You might be asking yourself, “So, what is this chick up to now?” If you’ve been following alongside me for any decent amount of time, you will know that I am what I call a serial business starter.
My first business was a children’s clothing line named after my oldest daughter, Plum, in 2003. I had no idea what the hell I was doing, but I knew that I wanted to be a clothing designer, and so I would be one. When I get an idea in my head, I am hellbent on making it happen. I drove to Walmart at 11:30 p.m. on a Friday night because it was the only place open and bought myself a $200 Brother sewing machine. It was basic. It made only four different stitch variations. To me, it was perfect. I returned home, read the manual, and taught myself how to sew at my kitchen table. Two hours later, I was trying on my first shirt, which I constructed using old clothes that I had in my closet. I was instantly hooked. I literally ate, slept, breathed the assembly of clothes, both for myself and my tiny daughter. That, and janky website building from stolen snippets of code my mother taught me how to lift, in my garoffice, while fueled by a diet made up of mostly thin crust, delivery pizza, Cup O’Noodles, and Red Bull. I successfully sold the fruits of my labor on eBay before branching out into the scary and crippling world that is wholesale. My first season was promising and landed the line into over 40 stores worldwide, and my designs were featured on the covers of two popular children’s fashion magazines. I was convinced I was on my way to becoming the next top designer and was strategizing my plans to launch my woman’s collection, which would debut at New York Fashion Week, sandwiched between the Marc Jacobs and Chloe runway shows. But the reality was, I was broke, my factory dropped me in the middle of developing season two, and I was left in a ton of debt.
Fast-forward to business two, which was created as a result of spending my depression-filled days as a failed fashion designer combing thrift store racks and hitting up neighborhood garage sales. I started styling and photographing myself using a tripod and self-timer with my Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot, and slinging vintage on eBay to pay off my debt and fund a divorce and move to Texas as a newly single mother of two. That business successfully supported my family of three, and over the years, morphed into a token “mommy blog” documenting life, a second marriage, and two more cute kids, while navigating the ins and outs and ups and downs of social media. Biz four was a slow exit from bloggerdom and a deep dive, head-first into the fast-paced world of journalism and throwing events for millennial moms, which wasn’t for me because small talk with strangers is not my strong suit. I would find myself glued to the minibar, pounding mimosas and sneaking outside to smoke cigarettes to calm my newfound anxiety. Five was what I thought was a dream come true, opening up a brick-and-mortar complete with namesake clothing line in partnership with friends that turned out to be one of the greatest stresses and heartbreaks I have faced in my lifetime. I have since sold business four and exited number five, which eventually closed its doors — retail is hard, guys. Biz six is still an idea that hasn’t launched yet and is a wild and crazy venture into a completely new territory that my husband and I are taking our time market-researching and business planning with the goal of starting over the next few years when we’re good and ready. Which brings me to lucky number seven — a multi-faceted media company and platform loosely titled after my OG name Bleubird and current social identity. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to my latest project: Bleu.
“So, is Bleu just another glorified blog in a sea of mostly unread blogazines?” Let’s hope not. The site’s main objective is to bridge the age-gap between women and spread the very important message that females of all ages are equally beautiful, interesting, successful, and influential. We live in a social media world, which can, at times, be ugly, aloof, exclusive, and often times soul-crushing. Most media sites, blogs, and social platforms are aimed highly towards young women in their target market, which falls somewhere between the ages of 18-34. I wanted to create a site that empowers women, young and old, that covers a slew of topics that women share a common interest in during all phases of life, be it fashion freedom and personal style, learning how to cook fail-proof, yet intimidating recipes like cioppino fish stew, testing and reporting on the latest beauty finds from women with various skin types and conditions, approachable and realistic wellness, sex, travel — the list goes on. It’s an interview hub that gives an intimate look at women in their homes when they’re off duty and most vulnerable. It’s about meeting new people and one-on-one conversation. It’s a site focused on celebrating, sharing, and being inspired by all the commonalities that bring us together as females, regardless of how many trips we’ve taken around the sun. With our seasoned team of editors and writers who vary in age and backgrounds, we hope to deliver a diverse range of content and relatability. Not only that, Bleu also offers a unique editorial shopping experience which allows readers to shop directly from women’s closets, homes, and interests without having to ask, “Where’d you get that?”, in the comment section of Instagram.
