Pamela, a magazine veteran like myself (with various other career tangents), loves to share information and is very attuned and interested in how people live their lives. So when her 12-year-old daughter basically dared her to start a site, The Select 7, that focuses on different aspects of a singular person over seven days, she reluctantly took up the challenge. Being a type A personality, her “attempt” was an all-in go-for-it approach, and today she has a burgeoning online presence. Not to sound snobbish, but there are very few sites that grab my attention; Pamela’s does. Here she shares her career path, what she can’t live without right now (do you have a emergency travel kit because you’ll want one), and why instant gratification will get you nowhere.
What is the Select 7? The Select 7 is a curated lifestyle website where we highlight one personality over the course of seven days and get a real peek into their lives. Each day correlates to a different part of their life. Monday is the philanthropic endeavors they support. Tuesday is anything food related. Wednesday is wellness and beauty. Thursday is travel. Friday is fashion. Saturday is interior design. And Sunday is social (media).
In addition we also have our own recommendations, city guides, things like that. I guess you could call it an online magazine.
What was your career path before launching this? How did you come up with it? I have had one million careers. After college I went to NYU for grad school for magazine journalism. I interned for a magazine called Mirabella, then I worked at Fitness magazine, Elle, a little bit at Glamour. I went on to a magazine in the Hamptons called Country magazine. My editor there and I decided we were going to start our own magazine. We were like, “How hard could this be?” So we started a magazine called Madison, which was the paper version of what I’m doing now. We started it from nothing and it was distributed by Hearst. But we were not business people so we lasted about four years before we ran out of money.
I met my husband while I was doing that; he was a chef, and he wanted to open his own restaurant. We found a building in Tribeca, bought it and he opened a restaurant. We had our first kid and I was working in the front of the house and doing the marketing, which turned into a full time job. And while I was doing that, I met some people in the film business and so I started doing film production. I worked with Ed Burns for a little while. Then, I went back to the restaurant business full time.
I’m a crazy researcher of all things. If I’m going on a trip, I need to know everywhere I’m eating and all that kind of stuff. About three years ago, we went with some friends to Paris and at the end of the trip, my friend said, “You need to have a blog. You’re so good at curating this stuff.” And I was like, “I don’t want to hear the word blog.” I was in the restaurant business. Bloggers were these evil people who sat behind computers and did angry shit.
About a month later my friend was here and she said it in front of daughter. My daughter said, “Well, what if you had a website?” And I thought, maybe. We talked a little bit about what would it be, it would be seven categories and we were talking about curations … so we would call it The Curated Seven. I didn’t think about it again. For Mother’s Day my daughter, who was 12 at the time, handed me a card and inside the card she had written www.thecuratedseven.com and said, “I started this website for you because you always talk about doing things but then you never do them.”
How do you take that? It was so sweet but also horrendous! I took over the site and played with it and started putting stuff up from my trips. Then I realized, “I’m out of stuff to say. What do I do now?” I talked to some chef friends and asked, “Why don’t you give me your 10 favorite Italian meals you’ve ever had in your life.” People started to contribute. And then, I started to do a newsletter. And eventually it was taking over my life.
What do you love most about doing it? I love sharing information. To me, that’s what social media was always supposed to be about. I love that I get to use social media for a purpose that feels good and positive, there’s nothing icky going on. And I feel good about these people who we choose, because they are interesting and not necessarily the most obvious choices of people who are “popular” right now.
I also really love that it’s gotten me back into writing and it allows me to be totally creative which is something that was missing for a while. The restaurant business was what it was and I was ready to be done with it.
What came easiest for you when you launched? And the opposite, what was the hardest, or something that really surprised you? I think what came easiest is probably what surprised me which is the people who said yes to being a part of it. I didn’t know how hard it would be to get anyone, because they write their own content. It’s a big ask. But it’s really the only way to get it to be authentic.
The hardest thing was that I am a terrible delegator and I built a website that needs to be worked on seven days a week, 365 days a year, and I am the only person on this planet who knows how the backend works. I’m the only person who can enter information into the website which is a really stupid way to run your business. But I’m deathly afraid of letting anyone get their hands on it because it is built on Squarespace, so if somebody deletes pages, they’re just gone forever. So, there’s that. I need to remedy it.
What do you want your readers to take away from your site? I want them to feel like they’re getting something out of it, getting new information. Even if it’s what sunblock is great right now. I think that real people who are doing interesting things are everywhere and it renews my faith that yes, the Kardashians are famous for doing nothing, but there are these people out there who don’t have a million followers on Instagram, who are still super interesting and have a lot to say.
One of your attributes that helps you succeed: I am a type A personality so I don’t ever stop doing things. I work until it’s done. And then, I keep working because it’s never really done. I think a lot of what you see today in these Millennials is this inability to work fast forward and to understand that there’s no instant gratification. I think that in this world of quick Instagram likes and all of that, people think that that’s how you can base your success, and it’s not.
It’s just hard work and it’s persevering and not getting exhausted when you really feel like you’re exhausted. At some point, this is going to work. You’ve got to believe in yourself.
This leads to the next question, the best career advice you’ve received or would share with somebody: I don’t know if I’ve ever been given any great career advice.
