I am so excited to announce the launch of the Bridging the Gap campaign! Taking part in social change, 200 Influencers have stepped up to challenge the social media and fashion industry as we know today. Men and women from multiple ages, backgrounds and disciplines have so much to offer one another. After all, we are stronger together! This fall’s campaign unites the Millennial and Midlife Demographics to blur artificial boundaries while encouraging the concept of reciprocal mentorship – a new and empowered way of bringing the generations together by each sharing their unique gifts with the other.
For this campaign, I am partnered with the fabulous Suzanne Bell of AskSuzanneBell.com. I had such an amazing time getting to know Suzanne and truly bridging the gap of our ages. Below you can read her biography, and get to know more about this woman who has lived around the world, worked as a fashion buyer for Nordstrom, and has lived a very exciting and chic life thus far!
Suzanne Bell is a 50-year-old fashionista living in Los Altos, California, which is a village in the heart of Silicon Valley. She considers herself a beach girl at heart, and she is a mere 40-minute drive from Santa Cruz, California and about an hour and a half from Monterey and Carmel. She lives in one of the best places in California because not only does she have the beach a stone’s throw away, just north is San Francisco, and also the beautiful Wine Country of Sonoma and Napa.
Growing up as a military child (I loved connecting with someone who also has a military affiliation!), Suzanne moved every 3 years. She was born in Colorado in 1967, and she has lived everywhere from Hawaii to Germany. She considers her true home to be the California Bay Area. She explains, “I have lived in Los Altos for about 20 years. I love to travel, but I am a homebody at heart. I moved so much as a child, I have no desire at the moment to live anywhere else. I love how staying in one place provides stability for my family. My second home is the California Coast; it’s my happy place, it’s where I feel most at peace.” Suzanne and her husband are all settled in California, and have been married for 22 years. In addition, they have two children ages 12 and 14.
Prior to her daughter being born in 2003, Suzanne enjoyed a rewarding and successful 16-year career as a buyer, then Store Manager for Nordstrom Inc. She started at the bottom on the sale floor and worked her way up through persistence – sweat and hard work. Suzanne explains, “It wasn’t always easy and the hours were incredibly long and the travel as a buyer demanding – but I loved it all. Working on orders till 4am at the Manhattan Waldorf Astoria never bothered me because I loved what I did.” Suzanne holds a degree in Social Work from San Jose State, although she was drawn into the fashion industry during college and never looked back. Fashion has always been something she admired, Suzanne explains, “I have always been interested in fashion. I come from a long line of fashionable ladies that include my grandmother who at age 94 is elegant, chic and full of life and personal style, to my mother and mother-in-law who are always the most fashionable ladies in the room. From playing dress-up in my grandmothers closet to learning to sew my own clothing at an early age; fashion has always intrigued me. Not fashion in the sense of keeping up with trends, but in how it makes us feel.”
About 6 years ago, Suzanne’s husband, a commercial and residential real estate agent of 27 years and she decided to partner as a team. In addition to selling traditional real estate, they began to purchase properties for the purpose of renovating and reselling. This was an invigorating career move for Suzanne because she loved being back on the creative side of things – she was back in her element! Suzanne explains, “3 years ago, I realized I craved another creative outlet in my life. At that time, there were a few 40+ bloggers and social media was an all-new thing for me. But I was determined to build a place where women of all ages could come for inspiration… to get up, get dressed and feel great every day.” Suzanne wanted to make style inclusive and fun, at every price – she wanted to inspire women create their own sense of personal style.
The inspirational qualities that Suzanne looks for in other woman are confidence, passion, and being empowering to others. She appreciates those who are empathetic, non-judgmental and supportive. “Women should never bring each other down. I feel sad for women who are jealous of others, we should always look for ways to support each other, in any way we can,” she explains.
Speaking of inspirational women, Suzanne grew up with many strong women in her life; her grandmother (she’s 94 and oh-so-fabulous!), her mother, her mother-in-law, and her step mother have all influenced her life in so many ways. In addition, Suzanne’s daughter inspires her to be her best self each and every day. Suzanne sees the world differently through her daughter’s eyes and learns something new every day.
When asked how she would you describe her style, Suzanne said it’s eclectic and ever-changing. For work, she wears all black. This stems from her retail days at Nordstrom. She elaborates, “Now that I’m 50, I’d call my style Classic Bohemian. I love mixing wild pieces with classics, which is why I love to thrift. I have been thrifting for unique pieces since I was 15, I am what people in the industry would label a collector! I love unique pieces that I won’t see everywhere else. As I’ve aged, I don’t care a bit about what everyone else is wearing as long as I feel fabulous in it.” As for her favorite pieces, that would be denim, a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress, boots and a cozy cashmere sweater… She’s even been known to wear a wrap dress with flare denim, now how fun is that?
The highlight of Suzanne’s blogging career is simple – just doing it. She explains, “I grew up in a time when we didn’t have computers or an internet, how strange is that? Creating a website was something I never dreamed I could accomplish. But with many late nights, commitment, and the support of my family and friends, I am now going 3 years strong, producing quality content every Tuesday and Friday. And I love it!”
Blogging is a great way to communicate different ideas and styles to people around the world. With the Bridging The Gap Campaign our aim is to bridge the age gap of the Millennial and Midlife demographics. When asked what the Bridging The Gap Campaign means to her, Suzanne says, “As you said, you would be a fool to think you knew it all at the age of 25, and it would be silly for me to think I had life figured out at 50. The more we open ourselves up to learning from all generations, the more we will grow ourselves – at every age.” To Suzanne there is no age barrier because she loves learning what makes people tick, at every age. The younger generation brings inspirational new ideas and life, and from her elders – invaluable wisdom.
By continuing to share their stories women can inspire each other. Suzanne is already inspired daily by bloggers of all ages, be it their daily Instagram style, or posts on fashion, beauty, travel, home. Suzanne follow women of all ages on social media. She explains, “Women sharing their life stories make me reflect on my own. We are never alone, we are women and we are stronger together.” To Suzanne, it is important that boomers connect with millennial women and vice versa because we have so much we can learn from each other, and the key is to being open.
Thanks to social media, we have the power to connect and unify with women of all backgrounds and walks of life. I asked Suzanne in her lifetime what other monumental things have happened that have helped women break the glass ceiling? She answered, “I think women hold more power than ever before. As a career woman in the 90’s, I always felt like men got the breaks, the promotions – but we worked harder to prove ourselves and pushed through. The change I have seen over the last 10 years or so, is that women stand up and support each other in such a powerful way. We always have, but I think with social media it is easy to find likeminded women who build each other up. With support, we see ourselves as equals. Strong, bold, proud women. My daughter has never thought there was something she couldn’t do because she is a girl. She is strong willed, expresses her opinion freely, is confident and believes that she can do everything a boy can do and more. This was not the world I grew up in, and it makes me so happy to see her living in a world without boundaries or limitations.”
Suzanne’s favorite thing about women lifting each other up is that she believes we are stronger together. She explains, “Women love to help others, especially each other. When I help a friend or co-worker, it makes me happy. If I can through my life experience mentor and support others, it’s rewarding tenfold. I think it is so important to surround yourself by as many bold women as you possibly can, it takes a village to get through life’s many ups and downs, make your village a strong one.”