Courtney Quinn is the force behind the blog Color Me Courtney. Her Instagram, blog and Facebook updates are filled with colorful outfits from fabulous brands and smiles that look like someone told her the funniest story. Her IRL persona is just as authentic and cheerful as her posts depict, making you want to scoop her up to be your best friend or date to any outing.
Courtney recently left her corporate job to focus on building her personal brand full-time. Her enthusiasm for her new way of life is evident in the way she illuminates when talking about all of her upcoming projects. When Courtney isn’t at fashion week you can find her in her West Village Hood or lounging with her French Bulldog Waffles.
1. Having grown up in Arizona how hard was it to get your foot in the door into the NYC fashion scene? What were your expectations of NYC fashion world vs. the reality once you landed?
Super hard, no one wanted to give someone from Arizona the time of day, despite my masters degree and in NYC it really is all “who you know” and I knew no one! The fashion industry is one of the hardest nuts to crack – and to make things more challenging, I didn’t have a fashion degree or fashion experience!
Sadly, I found it more “like the movies” than I thought it would be. I had obviously watched the Devil Wears Prada, but didn’t think real life in the fashion industry was anywhere near what I had seen on the TV. I sure came across my fair share of mean girls in the industry, along with girls who didn’t eat lunch and only wore black – it took me a while to find my footing and actually fit in. But in the end, I learned if you be yourself and stay true to yourself – that’s all that matters, people will like you or they won’t and you can’t convince your co-workers to eat! After trying a few brands and finding my way, I was able to land any brands and companies that I clicked with, work on product that I loved and turned co-workers into friends!
2. What advice would you give someone moving to NYC with no connections?
No job is too small, oh and don’t be afraid to take a step down to get ahead. When I first moved here I was working retail to pay the bills, despite my MBA. To be honest, it was a little humbling at the beginning but in the end getting that first job in the city only made me more driven to put myself out there and make the connections I needed to propel me to the next level.
3. What has been your most “NYC” moment since you arrived here?
I’ve done all the cliche, wanna be “New Yorker” things, like picnicking in the park, shopping after brunch, spending a day in a muse, working from the library, late nights at Serendipity – been there, done that! However, I think I finally knew I belonged here when I was having a crappy day, got caught in the rain and was running to a subway train that never came – I resorted to walking home, drenched, a mess and with a broken umbrella in hand. When I turned into my neighborhood the rain finally stopped, I smelled like wet dog but I popped in my headphones on a random pandora station (pre spotify guys, lol) I don’t really listen to current music so it was a Louis Armstrong station, and La Vie En Rose*** came on, and for a second I just wandered home forgetting about how awful everything else was… the city can do that to you, and I feel like that’s a true New York moment.
4. You started blogging for your grandma, what inspired you to start Color Me Courtney? How were you able to balance blogging with a full-time job? What was your “aha” moment in taking blogging full-time.
Ha, Balance! I wasn’t really. I gave up everything else – sleep, a social life, pretty much all my time went to working one of my two jobs. Making the switch was difficult because for me it wasn’t just about the money, I got Color Me Courtney to a place where I could live only off my blog about 8 months before I left Coach. I had loved living this double life and loved both my jobs so I had to get to a place where I believed in myself enough to focus full time, and where I was ready to let go of one dream to wholeheartedly pursue another. More on my journey here: http://www.colormecourtney.com/byob/
5. Do you have any advice for aspiring bloggers in regards to platforms to use or content to produce?
1) Be authentic, because readers can see right through when you’re not.
2) Create killer content, and everyone will keep coming back for more.
3) Know your niche and your audience, and never, ever lose your voice. Oh and most importantly be kind, success isn’t anything without people to share it with – and the most successful people in this world, are usually there because they lifted up others along the way instead of tearing them down.
6. Now it’s time for you to share the love! Who are some of your favorite bloggers to follow?
Jenny of Margo and Me, Rosie Londoner of The Londoner and Carrie Colbert of Wear Where Well! Oh and whenever I need style inspo, I turn to Blair Eadie of Atlantic Pacific
7. If you were to have a conversation with the 21 year old version of yourself, what would you tell her? Is there anything you would do over?
Yikes, so much but the most important thing would be – you don’t know anything. I think we always think we know everything at every age, 15 year old Courtney thought she knew it all, 18 year old Courtney knew she knew it all and 21 Year old Courtney thought there was nothing left to learn – I recently have started to continually remind myself that I don’t know a thing, and it’s kept me so open and accepting to new ideas, people, things and concepts. I think keeping an open mind is everything and that’s how we learn and grow … but don’t listen to me, because I don’t know a thing 😉