about the support. “People now realize roller derby is much more than circus theatrics. They recognize derby to be a legitimate athletic sport,” she said.

Even though roller derby women skate hard on the rink, they have a soft heart for issues in the community. The skaters enjoy participating in local events and stresses the importance of supporting small businesses and charities in the area.

“TCR strives to always be relevant and maintain a presence within the community. We try to find local sponsors as much as possible so that not only do they support us but we in turn do our best to support them,” Bostick said.

Their 2017 charity partner is Girls Rock Bham Camp, an organization that teaches girls to play instruments and showcase their talents in the community.

The Tragic City Rollers host their meets at the Zemora Shrine Temple in Birmingham against league members from across the Southeast.  The team is ranked 223rd in the WFTDA.

30th Street Cakes Now Open

“Ring by Spring”, a common phrase thrown around on the local campus of Samford University. The idea that many graduating seniors will be engaged by  their spring semester has led engaged Samford senior Mary Michael Maddox to capitalize on the phenomenon, and her passion for baking, and open up her very own local wedding cake company. 30th Streets Cakes officially launched March 2 in the kitchen of Mary Michael’s little apartment in Highland Park.

 

After years of helping her mom out in the kitchen of their family farmhouse in Dothan, Alabama, her daily rituals became her youthful passion which has now led to the start of her first business as she begins the journey of “adulting”. Mary Michael believes in the essence of celebration and strives to create a cake worthy for anyone’s BIG day or  anything else worth celebrating. In her biography online she talks about the abundance of celebrations and parties her family threw growing up, she says, “basically anything you can think of, we threw a party for. And when there was a party, there was a cake.”

Mary Michael’s love for the small and simple details of a celebration are visibly seen in her work. Her cakes are simple and elegant with whimsical strokes of frosting laced with wild botanicals. “I believe that our generation has moved passed the desire for perfect elegant cakes and more towards the desire for the natural and simple look.” She finds joy in not only the finished product but also in the process of creating a cake, an art of sorts.  “My goal is to create more of an artisanal style of cake.” says, Mary Michael.

If you are throwing an upcoming party or looking for the perfect wedding cake, send Mary Michael an email or stop by her website: www.30thstreetcakes.com. She would love to sit down with you over a good cup of coffee and talk celebrations.

Keeping the Creativity

Madison Whitehead, founder of Keeping the Creativity

Have you ever felt like your creative freedom is stifled by your work environment? That you have no time for creativity in your work because you are constantly managing and maintaining your business?

One emerging business owner successfully crafted a solution.

Madison Whiteneck is the mastermind behind Keeping the Creativity, a business that manages busy work for companies so business owners can get work on what matters. They can get back to creativity.

Whiteneck graduated from Samford University in 2016 with a degree in journalism and mass communication and has turned her combined passions for creativity and organization into a business.

Her vision is to provide local creatives with services such as social media, product launch, inbox management and large-scale writing pieces.   She achieves this through virtual assistant services, or management of the “little things,” which normally occupy the visionary’s brainpower and time.

Keeping the Creativity also provides freelance services including InDesign work and editing. The services range from daily assistance to passion projects.

When Whiteneck is not busy planning her own life, she is at work planning the lives of others.  Her new website launched this month, and her network of creatives continues to grow.

In Whiteneck’s business venture, it pays to be creative. Here is a conversation with Whiteneck about how her ambitious idea helped launch Keeping the Creativity.

 

Where did the idea for Keeping the Creativity originate?

Keeping the Creativity originally started out as a blog. My 9 to 5 job right out of college was pretty limiting to my personal creativity and I wanted to “keep the creativity” alive, so I started blogging. I wrote about everything from DIY’s to local coffee shops and my latest favorite outfits. I offered freelance services at the time so I started to feature more of my projects on my website as well. When I left my first career job, interest in my blog turned business grew a lot so I started taking on full time clients and more freelance projects.  

 

What is the most challenging part of starting your own business?

