How Carmen Ordoñez Became One of the Top Fashion Bloggers
And How Overcoming Adversity Was Part of It.
Carmen Ordóñez is an entrepreneur at heart. She’s a tv personality, produces her line of natural deodorants, and is one of the top fashion bloggers. She runs Viva Fashion, a blog for which she was named a Top 10 Latina Beauty Blogger and a Top 25 Fashion Influencer by LATINA Magazine. But, getting to the top of the industry wasn’t a road full of roses. Carmen, who had a child, lost her husband to cancer. In this interview, she tells us how she was able to get back on her feet, her journey as a blogger, and provides some useful tips to women entrepreneurs.
AE: How was your experience starting a fashion blog?
I started my blog 10 years ago in 2008. Back then I didn’t even know what a blog was, let alone that one day it could become a full-time career. I started it as a hobby and as a way to express myself. Having my blog has opened so many doors. And I’m so grateful that I get to do what I love every day.
AE: What were the most successful tactics you have used to make your fashion blog grow?
Well, after I graduated college, I started working at a local television station in Miami, but I left after I was offered a higher paying job in public relations. For almost six years, I did that (while I was simultaneously running my fashion blog). I really credit my experience working in PR with the growth of my blog. I learned how to “pitch” myself and would reach out to various magazines, newspapers and TV stations. That helped me to get some really great coverage promoting Viva Fashion. In fact, in 2013 the New York Times wrote a piece about me and being a Latina fashion blogger. I really feel the media exposure as well as being a regular on-air style expert in both English, and Spanish media helped my fashion blog grow.
AE: Defining the name of a blog is crucial; what do you recommend when selecting fashion blog names?
I really recommend picking a name that does not limit what you want to write about. When I first started Viva Fashion, I only wrote about fashion, but as I got older, I also included more topics such as motherhood and travel. Although I love the name Viva Fashion, I sometimes wish I would have picked a name that didn’t have the word “fashion” in it. Overall, I really feel picking an “evergreen” name is the way to go or perhaps something with your name in it.
AE: You dedicate your blog to your late husband who passed away after a brave fight with cancer; do you mind sharing that story with our readers?
Of course, my husband played a huge role in the growth of my blog and was always my biggest cheerleader. We were married for nine years. But, unfortunately, in 2014 he was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer (our son had just turned two-years-old). It really came out of nowhere because he was always a relatively healthy guy and 34 years-old. It was a very aggressive cancer, and he fought for 10-months. He passed away in October of 2015. As you can imagine, this was a very devastating time. But, it was my faith that helped me (and continues to help me) push through.
I dedicate my blog to him because I know he wanted me to continue blogging. I try to be more intentional with my blog posts. Aside from my regular fashion posts, I also like to touch upon important topics like grief, faith and moving forward after loss.
AE: What do you recommend to women entrepreneurs to overcome adversity?
My biggest advice, as with anything in life, is to just keep pushing forward—or as my son likes to say from the Nemo movie…just keep swimming. We will all face adversity at one point or another, but it’s important to never give up. Also, when it comes to starting a new business, I recommend just going for it. If you think too much, you will always find reasons why it’s “not the right time.” Do it. You might make mistakes, but you will learn along the way.
AE: You are one of the top fashion bloggers with Viva Fashion, but now you’re focused on a new enterprise. Tell us about the launching of your line of natural deodorants.
I’m so excited about this new venture. I like to call it my passion project. When my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I set out to learn everything I could about changing my lifestyle and removing daily toxins from my life.
It’s important to be conscious not only about the things we are eating but what we are putting ON our bodies. One of the first things I swapped was my deodorant after learning about the harsh chemicals they included (such as aluminum). I couldn’t find anything on the market that worked for me, so that’s when I decided to make my own and that’s when AndyO Organics was born. I only use USDA certified organic ingredients and best of all—-it actually works! We launched this year, and it’s been an amazing journey.
Quick questions for Carmen
Something you must have in your bag: Concealer—every mom needs this haha.
A book: I have so many that I love, I just finished The Four Agreements. But I also really like ‘Through the Eyes of a Lion,’ ‘The Alchemist’ and ‘I Still Believe.’
A song: ‘Counting Every Blessing’ by Rend Collective
At the end of the day, what makes you happy? Spending time with my son and my loved ones.