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As I begin to write this article, I start visualizing the time that I met Makeda Saggau-Sackey and the hundreds of times that I’ve bugged her by sending her press releases and asking her to help me at one event or another. I’ll definitely never forget her willingness to help, nor the time that she wrote one of the nicest articles about me during my run for the LLS Woman of the Year (largely a fundraising campaign) in Washington, DC (click here to view article). And, as I began to think about all of this, I realized that never in a million years would I have expected to now be writing about her instead. Therefore, after launching this site, I was eager to share with others the grand admiration I have for her determination, passion and hard work to fight for her dreams to become reality.
When Makeda and I first met, we automatically clicked. We both volunteered our time to Luke’s Wings–a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization dedicated to the support of service members who have been wounded in battle. Makeda served as Director of the Development & Fundraising Committee, while I took on the role of Director of PR and Marketing. We worked together for about a year and a half, and that is when our great friendship began.
Throughout the years, we have worked on many other causes and projects together and have had many talks about our dreams, goals and aspirations. And from the many chats, there was always one thing that Makeda said that always stuck out: “One day, I am going to become the first African editor-in-chief of VOGUE!” The best part about this moment is that she told me this as I was trying to help her find a job. I had landed her an interview at the PR firm I worked at during this time. The day that she came, she asked me to print her résumé and about 5 pages came out… I looked at her, smiled to myself and thought, “This chic NEEDS to be in the fashion world!” Really!
Makeda Saggau-Sackey was born and raised in the south of Ghana and moved to the USA with her family at a young age. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a concentration in Mass Communications but had a passion for fashion and photography—and, like many college graduates, dreamed big. After college, Makeda went on to find her first job and, naturally, living in the nation’s capital, ended up working in public affairs for a government agency.
Obviously this wasn’t really the job for her, but it’s where most people in DC with a communications degree end up. So, in her free time, she began to keep an online diary where she chronicled her purchases, which then took on a life of its own as people found out about it. After much dedication, passion and determination, Makeda followed her dream and moved to–where else–NYC, the center of the US fashion industry.
A gal in the know and on-the-go, Makeda is now the founder and online editor for The Glamazon Diaries and Duchess of Cambridge Style- a fashion site dedicated to Kate Middleton’s looks. Makeda has caught the eye of the big media players in the fashion world and is a member of Vogue Influencer and the Marie Claire Style Council. She has also been named Glambassador by Glamour magazine. To add to her success, MSNBC recently featured her as a contributor commenting on the Duchess of Cambridge’s style during the Royal Tour of the US. Makeda has also been featured in other media outlets, such as Washingtonian magazine, Northern Virginia Magazine, CBS and Fox–to name a few.
To get the full scoop on how she made her success happen, I decided it would be best to interview her. Here is what she had to say:
NS: How did you come up with the name The Glamazon Diaries?
MSS: Glamazon was a nickname given to me by co-workers so it was natural that the blog, which I viewed as a diary, would be called Glamazon.
NS: What are some challenges you faced during the early stage of blogging, and how did you manage doing this while working a full time day job?
MSS: I wrote my blog during lunch time, in the evenings or weekends, and I didn’t write as frequently as I do now. When I started four years ago, being a blogger had a certain stigma behind it, especially in DC where the scandalous exploits of a certain Capitol Hill staffer came to light via Washington City Paper.
NS: You are originally from DC. What inspired you to move to NYC?
MSS: I was born inGhana and raised inVirginia. I moved to DC after college because it was natural for me to be closer to my family, who still live in the area. I moved toNew York to pursue labels and love, as Carrie Bradshaw would say.
NS: What advice do you have for others looking to launch a fashion blog?
MSS: Blog because you want to do something fun—not because you want to be famous, the latter will come in time.
NS: You recently launched Duchess of Cambridge Style, can you tell me more about this site?
MSS: The Duchess of Cambridge Style came about accidentally. I bought the domain name on the day of the Royal Wedding not knowing exactly what I wanted to do with it. I loved Kate Middleton’s style and knew it would eventually be something I would write about, so after she showed up at the ARK Gala in her gorgeous Jenny Packham gown, I knew immediately that chronicling her style—and most importantly how to get her look for less—was something I could focus on.
NS: Do you currently manage both sites, and does anyone help you?
MSS: I manage both sites myself. I customize the templates, design the layouts and graphics and do everything, but then again I love learning by trial and error. It’s been a great experience learning how to build a website and run and maintain it for four years. The web has changed and now social media is another component that has been added to my responsibilities. I have to tweet and update Facebook for both sites as well as manage the foursquare for Glamazon Diaries, YouTube page (shooting videos and editing them) and Tumblr.
NS: You still cover DC events; do you travel back and forth? And do you find it hard?
MSS: I was coming back to DC frequently when I initially moved toNew York City. After a few months, I realized I needed to lay the ground work here, so I started picking a choosing which events to attend in DC. I come back for the big ones.
NS: Are you currently monetizing from it?
NS: If so, what are some tips or advice you have for other young professionals and fashionistas that want to achieve the same dreams or start blogging?
MSS: You need to know your product, love it and be able to pitch it to whomever will listen to you. Most bloggers don’t make money from their sites, it’s just a hobby. If you want to make money, you first need to have good content and good traffic stats. But the easiest way is to join an affiliate program.
Hobbies: Photography and dreaming big
Inspirations: My mom inspires me.
Style Icons–Past and Present: Jackie Kennedy exuded a certain elegance that will be forever timeless. Kate Middleton because she proves that women don’t have to be scantily clad to be sexy or beautiful.
Favorite designers: Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, J. Mendel, Monique Lhuillier, Christopher Bailey, Miuccia Prada
Favorite looks: Classic and romantic