Looking back at where this all began is kind of wild. In 2012, I was 26 years old. I had just spent a year living at my mom’s house. I ended a six-year relationship. And I saw all the career goals I had for myself slipping further and further out of reach. Most of my life up until then had a pretty clear, self-defined path; but at that point I was rudderless, not really sure what direction to go. Getting closer to admitting that maybe the dream I envisioned for myself wasn’t going to happen.
I had hoped that I’d be working at a publication in New York City by that age, but after graduating from journalism school, I applied to every job listing I could find, and for one reason or another, couldn’t get my foot in the door. Needing to work, I took the first offer I received, a communications role for a non-profit, even though it was only narrowly related to what I wanted to do. Three years later, I was still at that same job, living paycheck to paycheck and freelancing every design job that came up so I could pay rent, bills, feed myself, et al. I felt a million miles away from New York City or any version of adulthood I had hoped for myself.
I’m not sharing this to complain; I know I was fortunate to have my health, a roof over my head, and friends and family I loved.
But have you ever felt that way? That your life all of a sudden doesn’t look like how you expected it to? A quiet, concerned voice in the back of your mind asking, Is this my story? Is this what I expected for me? What I want for me?
View this post on Instagram
Looking back at that time, I never could have imagined what was about to happen. Looking back, I see a woman so naively optimistic and so desperate to try anything for a change that I jumped headfirst into an endeavor I knew nothing about: starting a business.
Ten years ago today, The Everygirl launched. It was done exactly how any business school would tell you not start a business: minimal capital, no professional advisors, and no actual business plan or viable revenue stream.
But what I lacked in business acumen and tech skills, I made up for in creativity, work ethic, and purpose. And, boy, was there purpose. That purpose was for every woman who has ever felt lost or disconnected, who needed help or a nudge or a bit of inspiration. Who needed someone to guide her and remind her she is not alone. Who needed to feel seen.
The Everygirl would be more than an online magazine; it was a resource for women who were making it on their own. It would be an online destination with relatable content, affordable inspiration, and sound advice. It would put the spotlight on real women doing incredible things in their daily lives and careers. It would make a difference in women’s lives, from their careers and finances, their homes and lifestyle, to their relationships and health.
And way back when we believed we could do it, even if we didn’t exactly know how. The industry didn’t exist as it does today. Instagram didn’t exist. Affiliate marketing was a shadow of what it is now. Advertisers and online publishers were just beginning to partner. Digital advertising was an archetype of what it is today. Product collaborations and endorsements were reserved for A-list celebrities, and national retailers were filled with big name brands.
And way back when I believed we could do it, even if we didn’t exactly know how.
It took a couple of years before this small business was making any kind of money, and even longer before hiring a team was an option. It was the excitement and enthusiasm of all the readers and contributors that fueled us from the beginning; the tweets, emails, and comments saying thank you or “We needed a site like this!” reminded us that our mission was guided. The messages that came in saying an article or interview inspired them to make a change in their lives urged us to keep going. Freelancers, photographers, and creatives emailed asking to be a part of the site and contribute in some way–it was fun and inspiring to be a part of something that means so much to so many people.
And along the way, any lack of business plan or structure became our strength; our agility was our magic. Over the last decade, we’d try new things, redesign, test anything and everything we could given our resources. (Many times things didn’t work.) Tech changed, so we changed with it. Advertising changed, so we adapted. Social media and algorithms change, so we’d learn. Our readers continued to get older with us and experience new things, so we continued to meet them where they were. A new generation of readers found us, and we welcomed new faces to this amazing, beautiful community.
Along the way, any lack of business plan or structure became our strength; our agility was our magic.
Ten years later, The Everygirl Media Group is the product of the talent and hard work of so many women, those who shared articles and posts with friends, contributed their time and talent to shoot photos and write articles, and those who believed in our brand and joined our team. That is why we are here.
I know it’s cliche, but I am so proud and cannot believe how far this team, this company, this mission has come in the last 10 years. We’ve accomplished more than 26-year-old me ever dreamed about. I pull up our analytics and see we’ve had more than 100 million visitors from every country in the world to our site (literally–even Antarctica!). Instagram has more than 1 million followers. We’ve launched a second brand, The Everymom. We have beautiful, helpful products in Target stores around the country. We’ve hosted networking events and career conferences for thousands of women. We’ve launched courses, a furniture line, and I still can’t believe in 2020, we not only survived a global pandemic but also launched The Everygirl Media Group Foundation, a non-profit that awarded $20,000 to four other women-owned businesses to help them realize their dreams. And that nominal start-up capital? We turned it into a 7-figure business. And believe me when I say it’s just the beginning.
I’d love to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to our readers, to all of our contributors current and past, to our partners, and to our team. The Everygirl Media Group wouldn’t be what it is without you.
Your messages and feedback are still the spark that lights us up.
I am so damn grateful that I get to wake up every day and do this as my job. I feel so lucky that I get to work with the women that I do. I’ve never met a group of women more talented, more thoughtful, or more hard-working. I am proud not only to call them my team, but my friends.
And to our readers, our community: we hear you and we are here for you. Your messages and feedback are still the spark that lights us up. And if you find yourself feeling lost or alone and asking yourself Is this my story?, I promise you can change it. You can take the leap. Evolve. Learn something entirely new. And write and rewrite whatever story you want for yourself.
And remember, if you need a bit of help, or want to be inspired, we will always be working to give you exactly that.
I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. And I’m so excited for the next 10!
We are The Everygirl; and this is for you.
Alaina Kaz, Cofounder and CEO