Jennine Jacob’s Apology to the IFB Community
By: Jennine Jacob

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I am sorry.

This whole thing is new to me. Running a community, a website, and a business. Over the years I been helped by a lot of people, though in the end of the day, I’ve been making the choices and taking risks on my own. Some of them have been good, and in this case, some of them have been terrible mistakes. I’ve always said not to be afraid of making mistakes, but now, I have a healthy fear of them.

My Open Letter was written out of confusion, anger, and a whole host of other emotions I have never felt before. I have never had to deal with controversy directed at me or my work before and felt the pressure nip controversy in the bud.  But in reality feelings don’t get resolved in 24 hours.  I’m still sifting through emotions, but I do know I never intended on hurting the community I dedicated five years trying to build.

“I’m sorrys” are meaningless without taking action. I have heard the outcry for more diversity in our content, and at IFB we will make a concerted effort to make that happen. This I can promise.

My vision is to help the fashion blogging community. The road ahead is not going to be easier now that bloggers are gaining influence and credibility. I want IFB to be the resource to help bloggers change with the times. I firmly believe we as bloggers have the power to change the conversation, and are doing so every day.

Thank you for being the voice of change. It continues to inspire me to be a better person and to try harder. I hope you forgive my misstep, but let me show you we can change, hopefully together.

Comments

  1. Lalani says:

    Everyone has to learn and grow so that’s just what this was for us as readers and for you and your staff. I was a bit turned off by the article and the letter but none the less I don’t hold grudges. Some change is good, and I highly recommend everyone email ideas! We’re a community!

    XoxLani.

  2. Tishiannae says:

    I’ve been following the entire thread from the beginning articale about body image. Out of the responces you’ve made, this has to be the best. I did agree about the first articale and then as other bloggers began to comment, I understood where they were coming from as well. I do agree IFB has the power to help diverse bloggers get to another level with the exposure. Now, I hope this is water under the bridge because I sure am ready to move on from this situation :) .

    http://www.tishiannae.blogspot.com

  3. Avatar of CynthiaCM
    Cynthia says:

    Diversity is a good thing, but only if it goes beyond the defaults (i.e. more minorities = adding a few features of black bloggers; more variety of sizes = size 12+ bloggers who’re all more or less the same height) that are typically considered in the US. As I’ve said, I’ve gone on about height issues (and even created a blog about it), but often feel that my voice is rarely heard. And when someone responds to it, it’s the typical “well, we all have size/fit issues.” Imagine telling that to a bigger girl.

    http://www.shorty-stories.com
    http://thecloset.delectablychic.com
    http://www.delectablychic.com

  4. Dekishea says:

    That’s a part of growing Jennine. I’m glad you listened to others opinions. Everything happens for a reason and that article really got everyone talking about the elephant in the room. As long as IFB is open to grow and change, I’m still a supporter. I have a couple ideas for topics and will send them. If everything on your 5 year journey was perfect, then something would be wrong. Dekishea

  5. Denise Grier says:

    I am a member of the IFB community and I haven’t heard anything about this controversy. I just found the link to this apology on my Facebook newsfeed. It would be nice, and professional, Jenny, if you would include a link to the original controversy post, thread, or wherever it started. I have no idea what you are apologizing for. This post is too vague for me to tell, although I would assume you must have said something derogatory about the size of women, but I’d like to read what happened originally.

    • Avatar of Ashley GaGa
      Ashley GaGa says:

      Denise,

      Jennine did include the link. Quite possibly you over looked it. The phrase “deal with controversy directed at me or my work” is clickable and will lead you to the original post.

  6. Jennine, you are a good person, with good intentions who has devoted herself to helping people grow in an industry that is so new and uncharted that it’s been described as “the wild west”. I believe your intentions are always true and that you have peoples best interests at heart. It will definitely have its ups and downs, but I believe in what you’re doing, stay strong! xoxo

  7. Kylie says:

    I think it is crazy you are apologising. I read the article that got a few heated comments and it was very clear that the article was saying that the blogging industry has started to merge into the usual ‘fashion industry’ standard of beauty (basically highlighting the issue), but also pointing out that the top tier bloggers are actually great bloggers too. It wasn’t saying others were not. Madness.

    Its very obvious people were venting their own insecurities. People seem to forget the bloggers are getting the most attention from magazines and other publications, are the bloggers with the biggest following and who is following them…us!

    When I wasn’t a pro blogger I enjoyed the content and I still do now, people need to get over themselves and if they don’t like it… don’t read it… simples!

    • Just pointing out that the original article was revised and the incendiary portions were removed. Reading it now, you can’t really tell what made people angry.

