How Vistaprint Helps Small Businesses Have Big Impact

This post is sponsored by Vistaprint.

I believe that when you look professional, you feel confident and ready to take on anything. So, I was immediately intrigued by Vistaprint’s Micro Main Street, a campaign that equips small businesses with critical tools to look and perform their best. During PrideFest in St. Louis, we got to witness how Vistaprint services can elevate a brand.

Vistaprint designers worked with 3 businesses–Bella Books, Carla Sue, and HelloPride–to develop cohesive, professional-looking marketing materials. These businesses got to flaunt the results of this partnership during PrideFest in St. Louis when they appeared in Vistaprint’s Micro Main Street pop-up storefront.

HelloPride, a company offering baby onesies that celebrate the love of all families, worked with Vistaprint designers on packaging. Who doesn’t love a fun unboxing? Megan Hines, the owner, says, “Being a part of Micro Main Street by Vistaprint at St. Louis PrideFest has meant so much to us and our small business. We received so many compliments on our products and we were so excited to meet past and future customers in person. It was truly amazing seeing HelloPride really resonate with the PrideFest participants. Working with Vistaprint to update our brand and create these awesome new marketing materials will positively impact our business for years to come.”

Carla Sue Greeting Cards and Gifts is a company specializing in handcrafted, witty greeting cards that celebrate positive representation. For this business owner, her cards serve as important connectors and sources of inspiration. Carla Sue worked with Vistaprint designers to create sharp-looking materials that matched her spirited brand. Her standout signage used during the pop-up event was a product of this partnership. It was a hit!


Bella Books, a publisher of stories about women who love women, also made a splash at the Vistaprint Micro Main Street storefront. Owner, Linda Hill, worked with Vistaprint to create an online loyalty program for their customers that includes custom-printed bookmarks. Hill’s business is 100% online, but after a successful weekend of sales at PrideFest, she is now exploring ways to incorporate traditional book sales into her business.


The Vistaprint Micro Main Street pop-up storefront put the spotlight on small businesses. The storefront was a clear demonstration that professional marketing assets are crucial to business success. From business cards to bookmarks to banners, Vistaprint offers an assortment of products to help small businesses have big impact.

Ripped From The Memphis Fashion Week Runway

I shared a quick recap of my Memphis Fashion Week experience (see that post here). But, there’s more! While in Memphis, I got to wear a design (ripped straight from the runway) by one of the featured designers–Richard Cotto of R. Gene. This line is filled with fashion-forward, subtly sexy pieces that are gender neutral.

No surprise, I was drawn to the beautiful yellow pieces throughout the R. Gene line. And, today, I’m sharing the floor-sweeping dress I wore.

Dress | Sandals | Bag

The R. Gene dress is a long, wrap dress with a super high slit to show of the legs.

I wore the dress with cabernet suede Stuart Weitzman 100SQUARENUDIST sandals. The ankle strap style shows off the foot and complements the dress well. The high heel gave me some well needed height as well.

Since the simple dress makes a big statement, I kept everything else in the look simple.

Location: Crosstown Concourse, Memphis Tennessee

All images taken by Christen Jones Photography

Why You Need To Visit Memphis During Memphis Fashion Week

I just returned to St. Louis from Memphis. I had a unique opportunity to experience Memphis Fashion Week, a well-established set of events that showcases the best work by Memphis and regional designers. I had such an amazing experience, and I think you would too. So, I’m sharing my top 5 reasons why you should plan your trip to Memphis during fashion week there.

Why You Need To Visit Memphis During Memphis Fashion Week
1. Fashion Night Out

Fashion Night Out offers a fun opportunity to see and shop the creations of local makers and designers.

Memphis Fashion Week

So, grab your squad and head to Fashion Night Out. This year it was held at Crosstown Concourse, a striking architectural space that was perfect for the swanky event.

Photographed with Mary Conley, Kim Thomas, Tania Cascilla, and Anne Merrill Jones

2. Soak Up Memphis Culture During the Day

You can explore all the culture and experiences that Memphis has to offer during the day. From fine dining to barbecue, Memphis has a wide array of food options. I even found a vegan haven at the City Silo Table + Pantry.

Recover with a spa day at the Gould’s Salon Spa. Refresh your mani and pedi or get a massage.

Put the finishing touches on your fashion week style by shopping the boutiques at the Laurelwood Shopping Center.

Give yourself time to browse the National Civil Rights Museum.

3. Get inspired by street style–the southern way!

Fashion week events draw the most stylish people in any city. And, Memphis style mavens show up and show out during Memphis Fashion Week. You simply gotta be a witness.

Memphis Fashion Week

4. See Top Designers from the Region at Featured Designer Presentations

This year’s Memphis Fashion Week featured 7 super talented designers–Jodi Brewer, Tanganika by Tangie, Demi BLVCK Designs, This is Sloane, Tiena, Siss Viss, and The R. Gene. Want to see the designs in motion on the runway? I got you. Check out my MFW highlight on my Gram (go here).

Memphis Fashion Week

5. Support the Future of Fashion Ingenuity at the Emerging Designer Show

Memphis Fashion Week’s Emerging Memphis Designer Project (EMDP) is a program that strives to develop emerging designers and give them a platform to showcase their work. A selected cohort of designers spend 7 months fine-tuning their skills. You simply must see the work that came out of this year’s cohort. Check out my MFW highlight on the Gram (go here).

