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Meet Urszula Makowska, Sarah Hamel-Smith, and Catherine Schuller of Bloggers Give Back in LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Urszula Makowska, Sarah Hamel-Smith, and Catherine Schuller.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Urszula, Sarah, and Catherine. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Bloggers have a reputation in society as being selfish and narcissistic, and this is not the truth. Bloggers Give Back was formulated through recognizing a need for applying a social responsibility, diversity and sustainability component to Blogging/Influencer Marketing.

Bloggers Give Back was created to thank those who have supported bloggers and influencers from the beginning and to give back to the community that they are a part of, but also to do make a positive change with their voices utilizing social media to assist those in need. Bloggers/Influencers have the voices. They have the power. They have the influence. They have the social media presence. They can do something positive together.

The occasion has been co-produced by renowned diversity fashion event curator with Runway the Real Way, Catherine Schuller @schullercat, (@runwaytherealway), plus-sized model and digital influencer at True Model Management, Sarah Hamel-Smith (@thecurvytrini) and actress, fashion blogger, influencer, and social media expert Urszula Makowska (@urszulala).

On Tuesday, November 13th, 2018, the first ever #BloggersGiveBack event took place at the FIT Design Entrepreneurs Collaborative 520 8th Avenue Suite 1202, New York, NY 10018 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM. A highly curated and diverse group of 200 of New York City’s top influencers and bloggers, models, celebrities including the host of MTV’s show Catfish Nev Schulman, Laura Perlongo, winner of America’s Next Top Model Khrystana Kazakova, Chrissy Monroe from VH1’s show Love and Hip Hop, modeling and PR agencies, media and brands with a combined global reach of well over 20 million, came together to give back by providing hundreds of pounds of quality clothing donations to Housing Works (a New York City-based non-profit fighting the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness) and in partnership with the media to redefine the terms “Blogger/ Influencer” as being someone who only works for their own benefit, to being someone who can affect positive change in society.

The celebrity-infused subject matter expert panel discussion was led by paradigm shifting event co-producers Catherine Schuller, renowned diversity fashion event curator of Runway the Real Way, Sarah Hamel-Smith plus-sized model, and digital influencer at True Model Management and Urszula Makowska, actress, fashion blogger, influencer and social media expert.

Panelists included Nev Schulman the host of MTV’s show Catfish, creative director Laura Perlongo, Khrystana Kazakova winner of America’s Next Top Model, Chrissy Monroe founder of Survive to Thrive Global and VH1’s show Love and Hip Hop, Kahlil Martin NYC socialite and CEO of D17Productions Management Corp, Kristen Luong designer of sustainable fashion line KROMAGNON and Scarlett Hao the first Chinese curvy fashion influencer. Participants discussed the importance of diversity, sustainable fashion practices as well as ways to awaken the social responsibility component in influencer marketing/blogging.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It all started with a simple idea when Urszula Makowska and Sarah Hamel-Smith met a networking event. They wanted to give back to the community because they do care about those around them and they decided to take action. With the help of Sarah’s agency, True Model Management, Sarah Hamel-Smith, and Urszula Makowska were connected with Catherine Schuller. The three women decided to work together on making this event happen, to have voices heard, to give back, and to make a positive change.

Urszula Makowska, Catherine Schuller, and Sarah Hamel-Smith started to plan the event in early October. The event itself took weeks of planning. Those weeks consisted of long and sleepless nights. It all started with locking down a location and date. Together, we searched for the right space by using our connections. Finding a location was one of the biggest challenges. Some of the spaces were too small, but we ended up finding a space we felt comfortable with.

Next, we found Housing Works as the non-profit organization. We loved the organization and what they stand for. They gladly decided to work with us with no issues.

Thirdly, it was also easy getting brands on board. Luckily, as influencers and bloggers, we have partnered with brands previously and have established relationships with them. We sent out hundreds of emails to receive sponsors for the event and items for our gift bags. It wasn’t easy, but everyone loved our idea. We did not receive even one rejection email. Everyone was extremely supportive. Luckily, our networking skills are on point!

We definitely would say that the biggest challenge was the day of the event. This was one of our first events we ever hosted together. There were never any arguments, and we all were a great power team. The biggest learning lesson was that we did not know that you needed to have a license for food and alcoholic beverages. Our catering company almost was not allowed in, and we would have been in so much trouble!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We are lucky every day. We are lucky to be where we are, to be who we are, to have what we have, to have supportive people and to have each other. It’s all about teamwork and positivity. There is no such thing as bad luck!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Nelson Aguirre, Urszula Makowska, Nev Schulman, Laura Perlongo, Sarah Hamel-Smith, Catherine Schuller, Chrissy Monroe, Scarlett Halo, Khrystana Kaz, Khalil Martin

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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