Finding and landing new and exciting clients. Having a local creative network has helped me a ton in gaining projects that I am excited to work on, but I always want to keep extending that network as much as possible. It takes a lot of work to reach out to others and turn it into business. Most of the time when I reach out to other creative, it just starts as a mutual interest in a project or idea and then it turns into a collaboration or working together, which I love.

 

 What is a valuable lesson you have learned since starting Keeping the Creativity?

Don’t let other people’s negative opinions discredit your hard work. I have put in a lot of time and effort into building my business and I understand there can be a lot of competition out there, but I have to just be myself and do the best with what I’ve got.

 

What is your advice to someone dreaming up a large-scale business idea?

Take a serious look at the time you can devote to your idea. Also, look at your finances because you have to invest a lot in the beginning. This past year, I invested almost half of what I made into my business, but it has paid off. In the first two months of 2017, my income has already equaled all of what I made last year with Keeping the Creativity.

 

What is your vision for the future of Keeping the Creativity?

I would love to work with more creatives to help them execute their big brand ideas. It would be great if Keeping the Creativity could evolve into a creative consulting agency. Who knows?! I am keeping the door open on those aspects for the future.

My Magic City Success: Heidi Elnora

This is the third installment of a three-part series that explores the nature of successful businessmen and women in Birmingham.

________

“Pray about [starting a business]. Pray for God’s guidance and diligence.”

Heidi Elnora came to be one of Birmingham’s most well- known bridal gown designers by accident.
Literally.

Soon after she was eliminated from Lifetime’s Project Runway series, Elnora was in a car accident. She was living in Atlanta at the time and moved to Alabama to recover and be close to her mother. While she was here, she met the man who would become her husband.

The couple settled down in Birmingham and a new realm of work opportunity opened up for her. “How can I take what I love to do and make it special for someone else? And what’s more special than a wedding dress?” she said.

Design has always been a passion for the Morris Ave. business owner. As her bridal store, hiedi elnora Atelier, continues to grow, she is driven every day to give the boutique a welcoming atmosphere. “The best part about the job is the brides.” Elnora said. “It’s about how good they feel in their dress, and I want them to feel con dent in what they are wearing.”

While business plans and loans can be intimidating, look for organizations that can assist you in making these rst crucial steps. Elnora used a local business-training organization that helped her get her feet on the ground. “They helped me write my business plan, and I was also able to get my very rst loan at 25,” she said.

Eagerness to engage with customers and diligence to create the best product can evolve into incomparable opportunities. With Elnora’s success in the Magic City, she has been involved in numerous projects including starring in her own television show on TLC, Bride by Design. “I loved doing it because I really got to showcase my work,” she said.

Passion can be contagious, especially when you have a celebrated product. In Elnora’s case, her craft’s in uence is not con ned to the borders of the United States. “I’ve had people as far as Dubai y in,” she said.

While business owners are always looking for ways to expand and grow, milestones are convenient points when you can regroup and look ahead to the future. Elnora continues to look to the future, as this year marks the boutique’s 10th anniversary. “We are moving to e-commerce and have just opened up our new 8,000 square-foot shop,” she said. But this expansion will not push away her end goal. “I want to live a happy life. No amount of fame or notoriety will fulfill me.”

My Magic City Success: Will Pearson

This is the first installment of a three-part series that explores the nature of successful businessmen and women in Birmingham.

Success is a difficult term to define, and it can be hard to pinpoint where you draw the line between successful and unsuccessful. Some Birmingham entrepreneurs have found that success is never quite achieved. As a result, they keep pushing themselves and their companies to innovate and create engaging products that promote culture and creativity in the Magic City.

________
“A lot of people hesitate to start something if they feel like it won’t be great from day one. There is something to be said about being willing to just get out there even before you know it’s going to be a premium product.”

Passion drives some people to set goals and to work to make them happen. Will Pearson concocted the magazine Mental Floss through conversations with college friends who had the desire to be intellectually stimulated and help others learn about areas outside of their realm of study.