I built Bleu to provide a therapy-esque break in your busy day. It’s a place where women can be themselves, explore, and find like-minded comrades and content that resonates on more than one level. It’s a place where we can all breathe a little, unwind, and not take things too seriously. So here we are, all fresh and new, with very big plans to roll out over the next year. I’m excited to watch this baby grow and flourish and evolve into something really great over time.
I hope you’ll stick around. xxJames
Aubrey McCoy "Husband"April 1, 2019 at 9:05 am
My hero. My love. My inspiration. <3
DeNai JonesApril 1, 2019 at 9:46 am
I am so excited to follow along on this journey! Congrats, a TON of hard work! It’s beautiful, raw, real, just like you, xxoo
TammyApril 1, 2019 at 10:12 am
I’ve been following since the early days of Bleubird and I am so very excited for this next project of yours. Thank you for the years of inspiration and I wish you all the very best with your new adventure. I’ll be cheering you along all the way as always ^_^
KarenApril 1, 2019 at 10:17 am
Wow Wow Wow!! You just keep getting better and cooler….keep up the good work and thank you for sharing with us….xo
Rachel JohnsonApril 1, 2019 at 10:33 am
Congrats – Excited to be here and follow along! I’m so curious and I probably missed something, but what was business #3?
BillieApril 1, 2019 at 10:35 am
So good to be reading your words again. thrilled for you xx
Mad NicolausApril 1, 2019 at 10:39 am
This is absolutely amazing. So excited to follow along and be a member of this community!
Leah LamoreauxApril 1, 2019 at 10:43 am
My OG influencer! I am excited to follow along in this new adventure of yours. Congratulations on all your hard work! You are such an inspiration.
KaciApril 1, 2019 at 10:44 am
So excited for this new journey you’re bringing us on! I am a long time follower and have been in true admiration for all you’ve done since the early days. Thanks for sharing and being such an inspiration.
AdreanneApril 1, 2019 at 10:46 am
Have followed you for what seems like forever. You’re such a badass. Can’t wait to watch your new adventure.
AnnaApril 1, 2019 at 10:48 am
This is wonderful, James. I’ve been a fan for about 6-7 years now. It’s been very inspiring to watch you grow and pivot through life. I am also about to start a new business and our ultimate goal as a company is very similar to yours; we want to build a community of women (and men) that supports each other through the various stages and challenges of life. Perhaps we’ll send you a sample of our product (the product is secondary to the overall mission, honestly, but it does improve peoples’ lives). I wish you the very best in this “comeback” – cheers!
CaseyApril 1, 2019 at 10:55 am
Love it! Like Tammy above, I’ve been following along since the Bleubird blog days and am excited about this next venture. So interesting to hear your multi-business journey all laid out in one timeline. Looking forward to coming back to The Bleu!
Kaylan RussellApril 1, 2019 at 11:03 am
I have been inspired by Bleubird and your format for many years. Hope all your dreams come true. and can’t wait to tag along.
Nico GawthropApril 1, 2019 at 11:16 am
Happy launch day- I, for one, truly appreciate the spirit of this endeavor!!!
Meli AustinApril 1, 2019 at 11:18 am
So excited for you, you work so hard and I admire that!! I’ve followed you for years from over in the UK and I’m liking forward to watching Bleu grow. Well done!!
Gabi VaughanApril 1, 2019 at 11:25 am
I’ve been following since the beginning & you never cease to inspire! ❤️
Faith BensonApril 1, 2019 at 11:28 am
I started following Bleubird when I was in high school – you inspired me to write, bake, and blog, and ultimately, move to Nashville after college (ok, ok, my brother was here too, but you sold me on the lifestyle!). I’ve been here for five years and still mention Bleubird when people ask me what brought this New York girl to the South. Excited to follow along!
BaileyApril 1, 2019 at 11:38 am
Thrilled for you & so exited to follow along this new journey & gorgeous site that has been pioneered to be so inclusive! Love it so far! Have been following your businesses at every stop along the way- (still love my Two Son wallet!) and used to loooove your blog posts & photographs years ago of your children (& cakes of the week!) ❤️ Truly, good luck & smooth sailing, miss! XOXO
Erin SundayApril 1, 2019 at 11:42 am
Congrats on another new beginning! So happy for you. 🙂
StephApril 1, 2019 at 11:45 am
I’m obsessed with your style, and just know I’m going to feel the same about The Bleu. Congratulations! Xx
Nicole JessenApril 1, 2019 at 12:07 pm
I have always loved your honesty and rawness. I can totally relate to your social anxiety, and owning a business. Maybe why I am sober now. hahaha. Kidding, kind of.
