By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
ONLINE fashion gurus and beauty bloggers have become celebrities in their own right over the last few years. Some make millions of dollars in revenue and appear at fan conventions and in magazines, and some even have their own book and television deals.
Here in the Bahamas, this niche is still mostly unexplored, but Conesha Knowles is on a mission to change this.
She has been in the business for three years now and praises the blogging industry for giving regular individuals like herself the chance to connect with influential people who can inspire and promote them.
One of the most memorable opportunities afforded to Conesha was being invited to this year’s Bahamian Icon Awards as a member of the press and being able to interview community leaders such as Sebastian Bastian, CEO of Island Luck, and Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Rick Carey.
It was after beginning her career in the banking field, and while still attending the College of the Bahamas, that Conesha found her calling – fashion and beauty blogging.
She soon began a Youtube channel and a blog called 242BlqRze (pronounced “242 black rose”).
242BlqRze is active on Facebook with 1,200 plus followers, a Youtube channel with more than 900 subscribers, and a new website, 242blqrze.com.
It is essentially geared towards young girls and women between the ages of 15 and 35, however, it has attracted an audience of both genders and wide ranging ages.
The main goal of the company is to inspire its audience to see themselves as beautiful and to give tips on how to enhance that beauty.
Conesha’s mission is to promote and collaborate with other Bahamian businesses and artists, and to use her blog and Youtube channel as a platform.
But Conesha is not stopping there – she has now become motivated to pursue a career in styling and image consultancy by launching her very own agency called The Style Diaries.
As CEO and lead stylist at The Style Diaries, she has worked with a number of individuals and Bahamian-owned businesses and brands, including Scharad Lightbourne Photography, Stylezine Magazine, Profiles 98 Magazine, 143 Elle Clothing Store and Fashion 4 Foundation Benefit Show in aid of the Ranfurly Home for Children.
“Interesting story, in high school my English literature teacher Mrs Mott always urged me to become a journalist. She was fond of my writing and speaking skills. I was uninterested, so it amazed me to find myself years later in an informal form of journalism, which is blogging, just like she suggested years ago,” Conesha said.
“It reminded me of one of my favourite quotes, ‘A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it’ by Jean de la Fontaine. I joined Youtube in 2009, but uploaded my first video and began my blog 242BlqRze in June 2012. Three years later, I’m still at it and I hope to take my fashion blogging and Youtube channel further.”
She said it gives her immense joy to blog about beauty and fashion, record a new video for her subscribers or even just participate in a conversation on the these topics.
Some of Conesha’s favourite Bahamian fashion designers are Theodore Elyett, David Rolle and Cardell McClam. Her favourite international designers are Balmain, Dior and Sophia Webster when it comes to shoes.
Standing at only 4’11 ft, it could be very easy to be overlooked, the blogger said, but one thing that has always stood out about Conesha is her personal style.
Her ultimate goal for her 242BlqRze blog and sites is to develop into a female empowerment brand and organisation. Her aim is to develop a programme for young girls and women in the Bahamas, hosting after-school programmes and summer seminars geared towards self-confidence, beauty and hygiene, and personal development skills.
Conesha said she would also like to work closely with Bahamian brands in cosmetology and fashion, and digitally advertise for them through her Youtube channel and blog.
Ultimately, she would like to become an international fashion and beauty blogger representing the Bahamas wherever she goes.
“There is so much more I want for the 242BlqRze brand, but I’ve learned the beauty of succeeding in silence. I’m already planning next year’s meet and greet. I’m in discussion about collaborating with other Bahamian Youtubers and bloggers. I’m also looking into schools or youth programmes where I can mentor young girls,” said Conesha.
Invited to several events as a guest speaker or facilitator such as at the All U Natural Hair Mixer, Sugar + Spice Tween Girls Empowerment Event and the JSSA Fashion Stylist Bootcamp, Conesha has had the opportunity to promote 242BlqRze.
However, this year she hosted her very first 242BlqRze meet and greet. The purpose of the event was to give 10 of her most loyal subscribers and 242BlqRze fans the chance to meet her in person and for her to thank them for their support face-to-face.
“I also had custom-made hair pins made in the shape of a rose as a token of my appreciation. I plan to make this an annual event, only inviting 10 of my subscribers at a time, which would give me the opportunity to really interact with each one of them one-on-one,” she said. “The event was hosted at the Avista Lounge (at the Elizabeth on Bay Plaza) and after conversation, my subscribers and I took pictures, enjoyed cocktails and danced.”
For more information on Conesha and 242BlqRze, visit the pages 242BlqRze on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.