I can’t believe 2014 has only 24 hours left remaining in it! Looking back I can remember January like it was yesterday (as cliche as that may sound). I remember already being weary and tired as the year just got started, which was probably the worst way to possibly start a new year. So I bring you TNT’s year in review, our top moments, what we believed to be our lowest moments, and how we plan to look forward both personally and professionally with your help of course in the new year.
Highlights Of 2014
1. Increased brand sponsorship & partnership
We had an amazing year in which we got partner with over 40 brands. Some we never heard of before, some we were already massively in love with, and some we built incredibly strong professional bonds with. It was due to these partnerships that we were able to bring you such amazing giveaways while introducing you to some awesome small businesses (many black owned and/or owned by some boss women!) We even had a few paid campaigns which is always nice when dealing with the evil that is Sallie Mae on a day to day basis.
2. Our first event: TNT End Of Summer Bash
In May of 2014 we turned one years old (a feat we didn’t really discuss much) and threw our first event in August of 2014. My oh my were we nervous as hell that we would fail on oh so many levels. But… what we learned in planning and throwing this event, the natural hair community is BOMB and is just that…a real live community! Partnering up with those great generous sponsors really helped to alleviate some of the stress we had about what we would be giving out to our attendees, but we also got to finally meet a bunch of you and have genuine conversations without the presence of a screen. My all time favorite part was the panel of women that taught me so much more than I ever thought they could. I also just have to send a special shout out to Sabrina of Natural Partners In Crime who really guided us through the process of planning and throwing an event, because with out her we would be so LOST and would not have been able to have such a successful event. We even landed on Essence which was an all time dream come true.
3. Natural Hair Events
Attending natural hair events in 2013 was far and few, and not as fun/active as the events we got to attend this year were. This summer was the summer of the naturals in NYC as there was an event just about every week that you could attend in any of the five boroughs (mostly Brookylyn and the city). It was a different experience this year (yes… because I got to attend most of them for free… but thats besides the point). Actually conversing with other women and interacting with the hosts, pictures, conversations it was just a liberating experience to do more than just sit in a crowd and listen. Attending these natural hair events did help increase the visibility of the TNT brand, but it also made us more outgoing, receptive and interactive with the community which we loved. Plus the swag bags just got so DOPE this year compared to prior years.
4. Hairstyles for days
I feel like every time I did my hair on a wash day all I did was plan on the next three weeks and would change my mind every single day. And that was the fun and horror of blogging about hair. I never had the same look for more than three to four weeks, and even started experimenting with false color towards the end of the year. I plan to do more of that in 2015 as well. More experimentation is definitely on the “to do list” amongst other things. As I look at all the collages on Instagram sparked by the #stylequeens challenge from Natural Hair Does Care, I see many other women also had a great year in hair styles that were so versatile and changed just as much as the wind blew. Besides multiple hair styles I also saved a pretty penny by completing more styling by myself (box braids and faux locs) as well as limiting repetition of the same styles (sew in weaves or clip ins). I even tried faux locs and crochet braids which I fell in love with, giving me more styles in my style box to choose from when I get bored with my hair. Which is crazy… yes I know since I change it so often.. but it happens. 2015 can expect some sort of major change as well … a cut or color perhaps IDK… but expect something major.
5. Fitness goals set and met
This was one of my favorite activities to do and document for Trials N Tresses. I gave up sugar for the 40 days of lent and received so much support. I loved sharing my gains with you guys and will definitely be doing more stories/life changing goals in regards to fitness and health in 2015 so stay tuned (that is of course if you guys would like to see/ have them documented) I’ll be doing them no matter what the outcome of the poll reveals so don’t feel bad if that is not the option you choose to vote for!
