Claire Sulmers is the Founder and CEO of FashionBombDaily.com, an internationally recognized fashion blog with a focus on the multicultural fashionista. She is social media expert, on-air personality, author, speaker, consultant, marketing manager, and recognized as the industry’s leading fashion blogger chronicling fashionistas of color. Sulmers’ pioneering work ushered in a new wave of digital journalism that fed and fueled an under-served community of African-American and Latino style lovers wanting to know more about brand from the culture.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and went to a private school that was 45 minutes away from my home. This meant that I spent a lot of weekends to myself, reading books. I loved to read, and my favorites were fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. I think being a voracious reader made me into a voracious writer. The written word has always been my most favorite form of expression.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
Discipline is necessary for success. Everything in moderation.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
I think the fashion industry encourages people constantly to get the latest, greatest, newest, most expensive thing. I think style is about your personality and how you wear it, and not about labels or how much you spend.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
When I was 28 years old, I quit my full-time job and moved to Paris with the goal of getting a job in the fashion industry. I had not saved up enough money–it was rough! But, I persevered, and at the end of 2 years, I managed to get an internship at Paris Vogue. From that, I learned to not always be so impulsive. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I got lucky with my Paris Vogue internship, but it wasn’t without lots of hardship and heartache that I imposed upon myself. Now, I have learned how to plan things out so that all is in place for me to be happy, secure, and successful.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I am persistent and consistent, and I listen to my audience. The customer is king.
What is your morning routine?
I wake up at 5 am and work out, whether I run for 20 minutes or do a Billy Blanks workout on Youtube. After, I journal and read. Then I’ll either get to work or take a nap (before getting back to work)! But I am a member of the 5 am club. It’s also important for me to have my ‘daily bread.’ Not a day goes by that I don’t listen to a Biblical, spiritual message, whether from Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer, or TD Jakes. I also love to be informed on unexpected topics. Joe Rogan’s podcast is one of my favorites.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
I cannot overstate the importance of discipline. Discipline is sacrificing what you want right now for what you want in the future. In my youth, I didn’t think of my future self. I made poor decisions at the moment that my future self had to pay for. Now, I think long term. And if I want something and I don’t have it, I understand that making small changes in my behavior day to day, and forcing myself to do things that I don’t want to do for the service of the greater good, is of prime importance. For example: if you want to lose weight, you have to eat right and work out! Of course, it is human to want to be a couch potato and eat chips. But you have to push yourself to be disciplined to eat reasonably and also exercise. If you want to be healthy in all areas, you have to be disciplined and create healthy habits.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
I plan my day and set daily goals, while also taking time to get outside, breathe fresh air, work out, and pray. I push myself to be focused and ‘work’ for 3 hour time periods, then give myself the freedom to go for a walk, watch TV, or read a book. You have to have a balance in order to be the most productive–and happy.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho is one of my favorite books. It speaks to a young man who goes on a journey to find his life’s purpose, and how the Universe conspires to help him accomplish his dreams. The book appeals to the dreamer in me; I can relate because I have followed my true passion, and traveled very far from home, met with adversity and tough times to live a life beyond my imagination. The journey has not been easy, and there will be many hills and valleys ahead. But I do believe that I have found my life’s purpose, and I am having a blast pursuing it.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“To have what others don’t, you have to do what others won’t.”
“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” ~ Les Brown
“Do not go where the path may lead, but go where there’s no path, and leave a trail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson