Back in 2012, Elma Beganovich and her sister Amra were working in two of the most traditional careers imaginable.
A former Capitol Hill intern and US Department of Justice clerk, then-26-year-old Elma had completed a law degree and was pursuing her Master of Laws degree in securities and financial regulation at Georgetown University at the time. Amra, who was 29, worked as an economist for different World Bank projects.
And then, everything changed over the course of one evening.
“It really happened over dinner,” Elma tells Business Insider. “We were discussing some do-it-yourself beauty tips, like how to make a face mask out of your kitchen ingredients. One of Amra’s friends said, ‘Well, why don’t you put this online? I’m sure it’d be interesting for people to read.’ We thought, ‘Why not? Let’s do this.”
The conversation marked the beginning of the sisters’ professional swerve from law and banking to fashion blogging, entrepreneurship, and online marketing.
“She pulled me into this. I was still a student and I was working part time,” Elma says.
Today, the sisters run two blogging brands — Club Fashionista and Amra and Elma. They have also expanded their business, entering the realm of online marketing and operating a network of 800,000 influencers that serve about 50 clients a month.
Here’s how a lawyer and an economist founded their own fashion-blog-turned-marketing-business and gained over 2.3 million followers in the process:
At first, the blog was mostly just for fun. The sisters wrote about everything related to wardrobe, makeup, and travelling on budget, and their friends contributed posts as well.
'It was kind of content that was a prettier version of everyday reality,' Elma says. 'Like you're walking on your way to work, and you catch a glimpse of a beautiful flower shop. Something that people could relate to.'
Within three months, the sisters had accrued an average of 110,000 unique monthly visitors on the blog. Right around then, brands began taking notice, too, offering to pay for product features. The sisters realised that the blog could be spun into a full-fledged business.
Elma left Georgetown in August 2013, after Amra left her career as an economist to run the newly formed Club Fashionista full-time.
'You have doubts all the time,' Elma says. 'I absolutely remember saying, 'What on Earth am I doing? I left and I also have student loans. How am I going to survive?''
Elma describes crossing into the uncharted territory of blogging and entrepreneurship as passing through a 'dark forest.'
'It was a finite savings account and lack of security that kept me up at night,' she says. Even today, the business requires constant hustle. 'Even at night, I work around the clock, basically at midnight that's when I'll start answering emails, because during the day I'm in meetings. I definitely don't think it's for everybody.'
Elma says that she and Amra support one another during times of uncertainty. 'You share the same interests and, at the end of the day, you don't have to worry about going separate ways,' she says. 'You can't divorce your family. That's definitely incredible, knowing that you have each other's back no matter what.'
Now, Elma says that her confidence in the business helped her move past her initial fears about leaving law.
'Believe in yourself, because there's so many people around you who will doubt you,' she says. 'Ignore that noise. Focus on your own inner voice. Even when you don't know something, just be confident about it, because it's better to act upon it and see if it works or it doesn't than to be living with the doubt from one day to the next.'
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