Disclosure: I was invited to experience Memphis Fashion Week by the Memphis Fashion Design Network. As always, all opinions are my own. Professional photographs taken by Christen Jones Photography

10 Important Takeaways From Real Talk With Regions Bank In St. Louis

This post is sponsored by Regions Bank, member FDIC.

Attending Real Talk with Regions Bank was the smartest decision I made a few weeks ago. The event, sponsored by Regions Bank, The Regional Business Council Young Professionals Network (RBC), and the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, brought local young professionals together to explore the intersection of two critical themes–innovation and leadership. It all took place at the beautiful Third Degree Glass Factory.

I knew I was in the right place when I ran into fellow entrepreneur and owner of Heritage1933™, Latoya Thompson (pictured below), and Tim Dean, a business educator and coach (who kindly took the image). There was such a high-spirited synergy among the over 120 attendees all because of a common interest in business and workplace innovation.

Regions Bank Real Talk

As a proud St. Louis resident, I was especially pleased to see the rich diversity (age, race, gender) of this city represented at the event as well.

The most memorable part of the night was undoubtedly the professional insights shared by the powerful panelists. The panel discussion was moderated by Laura Hettiger, a KMOV traffic reporter and cohost of Great Day St. Louis. Featured panelists included Shannon Buebe, Commercial Banking Solutions Relationship Manager at Regions Bank, Kendra Elaine, Kendra Elaine Consulting LLC, Chyna Bowen, Regional Senior Manager at Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and Jason Hall, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Arch to Park LLC.

Hettiger prompted the panel with questions that probed about their passions, inspirations, empowerment tips, networking hacks, and more. I left the event so inspired by the stories and insights of the featured young professionals. I was so moved that I had to share with you all my top 10 takeaways. Warning: They’re potentially career altering (in the best way possible)!

L to R: Laura Hettiger, Chyna Bowen, Kendra Elaine, Jason Hall, Shannon Buebe

10 Important Takeaways from Real Talk with Regions Bank:

1. Passion is not a destination. It’s a journey. Bowen reminded us of that. Elaine went further by saying, “it’ll look differently as you grow and change.”

2. “There are no menial jobs,” Elaine confirms. Elaine believes this and encourages millennials to understand their positions and how these jobs add value to the companies they work in and to their own growth. Doing so makes work become more meaningful.

3. Not sure about your ‘why’? No worries. “Stay curious about the possibilities. It’s about the long game,” Bowen tells it.

4. Have big ambitions. Buebe encourages millennials to find someone doing what you want to do and openly share your ambitions and goals with them.

5. Don’t let the term networking intimidate you. Hall believes the word sounds transactional and instead encourages millennials to focus on building soft relationships and to use social media to facilitate introductions and engagement when possible.

6. Have patience. According to Buebe, since you don’t know what you don’t know, be patient because the experiences you’re attaining now could lay the foundation for what you want to become.

7.  It’s okay not to prove every point. Hall believes that trying to always be right could come at the expense of actually being influential. It’s ok to let some things slide.

8. Shift your focus from ‘what’ to ‘how’. Bowen argues that it is more beneficial to explore how you will get where you want to be instead of just stating what you want.

9. Seek career help when needed. Hall aptly reminds us that no one is good at everything. Don’t let what you don’t know hinder your growth.

10. Understanding what motivates other people is a crucial characteristic of a leader. Hall also believes that leaders don’t have to be the smartest people in the room to be influential. They should aim to be the most understanding among those around them.

If this panel’s insights have left you wanting more advice and guidance, then Regions offers many online tools and resources for young professionals. I hope that these takeaways are just as inspiring to you as they were to me! Special thanks to Regions Bank for inviting me to such an inspirational event.

4 Reasons Why Personal Branding Is Important For Us All

I participated in a panel discussion hosted by Fashion Group International (FGI) in St. Louis recently. Since I enjoy talking about the business of blogging, I was excited to join the panel. I was especially thrilled, though, because the personal branding discussion was led by Carrie Lannon. Lannon is a branding consultant with a roster of  high-end clients. She also served as the national public relations director for Ulta Beauty.

Today, I’m sharing 4 takeaways from Lannon’s presentation and the panel discussion that evening. No matter what you do, these points on personal branding are important to consider.

Personal Branding

1. 90% of first impressions now happen online.

It’s crucial to be aware of how you are represented online (your own posts and those by others). Lannon offered further that your digital presence should do at least one of the following: inform, entertain, educate, or engage. Your next job or branding collaboration could depend on the results of a Google or Facebook search of your name.

2. Social posts are PERMANENT.

Be mindful and intentional about everything you post online because it can be permanent. Simply deleting posts may not be sufficient because of the ability of others to instantly share our content.

3. Your digital and personal presence communicate what you value in the world.

Of course, I talk a lot about how our style says something about how we think about the world. Your digital trail does the same thing. Using both to communicate your best qualities can benefit you in work and life.

4. Standing out online is a wonderful opportunity and challenge.

There are millions of people online, so getting heard is a wonderful opportunity. The challenge is doing so without compromising your integrity.

Thank you to FGI-STL for having me. Learn more about the speaking engagements I participate in here.

*All images courtesy of FGI-STL