“From day one, we were waking up every day and thinking, ‘How do we take Mental Floss a step forward?’” Pearson said.

Hard work stems from passion and is essential to a start-up, and “non-stop focus” made Pearson’s dream a reality. From working summer jobs to asking campus departments for donations, there is nothing Pearson wouldn’t do to get his magazine started. “The term ‘irrational commitment’ is something we talk about quite frequently that it has taken to make this work,” Pearson said.

Mental Floss has taken off since its initial conception in Pearson’s Duke University dorm room, with more than 160,000 magazines in circulation per issue and 20 million unique visitors to its website every month. The growth only fuels his eagerness for the brand. “We were just as excited about it when it was 5,000 people as we are now,” Pearson said.

Although Pearson sold the company to Dennis Publishing in 2011, he is still active in finding the most reliable and relatable avenues for the magazine and digital components to give information to its consumers.

Connections inside the industry push careers and business ideas to the next level. Passionate conversations about your goals can open doors, leading to more doors, that will eventually bring you to the audience you want in front of you. Pearson communicated his ideas to anyone that would listen. Even through telling a friend’s mom in New York City about the magazine’s plans connected him to a future publisher.

“It’s about getting something out there and saying ‘we’re going to do this,’” Pearson said. “It’s not where it needs to be, but have people look at it, understand where we want it to go and see it evolve over time.”

In a successful business, you must always think about the audience you are trying to reach. Pearson has had to adapt with Mental Floss over the years in order to best engage his audience in a world of communication that is constantly changing and shifting. In fact, Mental Floss is moving away from the magazine altogether at the end of 2016 and will move to a completely digital world.

But Pearson continues to be open to ideas that allow him to invest in new areas where the company can engage its audience. He is experimenting with new methods to communicate with consumers while also using effective digital platforms such as YouTube and Twitter to provide enough information that they are able to stand alone from their print counterpart. “Part of why it worked was because we didn’t have a rule book saying if you launch a magazine you must do these things exactly. I think we brought a fresh perspective to it,” said Pearson.

Research about your industry will also move your career plans forward. Keep learning and stay updated on the latest news in your field because it will unfailingly fuel your passion. Pearson owes a lot of the magazine’s success to studying what was happening in the media world around him. “Learning as much as we possibly could about the industry and about anything we could do was such a huge part of this and then communicating that with as many people as we could,” he said, as Mental Floss continues to blend the ever-changing world of intellect and culture.

The Timid Sons: The juggling act begins

Trip Wood, Tre Mason, Frank Robertson and Preston Little relax after a long day of work, school and band practice. Photo by Kate Sullivan.

Story by Hannah Garrett and Caleb Jones

The band lounged around on the couch after a late night practice session, visibly exhausted but genuinely in love with the opportunity they have to make music.

However, The Timid Sons, comprised of Trip Wood, Frank Robertson, Tré Mason and Luke Brown, only get to make this music after their full days of work and school. They come together late at night to practice and develop new songs, and wake up the next day to do it all over again.

The band’s only studio-recorded album to date, a self-titled work, includes its most popular single, Cocaine Lips. This up and coming band loves to play shows in the Birmingham area, but also likes to travel as well.

“It all started when Frank walked up to me in the food court and said he had a song idea,” Wood said. “We weren’t in a band yet, but he proceeded to pull out a napkin with the words ‘cocaine lips and a hurricane smile.’ I was expecting a chorus or something at least, but all I got was a phrase.”

“That ended up being all I needed though; I took the napkin back to my apartment, sat down and wrote the whole song that day. In that moment The Timid Sons were born,” said Wood.

The band’s name, The Timid Sons, came about when Robertson was reading a book called “I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son” by Kent Russell. The book itself is based off a famous Davy Crockett quote.

With a band name and one song under his belt, Wood was ready to churn out music at a rapid rate.

