#SWAAYthenarrative

Bianca Jade's Mission Of Fashionable Fitness

People

Bianca Jade is all about making fitness mainstream via authentic engagement with brands and consumers alike.


"As a lifelong fitness lover, I call myself an everyday athlete," says Jade, who launched her fitness blog, Mizzfit in 2009. "I wanted to go online and see cool solutions to working out and style. I felt there was a lack of online references that showed you can be a total jock and still a girl in heels."

For Jade, one focus of her site was offering women fashionable workout clothes, tips and tutorials, health and wellness news, and fashion trends.

“The catalyst of building my company was that there weren’t a lot of resources online for fitness fashion,” says Jade, who originally set out to launch a clothing line before realizing the enormous white space of information for fashion and fitness-lovers. "At the time there was was no fusion of everyday fashion with fitness. I wanted to go online and see cool solutions to working out and style.”

According to Jade, while blogging wasn't something she thought she would do, she soon realized the enormous potential it had.

“It was 2008, a time when blogging was trending,” says Jade. “I knew I wanted to build a company, but I never thought it would start off with a blog. I thought if I’m going to do a blog I’m going to do it about something I love. So, I bought the domain and wanted to see if I could build the company."

Now the Cornell graduate, who has over 100,000 followers on social media and more than 10,000 visitors to her site a day, also serves as a health and wellness expert, television host and brand spokesperson for fitness brands like ASICS, Champion, Target, New Balance and Microsoft. Jade, who began her career in advertising, cites the shift in consumer advertising spend from traditional to more influencer-focused as a big reason for the success of her blog and partnerships.

“Advertising has changed dramatically in the last five years,” said Jade. “People still love celebrities but there’s a new famous; every day people who share their lives, activities, careers, ambitions, opinions and associations with the world to help guide the decisions of others. It’s more authentic and edgy than your typical celebrity endorsement campaign. Advertising that’s shoved down your throat and sells too hard gets hold. People see through it.”

As far as how she works with brands, Jade says it's organic and authentic. She won't promote any product without first trying and signing off on it.

“These companies are hiring me to make their digital content, to show people how to use the product, to spread the message,” says Jade. “I only work with brands that I’ve discovered on my own first or that come to me with a life changing, positive message that I feel must be shared with my audience. I want people to know that yes, I make a living off these partnerships but first and foremost I care about spreading the message of health and wellness. I only stand behind things that promote women’s overall health.”

Jade adds that as the "social influencer" space continues to get more crowded, remaining a trusted voice for women is her top priority.

"Authenticity is everything these days and that’s how influencers have changed advertising," says Jade. "So now advertising agencies have been hiring influencers for more and more campaigns, and to be honest at some point soon, consumers will become aware of that and see through it as well. I think it’s important to turn down the work that will feel like advertising to your followers. Because otherwise you don’t look credible. I only work with brands that I’ve discovered on my own first or that come to me with a life changing, positive message that I feel must be shared with my audience."

"Advertising that’s shoved down your throat and sells too hard gets old. People see through it.”

Much like other disruptive platforms, the Mizzfit mission is centered on busting stereotypes and looking at women from a wholistic perspective, rather than painting them into corners.

“I wanted to show women that you could inject great fashion, and this style you already have into fitness and sport, to be healthier and to have fun,” says Jade.” I thought if I can fuse fashion, trends, and pop culture into fitness, I feel like I solved a problem."

Soon Jade started blogging about the intersection between fashion and fitness, working with emerging brands (at the time like Lululemon), showing what kinds of workouts you could do in various outfits, and also innovations in clothing technology like moisture wicking fabric.

Today, Jade's business model has evolved to include a quarterly subscription box, which sends out more than $200 worth of workout-related product.

"I was one of the first influencers in the country to have a subscription box, which I partnered with Quarterly co. on over 4 years ago," says Jade, adding that her next box will be available in November. "I call it the Style Up 2 Shape Up box. It’s a fitness fashion box that ships out every 3 months to my subscribers around the world."

"Creating original content for brands, which is authentic, educational, entertaining, is my passion."

“When I started I spent a couple years growing my brand recognition," says Jade. "I would take all these meetings, doing tons of stuff for free just to get my blog name and mission out there. People asked my business plan. I had one but I threw it away, because when I started out I thought I was going to create an a fitness line but then it shifted and I became a mouthpiece for all these sports, wellness and athletic services. People needed someone to tell the message.”