Best of luck and I can’t wait to follow along and stop over here for a breath of fresh air.
YOU ARE A BADASS!
JenniferApril 1, 2019 at 12:20 pm
I see no business failures here! I just see growth. You have something that make people want to follow you, no matter the subject. Keep doing it!
GenevieveApril 1, 2019 at 12:20 pm
Congrats! I’ve been a reader/follower for years and have aged up into the “late thirty mom crowd” that seems to always be looking for a true voice. I’m excited for you and can’t wait to keep following along!
LauraApril 1, 2019 at 12:24 pm
I’ll always follow you no matter what you’re up to ! Go get em Mamma Bleu!
MelyndaApril 1, 2019 at 12:39 pm
Thank you! Our hearts hold our youth, while our minds seek more wisdom. We become stronger women when we choose to learn and grow from one another. Brilliant premise and platform to encourge such♡ Once again, James, you’ve inspired us all! Bravo. Now, deep breath. Celebrate your new beginning. We all applaud.
NApril 1, 2019 at 12:48 pm
I „met“ your Bleubird blog during my chemo therapy as I was hopeless and full of fear… I think 8 years ago. It was like watching an old friend and so inspiring that I started making plans on my own.. now I run my second beautiful store, had a second child, builded a house and am strong and healthy again. I know I did my own work but you was such an inspiration and I really like you to know that you move things and people. And I think this baby will do the same way! Thank you James!
James Kicinski-McCoyApril 1, 2019 at 12:50 pm
Beautiful! Congrats on love, life, and success! xxJ
LarissaApril 1, 2019 at 1:12 pm
I was a teen when I scrolled through your vintage shop, and have since followed along with all your projects. I appreciate your honesty in this piece so much, because it shows guts in taking risks and following through, even if the outcome isn’t how you imagined. I think honest essays like this are so valuable for women of all ages, in all stages, as encouragement to take a leap. I’ve missed your blog, so I’m looking forward to having some new reading material! Congratulations!!!
Kim RobertsApril 1, 2019 at 2:30 pm
I’m so excited about this! I stumbled upon your shop on ebay around 2006 when I started selling online, when I was in my mid-30s. I have been keeping up with you ever since, and have found you to be an inspiration, no matter what you’re doing. I love that you keep exploring new ideas, and I’m loving this new venture! I am now 47, so I’m excited to find a site that encompasses topics on ALL ages. Brilliant idea, James!
Ashlee HillApril 1, 2019 at 2:39 pm
Hello, I have been following you since the days of your bleu bird vintage shop and start of what I would consider one of my favorite and top inspiration blogs I have even come across years later. Even through the start of all of these businesses I have seen, my favorite posts will always be What We Wore, a Portrait a Day and those little bits called( I believe it was Little Bits?) and then Ten Things. Even though I have no idea who you are outside of a computer, you have been a huge inspiration and because of that, I could never see any of your works as failures. Thank you for continuing to dream, continuing to inspire, and continuing to try new things. Best wishes,
RaeApril 1, 2019 at 6:04 pm
Another long time follower…Congrats, you deserve all the success, you’re such an inspiration💗
MissiApril 1, 2019 at 6:15 pm
Been a long time follower, I’m very excited for you! Love the idea of celebrating and supporting women of all ages, hope to see some love for women of all body types/sizes too :). Can’t wait to follow along on this new journey, congrats!
SarahApril 1, 2019 at 6:52 pm
I followed you since Bleubird and kiddo lunches and Sunday cakes. I’ve watched you grow and evolve as women do. There is a real content gap out there right now for women my age (late 30s), moms, career driven, style conscious, trying to forever balance self, relationships, motherhood, work and life. Can’t wait to see what unfolds here 👌
RachelApril 1, 2019 at 11:27 pm
Fab design and vision, very excited to follow this.
Angela DarlingApril 2, 2019 at 11:36 am
awesome! 🙌🏻🙌🏻💪🏻🤗❤️💫 xo, Colin&Angela
AlexApril 2, 2019 at 4:08 pm
The Bleu feels like, as Oprah said once, “The highest, most truthful version of yourself”. I love the honestly and the realness on here already. You have so much wisdom to share & I’m so looking forward to hearing it. Welcome back!
jesseApril 2, 2019 at 4:17 pm
I’m here to stay 😉
MiaApril 3, 2019 at 5:20 am
I’m a fan through and through and will always follow whatever path you go down or just late nite chit chat on insta being random. Lol. If u need a freelance contributor on chronic illness I’m ur gal. keep being you, unapologetically.