Lowlights of 2014
1. Personal Interference Of Brand Growth
Of course Trials N’ Tresses faced it’s own set of drawbacks since it is run by two women who work full time/ go to school full time. That’s it. TNT is a two woman operation and sometimes… get stuck in our own way or let life outside of TNT take precedent.. as sometimes it should. In doing so we missed the mark on our biggest growth model for our brand and have had to have several push backs in release dates. Besides that it’s also hard to keep up/ maintain open lines of communication when two different people are running correspdonence via emails or phone calls with brands. So it can be confusing and cause major delays in things, but in 2015 we hope to tweak a few things, and share some responsibilities so that everything doesn’t fall back on to our shoulders. We also are going to try and map/plan things out so things dont bump heads or interfere with one another giving the feeling of rushed chaos, or incompleteness (i.e.: our 100 happy days or TNT December photo challenge… it happens)
2. Monetary Loss
As with everything when you take risks on leaps of faith you can sometimes hit the red. There were several business moves that we made in 2014 that cost us quite a pretty penny… which we don’t have to spare or lose. So in 2015 we are definitely going to reevaluate our monetation attempts for the blog as well as future endeavors. WE do this because we love it, we love natural hair, and we love all the community has to offer but it can be really discouraging when you are putting our all out there…. literally your all right down to the last cent and not getting good returns. That is where we think we made our biggest mistakes and cost us several cool things we were trying to bring forth for our TNT audience (i.e.: SWAPmeet which will be coming to you in 2015 hopefully *fingers crossed*)
3. Missed Opportunities
Because we are a two woman show it became very difficult as our brand expanded to reach out to different brands, companies, or respond to emails accordingly in a timely fashion therefore missing out on opportunities because our schedules conflicted or did not possess enough time. There were so many natural hair events and meet ups we would have loved to attend but one or both of us couldn’t make it due to scheduling conflicts. Though we understand that this does happen, and you can not be everywhere at once or answer every phone call/email it seems as though the opportunities we missed out on had the possibilities of being really big or beneficial. I know there is no sense in crying over spilt milk… so we will focus on the positive and move forward into 2015 with a better plan of action!
4. Blogging Mishaps
This low point for TNT in 2014 was the worst one for me!!! We never really took the time out to explain what happened so I’ll give a brief/quick recap/overview. Our blog got hacked and infected with a virus at some point from its conception in 2013 (crazy right) and that virus finally ravaged the entire site in July and tore it down to pieces. We had to immediately enlist in a new graphic designer that could put together a new vision for our brand without tarnishing it. In doing so we ended up losing 90 percent of our content (over 800 posts) because the virus was hidden in one of the posts and could not be found. So unfortunately our rankings dropped, we lost tons of traffic which hurt our advertising, and our promotions for our event at the time. (worst timing ever!) So we had to rebuild the site this year from scratch and lost not only our posts but all of our views…etc things that are pretty crucial when putting together metrics for your media kit. We took it in stride and are currently rebuilding bigger and better content for the site while consistently maintaing a back up just incase anything like this ever happens again!
5. Feeling of Inadequacy
It can be really daunting when are in the midst of the natural hair community and giving it all you’ve got and receiving no type of awareness for it. (I know it sounds whiney… but bare with me for just a moment). We have seen some tremendous gains and growth in our 1.5 years of existence and we couldn’t be happier/more blessed to have such a strong core following. But sometimes you sit back and you see drastic gains of other surpassing you and it can be a bit frustrating not understanding what you are doing wrong or why people may not like you as much as they like others (just like sitting alone at the high school lunch table right) Silly as it may be no matter what the numbers show, its always possible to feel like you are doing an inadequate job. During these moments I feel humbled and that is how I get through them and focus more on positivity.
Changes For 2015- We Need You!
So for 2015 we want to bring you more of what you have come to love from us, while bringing you closer in to our worlds/lives and showing you what we love also in addition to just natural hair. As always that requires your voice and your opinion. We’ve got a few things up our sleeves for this upcoming year, but we want to hear from you. We want to see what you are interested in while putting our own little personal spin/flair to it. Let us know by taking this quick short poll below what would you like to see more of/less of, or newly incorporated into our blog/brand. We aim to please and we can’t wait to get to know more of you! If you feel that we’ve missed anything in the options on the poll please feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts below.
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.