Five Years of Afrobella

Five years ago, this week started out like any other. I had a regular work day complete with the weekly Monday meeting. Trudged through Monday and Tuesday’s expected tasks. Met my deadline on Wednesday. Back in those days, we had a busy social circle and friends would just stop by the house as evening fell, most often on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. That particular week, our dear friend Ehren — also our landlord at the time — came over after dinner. We sat around drinking, just my husband, Ehren, and myself. And through the course of conversation, Ehren convinced me that I should have a blog. “What would your blog be about? What would you call it?” We bounced around ideas for maybe an hour or so. Maybe less than that. Pretty much as soon as the question was posed to me…I had an idea that came straight from my heart and soul. My husband came up with the best name ever, we bought the domain on the spot.

I stayed up all night writing my first ever blog post, and learning basic HTML so I could include links and videos to my blog. (Back in those days, WordPress wasn’t as intuitive as it is now). Ehren made me a header. We put up my first post on August 14, 2006.

Five years ago, my life changed.

Afrobella old header

Shout out to YOU if you've been reading since Afrobella looked like this!

I like to take a look back every year, and every year I’m astounded by how much my life has changed since then.

If a magical fairy or being from the future had appeared to me and told me — because of what you’re doing in your off time this week, someday you’ll go to New York Fashion Week, get to go backstage and meet models, celebrities and designers…I would have said stop lying. If someone had told me back then, because of this blog you’ve just created, you’ll be featured in magazines and on websites around the world…I would have said they were tripping. If there was any foreshadowing of the brands I’d collaborate with, trips I’d take, or things I’d get invited to…I wouldn’t have believed. Creating this blog taught me so much about my own abilities, my own power, and the strength of my ideas and my talents. Creating and maintaining and building Afrobella into what it’s grown into today, has taught me that hard work truly does pay off. If you put in consistent, quality, heartfelt work, you can make your own dreams come true.

I’m often asked for my best advice or top tips for up and coming bloggers. I guess in retrospect, the best advice I can give anyone is DON’T GIVE UP. Be tenacious. Follow your heart, pursue your vision and work hard to make your dreams come true. You will work harder for yourself than you’ll work for anyone else. And the fruits of your labor will be sweeter and more nutritious than you can possibly imagine.

This week, in honor of five years of Afrobella, there will be some truly amazing giveaways for all of you! Keep reading, keep commenting, and thank you ALL for the support you’ve shown me in the past five years. I love you. And I can still honestly say after all of this time — the best is yet to come!

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Comments

  1. Congrats to five years of being a trailblazer in this blogging game! The Godmother of Brown Beauty Blogging only gets better. GET EM, AFRO-P! :-D

    • SiennaBelle says:

      Congratulations to you on five years of fabulousness! You are truly an inspiration! I must say too, that I am so encouraged by all the wonderful (and well deserved) responses your readers are posting. In a world that consistently pushes the “black women can’t get along” message, what an amazing show of support on behalf of the sistas! You are powerful and bring out the best in us all!

  2. CONGRATS!!! Passion and purpose equals success…among other things :) Your aura and spirit has a lot to do with AFROBELLA, and I’m glad to have met you. I’m a fan thanks to twitter, and will be for a very long time to come. Here’s to another 5 years and counting

  3. Congratulations on your milestone! I’m looking forward to MANY more years of greatness to come. Thanks for all you to for the beauty community. Much Love!

  4. sarah lilly says:

    Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment!

  5. Congratulations to Afrobella. I just became aware of Afrobella a few months ago and I am glad I did.

  6. CONGRATULATIONS ON 5 YEARS OF BLOGGING! i recently plugged back into a blog i created 2 years ago and it’s been great; i have found purposeful blogging to be the thing that drives me – currently i’m blogging my way through a 90day bible reading adventure. and my husband and i just started a blog (haven’t released it publicly yet). blogging is the way to go!

    thanks for sharing your tips, thoughts, and beautiful afro (afrobella) with us :)

  7. Congrats. Keep rockin’ it P.

  8. Congratulations! I can’t believe its been 5 years. I believe I found your blog after your 1st year. It was so timely for me because I had recently gone natural and was looking for all the support that I could find. Your blog helped me through my moments of doubt.

    Thanks for following your heart!

  9. Inspired!!! Thanks so much.

  10. \(^_^)/ Congrats on your five years, Afrobella! Everything that has made up each of those years is truly deserving of you. Here’s to many more!

    What an inspiring post!

  11. Patrice, you are so inspirational, thank you for being open and honest about what it truly takes to be a successful blogger. Thank you for all the effort you put in to opening up the blog world for other black females. Although you weren’t aware of where your blog was going to take you when you started, you’ve come so far and it’s so so inspiring. You are so genuine, love you!

  12. Congratulations! And thank you- for being an inspiration to those of us who feel like we’re stuck in a rut. You gave the best advice- be tenacious; NEVER give up!. I wish you all the best and look forward to even more amazing successes from you over the next 5! Go Afrobella!

