#13ShadesofBlack: Meet Bernadette of Dressed Charlotte

Bernadette Maulion, Dressed Charlotte 

Hi! I’m Bernadette and I’m starting Dressed Charlotte, your local dress rental service!


Dressed Charlotte sprouted from having six weddings to attend in one year! I had dresses in my closet, but I had just worn them to other events, and some didn’t fit, (but I hope to fit in them again).  So I had both the problem of having too many clothes and nothing to wear! I created the concept for a project in my MBA marketing class and learned through my research that many women had the same problem.  One stat that really stuck out to me was that women on average buy 64 pieces of clothing per year and wear half of that only once! Last year, I entered Startup Weekend, a competition for new business ideas, and got second place.  I continued to work on it through my MBA classes and launched when I graduated this past April.


At Dressed Charlotte, want to serve all women of all sizes and styles.  We have about 400 dresses in inventory right now with a goal to have thousands.  A staple for any woman’s closet is the LBD (little black dress).  I personally love having a few black dress options that can be dressed up or dressed down; you can’t go wrong! I love this black dress that I’m wearing for the #13shadesofblack – it is actually on loan to us from a grandmother who has killer style! It’s comfortable and classic and fits my lifestyle – on the go during the day with a pair of flats, and then I can dress up tonight for a formal event!  Anything that serves multiple uses and functions is right up my alley, and black is the best color for that!


A lot of people think my passion is fashion, but what really energizes me is helping women save money.  Before doing this, I was in corporate human resources for seven years.  I made a great salary, but I was obsessed with trying to save as much as possible to do all the things I wanted – own a home, travel and be there for my friends and family.  I don’t ever want money to be a reason I can’t do something. I’m amazed at how many women say the same thing.  They wonder where all their money went, when they have a closet full of clothes, half of which still have price tags!  So, I set out my mission to help women be wiser about depreciating assets like clothes, so that they can use those funds on things they really care about.


How to rent:
Right now the website is still being built, so that it will be one seamless process. In the meantime, women can go to dressedclt.com and sign up for an account.  They tell us more about them (size, problem areas, styles they like, etc) and then they can browse the dresses we have in stock.  They then can contact us by calling or emailing us to set up an appointment to try on the dresses they like.  You only pay if you find something – no risk!  We’re priced to be super affordable.  All our dresses are either $19, $29 or $39 (depending on designer and style) and includes us taking care of dry cleaning.  The customer picks up from us and returns to us, or for an additional charge, we can deliver and pick up from them.


How to lend:
We consider ourselves a community more than a business.  We want women who are interested in sharing their dresses, as well as renting dresses.  We work as a great secret storage space for dresses you love, but you’re just not using right now.To lend, you simply raid your closet for dresses you would like to rent out, set up an appointment with us to check out what you have, and if they are clean, in style and in good condition, we take them into our inventory.  Every time they get rented you get 10% back in cash or 20% back in store credit with unlimited potential!


I love meeting women all over Charlotte and hearing their personal stories.  Please reach out any time, even just to say hello!


xoxo, Bernadette


See Bernadette talking #13ShadesofBlack on Fox News Charlotte!


Bernadette Maulion-Dressed Charlotte2      Bernadette Maulion-Dressed Charlotte3

Photos by Katherine-Kirchner.

Stay tuned for next week’s #13shadesofblack intro!



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See you on the interwebs… @bwsocialco


#13ShadesofBlack: Meet Hollie of Beautiful Idiot Clothing

Hollie Burgess, Beautiful Idiot Clothing 

I’m Hollie B. and I own Beautiful Idiot Clothing! I make accessories like ties, kimonos and screen-printed pouches. My love for fashion started young, I vividly remember being in elementary school and making my mum promise she’d save me her zig-zag knitted flare pants for when I was older (she didn’t…) and being taught how to sew by both of my Nanas. I studied fashion design in New York before moving down to Charlotte and starting my company.


If I had to give a name to my personal style it would be ‘badass boho;’ my go to items include leather leggings, floral dresses, a lace kimono and boots (year round).


I’m excited to be a part of the 13 Shades series, Charlotte is a creative and diverse place and while black might be our favourite colour, our stories and styles will all be unique!


You can find me on Instagram @beautifulidiotclothing and you should definitely come find me and say hey at the Vintage Charlotte Summer Market on June 18th at 514 N. College Street.


xo – Hollie


See Hollie talking #13ShadesofBlack on Fox News Charlotte!

