THE ORIGINAL RETRO BRAND INTERVIEW: 5 QUESTIONS WITH 'UNIVERSITY CHIC' FOUNDER, & BESTSELLING AUTHOR CHRISTIE GARTON
Today's "5 Questions with..." interview is absolutely one of my favorite to date. I had the opportunity to speak with Christie Garton about her latest book entitled U Chic: The College Girl's Guide to Everything!, as well as her online magazine UniversityChic.com
Andy: When did the idea of writing your book U Chic: The College Girl's Guide to Everything!, come to your mind? Was it a gradual thing that you thought of while you were an undergrad @ Kansas, or perhaps a "eureka" moment while you were studying law @ Penn? Did you basically feel like a fish out of water when you were a Freshman and couldn't find the answers or help you were looking for?
Christie: I would have to say it was more gradual. I always knew I wanted to do something to empower people (Christie created a non-profit while at Kansas in 1999 called Music Mentors, which is still going strong today), but didn't know it would end up being UChic. Looking back, like most college freshman, I had to make my own way and learn as I went along. I thoroughly enjoyed my college life, and definitely drew from my own experiences in putting together the book and website. My time at Penn, while enjoyable, was more about sharpening the tools I knew I would need to run a business, regardless of what it would be. It's important to point out that we realize every person has to make it their own college experience. My goal is to have University Chic not preach what is right or wrong, but rather provide the most useful & helpful information based on the experiences of college women we've heard from all over the world.
Andy: Speaking of College women from all over the world, when it comes to your UniversityChic.com website and blog, I love your "open door policy" so to speak, which invites women from campuses around the country (world) to contribute their own stories on a blog of their own; you call them 'Chicsters' (SHEEK-STERS ) - This is more then feedback to your own personal blog, but stories by and from college women that all of your readers can relate to. When did you start the UChic website, and were 'Chicsters' part of it from the get-go?
Christie: We went online in 2005. And yes, college women have been part of the online magazine since day 1. They are the experts, and life-blood of UChic. Simply put, these women are the resource.
Andy: The resource you refer to is a smorgasbord of relevant topics, with blogs that cover it all: from reporting on the latest trends, dealing with homesickness, fashion tips & beauty, sorority do's & dont's, & picking the right major to name just a very few. I think you provide enough information to put a honest to goodness curriculum together! Have you ever thought of actually opening your own school called University Chic University?!
Christie: (laughs) I never want to say never, but with so much going on right now, I really don't foresee that ever becoming a reality (In addition to overseeing the website on a daily basis, Christie also has a monthly blog featured on the Huffington Post, makes many public appearances to promote her books & online magazine, will soon be putting out a companion workbook to UChic, specifically geared towards college freshman, and due to the overwhelming success of her current book, she is working on an updated version due to come out in Spring of 2011...shwoo!).
Andy: I enjoyed my own college experience, but looking back, I probably wish I had a UChic type guide for my own. Any thoughts on opening a "sister", or shall I say brother site for the fellas?
Christie: (laughs again) I've actually been asked that question a number of times! Unlike opening a real university, if I could get the right people involved, and feel like the time and situation presented itself, I would be happy to help out the guys. I also want to add that while UChic is certainly targeted to women, many of the topics and advice given can be relevant for men as well.
Andy: Sports are no doubt a huge part of the college lifestyle & filled with tradition. I understand you will be promoting Original Retro Brand during the month of September on UChic., and doing daily trivia contests for prizes. Of course we're ecstatic to be affiliated with UChic on this project, and look forward to being a part of the fun! What is it you like most about the Original Retro Brand?
Christie: Original Retro Brand is 100% geared to my audience. The apparel is soft, very stylish, and designed to fit great. You also get a real sense of "fun" behind the brand, and again, that fits right in with the people who enjoy UChic.
I want to congratulate Christie on all of her success, and thank her for taking the time to spend with us. I'm going straight to the nearest boutique to by my wife some Eco-friendly nail polish! I highly recommend you pick up a copy of U Chic: The College Girl's Guide to Everything, browse her awesome website, and become a friend on the UChic Facebook Page.
If you are a big fan of the Original Retro Brand, and want to be featured on “5 Questions with…” please forward a picture of yourself wearing Original Retro Brand gear, and a brief description of what you do for a living to firstname.lastname@example.org If we like what we see, you may be contacted for an interview. You don’t need to be a Chicster like Christie to be featured, and we’ll even send you an Original Retro Brand T-Shirt if we decide to post your story!