Despite the fact that she plays in the social space, Jade is hesitant to describe herself as a social influencer.

"I am a social influencer in a regard, but I have host training, and advertising marketing background," she said. "I am a one woman advertising and spokeswoman company for some of the largest activewear companies in the world."

Looking to the future, Jade says she will focus on strategic partnerships, and delving deeper into the world of television hosting.

"I've been at it for over nine years, and so I realize there's no sense to do other things," says Jade. "For me digital hosting and creating original content for brands, which is authentic, educational, entertaining, is my passion. I'm not a doctor but I for me spreading news about health, wellness, fitness, and can do it on a huge platform, that’s what I'm moving towards."

Jade's next partnership is with Topricin, a brand of all natural pain relief products.

"For Topricin, I’m really excited to work with fellow influencers Kristin McGee and Nadia Murdock on some cool webisode content about the importance of going all natural when it comes to pain relief in fitness," she says. "There’s a huge problem in our country with the over-prescription of narcotic pain killers and our country alone is using 95% of the narcotic pain killers made in the world! So to be part of a message and movement that encourages people to treat their bodies in a more loving and natural way is important to me. But it all starts with educating people."

3 min read
Culture

Please Don't Forget to Say Thank You

"More grapes, please," my daughter asked, as she continued to color her Peppa Pig drawing at the kitchen table.

"What do you say?" I asked her, as I was about to hand her the bowl.

"More grapes?"

I shook my head.

"Please?"

I stood there.

"I want green grapes instead of red grapes?"

I shook my head again. I handed her the bowl of green grapes. "Thank you. Please don't forget to say thank you."

"Thank you, Momma!"

Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children?

Many of us are busy training our young children on manners on the other side of the Zoom camera during this pandemic. Reminding them to say please, excuse me, I tried it and it's not my favorite, I am sorry, and thank you. And yet somehow simple manners continue to be undervalued and underappreciated in our workplaces. Because who has time to say thank you?

"Call me. This needs to be completed in the next hour."

"They didn't like the deck. Needs to be redone."

"When are you planning on sending the proposal?"

"Did you see the questions he asked? Where are the responses?"

"Needs to be done by Monday."

Let me take a look. I didn't see a please. No please. Let me re-read it again. Nope, no thank you either. Sure, I'll get to that right away. Oh yes, you're welcome.

Organizations are under enormous pressure in this pandemic. Therefore, leaders are under enormous pressure. Business models collapsing, budget cuts, layoffs, or scrapping plans… Companies are trying to pivot as quickly as possible—afraid of extinction. With employees and leaders everywhere teaching and parenting at home, taking care of elderly parents, or maybe even living alone with little social interaction, more and more of us are dealing with all forms of grief, including losing loved ones to COVID-19.

So we could argue we just don't have time to say thank you; we don't have time to express gratitude. There's too much happening in the world to be grateful for anything. We are all living day to day, the pendulum for us swinging between surviving and thriving. But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?

If you don't think you have to say thank you; if you don't think they deserve a thank you (it's their job, it's what they get paid to do); or if you think, "Why should I say thank you, no one ever thanks me for anything?" It's time to remember that while we might be living through one of the worst recessions of our lifetimes, the market will turn again. Jobs will open up, and those who don't feel recognized or valued will be the first to go. Those who don't feel appreciated and respected will make the easy decision to work for leaders who show gratitude.

But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?

Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children? Remind them with flashcards? Bribe them with a cookie? Tell them how I proud I am of them when they say those two magical words?

Showing gratitude isn't that difficult. You can send a thoughtful email or a text, send a handwritten card, send something small as a gesture of thank you, or just tell them. Call them and tell them how thankful you are for them and for their contributions. Just say thank you.

A coworker recently mailed me a thank you card, saying how much she appreciated me. It was one of the nicest things anyone from work has sent me during this pandemic. It was another reminder for me of how much we underestimate the power of a thank you card.

Apparently, quarantine gratitude journals are all the rage right now. So it's great if you have a beautiful, leather-bound gratitude journal. You can write down all of the people and the things that you are thankful for in your life. Apparently, it helps you sleep better, helps you stay grounded, and makes you in general happier. Just don't forget to take a moment to stop writing in that journal, and to show thanks and gratitude to those you are working with every single day.