Christine Mielke, is the owner and editor of Temptalia, one of today’s most popular beauty blogs on the web. One could think that beauty blog in not a “career” but if you reach 800,000 beauty fanatics per month and outperform millions of other beauty blogs you have to be smart. In fact Christine is a well educated young women with amazing talent to attract people – that’s what Leaders in Heels is all about. Christine will tell us about her path to success. A true Leader in Heels.
Leaders in Heels: Can you briefly describe how your career started and your plans for the future?
Christine Mielke: My career—if you can really call it that, I think I have way too much fun for it to be a career!—began as a hobby, so it was and still is a very organic process. I just started doing something that I loved and was interested in, and by staying dedicated to it and finding ways to make it better, it ended up being much more successful than I ever thought possible. I’m currently working to make Temptalia my full-time job and expanding to reach more beauty enthusiasts as well as create and develop more useful features for my readers.
Leaders in Heels: You are a 2011 graduate of Santa Clara University’s JD/MBA program, after having graduated in 2007 from University of California, Irvine with B.A. in Economics and B.A. in Political Science. A very impressive educational resume, why would you put yourself through all that study when you have such a popular blog?
Christine: My blog wasn’t popular when I started either my undergraduate or graduate program. I started the blog during my last year of undergraduate, and so it was barely a blip on the world wide web when I moved onto graduate school. Education is really important, and you want to make sure you set yourself up for success, so by obtaining my JD/MBA, I was doing just that. It’s a very useful degree whether one goes into law, business, a combination thereof, or even tries to run their own business. I’m fortunate that the legal training has enabled me to be able to read contracts and forms with a different mindset—I understand and comprehend the much better, and I don’t nod off in the middle because I don’t understand the words. In law school, they taught us that being a lawyer is more about being a translator: you translate legal jargon and the law for others.
Leaders in Heels: What were some of the greatest lessons learnt while you were studying?
Christine: Time management, dedication, drive. The more responsibilities you stack on your plate, the more adept you get at managing your time so you can meet deadlines and be successful in the things you do. I learned how to prioritize and maneuver around times when I needed to be 100% focused on school and when I could spend more time on the blog without school suffering. I learned how to just suck it up when it came to getting things done; I accepted that I didn’t have a lot of free time, and I couldn’t spend half a day goofing off if I really wanted to do both things.
Leaders in Heels: After completing all your study what was your parents reactions when you said you were going to become a professional blogger?
Christine: My mom is my mentor, and she has been helping me in many ways throughout the process. My parents believe in me, Temptalia, and they’re always been supportive of anything I do. My mom believes in taking risks when you’re young, rather than when you’re older with more bills, responsibilities, retirement, etc. to worry about.
Leaders in Heels: As of the end of May 2011, your blog has reached nearly 10 million unique people since it began. What do you think is a winning factor for you in setting up your online presence?
Christine: Honesty. Integrity. Commitment to readers.
Leaders in Heels: What would you do differently in your life knowing earlier what you know now?
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Christine: I would just have started working harder from the get go! I don’t think I would do anything differently so much as I would just work harder and hopefully accelerate the process!
Leaders in Heels: What tips can you give busy women in how to have the perfect work-life balance?
Christine: Schedule free time. You’ll never let yourself just stop, let everything fall away, and forget about the ten million things on your to-do list, so you have to make free time part of the to-do list. Make a point to take even as little as 10-15 minutes to spend time with yourself and relaxing. Work the stress out through your body and breathe deep. For me, part of my night time ritual is simply my evening skincare routine, which is always relaxing as you get to wash off the day’s dirt and grime, and I take that time to just enjoy.
Leaders in Heels: Inevitable part of being popular is to have both fans and critics. How do you deal with it?
Christine: You listen to both, consider what they have to say, and weigh whether what they said has merit or is constructive. If it’s not constructive, you let it roll off your back. If it is, I consider how I might use it to become better in the future. To cope with hurtful comments, talk with friends and family—the ones in your real life—but avoid fueling the fire.
Leaders in Heels: What advice would you give to a person starting a career?
Christine: Don’t be afraid to test your interests; look for ways to bring both your personal interests/hobbies/loves with a viable career path. Find a mentor; someone who can guide and help you through difficult situations, moral crises, and share their wisdom—your mentor doesn’t even have to be someone in your field, merely someone who has the benefit of experience and can share that with you. Ask why and why not; don’t start out with “no” and “it’s not possible.”
Leaders in Heels: Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Leaders in Heels: Christine shared with me a picture of her fur-kid Mellan. Isn’t he the owner of the cutest biggest nose?