Hollie Burgess - Beautiful Idiot ClothingHollie Burgess - Beautiful Idiot Clothing2                          Hollie Burgess - Beautiful Idiot Clothing3

Photos by Katherine-Kirchner.

Stay tuned for next week’s #13shadesofblack intro!



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See you on the interwebs… @bwsocialco



Hello, Wednesday!


Our second series, 13 Shades of Black, a 13-week series with style (and the color black) in mind is LIVE! We hand-selected local fashion designers and artists who are doing awesome things and asked them, “how would you style yourself in black?”


Each person put their unique twist on our question and we’ll introduce you to them one by one over the next 13 Wednesdays.


Read full press release: 13 Shades of Black PR


Week 1: Hollie Burgess of Beautiful Idiot Clothing

Week 2: Bernadette Maulion of Dressed Charlotte


Follow our social media and blog channels to see who gets introduced each week!

Love, Black Wednesday.


Join the Black List!

See you on the interwebs… @bwsocialco


All the Instagram changes…

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but Instagram is changing. Everyone is freaking out. Here’s the thing. If you’re not marketing on Instagram, you may not have noticed a difference in your feed, likes, comments, etc. If you’re marketing, you’ve probably already noticed some major changes with elevating stress levels to match.


Instead of reinventing the wheel, we’ve collected some links re: the changes. Here are some tips…


Don’t turn on post notifications: “If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy , you won’t miss it.” – The Guardian


Post good content: “In the long run, a better way to ensure that your posts still get seen is to work with Instagram’s algorithm rather than against it, and convince it that people want to see and engage with your posts.” – Mirror


Engage with the brands you like most: “But you may see more of an account if you interact often with it. If you like every one of your friend’s photos of her cat, you would more likely see her photos, even if they were posted many hours before you logged in.” – New York Times


Forget time: “Adopting an algorithmic feed will likely alter the ethos of the social network, turning it from a simple chronological list of experiences your friends are having to an implicitly ranked array of content.” – The Atlantic


Use hashtags: Find the right ones and engage external and relevant communities. “It is time consuming but think of it as an investment for you or your brand that could potentially help you establish an engaged Instagram community of like minded users” – Instafamed


Other Instagram news:


60 second videos and multi-clip capabilities are rolling out.

For users: make them awesome.

For marketers: use them wisely and put out great content. There’s no more room for lack of strategy.

Instagram Ads 

For users: they may be annoying, but there ARE some great promo deals that pop up. I don’t love seeing them (every other 3rd post) but I have found out about some cool companies.

For marketers: The ad market is far from saturated. Use power editor in FB to buy an IG ad and test it out. Create something that’s engaging, special, and trackable. Make sure it’s authentic and fits right into the user’s feed.

Add Accounts

For users: You can manage up to 5 accounts! I’m sure you’ve noticed your friends pets getting accounts and everyone’s brother is now a photography expert with their easy access to multi-account management.

For marketers: SIGH. You made it this far without any help managing multiple instagram accounts. Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. I know, I know, it ONLY let’s you manage 5 accounts, but at least it’s a step forward, right? The best part (for us) is that you can receive notifications on all of the 5 accounts you’re signed into, so you can keep tabs on the success rate of a recent post easier.


Algorithms, ads and more, oh my. Eventually, Instagram will be pay to play just like its big brother Facebook… so what app is next? Tell us in the comments if you’ve found a great (and free) one that might be a contender; we’d love to check it out!


Find us on the instawebs: @bwsocialco



Meet the BW Crew!

You may find yourself wondering, “what’s a Black Wednesday?” It’s a name that has a little bit of mystery and a lot of edge… but more than anything, it’s a conversation starter. Read more about what we do here.


Behind the conversation and the coffee there’s a team…


Meet ME Corri Smith AKA the #bosslady. BW is all about finding your voice and getting in on the conversation. I started the company to help businesses get the word out about their passions/brand. I wear lots of black, have an obsession with the word #rad and love #CLT. I am so happy to have you follow along on all our #bwsocialco adventures and I hope you’ll join in on the good times.



Next up… the interns!



