A student at San Diego State University, Lauryn Evarts was certain the sorority scene was for her. That is, until she pledged one. “It wasn’t for me, so I quit almost immediately,” she says. “But I paid attention to the fact that, at a school with 40,000 students, 20,000 of these girls are in a sorority. I kept thinking: ‘How can I get all these girls in one place to share tips and tricks?”
Her conclusion? Launch The Skinny Confidential—a blog where she could share her own tips and tricks with other students on campus to start. “For example, we’re all gaining the freshman 15, and I’m going to the local Rubio’s takeout spot telling them, ‘Please don’t put my taco on tortillas, put it on lettuce cups.’ That tip is a blog post right there,” Lauryn says. But she soon realized her content was attracting a bigger audience than expected. “My blog was reaching people all the way in Japan and Australia and women started writing in from all over the world to share their tricks,” she says.
Lauryn knew she was onto something, but she's the first to admit: it was 2009, and blogs were far from being all the (digital) rage. “People would tell me all the time there was no way I could monetize what I was doing,” she says. “But I always knew that I wasn’t just starting a blog. My intention—even at the beginning was to build a brand.” So, Lauryn went to Rite Aid, picked up a poster board and sketched out what she calls a ‘real life Pinterest board’ with a strategy geared toward playing the long game. “I had so many brand extensions—products, books, an online magazine,” she says. “The blog was just going to be one facet of what I was doing.”
Still, Lauryn is adamant that success didn’t happen overnight. “I didn’t make a dollar for three years, but that was OK,” she says. “Making money wasn’t my only goal in this. I wanted to create a community that showcases a lot of different topics—from IV therapy to vagina steaming—so my readers can visit, then take and leave what they want. Basically, The Skinny Confidential is a place where everyone (myself included) can be unapologetically themselves.”
Now, with a book under her belt and future product lines on the way, Lauryn has advice for anyone seeking a similar path. “If you’re starting a blog in 2017, you have to find a niche—and it has to be a very creative niche,” she says. “My niche starting out was fitness and diet. I look at it as an upside triangle where—after two years—I was able to grow outward and weave other topics and people, like my husband Michael, into the space. Bottom line: If you want a big brand, you have to find your niche first.”
On her perfect day in Los Angeles. “I’d go to the Beverly Hills Hotel for brunch. It’s so iconic, and I’m very much into retirement home vibes, so I love the energy there. Then, I’d work out at the beach with Kim Kelly, my trainer. Her energy is always on. Then, I’d probably wind down the afternoon with some rosé and a good book. Right now, I’m reading Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday, and it’s so good.”
On her favorite trick for looking photogenic in pics. “It’s all about good, natural light. I literally rented my house because of good light. Also, know your angles. Someone once said to me: ‘You always take selfies in the same place.’ I said, ‘It’s because I’m going for the best angle.’ Also, get apps like FaceTune and Dark Room and VSCO Cam. I’m all about removing the yellows from photos in Dark Room.”
On how she fits in fitness on the busiest days. “It’s in my calendar. That’s it. I had six million emails yesterday and no time to workout, so I took my phone downstairs and walked on the treadmill and returned all my emails. During that time, I clocked 5,000 steps. You just have to make the time.”
On what it’s like to work with her husband. “It’s definitely a work in progress, and it’s not seamless every second. We’re both super Type-A, which is hard. But he was instrumental to the actual launch of my blog. I was talking about it daily for a year and a half, and eventually he was like, ‘Just launch it! I don’t want to hear about it anymore!’ He pushed me off the ledge. From there, he’s been a consultant. He has his own business, but is available for me to run things by him, which is amazing. Recently, we launched a podcast together, and people have fallen in love with him separately, which has brought a whole new side to the brand.”
On something no one knows about her. “I’m a horrible employee. In my first job, I was late every single day for six years. If you told me right now that I had to go work under someone, I have a physical, visceral reaction. My true calling is to be my own boss.”
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