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Women in Business Q&A: Jacey Duprie, Damsel in Dior

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Jacey Duprie is the curator behind the blog Damsel in Dior, which encompasses fashion, lifestyle, beauty and home decor. Currently residing in West Hollywood, Jacey offers readers real-life insight into her personal style, domestic discoveries and constant yearning to travel the world - all distilled into a mix of clever writing and clean graphics. She was recently featured on E! News, QVC, Who What Wear, Vanity Fair & Refinery29 and has appeared in several ad campaigns for SAKS, Levi's and GAP/Old Navy.

Tell us about your blog Damsel in Dior, and your role as a blogger.
I started my blog as a creative outlet in 2009 and it slowly turned into a full time job in 2011.

My Dad is a cotton farmer so I grew up in the country outside a small town in South Texas. There were no neighbors and the only thing to do was drive 4-wheelers, feed the pigs and play make believe. I would often use playing dress up as a way to escape and pretend I was living in a big city. My daydreams varied depending on my mood. Some days I was singing at the Grand Ole Opry, others I was fighting killer whales or attending fashion shows in New York City. I had never left my small town but, as I found myself playing dress up more and more, I slowly started to believe that I could become these people I was pretending to be. But what is that I want to be? I asked myself. Well I certainly didn't want to stay put and feel like I was stuck. I didn't want to feel like a damsel in distress. I became a Damsel in Dior because that is who I set out to become.

My role as a blogger varies from day to day just as my childhood fantasies did. One day I am acting as my own business manager, accountant, agent and publicist by taking meetings, networking, doing basic office duties. Others I am on location shooting videos for the blog and taking photos. I absolutely love to travel so I am often times planning my next trip and securing fun collaborations with brands for different projects. I feel absolutely blessed to be able to wake up and do what I love to do every day!

How has your previous experience aided your blogging career?
I majored in Journalism with a minor in Professional Writing, which is helpful for my technical writing. I also have held several jobs with companies like NBC, HARPO, E! Entertainment and WGN, which helped train me in public relations, online marketing and how to research and develop stories.

All in all, I think that the strongest aid to my blogging career can be attributed to two things: 1. For as long as I can remember, I've kept a journal. It helps in a couple of different ways. First, I think writing is like a muscle, you have to exercise it to maintain it at a particular level. But more specifically, my blog is very personal and it's a daily look into my sense of style. So in a sense, it's very similar to journal writing. 2. My personal relationships and travels have influenced my personal style, which is the most important element of the blog. Without having my friends and family to use as a sounding board and my travels as inspiration, I would not have my personal style.

Tell us about your role as a brand ambassador.
I am very excited about my current partnership with Seven Daughters. I am extremely particular about which brands I align myself with and it felt very natural fit to team up with Seven Daughters. I am a huge fan of their wines, and I love their down-to-earth and positive approach to life. Wine is such a classic beverage that is appropriate to enjoy after a long day or when celebrating with friends. I know that I certainly enjoy Seven Daughters after a long day and also how a splash of wine can accentuate a great meal. Their current Splash of Color campaign similarly encourages people to use a splash of color to accentuate an outfit, a wardrobe or ones life.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your time as a blogger?
I am so blessed in my career thus far. This year in particular a few memorable moments include: being featured in the September Issue of Vanity Fair, having my photo taken by the famous Bill Cunningham and attending Paris Fashion Week. I also launched my first capsule jewelry collection of 25 pieces, that I designed, and was able to team up on some fun campaigns with brands like Neiman Marcus, GAP and Banana Republic - such a thrill!

The challenges of blogging seem silly to me when I say them out loud because I feel so lucky to wake up and do what I love every day. However, as with every job, there are moments of struggle. For me, my biggest challenge is finding work/life balance as well as dealing with the negative perceptions that surround this industry. Because blogging is still fairly new, sometimes publishers and influencers are misunderstood and/or misjudged as having it easy.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
This is my favorite question to answer because it's an easy one. There is no balance. My work does not exist without my life and my life is incomplete without my work, so there is a constant flow of energies being put into both. There is never a time where I am not working, but it doesn't feel like work to me. I literally eat, sleep and breathe my blog so it has naturally become a part of who I am. I think to seek a "balance" in something means that there is a give and take from one thing to another. These things are not 2 separate entities to me. Sure, I make time for my friends and family and take some time away from the computer, but it all ends up on the blog anyhow.

What advice can you offer women seeking to start their own blog?
My #1 piece of advice is to start now. Start writing, documenting, snapping photos and worry about the design and aesthetics later. Also, be patient. You are not going to get readers over night but if you are consistent with your content and your posts, and your material is unique, then the readers will come. Consistency is key.

What are your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In book and movement?
I am so excited to read this book. My best friend Shannon recommended it and has told me all about it. I think it's awesome and I haven't even turned a page yet - ha! Anything that promotes identifying and channeling your unique strengths is great! We need more positive energy in this world.

I have been struggling with my own role in my marriage as it relates to my career and will be the first to admit that it can be, and is, a struggle not only for my husband, but for myself. My husband is unbelievably supportive of what I do, however sometimes perceptions from others can be a challenge. I travel quite a bit for work and often times I am questioned as to why I travel so much and if it affects my marriage. Sometimes I wonder if it were my husband doing all the traveling if I would be asked these questions. I am really looking forward to reading this book in hopes that it will empower me with a bit more confidence that there are other women who share these challenges.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Having my mentors encourages and inspires me to push harder in my personal relationships and in my career. It is very important to me to have these people in my life because they keep me in check.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Of course I admire and look up to several women who are in the spotlight, but even more so, there are several women in my personal life that I admire and respect such as Karen Baird, for example. Karen is the director of the New Hope Initiative, which is an incredible organization that she and her husband started to make amazing changes in our world. New Hope Initiative has projects in Kenya, India, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. I have been blessed to help with their efforts in Kenya and get to know Karen very well over the years. She is a selfless, giving and inspiring woman who has devoted her life to making a difference. She lives and breathes to help others - her energy and beautiful soul are contagious. She is someone I admire dearly and strive to more like every day.

What are your hopes for the future of Damsel in Dior and your other partnerships?
This year I am excited to start working on a few passion projects that involve designing a potential clothing line and expanding my brand into the international market.

I have some fun trips planned, which will be featured on the site, and the overall aesthetic will start to take on a more editorial feel. It's also exciting to continue developments in partnerships with companies that I love working with such as Nordstrom, WhoWhatWear, The Zoe Report and Banana Republic. My involvement with Seven Daughters will also continue to be a strong asset to the site, offering readers a fun mix of video tutorials and more ways to add a Splash of Color to their lives in 2014.

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