Meet Jules Staley! She’s a Carolina Belle studying PR/communications UNC Charlotte and interning hard for #bwsocialco! When she finds free time she’s hanging at Moochies, planning a trip to Norway and doing back flips at Defy Gravity Charlotte. Do the right thing and give her a follow on Instagram/Twitter. Who knows, you might just become good friends who sit around and eat queso all day.


Meet Alyssa Fronk! She’s a Wilmington native studying journalism UNC Charlotte and killing her #bwsocialco internship! In her spare time she works on the Niner Times, stalks the Panthers and interrupts photo shoots with phone calls. She’s awesome, you should follow her on Instagram/Twitter.


Join in with our weekly #cyoWEDventure meet up series and follow along as we compete in interns wars with Enemy to Fashion!


Sign up for our Black List (don’t worry, we only email you about the good stuff).

Black Wednesday + Skillpop

This past Monday we had an awesome time with Skillpop, a new company that’s doing awesome things for fun and hands-on education in Charlotte. The theme for this week’s class was “Social Media Refresh” and the plan was to equip students with tips, tricks and things to look for with social media this year. They also got a snazzy new headshot from the one and only Katherine Kirchner.


Here are some of the tools/apps/platforms I recommended during the class (keep in mind this is not the entire list of what I use and/or support, but it’s a great start to stepping up your social media game!)


Social Media Management


Hootsuite (free/pro)









Google Hangouts

Facebook LIVE


Photo Editors





GIFs (How is GIF pronounced? via Andrew Au)

Gif Keyboard



Quick Tricks

IFTTT (…more like life management)


Word Swag


Track Yo Self



Twitter ads

FB Insights


Check out these apps and platforms and feel free to share your favorites in the comments.

Have questions? Tweet us or Blackmail us!

Sign up for our Black list and don’t miss our next class! Have social media topics you’d like to see on the class schedule? Let us know!

Choose Your Own WEDventure

One of Black Wednesday’s main goals is to help local businesses (and people) develop their brands online AND off. How do you do it? You refine skills within both platforms: digitally and #IRL (IRL stands for “in real life,” mom). In short, you work on a digital marketing and social media strategy to design messaging, how to best present your brand message, sort out what content you’re using and how/where/when to share it, etc.; you also work on networking and meeting people out in the real world to then strengthen the digital relationships and bring the conversation full circle.


That being said, we decided to create a meet up series that would take the online conversation offline in hopes of getting people together surrounding similar interests, whether they be by topic or by nature of wanting to get a little spontaneous.


Not sure about you, but as a kid I read and re-read the Choose Your Own Adventure books picking every string of options to see what all the events and endings were. Raise your hand if you did the same. Ok, maybe I’m the only nerd… Or maybe you’ve never heard of them? WHAT! Click here.


In the spirit of this surprise-inspired book series, BW is launching a 13 week meet up sequence. Each Monday we’ll pick a theme; we’ll post the theme to Instagram and you can comment with your vote for the best _________. On Tuesday night we’ll tally the votes and announce where we’re meeting on the following day, WEDNESDAY. **We’re starting small with #CLT, but hey, if some Raleigh or Asheville people want to chime in, we’ll make it happen. Maybe one day we’ll be eating the best sandwich in Vegas, we can fly (we have brooms).


Anyone who sees the announcement or hears about it is welcome to join in; the more the merrier. I’m really looking forward to seeing who wins each week… Have an idea for a one of the other 12 themes? Leave a comment in the blog comments section.


See you on the interwebs,


Black Wednesday.


PS: S/O to our friend Rebecca for helping us develop the name for the series! You need help with words? HIT HER UP.

We’re here.

Oh my gosh, here we are. Black Wednesday is here.


And by we, I mean me. I, Corri, am here… AND thrilled. Black Wednesday Social Co. now has a place for you to stalk (other than Twitter… but please don’t stop sending me GIFs in twitterspace), check out the latest, see upcoming events, learn some stuff, and more.

I hope you’ll take a look around and send me feedback, comments, concerns, grammatical errors, positive vibes, etc. Because YOU (person who is reading this) are super important. You’ve either supported me, helped me, offered advice, or other. But no matter what, you have been instrumental in helping me design the mission behind Black Wednesday. THANK YOU!


What is the mission? To connect.


How do we do it? Well, let’s first consider: what IS a Black Wednesday? To be honest, that’s a trick freaking question. Is it related Wednesday Addams? I mean, she IS my spirit animal. Is it dark and goth and mysterious? Probably. Or maybe not. What I DO know, is that it’s a conversation starter.


