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Weekly Feature for Fashion & Beauty Fanatics: Q&A with Shannon Nelson

Courtesy of Shannon Nelson

In this week’s Fashion & Beauty Buzz e-newsletter from Cision Navigator, we talked to Shannon Nelson of A Girl’s Gotta Spa. The mom to four and social media consultant loves all-things-beauty and shows it! Her site – which launched in 2005 – has been honored on top blog lists by SHAPE magazine, VOGUE Australia and more.

Q: How did you get into the beauty media industry?
A: It began when I moved from the Philadelphia suburbs to the Pocono Mountains. Driving to work in two feet of snow was not worth the money and I already had two sons and another on the way at the time (and have since had a fourth!). I needed a better (and safer) way to make money. A friend told me about a new bath & body company that was direct sales. I decided that instead of doing in-home parties that I would start a blog and teach people about skin care, the importance of taking care of yourself, and talking about the latest beauty products from the company. There were only about 20 or so beauty bloggers at the time (this was 2005), so it was exciting to be doing something relatively new. It only took nine months to be noticed by a PR firm and other digital media groups that wanted me to come on-board with them.

Q: What keeps you in the industry? What do you like most about your profession?
A: Ever since I was young I’ve loved to write. When I was in fifth grade, I used to make books for my class to read during library. Additionally, I have my bachelor of arts in psychology because I absolutely love connecting with and engaging with people. And what girl doesn’t love beauty products? So I get to merge my three loves into A Girl’s Gotta Spa! What I love most about what I do is when I write a review on a product and it happens to be the solution to someone’s skin or hair dilemma. I love knowing that what I do helps people, informs them to be a more educated consumer and helps distinguish fact from fiction in the beauty industry.

Q: What are some beauty trends we can look out for this season?
A: Clean skin! And while some may think this no makeup look will be easier on their wallet, it just means diverting the funds to the best skin care products. From serums to exfoliants to masks, moisturizers and sunscreen, a clean face is a healthy face. The cat eye is still incredibly popular too, which is great for anyone looking to make their eyes appear bigger and brighter.

Q: If you could only choose one, what makeup/beauty product would you never leave the house without?
A: Concealer. Working late nights does a number on dark circles under my eyes, not to mention the unevenness in my skin tone on each side of my nose and those occasional blemishes! Concealer always makes me look fresher faced than I really am!

Q: Any tips for PR professionals who want to get in contact with you?
A: Know my name and know what I write about. My name is all over my blog; there’s no excuse to start any pitch off with just “Hi” or “Dear Blogger.” There’s also no excuse to pitch me fitness equipment, fashion items or jewelry because all you need to look at is the name of my blog and the front page to understand that I only cover beauty. A bonus is personalization. I recently had a PR person send me a pitch that asked about my four sons, and some other details that one would only know if they actually read my posts. I responded to her right away because I value people like that.

Q: What are you PR pet peeves, or what is the strangest pitch you’ve received?
A: Pet peeves are off target pitches, overly persistent and demanding PR folks, or pitches that say “FREE SAMPLES” in the subject. The strangest pitch I received was via phone call. It sounded like an older woman who appeared to be vetting me for a hair care company and had no idea what blogging was.

Find Nelson on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest or Bloglovin’.

Our free weekly Fashion & Beauty Buzz newsletter features industry-related job postings, staff updates, Q&As with the fashion and beauty community, upcoming industry events and more, and is geared toward industry journalists and bloggers.

If you want to sign up or be featured in it, email gina.goodman (at) cision.com. Don’t forget to also follow @CisionNavigator and @Cision on Twitter! 


About Lisa Denten

Lisa Denten is the Social Media Manager of Cision U.S., where she leads social strategy, coordinates the blog editorial calendar and manages public relations campaigns. She regularly hosts Cision webinars, was chosen as a #FollowFriday guest on industry blog Spin Sucks, and has spoken on panels for Inbound Marketing Summit and Publicity Club of Chicago. She worked in the newspaper industry before joining Cision in 2008. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter at @lisaml15.

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