      • Kylie,

        I’m going to keep it civil and say that it’s not about anybody being insecure it was the notion that there aren’t any blogs outside of the standard ones they mentioned (or were thinking of) out there to compare. The notion was put out there that they are no quality blogs out there for brands to reach out to other than the top tier bloggers that so many of us know. I think that’s what got people upset because there are thousands of blogs out there, and instead of saying “hey there aren’t any” I think people wanted to see the blogs they love put out there and recognized which meant that IFB had to research first, which they didnt, and know have probably a wealth of blogs to catch up on. This could have opened up discussion about why brands aren’t reaching out to them. To me it all boiled down to support. We support these top tier blogs by commenting, becoming fans on social media, and sometimes we don’t do the same for those who aren’t considered “top tier” who have amazing photos, great style, and who actually engage with readers and supporters. I think that name calling, and really getting nasty was out of line, but I get the article, and i get why people were upset that some of these bloggers who are amazing who aren’t Thin or whatever the wording used was in the orginal post are getting the attention that IFB thought they deserved.

    • Shin says:

      I completely with you Kylie! I read the original article and although I find it interesting for a discussion, I didn’t think it would generate really heated arguments. We’re becoming way too sensitive and most people expect to hear the sugarcoated mantra “Everyone and every size is beautiful” when it’s not how people see in real life!

    • ak says:

      totally agree. well said.

  8. Avatar of jennifer at james dry goods

    Jennine –
    Thank you for your apology. I am a new member to IFB and am attending IFBCON. I have followed this discussion closely. At times, I thought, “Well, maybe joining was a mistake? I definitely don’t like the mean girl comments.” Then when Taylor posted her apology and revised her post and members continued to unproductively rant, I thought, “Glass houses, people.” And at other moments, I would think, “Good. Let’s talk about this.”

    Based on my experience, what you have built here has been extremely helpful to bloggers of all types. I started my blog because I didn’t see myself or my friends represented and thought I could help them and maybe others.

    I still don’t see myself in many of the bloggers represented here or in the media – but does that mean I can’t learn from them to make my blog and brand stronger? Absolutely not. Am I getting a little tone deaf to the same 10 bloggers being featured everywhere? Yes. Am I entitled to get noticed by anyone? Nope. Do I think the only way to be successful is to replicate those bloggers every look and move? Not at all. I may be wrong, but I know there are more of us than them and while many are smart and savvy, I think there is room for everyone to find their own success.

    Being accountable for your actions is being a responsible business owner (and human). Being willing to apologize, as well as forgive those who maybe also acted rash in their responses can liberate you from the “regret” emotion and drive action to continuously improve. And finally, we are all entitled to say anything (yea America!) and while this was a difficult discussion, I wanted to say I appreciated the many, many thoughtful responses and suggestions. I felt like those who were clearly angry, but articulated their concerns and recommendations for improvement demonstrated what real progress can be and made me commit to being a part of this community.

    Apologies for the extremely long comment. Just want to share that when I am frustrated with a person or a situation, I try very hard to slow down, consider where the other person is coming from, and not judge. That doesn’t mean roll over and play dead. But it allows me to calibrate my thoughts in a more productive manner.

    I know I am not perfect and I don’t expect anyone else to be either. Thanks again for your apology and looking forward to meeting you in a couple of weeks.

    All the best
    jennifer

  9. Avatar of Catherine Harper

    Thank you! I really appreciate your apology and I have renewed faith in IFB. I tried commenting on your letter, but it never appeared for some reason. I only joined IFB recently, but I’ve been incredibly impressed with the caliber of blogs I’ve read, most of which do not feature bloggers who look like the typical top-tier writers.

    My impression of the original article was that it was well-meaning, but not very well thought out or executed, and then I was a bit taken aback by your defensive letter. Of course it is human nature to protect our friends and co-workers, but I’m happy to see that you’ve realized we are all in this together. Everyone on IFB has a common interest and a common goal, and I hope that we can continue to work together as a community.

    Thank you, again, for your honest apology.

  10. A simpler way to submit posts to Links a La Mode would be a great place to start.

  11. Avatar of Ashley GaGa
    Ashley GaGa says:

    Jennine,
    You’re forgiven.
    If we were all judged by our mistakes, where would any of us be?
    At the end of the day, IFB has done SO much more for my blogging career than I would have ever been able to do without it. I stand behind IFB because at it’s core, IFB stands behind me. Yes, I am a member of “the other” right along with 99% of IFB members and staff. But dang it, I refuse to turn my back on a company that has boosted my blogging career 100 fold! Because of you, I can blog full-time! I can live my passion and do what I want. The knowledge to become a professional blogger was given to me right here, on this website, in this community. And my life is happier now that my “work” is my fun and entertainment. And I don’t want to give that up for anything.