“This book really resonated with us,” Wood said, “The idea that a father would really rail their son and be that openly disappointed with him made the realization that we are all born into expectations. People naturally have expectations of us. While you are born into a world of disappointment, that doesn’t mean that you are a disappointment. While we are imperfect, and while we aren’t necessarily a band with full time musicians, we accept it, move on and make music we want to hear.”

Wood said he had a handful of ideas already in his head from the previous few years. At the time he didn’t think he would actually use them. Some of the lyrics he had were from experiences that happened that month and others were just things he thought about and wrote down.

Following their first song, “Cocaine Lips,” the band spent about a month recording eight songs at Mountain Brook Community Church. The album came together so quickly because Wood would spend days on end recording music, often times sleeping in the studio to maximize histime.

“Back when we were recording, a few days would pass,” Robertson said, “and I wouldn’t have seen Trip, so I would stop by the studio. I found him there multiple times, tucked away by himself, with lots of cups of coffee, some fresh, and some not so fresh. Trip would have this twitchy, kind of crazed look about him, but he was producing our songs at a ridiculously fast rate. Sometimes you just let the man work and appreciate the results.”

At this time, the band was moving quickly and Wood was rushing the entire thing because he wanted to have a couple of singles to release right away. Because of this, only three of the band members actually recorded on the album. It was challenging for their old drummer from Atlanta to drive to Birmingham every so often to record so they began to reach out to find a new drummer.

The Timid Sons faced several challenges in its early days, such as finding a permanent drummer in the Birmingham area, recording for the first time and singing in front of an audience for the first time. Wood said he was unsure of how to carry himself in front of others and found the experience of playing live nerve racking at first.

They are currently working on two new songs including one Trip wrote about a blind man called Jim James. The song, he explained, is about how easily we can get wrapped up in our own frustrations while much worse things happen in the world.

“I was driving back from my Spanish test and was obsessing about how bad I had done. I was drinking my Starbucks, listening to my favorite music, and just being super self-indulgent,” Wood said, “I was going down Lakeshore Drive and reached the part where there isn’t anything for about a mile and that’s when I saw this guy at the bus stop. He was blind, and he was sitting out there on the bench, in the sun, during the hottest part of the day, in the middle of the summer.”

“In that moment it became really obvious how self-indulgent I was being. Some of the lyrics I wrote were completely bashing myself and I had to refrain from keeping them in the song. How could I be so self-obsessed? This man is probably going to work right now, and probably not to his first job, more than likely, to his second one and he is blind. There was just a lot of things going through my mind at that moment and I was able to get it out on paper.”

Trip Wood:

What does music mean to you?

It’s meant a lot of different things to me, especially in the last few years. If I’ve learned one thing about music, it’d be this: Music can be a stress reliever, a medium to express yourself and so much more. However, once you start expecting something from it, you start to lose it.

How does your music reflect who you are as a person/musician?

Sometimes I worry that it reflects who I am a bit too much: fast, irrational, and not thought through.

Describe a typical day for you.

My average day changes frequently. Right now, the only things that are constant are how much I eat and that I write two songs’ worth of lyrics a day.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What role does your music play in that plan?

Hopefully I’ll still be pursuing music as a career. Like I’ve said before, the men and women that do this full time are incredible. It takes a lot of guts to decide to make your living off of something so inconsistent.

Frank Robertson:

What do you play in the band? How long have you been playing?

I play guitar and have been playing since about 7th grade

What do you do when you are not playing with The Timid Sons?

I work part time and am trying to figure out if I want to go back to school this coming year or pursue full time work.

Is it hard to balance music and work?

The biggest challenge is to feel like I’m being responsible in my pursuit of both. It seems like practices can only happen later at night, but I have to be up by 6 a.m. in order to start my morning for work.

What is your best memory with the band?

One of our first shows back from the summer at a venue called the High Note. It was one of our first shows at a legitimate venue with a real sound guy and PA system, and this stage that was so tall but not very wide. It was one of the first moments that “we’re a real band” clicked in my head.

What is your goal for the band?

To go as far as we can.