MarisaApril 3, 2019 at 11:32 am
I am excited for this. I’m in. Its my own opinion that you have navigated these areas gracefully. I loved Sunday baking, and date night in. You got that “it” factor, and do it in such a good way. Cheers!
Anna LuisaApril 3, 2019 at 12:50 pm
This is awesome! I cannot wait to become addicted to this.
Best of luck with everything you dream for this new project.
I am sure there are only GOOD things to come
RamonaApril 3, 2019 at 4:14 pm
Your past projects have been so good and I am looking forward to this new one as well! When we change we grow. Everything in life evolves. Best of luck on your new adventure!
Amie CunninghamApril 3, 2019 at 6:59 pm
James, you’ve were such an incredible support when I started my business. Featuring my little brand on Bleubird back in the day was such an incredible opportunity for me. I thank you for that! It’s inspiring to see how far you’ve come. Your honesty is refreshing and through it all your vision shines bright. Congrats on this new chapter! xo
MaddyApril 3, 2019 at 11:02 pm
I have such fond memories of sitting on my deck every Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and reading your blog, long before I had a daughter, or before I had established my career. It felt like therapy, to watch a woman I admired navigate career and motherhood in such an elegant way. Watching your journey has always given me so much inspiration. Just recently seeing your posts with your teenagers puts my mind at ease, and even makes me excited for that chapter. Thank you for being such an inspiration, so excited for you… and Bleu!
NoraApril 4, 2019 at 6:30 pm
So excited to follow this as it grows!
zivarApril 5, 2019 at 6:13 pm
i have loved you since i found your blog.. i was living in san francisco with my now ex-fiance and feeling so lost, alone, needing a girlfriend. some hope that i would find my person, grow a human. i sort of fell out of touch after your wedding, i was busy meeting my soulmate, growing our love, and ultimately birthing my rumi. the most amazing little human, my most amazing human. i re-discovered you through mother and i so wanted to love it but i felt so blah every time i visited. i felt your energy behind it, forcing yourself to put up a bowl recipe or sell another product to women of privilege. thank you for stepping in and stepping away, for honoring your truth. for reminding us to do the same. being a mom is a weird thing, there is this expectation of small talk and being friends with other moms. its just not me, it never was me. i live in brooklyn, i am an artist and my husband is a rabbi. yes, really. i’d love to collaborate on interviews with you. whenever. i know so many amazing folk. truth tellers and deep, honest souls. thank you for being who you are and for being willing to show up and tell us the truth. grateful. excited for you, for us, for what social media may evolve into out of it’s infancy.
KellieApril 14, 2019 at 12:38 pm
Can’t wait to see how everything progresses! I’ve followed your previous blog and Instagram account over the years and have always been inspired by what you do. ♥️
Lauren MasonMay 7, 2019 at 11:23 am
Been following you since BleuBird Vintage when I was high school. Loving this blog so much, especially the vulnerability of where you’ve been. I really appreciate that as a reader and find it so inspiring!
COAugust 14, 2019 at 12:01 pm
Was just wondering the origin story behind Bleu and then I stumbled on this post. Bleu is my favorite! I used to be a loyal devotee to ITG and Passerbuys. While I still check out ITG daily, Bleu offers something that ITG doesn’t, which I haven’t yet been able to pinpoint. Not to knock ITG, I think the Glossier empire is extraordinary and empowering but I deeply admire your humility as well as your eloquent writing style. I love that you acknowledge your struggles and are a little self deprecating as it takes a lot to fail 4 times, get up a 5th time, and cultivate something as sincere as this website. My favorite interview so far, has been with Linda Rodin- what a dream it must have been to talk to her and get to see her apartment at the same time! I also love basically every interview that you do with someone from Nashville or Austin and desperately want to visit both places.
Anyways, this has become a long winded ode to your website to which I will end by urging you to please keep writing, posting, and dreaming.
NiamhAugust 16, 2019 at 5:22 am
Following you since about 2007, delighted to have found this site! You embodied minimalist cool before it was even a thing! Niamh in Dublin
FrankiOctober 27, 2019 at 1:15 am
It’s probably been said already, but I love how honest and open you are about everything you’ve been through. Hearing that you can try and fail and still survive afterwards (and try again) is inspirational. You have so much strength in you. I’m excited to read and engage with this platform for ALL women.
Ceranna PhotographyOctober 29, 2019 at 12:43 pm
This is exciting!