    We’ve all made mistakes. And we all deserve forgiveness. But only the best of us learn from our mistakes and teach others not to make the same ones. So Jennine, if this is your mistake, I will let it be my lesson. And onward I will go towards becoming an even better blogger than I was yesterday and the day before. Because I’m sure that someday, sometime, I will write a post that someone will disagree with. And because of this situation, I will know the proper way to respond.

    So, take time to recover and pull yourself together. You still have so much to offer this community. And I’m here, arms wide open, waiting to catch it all. IFBCon is only a few weeks away. And I can’t wait to be there.

    All the best,
    Ashley GaGa
    http://www.AshleyGaGa.com

  12. Avatar of Style Tab
    Style Tab says:

    Jennine,
    I applaud you and the IFB staff for taking the risk of writing about such a controversial issue. I missed Taylor’s original post, I only saw the revised version but from my point of view, you have handled this situation very well. The fact that you have apologized and confronted the issue, as well as publish Nicolette Mason’s response to it proves to me that your community has reached a stage where it’s time to have mature, honest debates and discussions about the industry. Taking risks in writing/blogging and making mistakes along the way is the only way to become stronger and more successful (IFB articles have taught me this). I hope that all the readers of the IFB community will learn and grow from this, and NOT turn their backs on this wonderful site just because they have a different point of view on the topic. Keep up the hard work, your site has been a tremendous resource for me as I continue to grow as a blogger!

    Best,
    Katherine | http://thestyletab.blogspot.com

  13. Avatar of Susann Akers
    Susann Akers says:

    I didn’t see the original post, it sounds as though it upset a lot of community members, which is a negative, on the positive side, it produced heated and active discussions. The responses that I read were articulate and meaningful.

    I actually enjoyed reading all the responses. I am it wasn’t personal and people will get over it

    Susann

  14. Amber says:

    No need to apologize Jenine! You have the right to have feelings and express them.

    beautyandthestreetmag.blogspot.com

  15. Avatar of Kholá
    Kholá says:

    I agree with Amber. Your feelings are your and you do have the right to express them.

  16. CS says:

    You’ve been running this site for, what, five years? And yet “this whole thing is new to me”? Please.

  17. Kane says:

    While I appreciate your apology, it doesn’t read as sincere, more like a way to do damage control for the terrible way you handled things.

    Here’s what i think you don’t get. This is no longer “your blog”. You’re trying to turn this into a big website yet you still act at times like it’s your personal space. It’s not anymore. If you want IFB to be successful you have to treat it like a business and act professionally (which you didn’t do). You’ve lost a lot of readers over this, myself included.

    While I believe Taylors apology was sincere I think what she wrote the first time before you heavily edited the article (again unprofessional) and the way she wrote it is what she thinks subconsciously or consciously I don’t know. I say this because it comes through in her other pieces and it’s really off-putting.

    You may label me a bully but I’m not. I’m trying to give you insight as to why I no longer read, follow you on twitter etc.

    IFB was so much better when people like Ashe and Vahni ran the show. Right now it feels very unpolished and high-school and it no longer appeals to me.

  18. Sharon says:

    I appreciate the informative articles on blogging and the business of it, I have never really felt a part of IFB. It has always lacked diversity on the site and at the conferences. I have said this quite a few times in comments and tweets. And for this reason, I tend to only visit IFB here and there. IFB was founded to help bloggers be the best at there game. That means IFB should have been focused on doing so, not giving top-tier bloggers more shine or focused on people/bloggers of a certain look and type. The blogging community is filled with bloggers of all races and body types and IFB which is built on bloggers should reflect that.
    I always cringe when I read your posts like Asian bloggers or Muslim bloggers. It’s like ‘see we acknowledge you guys too’. And if that is your idea of being diverse . . .STOP. I think if you did something just as simple as used pictures in your posts of models/people who are not just white and thin even female . . . you will have made a step in the right direction. Sometimes, it’s not even so much the words as it is the pictures.
    Another thing, visit Blogher. Blogher is a diverse community and it reflects that. And when their writers put up controversial post . . . they do not go back and edit it and change it. Taylor should have clarified it in a second post not covered it up. That is how magazines handle it. And when members of Blogher disagree. . . we are not bullied by the owners. Editors/publications usually are more understanding of their readers feelings and just apologize without belittling.
    Like, I said I appreciate the articles and information here. I think it is wonderful you have owned your lack of professionalism. I hope that it helps you to grow IFB into something awesome for everyone.

What do you think?