Banditos in search of BIG break

Photo courtesy of David McClister

Guitarist Corey Parsons sits down with The Local to discuss the band’s goals, influences and accomplishments.

The Banditos are natives of the Birmingham area, but currently live in Nashville as they pursue their music career fulltime. The band is comprised of six friends who describe themselves as more of a “gang” than a musical group. This rag-tag gang has been making music together for more than five years now. They started out playing in bars and out on the streets around downtown Birmingham. Now, they have put out a full-length, self-titled, album with a second album on the way. Guitarist Corey Parsons recently discussed the band’s journey with The Local.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have overcome as a band?

Being able to make a living by playing music is a challenge within itself.

How does the music you play relate back to your everyday lives?

Definitely, most everything we write has came from personal experience. And if not, it certainly does now.

What other artists (past or present) inspire you? 

Too many to name, but I’ll name a few that come to mind for the sake of the interview. Chuck Berry, Etta James, Gram Parsons, Ramones, Lightnin’ Hopkins, 13th Floor Elevators, Sly and the Family Stone, Dr Hook, Bob Seger, The Banana Splits, etc.

What are the band’s long term goals? 

To do our best to smooth the rough edges of life for anyone needing so.

What would you want your fans to know about the band that they might not?

We’re genuinely appreciative of them.

What inspires the lyrics for y’all’s songs?

It’s different every time, but we all take from personal experiences in some way or another.

What has been y’all’s biggest accomplishment so far? 

We just finished recording our second album. We’re pretty proud of it.

 

 

 

People of Birmingham: Micah Green-Holloway

If four years ago you asked Micah Green-Holloway where he would be attending school, Samford University would have not even been on the list. Fast forward to October 2016, and he is set to graduate with his business degree in May.

“Being from Woodlawn High School,” Green-Holloway said, “I didn’t think I would ever be smart enough or have good enough test grades to make it into Samford. That’s when I learned about this program called My Brother’s Keeper.”

My Brother’s Keeper is a program designed to put inner city high school students into Alabama universities. There were only eight kids selected for this program, and Micah was talented and blessed enough to be one of those students.

Green-Holloway remembers touring Samford one day during his sophomore year where he met President Dr. Westmoreland. “I was talking to Dr. Westmoreland recently,” Green-Holloway said, “And he reminded me of what I told him when we were sitting in his office during my tour.  I told him, ‘not too many people make it past my stop sign.’ Not too many people make it out of Woodlawn. I was not going to be complacent. I was determined to make it past my stop sign, and I did.”

It was a long journey to get to Samford, but he has been making an impact ever since he stepped on campus. Green-Holloway made the Dean’s List both semesters of his freshman year, was selected to be a Samford Ambassador, and was given the Freshman Leadership Award. Needless to say, the hard work and determination he had paid off immensely.

Today Micah is an intern at Fix Mart and will be presenting a business idea to the Miami Dolphins, Marlins and Heat in the middle of December. This past summer he interned with the Birmingham Barons to try to get his foot in the door of professional baseball management–his ultimate dream is to be the General Manager of the Atlanta Braves.

Even though Green-Holloway has thrived at Samford, he has never forgotten where he came from and how he got to where he is today. That is why being an Urban Young Life Leader is one of the things that Micah is most proud of.

“I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to invest in the lives of kids the way that so many people have invested in me. When I look at these kids, I see the potential that a few years ago people saw in me, and it excites me to see where they will be four years down the road.”

Green-Holloway wants people to remember a few things when they think about his Samford career. He said, “I want people to remember that I loved the Lord with all my heart, that I not only did well at Samford, but that I left a legacy that lives beyond myself. I want people to see that I left a legacy at Young Life, at Ransom and on the campus of Samford as a whole. I want people to know that I never would have been able to do it on my own, but by the grace of the Lord and His faithfulness throughout the whole process I have been able to leave a legacy.”

Open for Business: meet the owners behind some of Birmingham’s newest retailers.