Black Wednesday is a symbol that stands for conversation, the one brands should be having with their audience. It’s a name or a combination of words that has a story. My goal is to share and amplify that brand story through social media, events and public relations with the ultimate goal of building a community around it. Because at the end of the day, we’re all just people. And brands are people too.


So. This is where you’ll find me (and out in the real world, of course). You can follow along with the blog, hit BW up on the social scene, sign up for the Black List, and/or drop me a line. Let’s connect.

13 #socialmedia things to look forward to in 2016

2016 is upon us. Are you ready for it? Take a look at our list of 13 things to look out for and consider for your social media strategy this year…


  1. Video! If you’re not using video in 2016, you’re not going to optimize what the latest trends in social have to offer. Try Periscope for a real-time video experience that is fun, engaging and authentic. Recently attained by Twitter, this platform is winning market share for this sort of platform; it makes sense to adopt this as a part of your strategy. But be careful: have a strategy. You don’t want to jump on before you have a plan and/or a storyline. This will make you look unprofessional and could damage the brand. Get on there silently and test it out; once you feel comfortable and have a plan of attack, tell your audience where they can find you!

  2. Schedule but hit it big with real time! Of course you want to schedule things so there is a consistent feed of content on your page. That makes perfect sense. But what else? Get real and post live stuff too. Showing that your brand is a living, breathing thing will speak volumes to your audience. PS: keep/make it relevant. If there’s something going on in real time that can be put into a real time connection, do it. If there’s NO tie, don’t force it and stategize for future connections. Need an example? See: the Panthers Drake / Cam Newton gif that went viral.

  3. Instagram has over 400 million active monthly users. Big companies have already been advertising, with a roll out to the rest of us (mere mortals) happening slowly since September. Are Instagram ads available for you? Email us and we can help you find out.

  4. Social isn’t everything. While it’s (in our opinion) the best way to engage with your audience and an extremely measurable format for marketing, it’s not the end-all-be-all. Weaving in traditional formats of advertising can help strengthen your overall message and reach.

  5. Keep it fresh. How strong is your content game? Do you have a plan? You should. You’re telling your story among so many other (competitive) brands. How will you stand out? Stay adaptive to the social landscape and keep it authentic.

  6. Buyable pins. Yep, you can make your Pinterest pins “buyable,” and promote what you’re selling alongside the inspired lifestyle of those spending hours upon hours researching, studying and learning on this powerful platform.

  7. If you’re in social media, you know how hard it is to provide statistics and ROI to your client/employer. BUT, with all the tools out there, there’s no excuse. Step up your game and start looking for tools that will help you manage the goods. I really like working with Sprout Social. Also, they’re super responsive over Twitter and Twitter Message, so hit them up with specific questions.

  8. Take advantage of trending topics across Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. Each platform shows these items differently. Twitter reveals trends in “moments,” Facebook on the right hand side of trends, and Instagram shows trending hashtags on the “explore” page. Again, speak to the trends if it’s relevant. Get creative so it’s relevant!

  9. New Facebook ad formats are happening, as are all sorts of other changes within this platform. I like to stay on top of changes by following @smexaminer and the like.

  10. Find the right social tools that work for you. Need to schedule? The first accounts on Hootsuite are FREE. Need to edit photos? Try Enlight or buy some new filters for VSCO. Need to post a GIF? Get that gif keyboard!

  11. Paid social is the way to go. If you don’t have a budget, it’s going to be hard to keep up. Is it impossible? Nope, but if there’s any wiggle room for sponsored posts or ads on Facebook, try it out. You don’t have to sponsor everything, but trying it for events and time-intensive items can really help.

  12. It might be time to give the Snapchat ghost a chance. Enter: Snapchat Discover. This is a homepage for brands and streamlines brand stories in one place. Take a look at this and get on the bandwagon. Though half of the user base is 13-24, since the app is getting more brand-sophisticated, there are plenty of opportunities and reasons for you to get involved.

  13. Social media influencers. Find them and work them into your strategy. Word of mouth is strong and most people will take a recommendation from a friend over an ad ANY DAY.

Get the new year started right by freshening up your online presence at my SkillPop class on January 18th. Get more information and tickets here! Only 20 seats available.


Join the Black List!

See you on the interwebs… @bwsocialco