  13. Kudos to you on another year Patrice! Couldn’t agree more on never giving up. Here’s to many years to come!

  14. Congratulations! Here’s to many, many more years. :)

  15. Afrobella is synonymous with class, style and crazy creativity that is unrivaled to date. Queen Patrice, you’ve been a trailblazer in so many ways. Your strength and unwavering dedication to produce the best has forged a path for others to follow. You are like the gift that just keeps on giving. Continued peace, success and blessings to you and yours.

  16. And after 5 years your Blog still is cutting edge and fresh! Congrats to you! Your hard work and consistent quality has reaped you honours,awards and well connected links.

    I look forward to seeing Afrobella and its Creator do even bigger and better things over the next five years.

  17. Congrats Bells. Thanks for paving the way for so many.

  18. warrior11209 says:

    Congratulation to you dear Afrobella – we are all so very blessed that you were (and continue to be ) tenacious in attaining your dream! Has it been only 5 yrs? Hard to remember a time when I was not checking into your blog.
    I accidentally came across your blog while at work. I spend about an hour reading current and past blogs and I have been hooked ever since , and that was about 4 years ago -I have enjoyed every minute of it.
    The advice that you gave people about how to become a successful blogger is advice that anyone can use to become successful in any area- never , ever give up on your dream- because when the dream comes true it is ALWAYS bigger than anything that you could have imagined.
    Again – congrats!!!!

  19. crystal g. says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! May God bless you always Bella. you are definitely my favorite blog- keep up the great work you’re doing.

  20. Your blog is celebrating it’s Leo birthday! RAWR! Happy Blogday to you and many more.

  21. WOW!!! Continued Blessings.

    Yoli

  22. Congratulations, and may there be many more! :)

  23. Congratulations Ms.Bella!! I’m happy i found this blog, you are a true inspiration..go Trini!

  24. Monica W. says:

    Congratulations!

  25. Congratulations, what an amazing accomplishment :)

  26. Congratulations. I found your site shortly after I decided to go natural in September 2006. You have provided a tremendous amount of information and inspiration. Thank you.

  27. Bella,

    I feel fortunate to have known you for every one of those 5 years. CONGRATULATIONS on your milestone!! We have had some amazing experiences together and I am happy to have met you!!! Your humility and candor are always appreciated and your sparkling smile always welcome.

    xo Lianne

  28. You are such an inspiration! Congratulations on your 5 year milestone and thank you for the reminder that hard work does pay off. Stay sweet and genuine … that’s what I remember most about you after meeting you.

    Keep it up!

    McKenzie

  29. It’s been five years already. Man time flies when you’re having fun :) I’m one of those that’s been following you for quite some time. You really revolutionized the blogging game, and you did it with an open hand and heart. Happy Anniversary!

  30. Congrats to a Beautiful, Dedicated, Strong Black Woman!!! You have been an inspiration to all women, regardless if they have natural hair or not. I remember when I came across your blog about 3 years ago and I have not stopped reading since. There has been days when I was sick of my hair and wanted to just go back to the white crack, but because of your posts I would try a new product and love my hair all over again.

    As a wanna be blogger you are evidence that as long as you believe it and dream it you can have whatever you want in this world. I know without a shadow of a doubt that you have allowed women know they can voice their thoughts and people will hear them. You have created natural hair a trend that all people talk about and want.

    I am encourage to know that you will continue to grow and stay focused and successful in all you do. I am looking forward to see your next step in your journey. (maybe a book) :).

    One of the main reasons why I would deserve the netbook is because I would love to be able to work on my blog on the go as well as read yours. I am in the developing stages of my blog and I hopefully in five years will be celebrating my success like you are doing today.

    Again Congrats on 5 years of Success and THANK YOU for all that you have done and all that you will do!!!

    “You don’t become what you want; you become what you believe.-”Oprah Winfrey

    Much Love!!!

  31. Congrats! I can’t wait until you come back to the A:)

  32. Celebrate! Five awesome, rewarding, natural years. Totally love it and I too am inspired. Thank you!

  33. Congratulations! Proud of and inspired by you and your commitment. Thank you.

  34. Congrats Afrobella!

  35. Congrats on five awesome years Bella!

  36. Congratulations on your five years of blogging. You are a real inspiration!!

  37. Bella,

    I’ve been a naturalista for 20 plus years now, tickled you so ably examine hair themes so long overdue. And I’ve been checking in with Afrobella for over 3 years. (Wow! Has it really been that long?) I was one of the folks pulling your coattails, back in the day, rushing you to blog about the much-anticipated all-black issue of Vogue Italia.

    Before I am remiss, let me say, “Congratulations on your anniversary!”

    Aside from your commitment to the cause of re-imagining beauty, hair, culture, and life…one thing that’s surely guaranteeing your staying power is that distinctively-nuanced, compelling voice. The particular flavor and flair of your pieces is pitch-perfect. I absolutely loving your writing style. In fact, I have delusions of capturing some of that unmistakable je na se qua. (Not to be presumptuous, but I think your writing style is so remarkable, I believe I could pick it out, uncredited.)