Over the past few months Birmingham has seen several new businesses open their doors all over the downtown area. A handful of those are eateries, but a few of them are one-of-a-kind retailers offering only the finest of goods, services, and clothing. The Local got the chance to sit down with a few of the owners and hear a little about the driving force behind these new ventures.

smallboxco

The first is Small Box Co. started by local entrepreneur and architect, Eric Tasker. Located at Railroad Park, the space is unique in its very nature. Eric created a retail space out of a shipping container in an effort to house local startups. The idea is for Small Box to act as a springboard for retail startups in the Birmingham area, allowing new entrepreneurs to test out markets, locations and products before moving into a brick and mortar location. First to fill the box is Rainy Day Studios, a retail collective of southern artists.

Eric was kind enough to answer a few of our questions over some Red Cat coffee.

Q: Describe your business in a single mantra:

A: Small boxes for big ideas.

Q: Why this current venture?

A:I wanted to create a space to help people achieve their vision. Small Box works as a building block for new retailers to gain customers, build their lines, and work towards acquiring a brick and mortar location in the future. Downtown is growing and as it is growing more retailers need to be brought downtown, Small Box helps these retailers gain the necessary sales and market leads in order to gain enough financing to eventually move into a brick and mortar.

Q: Any more boxes in the future?

A: I have the one for now; I’m hoping to open a few more located all over town, in effort to allow tenants to test their markets in different districts and neighborhoods.

Q: Favorite downtown activity?

A: I have two kids and my wife and I love to take them biking on the Rotary Trail.

Follow Small Box Co. on Instagram: @smallboxco, as well as current tennat: @rainydaybham.

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winsletrhyes
Mountainside Photo Co.

Opened in September 2016, Winslet and Rhys located in Avondale is a one-of-a-kind mercantile shop that was created out of two women’s dreams to provide Birmingham with a store of high quality, handmade goods. Both women spent much of their lives traveling around the world where they grew to appreciate the beauty in simplicity. That lifestyle resonates throughout Winslet and Rhys. The store has an exquisite line of household goods, women and children’s clothing and an array of locally hand crafted letterpress prints.

Between checking out customers and stamping letters, Brittany Baker the “Winslet” of the duo answered a few questions for us.

Q: What is the story behind the store name?

A: General Stores back in the day were generally names after the owner’s surname, and if it was a woman, her maiden name. We loved the idea of using our maiden names as the store name. ‘Winslet’ is me and ‘Rhys comes from Mallory’s maiden name Rice.

Q: Inspiration for the store?

A: Both Mallory and I moved to Birmingham and saw a need for a store curated for woman, so we designed a store we would want to walk into and shop!

Q: Favorite items in the store right now?

A: Yield Design Co.’s French Press, Hackwith Sweater in Peach and the House Candle.

Q: Most amazing place you have traveled?

A: Fez, Morocco. It’s Morocco’s hidden secret.

Q: Best part about being located in Avondale?

A: The neighbors (MAKEbhms.) It’s like having a little family all for each other!

 Follow Winslet & Rhys on Instagram: @winsletandrhys. Visit their website: http://www.winsletandrhys.com/

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artefactsupply

Artefact Supply was created out of one man’s void to find a local brick and mortar store where he could buy well crafted men’s apparel. Brandon Hays, a lawyer at Second Row Law, has a passion for any and all well crafted products. He made it his “passion project” to create the essential men’s apparel shop in downtown Birmingham. Artefact Supply is committed to supplying men with quality timeless apparel and goods, such as denims, chinos, sweaters and button downs.

While opening the store, Brandon Hays took sometime to answer a few of our questions.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I was born and raised in Birmingham. I graduated from Vestavia High School and attended the University of Alabama for my undergraduate. Later I graduated from  Cumberland School of Law and opened up Second Row Law firm with a few of my colleagues.

Q: Where did you draw inspiration from for your store?

A: On a trip to Austin, TX where I stumbled across a men’s store names STAG. Artefact Supply is really a passion project of mine, I’ve always been passionate about well crafted store’s and there wasn’t one available on this side of the mountain, so I opened one.

