While it’s true that Vera is a mom who blogs, do not call her a “mommy blogger”. She is a serious businesswoman, a strategic thinker, an influential lifestyle blogger and a social media maven with whom major brands – CVS, Hanes, Tide, Kodak, Rachael Ray, etc. – want to align themselves. These days, the power of her cyber reach and influence can be felt well beyond the computer screen.
Prior to building her successful empire from the comfort of her own living room, Vera was a business consultant for Accenture working primarily in the financial industry for clients like JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Vanguard and Mt. Sinai Hospital. She left the corporate world after having her first child in 2005 and became a stay-at-home mom. That didn’t last very long. After three months, the driven, type A, go-getter was climbing the walls and obsessively cleaning the already clean floors. She loved being a mom, but also needed to be and do something more than that 24/7. In December of 2005, I’m Not Obsessed (INO) was born… right in Vera’s own home.
With her professional background in management information systems (computer coding) and marketing, combined with her love of celebrity gossip, Vera built the INO site as a place for women to indulge in up to the minute, pop-culture news and celebrity style without the snark and raunchiness that was and is still typical of many blogs. In doing so, she was one of the pioneers of this style of celebrity gossip blogging. Today, Vera and her team remain committed to delivering a work-safe and family-friendly site by keeping all content clean and all pictures “PG” rated. Shortly after its launch, INO’s popularity took off and has grown ever since, receiving an average of 6 million page views each month.
In September 2009, Vera added Lady and the Blog to her ever growing INO brand because she wanted to have more of a personal voice on the web. This site focuses on fashion, family and food. It offers beauty and fashion reviews, shopping trends, designer previews, and full runway coverage. Lady and the Blog also give readers the latest in family news, children’s product reviews, steals and deals and features great buys from online retailers. Vera also keeps her personal blog on this site, which gives her loyal fans and curiosity seekers even more access to the lady behind the blog and insight into what makes her uniquely Vera.
Babyrazzi, a recent addition to INO Inc., rounds out the current Sweeney family of brands. It’s run almost entirely by Vera’s husband Bill and offers timely celebrity gossip, paparazzi photos, and pop culture news with a targeted focus on celebrity babies, pregnancies, and all things family and relationships.
2010 brought a new business venture into the mix for Vera; a joint venture with her friend and fellow blogger, Audrey McClelland. Together the two cyber tastemakers launched Getting Gorgeous Events, a savvy concept that capitalizes on the influence of bloggers and brands in a unified front. The idea centers on special, experiential events for bloggers that bring them face-to-face with their favorite fashion and beauty brands. The events, in turn, give brands the ability to harness the power of social media via the bloggers in attendance. The goal is to put brands and bloggers together in one room to help form lasting, mutually beneficial relationships, which is something Vera and Audrey have lots of personal experience with. The other component to Getting Gorgeous Events are the live, cyber parties Vera and Audrey host on Twitter that directly connect brands with the core consumers who collectively make up the two women’s loyal and vast fan base of followers.
Because of her position and influence in the market, which has no foreseeable end in sight, Vera has been featured by countless media outlets over the last six years including Good Morning America, Fox News, CBS News, E! Entertainment, Rachael Ray Magazine, New York Newsday, New York Daily News and Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine.
We’re not sure what’s next for Vera Sweeney, but we know there is certainly more to come from this Woman You Should Know.
What Else She Shared… More With Vera Sweeney
WYSK:What is the most interesting item in your handbag right now?
VS: I coupon cut, so I always carry my coupons with me. It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but they’re certainly more interesting than the lipstick and hand sanitizer that are also in there.
WYSK:What gadget or technology can you not live without to do what you do?
VS: My iphone allows me to leave my house. Otherwise I would have to stay at my desk in front of the computer all day long because I have to make sure I am on top of all the latest and greatest celebrity news and fashion trends. With my iphone I am able to hit Twitter, hit Facebook, get press releases. So it actually lets me do my professional job, while running my household errands, getting my kids, and doing all the things I need to do as a working mom.
WYSK:What is the last book you read?
VS: The last book I read was the 9th book in the vampire romance series called The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. I read all 9 books in 2 weeks. I’m not a library person, so I was psychotically buying each book in the series for my Nook or if I was out, I’d run into Barnes & Noble and pick up the next one. This all came to be because I put a post on my blog and said, “I’m looking for new books. Can anyone please recommend your top three favorite books and I’m going to look into all of them?” I had two separate readers, people I didn’t know, tell me that I had to read The Black Dagger Brotherhood. They said if you like vampires, you’ll like the series, but all the books are really sexy. I was never a Danielle Steel person or into that whole romance novel thing. But, I figured I’d check these out. The first book in the series had a semi-naked guy on the cover and I was embarrassed to buy it. But, I got it and by the third page I was hooked. I liked the series so much that I emailed the author and told her, “If you ever make this series into a movie, I want to be Mary. So just keep me in the back of your mind.”
WYSK:What is your biggest pet peeve?
VS: My biggest professional pet peeve is when I get phone calls from PR agents on MY HOME PHONE. I can’t handle that and I go bananas when it happens. It’s such an invasion of my privacy and I always ask, “How did you get my unlisted home phone number?” They’re usually calling to ask me if I read their press release. I say, “Are you seriously calling my home phone to ask me if I read your email?” Then I tell them to take me off their list because I don’t want to work with them anymore.
In real life my biggest pet peeve is road rage. I can’t get into that. I try to be really zen and calm in the car, but my husband, on the other hand, is not. He gives the “thumbs up” to people who cut him off because he doesn’t give “the finger” anymore. Then he’s screaming at the other driver who is now six miles in front of us and I sit there and say to him, “Umm… you know I’m the only one who’s actually hearing this, right?”
WYSK:What are your favorite obsessions?
VS: Coupons, Nutella, shopping, Starbucks and zombies, in no particular order.
PS – If you want to read and be entertained by Vera’s step by step instructions on how to survive a zombie apocalypse, click here.
POST UPDATE: In February 2013, Vera’s personal empire expanded when she gave birth to her third child… her second son.