How a Newlywed With a Performing Arts Degree Beat Out Bank of America and Transformed the Blogosphere
For the month of February, we’re talking all about college student entrepreneurs. Our 4-part series looks at four very different businesses started by studentpreneurs and the key takeaways that can help you in your business. Questions? Suggestions? Want us to feature your business? Drop us a line! anna [at] atxwebdesigns [dot] com.
Who: Naomi Davis
What: Lovetaza.com (originally called The Rockstar Diaries)
Where: The Juilliard School
The Problem: Wanted to connect with her friends and family thousands of miles away.
The Solution: Started a blog and regularly posted life updates.
Naomi Davis was a lifestyle blogger before lifestyle blogging was even a category, back when blog titles (including hers) still had “blogspot” in the url. In 2007, she was in her final year at Juilliard in New York City and newly married to her husband Josh. She started her blog to keep in touch with friends and family back in Utah, but it quickly reached a much larger audience.
The blogosphere then looked much different than it does today. Instead of beautifully designed websites featuring styled photos by professional photographers (and an assembly of advertisements down the sidebar), blogs were little more than internet journals. They were personal, reflecting one’s personal tastes and preferences because blogs hadn’t yet become synonymous with brands and marketing. Davis’ reflected her talent for design, and early on showcased an appealing aesthetic. Take a look at this archived page from January 2010. Everyone on it is beautiful and happy, and everything featured is beautiful and stylish.
So of course it became a smash hit. Mr. Davis, a Columbia graduate, had a successful career in banking. He was Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch before leaving to work full-time managing the blog (which by 2014 had become a thriving business) and related projects, including creative video, fashion and product collaboration with top brands. In 2017, Forbes named her on their list of Top 10 Parenting Influencers.
No official word on how much the blog brings in each year, but if living in a 3-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is any indication, the business is pretty successful.
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Top 3 Lessons and Takeaways:
1. Do you. Love Taza (Davis’ blog and brand) has flourished because of Davis’ distinctive tastes. In her blog’s early years, she also ran an Etsy shop which sold headbands. Now her blog regularly features fashion, home decorating, makeup, kids style, art, design, photography and videography. Most striking, perhaps, is her penchant for mixing bright colors–like on their walls, as well as in both their former living room (with the bright yellow piano) and their current living room. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. It’s what will set you apart from everyone else.
2. Sometimes It’s Nice to Have a Break. Years ago, Salon ran a piece featuring Davis’ blogs and the many like hers in which the writer called blogs like Love Taza “weirdly uplifting.” There’s no stress or drama on these blogs. Everything is beautiful and everyone is happy. Many businesses set out to change the world, and leaders to become the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. But sometimes, it’s just nice to see people being happy.
3. Just Start. Don’t worry so much about the details that you never get off the ground. Do the things you’re good at. Do them consistently. Share them with the world. Who knows–maybe 10 years from now it’ll be you on the Upper West Side.