Q: How did you choose the brands you would include?

A: I searched for brands who were unique and cultured, but also had a good price point. Just to name a few: Life After Denim, 3Sixteen, Billykirk and Red Wing Heritage.

Q: Why 2nd Avenue?

A: 2nd Avenue is the heartbeat of downtown right now. Dining, bars, and retail are filling the area. A great place to gain foot traffic.

Q: Favorite place to be in Downtown Birmingham?

A: At Urban Standard drinking coffee and eating cupcakes or catching a concert at Iron City or WorkPlay.

Follow Artefact Supply on Instagram: @artefactsupply. Visit their website: http://www.artefactsupply.com/

Birmingham blogger Jessica Stroud on creativity and communication in an online world

As Birmingham continues to be a city of exciting new things popping up everywhere, people are staying engaged through the art of blogging. Here, local writers are able to share ideas, thoughts, and opinions on anything from new restaurants to wardrobes to match the season. Jessica Stroud started her own blog, “Daily Brunch,” and has been featured on The Birmingham Bloggers website multiple times. You can tell right away in her posts her love for the city of Birmingham and how to communicate that through writing.

southerndailybrunch.com//Jessica Stroud
southerndailybrunch.com//Jessica Stroud

Q: What was your reasoning for starting your own blog site, specifically about the Birmingham area:

There are two main reasons I started blogging:

  1. To enhance my creativity. Let’s get things straight, I am by no means creative in an artistic sense. I cannot play an instrument, paint a picture, or do any sort of d.i.y. crafts. What I can do is explain myself through writing. I figured if I started posting I’d have to come up with new ways to explain myself, and also create new material through trial and error. Managing and writing a blog has been a personal challenge that I have thoroughly enjoyed. It has helped me find new ways to think about things and challenge my brain.
  1. Express myself better. At first I felt funny asking my husband to take pictures of my outfits (see Instagram husband on YouTube for accurate review of our relationship) or write like I was talking to a friend on the blog, but now I feel more inspired and I’m just like “WHO CARES?! Come take this picture of me while I pose looking off into the distance.” This has been an extremely inspiring year for me. I have felt more like a woman in charge than I ever have! I feel my insecurities melting away. Thank you older age and wise mind! I feel like Birmingham has grown so much since I’ve been out of college, I love that there are always new places to see and new restaurants to try, it is the perfect city to expand your mind and get creative.

Q: What has the reaction to your blog been like?

When starting anything there will always be trial and error. Depending on the post and content it holds there will always be fluctuation in how many people click on the post and how many views it gets. I find that my outfit posts and recipes get more attention than any other post. People like to see pictures and something they can scroll through fast while waiting in line somewhere or browsing before they go to bed.

Q: Are there certain areas of interest that you feel most passionate about focusing your blog on?  

ARE THERE?! I want my blog to be about supporting women and encouraging them to follow their dreams. I want my blog to empower women and have those women empower women. I love it when girls are nice to each other for no reason, putting aside all the insecurities and jealousy, and just be raw with one another. That is what I am most passionate about and hope my blog displays that with every post.

Q: Why do you think blogging has become so popular for cities like Birmingham?

I have been blogging for almost three years and I am still a baby at it. I think the way readers and followers like to get their information is by seeing others display it or try it out and blogging does that. I also think people like to follow bloggers who are interesting and give them entertainment.

Q: How do you think the skill of blogging can help young college journalists?

It is a great way to explore yourself and writing styles that you may want to adopt or try on. It also challenges you and keeps you accountable, especially if you have followers who expect you to post!

Q: How have you seen the blogging community grow in Birmingham?

The Birmingham blogging scene is still growing and it’s fantastic. Ther

e are communities such as Birmingham Bloggers and Home Grown Bloggers that have gatherings and conferences that allow bloggers from all over the south come and learn techniques and ways to grow your blog. It is a great way to learn and meet people that can support you!  

Link to Jessica’s blog: http://www.southerndailybrunch.com