I think that you ultimately are the world’s leading expert on yourself and your business. You have to own that and know that if you don’t believe in it, nobody else is going to. You have to really be in it 1000% because it’s what you want to be doing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and not because you think it’s going to make you money. It has to be a passion or it’s not going to work, because entrepreneurs generally don’t make money, ever, and certainly not right away.
Three words that describe The Select 7: Curious, positive, authentic.
Three words that describe you: Probably the same three. At the end of the day, the voice is mine.
What inspires you? My children inspire me, which sounds cheesy but it’s really true. I really feel like what I do, I kind of do for them.
What motivates you? Well, A) my children. And B), I think any small success even if it’s something I feel personally that’s not anything outward.
Five items you can’t live without right now: My Suntegrity Impeccable Skin Sunscreen. I cannot live without my Away Luggage–it’s very lightweight, inexpensive, and fits a ton. It’s sort of magical. The third thing I can’t live without is my travel emergency kit. We were just in Morocco and my best friend who is crazy organized every time we go away had hers. You’d say, “I need Tums.” She had them in her bag. Or, “I need a hairbrush.” She had it in her bag. So, I was like, “I need a list of what you have in that emergency kit of yours.” She gave me the list and I made one. I just went to Paris and brought the emergency kit with me and I don’t think I can ever live without it. There’s no scenario you will find yourself in that I can’t help you with.
How many things does it include? Is it big? It’s like a LeSportsac makeup bag. But she also introduced me to these pill bags from Amazon that you can empty a bottle of Advil into one. It’s like a little tiny Ziploc. What’s in it? I have Tums, Immodium, Advil, Allegra, Xanax, Zantac, Band-Aids, Neosporin, Benadryl, Dayquil, Nyquil. There’s a hairbrush, tissues, wipes. Literally everything you could ever need.
I would never think to travel with anything like that.
Well, I wouldn’t either. I usually have Tylenol. Another thing I can’t live without are HYDY water bottles. We’re not allowed to use plastic in our house anymore and these are the prettiest water bottles I have ever seen in my life. How many is that?
Can I say like people or is that cheesy? Because I can’t live without my kids.
Life goals: To continue working and to make this a success and to feel satisfied and balanced. And to figure out that life/work balance, which I don’t really believe exists, but that would be a great thing to figure out.
Daily goals: To be more present which I don’t know how to do and to stop working at a decent hour every day and be more present at home.
Favorite inspirational/motivational book: I’m kind of obsessed with Brene Brown, and the whole idea of vulnerability, which is something I have struggled with forever. Any time you listen to her or read her work, it’s just a really important reminder that it’s okay to need people and it’s okay to not be okay.
Daily rituals: I have to workout every day or I’m a nightmare to be around.
Me too. What do you do for exercise?
In January, I started Orange Theory, it’s like a kinder, gentler version of Barry’s Bootcamp. It’s treadmill, a rower and strength training, all mixed up. It’s really good.
And coffee is the most important part of my day. I go to bed thinking about it. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and think I should just get up now so I can drink my coffee.
How do you unplug? I don’t know what that means. What language are you speaking? Exercise makes me unplug because what are you going to do? And a good book is the only other way I can actually put devices down.
Hidden talents/hobbies: I think I’m an amazing singer but everybody else would argue against that. I don’t really have any hidden talents. I’m a better cook than I let on probably.
Favorite charity: I’m on the board of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which was started by a very good friend of mine who is on a TV show called Law and Order SVU. When she started on the show, she began to get all these letters from actual victims who felt the connection to her even though it was one of those things where she was like, “I just play a detective on TV.”
She thought, “We have to do something about this. There are millions of people out there without a voice.” She started Joyful Heart to give a voice to those people. It’s morphed into something much bigger. There’s a huge problem with the rape kit backlog right now in every state; we’re dealing with that. Also as a family, we do a lot of work with food charities like Share our Strength and City Harvest.
Biggest splurge you don’t regret: We bought a house on the beach, and we weren’t going to buy a house on the beach. We were going to buy the house a few blocks away from the beach. I do not regret that. Does that sound gross?
The ocean to me is the most important place in the world. To have a place to go and just sit and look at it is pretty special.
Favorite small indulgence: Iced coffee with almond milk. Indulgent on many levels, because it means it’s warm enough out to drink iced coffee and I always get it in the middle of the day.
Album currently on repeat: Lauv. He’s my favorite right now.
Scent that brings back memories: Bobbi Brown Beach. It’s been my perfume for probably as long as she’s been making it and it smells like suntan lotion.
Lucky charm: I have a C tattooed on the back of my neck. Both of my kids’ names begin with C. I always have them with me.
Favorite hour of the day: In my imaginary life, my favorite hour of the day is 5:00 AM when it’s quiet, and I drink coffee and read the newspaper, but usually I snooze until 7:00.
My other favorite hour of the day is probably magic hour during the summer, right before the sunsets when it feels fresh outside.
Sunday morning means….I don’t have to do anything except drink coffee and read the newspaper.
Follow The Select 7: Instagram.
Elisa Brown says
Pam is incredibly kind, smart and cool A.F.