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From Sequins & Suspenders to Oh, Eleanora: A RebRand That Captured R Attention

In 2014, Ellie Leeper started a San Antonio lifestyle blog with her fiancé Dan Morrison. At the time, she'd seen plenty of local ladies blogging, but there weren't many couples highlighting the enriching lifestyle that she felt our city had to offer. As a mutual hobby project, she and her now husband Dan started Sequins & Suspenders.

The blog was a fun way to document cultural events, life at Pearl, wedding planning and personal style. As she became more comfortable creating and maneuvering in the digital space, Ellie took over the blog’s content management while working full time during the day as the Public Relations Manager for a local nonprofit pediatric healthcare organization. But over the summer of 2016, she started wondering about her career direction and her passions in life. "I started having the what am I doing with my life thoughts," Ellie said.

Toward the end of the summer, the Universe seemed to send her the message she was asking for. However, she wasn’t expecting the way it was delivered: on a Friday afternoon in mid-September, her entire professional life changed unexpectedly, flipping her world completely upside down. Her company had a huge round of layoffs and Ellie was the first of the 30+ cut. She was fired. It was a devastating blow, but the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Ellie picked herself up by the bootstraps, and she took the rest of 2016 to explore where her heart actually wanted to be. She hadn't considered blogging as a career path, but the more she wrote, the more she started to realize that it was one area of her life that fulfilled her.

She'd been struggling to find herself after the firing. Feelings of inadequacy and questions of her professional worth had started to haunt her. She knew that in order to overcome this obstacle and turn her situation into a positive, she had to grow something of her own that was rooted in honesty and authenticity: a validation of her voice, her efforts and her talents. She needed to create the soul project that would get her back in the game- but in the right way. (She wrote an inspiring post about this time period, and how to overcome rejection and use it in your favor. We highly recommend reading it HERE.)

After some soul searching, Ellie decided to make a go of professional blogging toward the end of 2016. But she knew that her site needed a fresh perspective and the perfect personalized name. It was time for a rebRand

As a place to start this process, Ellie looked to her past for clues about her character and how others perceived her. After thinking about her personal relationships, she realized that many friends relied on her as both a confidant, and also the friend who influenced and motivated those around her to reach for their dreams. Ellie realized she was someone people liked to open up to, and it fulfilled her to be that person for her friends.
It was during the holidays last year, when she was around her extended family and most in-touch with who and what made her the person she is, when she realized that the new blog direction was going to be one with mission and focus. It would be quality content that encouraged her digital female friends to create the lives they wanted to lead.

Although undecided on the name, she knew she would be incorporating motivational and inspirational posts into her new brand as something that would set her apart from the typical style blogger. She wanted her new platform to be a source of encouragement for women who needed a cheerleader. It was what her friends and colleagues seemed to need. But deep down, it's what she needed too.

After returning from the holidays and getting back into her routine, it was now a New Year, and time to decide on the new name for her revamped blog. She thought about the times she felt most herself…the most natural. Ellie is known by those closest to her for her big and entertaining personality. As a child, she loved to be silly and funny and “perform” for her family. Every time she would show her joyful, theatrical, silly self, her mother and grandmother would lovingly say, "Oh, Eleanora." As soon as this memory surfaced, a light bulb went off in her head: Ellie knew that this had to be her personal bRand. Immediately, she went to work designing her new website.

The world knew her as Ellie, but family knew her as Eleanora. She was named after her great-grandmother, and Ellie felt a strong sense of self-identity in her full name. It was that feeling of belonging that really led her to her new brand.

Ellie was done trying to be what everyone else was, and do what everyone else was doing. Her new brand identity was born from a very real place. Her “why” revealed itself organically, authentically, and it was true to who she was inside.

Oh, Eleanora took off like lightning. Ellie added new editorial features, such as the popular Grit + Grace profiles, that are a public space for women’s inspiring stories to be celebrated and encouraged. "Why would women only want to read about me?" Ellie said. "There are so many ladies in my personal and professional networks who are doing amazing things. If I featured one per week, I would have editorial content for years."

And she was right. The greatest traffic on her site comes from these features of women leading the lives they love. She is passionate about highlighting the ways in which women can have it all, and all of the ways women can define what "it all" means to them.

The greatest advice Ellie has for a successful rebRand is to find your "why," and then commit it to action. The more Ellie discovers who she is and how to use her voice for the benefit of others, the higher her success continues to climb. Now people across the country see her shining from deep in the heart of Texas, and we can collectively say with admiration, "Oh Eleanora!"

 

Written By Crystal Henry, R national pitcher all photos are credited to Oh Eleanora blog