    On a personal note, it’s been a time of immense soul-searching and character-building for me. I lost my job (and remain unemployed after many years), sold my beloved house and car, reluctantly moved from the south to the east coast, acted as a round-the-clock caregiver for one parent battling cancer and the other coping with dementia, all the while experiencing a lot of heartache and struggle in the process.  I would be honored and grateful to receive your giveaway, as I try to reinvent myself as an entrepreneur, maintain my hope for my future, and make my dreams come true.

    Oh, how fun it would be to walk in your shoes for a bit, armed with an Asus Eee PC. Already, living vicariously through you has been the perfect escape. Being gifted with a PC would be a concrete symbol of something that’s more tangible, something that’s packed with possibility, helping me to see what is possible for me.

    Thanks for sharing over the years! Continue to do well with much success in the future!

  38. Vanessa P. says:

    Congrats -Happy Anniversary. Love your story of just “doing it” and getting started. For someone who is spending a lot of time thinking about doing something this is motivating. I am putting myself on a time line. Thanks for the inspiration. Peace and Blessings

  39. Sweeter and more nutritious….Love it!

  40. I am so proud of you and happy for you congratulations. Stepping out there and doing something on your own is always very diffcult but you did it and turned it into a success. I am venturing to do the same thing start a blog to complement my online stoe, i hope mine will be as successful as yours. Again Congrats

  41. Congrats! I think I found you around year 2. Thanks for spreading the love and great information.

  42. Congratulations on 5 years!!! That’s awesome!! Im just now celebrating 6 months over at my blog. I hope I can stick with it as long as you have :)

    My blog is celebrating with a giveaway, by the way. Head on over and enter. You can win a $30 Target gift card! :) http://t.co/3xS36Cc

  43. Congratulations on making this far by being unique, being yourself and writing your heart out! You are an inspiration :)

  44. Congratulations! I have been reading from the UK for a while now and your journey and success certainly is inspiring. Like many others, I too have started a blog; mine is particularly for black and mixed race women in the UK because while they are more than a few quality US ones, there is a dearth of such sites in the UK.

    At times I just want to give up but reading success stories like yours, inspires me to keep going.

    Keep on keeping on! x

  45. Sherry Blossom says:

    It’s never to late to congratulate! Cheers to 5 years and wishing you many many many more!!!

  46. {I currently live in Surrey, however am planning to move to Cornwall in a few years time.
    I am currently studying for my GCSEs and need to choose my A Levels, but am stuck as I do not know what kind of job I will be able to get in Cornwall.
    Can anyone help by providing a list of different careers I may be able to pursue after I make this move? Thanks alot!
    I am planning to move there due to family there, having not much here, I wish to be closer to them.
    |We are going to Cornwall, near Wadebridge, for a week over Christmas. Other than the Eden project, which we plan to visit, does anyone know of any good places to visit or eat at? Our kids are aged 3,6 and 8.
    |I need a decent map of Cornwall Ontario. Like something that has the city of Cornwall Ontario in it and a solid, good resolution cornwall ontario map.
    |My friend and I are going to Cornwall for a week in May. We are staying right by Fistral beach. What can you recommend for us to do? She is a keen surfer but I have never surfed before. Are there any good places to eat etc? Nothing too pricey as we’ll be on a budget but suggestions are very much appreciated.
    Will the weather be any good at this time? We will have a car so can drive places etc and we are pretty much up for anything.

    Thanks!
    |I am running a trip for a bunch of 11-17 year olds to Cornwall for a week and we need a lot of exciting activities! I have few- surfing, etc, But what else?
    |Me and my friends want to go on holiday to Cornwall and rent a cottage but we don’t now what places are good.
    Somewhere near a beach (ideally that you can have fires on) somewhere with a nice party scene and chilled atmosphere.
    |Considering college in these areas.
    Theres Stratford/Solihull/ Birmingham etc
    What about cornwall? Any impressive ones? Are they better than the west midlands?
    Is cornwall bad? Any information wud be gd thanks!
    |me and a couple of friends have decided to go to cornwall in the summer just after our exams what type of transport do you guys think would be the cheapest way for a group of people to get to cornwall from leicester (bearing in mind none of us are old enough to drive)
    |Some of my friends and I were thinking of going away to Cornwall for 5-7days. Someone suggested Padstow so I’ve been looking around a little at some places near the beach. If anyone could suggest a hotel or a bed and breakfast that would be great, bearing in mind we’ll be 16 years old and unaccompanied by an adult. Thanks!
    |We are planning to go to cornwall for easter holidays . Please advice on good places to visit there, guest houses to stay , hotels for vegeterians and few more useful info.

    Thanks!
    }

Trackbacks

  1. [...] heading but it [blogging] seemed a pretty cool thing to do”, and T&T diaspora blogger Afrobella, who writes: “Creating this blog taught me so much about my own abilities, my own power, and [...]

  2. [...] Five years in the game is no joke. As a thank you to my readers who have supported me through thick and thin and helped to make Afrobella what it is today, I’ve got a slew of amazing giveaways lined up for this week! [...]

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