Shelly and I met at a girls pre-wedding (shout out to Shannon for introducing us and gettin’ hitched!) weekend in Black Butte and instantly bonded over our love of vintage tea cups, thrifting, entrepreneurship and good ol’ fashioned etiquette.
I knew I had found a fast friend when I saw Shelly’s eyes light up while talking about one day opening her own vintage shop space born out of her Modern Refinement brand…soul sisters.
This girl has a killer sense of humor, a sharp writing style and is so easy to openly talk to. She herself embodies her brand and blog, Modern Refinement. I am so happy to introduce you to my friend Shelly Lorts…
Shelly, would you tell us all a little bit about what makes you tick?
The major thing that makes me tick is excitement. If I’m not excited about what I’m working on, or what I have coming up, I get lethargic and unmotivated. Knowing this about myself drives me to try and learn new things. It also helps me to push myself to do more and be better. For me, it’s all about constant evolution and growth. Otherwise, I feel stuck.
How did your blog and business get started originally?
I started the blog because I’m a writer who needed something about which to write! Etiquette has always been a topic that really piqued my interest, and being in a sorority highlighted the notion that we’re missing a lot of those “classic manners” these days. Plus, I have a lot of down time, a gorgeous house, and lots of pretty “props” I’ve picked up from thrift shops, so I found a creative outlet that blends the three.
All photography and staging done by Shelly…see the vintage tea cup we were talking about?
Click here to read her post.
What is it that keeps you going? What do you enjoy most about doing all of this?
I’ve had stacks of etiquette books for years, and finally having an excuse to open them up and learn new things (or validate something I already knew) has been so exciting. It’s really the creativity that drives me — I love thinking up new post ideas and then staging pictures to go with them. It’s a huge added bonus when people come to me with etiquette questions. It’s like, “Who me? I’m the expert of whom you’re asking advice?” It’s thrilling.
Can you share a struggle you had in the beginning stages? Any struggles currently (either creative or business-wise)?
In the beginning, I thought I could post every single day. And I did for a while, but I got burnt out fast and ended up “accidentally” taking more than a month off. The pressure to create a post every day took away the creative joy of posting, and it started to feel like a job. But it was a fantastic lesson to learn about myself — I realized after working in the film industry (I went to film school at a Los Angeles university and did a stint at a major studio), that it was the creative, studio development process I loved, not the actual, physical production of a film. It’s the same with the blog: I love getting everything ready, planning, and taking pictures. But sitting down to put it all together can feel like a chore. When I finally came to terms with that, I molded the process to what excites me. I now spend more time on the creative side and get totally enthralled in what I’m planning, which makes producing it is easier and way more fun.
What do you hope people will feel/think when they read your blog?
When people read my blog, I hope that they get excited about propriety. It sounds so odd — almost oxymoronic — but the whole premise behind this project is that etiquette and manners can have some flare! I want people to realize that being proper doesn’t mean being stuffy or cold. It’s OK to insert your own personality and style of fun into propriety, while also making others feel comfortable and supported socially.
Click here to read her post.
Any advice you can give a fellow entrepreneur and/or creator to help them find their way? What do you wish you had known earlier on?
My biggest pieces of advice for those who want to work for themselves all have to do with mindset and organization. I carefully protect my attitude, and I’m crazy about my to-do list. You constantly need to find ways to pump yourself up and stay excited. Think about it: The whole reason you started this venture in the first place is because it made you feel happy and elated. It gave you butterflies. You mustn’t lose that, or you will slowly start to resent your work.
And, the burning question, how can we stay connected with you (virtually speaking)?
I’m currently working on my social media presence, so any forum will do! Modern Refinement has a Facebook page of its own, and a Twitter account, but I tend to interact more with my audience as myself on Facebook or Instagram. Just search my name on Facebook, or look for “housemom_shelly” on Instagram! I love it when people contact me with etiquette questions, so keep them coming and you may see yourself featured on the website!
And speaking of social media…click here to read Shelly’s blog post her on how to use social media like a lady (or gentleman)!
Thank you Shelly for sharing your love of all things vintage, classy and refined. I have personally learned so much from your blog posts already and am looking forward to what else you have in store!
Have an etiquette question for Shelly? Connect with her via the social media links above (^^) or via her website. If you prefer, you can also leave a comment below and I’ll get it to her!