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Kim Gordon and her daughter Chloe started Pop Cosmo out of pure necessity. After moving to Louisville, KY from Florida, they went online to see what activities were available in the area. They wanted to know: Where do teens hangout? What do they do for fun? Where do they shop? They found only limited information online, so they originally envisioned PopCosmo.com as a resource for other teens in Louisville to know where to go and what to do. But their original vision grew into the current website, one that shares the latest and greatest in trends for teenage girls located everywhere.
Popcosmo.com is the only national online trend-spotting community for girls ages 13-18. As teen trend experts, they provide information focused on beauty, fashion, tech and lifestyle.
MO: Can you tell our readers how frustration and a gap in the market led you to create popsocmo.com? How did your experience and background contribute to the development of the company?
Kim: We’ve moved to a lot of cities and our first stop for information is typically the Internet. My husband and I are always able to find information that is pertinent to us. I was also easily able to find information for babies and toddlers. Finding information for teens was difficult, if not impossible. Plus, in the latest move, my daughter, 14 at the time, was also curious about finding tips and direction for her interests. We found tidbits here and there, but no sites dedicated exclusively to teens. Our idea grew from the genesis of creating a “teen to-do” site at inception. PopCosmo has evolved into an online community for teen girls interested in finding the latest and greatest in beauty, fashion, tech and lifestyle, with a planned expansion into teen specific city-guides to trendy spots and things to do.
My experience, education and background in law and marketing are a great foundation for a new business. I know what I’m capable of doing, and appreciate, quite well, my limitations, so I look to experts for advice and opinions and rely upon their proficiencies for areas outside of mine, such as website creation. I’m certain we’ll reach a point in our business when we’ll need additional guidance and skill sets, and I’m looking forward to reaching that level of growth.
MO: What has it been like to develop a company with your daughter, Chloe?
Kim: The experience has been beyond my wildest expectations. We are a typical mom and teenage daughter, so neither of us was sure what to expect. As first-time entrepreneurs, we are going through the process together: both the rejections and the passing of critical milestones, all the highs & lows. We each have goals that we would like to achieve, and we help each other along the path to reaching them. Luckily our strengths and weaknesses complement each other, and the best part of working with a family member is that we “know” each other and can be completely honest. Also, as a mom, I love that my daughter is learning, at such a young age, what it takes to run a business, from mailing packages to creating videos to proofreading. The experience she is gaining is invaluable.
MO: How quickly did you realize after launching popcosmo.com that you needed to expand? How challenging was it to pivot your business model and realize that you needed to go national instead of stay local?
Kim: We are roughly 4 months old and have recognized our reach is national instead of just local. So, this month, we decided to alter our original website to reflect our rapidly growing national and international audience and open our doors to advertisers. Our projected timeline did not anticipate this much growth in this amount of time, but since we want to stay focused on the needs of our followers, we are making changes that we anticipated making approximately a year from now.
MO: Your fan base has grown dramatically over the past year. How have you managed to gain traction so quickly?
Kim: Word-of-mouth! We are so fortunate that our “friends,” “followers,” and “fans” are as excited about our online presence as we are! Teens quickly spread the word to their friends when they find a trusted source who shares an honest opinion with them, and we believe this is the reason we have gained traction. We also run some advertising to reach our audience, but we attribute the rapid growth to providing a niche online presence to a savvy audience who is craving the type of information we are providing. Our ability to translate what my daughter, Chloe, and her friends, would want to find online into the creation of that content for our site is a key to keeping the growth pattern we have experienced. Our business requires constant attention, from spotting trends, to seeing what resonates with our followers, to determining the best outlets to present what we love. And as corny as it may sound, we truly enjoy and believe in what we are doing, so we are able to give our various online outlets the attention they need.
MO: What are three trends that excite you for 2012?
Kim: Just three?! We have so many we are excited about, but if we have to limit to three… the evolution from a slow rumble to an explosion of interest by teens in sites like Pinterest and Tumblr, beauty trends in hair and nails continuing to become more and more creative, and The Hunger Games movie, nail polish, jewelry, etc. If we were able to add another we’d say COLOR!! So excited about all the colors in fashion and beauty for 2012.
MO: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of so far?
Kim: Being savvy enough to know that we can’t create our vision by ourselves! We are creating a dedicated team of contributors and independent contractors who believe in our vision as much as we do: Lisa Yandell, our music guru and the wit behind our Facebook posts; Kristy Forrest, our beauty expert; and Shane Shaps, our social media whiz. Plus, we have begun working with teens who are contributing to our site and we hope to expand their roles as well.
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