100% of proceeds from our Love Shop will benefit 3 organizations in their efforts to protect the environment, animals in need, and girls everywhere.
Girls Inc. — inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, providing more than 140,000 girls across the U.S. and Canada with life-changing experiences and solutions to the unique challenges girls face. The Girls Inc. Experience consists of people, an environment, and programming that, together, empower girls to succeed. Trained staff and volunteers build lasting, mentoring relationships in girls-only spaces that are physically and emotionally safe and where girls find a sisterhood of support with shared drive, mutual respect, and high expectations. Hands-on, research-based programs provide girls with the skills and knowledge to set goals, overcome obstacles, and improve academic performance. Informed by girls and their families, Girls Inc. also works with policymakers to advocate for legislation and initiatives that increase opportunities for girls. At Girls Inc., girls grow up healthy, educated, and independent.
Today, in support of Girls Inc.’s mission, we’re speaking to Violet Gaynor, co-founder and editorial director of The Glow, a site dedicated to showcasing the strength, drive and love of do-it-yourself women and their children.
There are new moments every day that I take mental note of and say to myself, “Ok, this is my new favorite moment ever.” But if I really have to pick one, it has to be the day my daughter was born. In those 15 hours of earth-shattering, unmedicated labor, I was reborn as a mother at the very moment Plum entered the world.
What 3 things do you want most for Plum?
I want Plum to feel comfortable in her own skin. This has nothing to do with feeling pretty or perfect, but rather owning her inner self and feeling powerful in her own body. I also want to teach her to look out for those less fortunate than her. I believe one of our great purposes in life is to use our energy and resources to help others. She’s three years old now, and as she gets a little older, I will be incorporating her into my volunteer routine.
The Glow. Tell our readers a little about it. How did it come to be?
I spent the first 15 years of my career living out my dream as a fashion editor and writer at various women’s magazines: Shape, Lucky, Elle, InStyle. While at InStyle, I conceptualized, created and launched The Glow with my former Elle colleague and friend, Kelly Stuart. The Glow is a destination for inspiration and connectedness for modern moms. Through our intimate and in-depth editorials featuring honest, hard-working, entrepreneurial moms, we are able to reveal the raw yet beautiful side of motherhood.
How do you define success?
I think the definition of success is being able to connect with people on a meaningful level. For The Glow, that means creating content that our audience finds great meaning in and that they value in their everyday lives as women and mothers. What I’ve learned over the past five years since creating The Glow, and especially over the past year of focusing on it full-time since I left my magazine job, is that success means constantly moving forward. There is no rest. There is no moment where you say, “This is what success means.” The essence of success is striving to do better each day, while also acknowledging how far you’ve come.
Best advice you were ever given…
I’ve been lucky enough to have amazing mentors in my life over the course of my 15-year career. A few pieces of advice that have stuck with me and that I often repeat to myself: First, I’ll always remember my grandfather telling me, at age 25, “Never be afraid to make a big change in your career.” He was a WWII survivor, and a man who had created a successful silk-screening business from the ground up, so his words were like gold to me. At the time, I had been at my first job for almost 5 years, and his words gave me the confidence to leave and take a new job at a digital start-up. It was a bold and risky move, but one that ultimately paved the way for my long-term career as a digital editor. Secondly, I’ll always remember my first boss and mentor telling me that nice goes a long way. She conducted herself with such poise, authority and kindness. Every set I was on with her was a positive, fun environment, and her words taught me the importance of connecting with each person you come into contact with in your professional life. Each of those encounters shapes your future relationships within your chosen industry. She taught me to engage with everyone and treat every person equally. To this day, I still think about this advice, and am amazed at how it’s shaped my career. The fashion world is small, and creating strong bonds with each person you meet by being nice makes all the difference.
Your number one wish for girls today.
My wish for girls is that they are able to cultivate strong inner strength (partly through the support of their teachers and mentors) that radiates out in the world and allows them to go after their dreams no matter their background. I have a deeply held belief that women and girls are the most powerful beings and can achieve anything they put their minds to if given proper support and guidance.
What does the word free mean to you?
One of the most chaotic and exciting times in my life was when I was six months pregnant — writing a book (The Glow: A Stylish Guide to Modern Motherhood), traveling around the world shooting for the book, working full time at InStyle, and renovating my apartment. It was a perfect storm of events, and also one of the most productive times in my life. While I wouldn’t wish to go through that insanity again, the experience made me realize that I work best when juggling many balls in the air. That said, now that I recently left my full-time job at InStyle to focus on The Glow 100% of the time, I am slowly learning to manage my new, more flexible schedule. Working from home is a major luxury and a major challenge. I am a list-maker by nature, but I’m realizing that I need to prioritize the list on a daily basis. That means looking at my endless list and choosing the top 2 items on it that absolutely must get done on a given day. This has helped get my day started on the right track, and leads to my ultimate goal of actually checking things off my list. For me, being free means being able to do what I love; working every day to build a brand that I co-created, which I truly believe speaks to women and means something special in their day-to-day lives as they navigate the roller-coaster ride of motherhood.