We all know that representation matters. But let’s take that a step further: giving people their flowers, fostering collaboration, and connecting individuals to resources enables even more growth and shared success. Hearing another person’s experience is powerful, and it provides the opportunity to learn from one another. Black women in particular benefit from sharing our stories. Renae Bluitt, an entrepreneur and visionary storyteller, centers this truth in all facets of her work. Renae has turned this passion into a reality with She Did That. Speeches, films, podcasts, and social media all serve as channels for this multi-talented leader to spread knowledge and shine a light on untold stories from brilliant Black women. Renae has even shared her insights with BAUCE:
Your website describes you as a filmmaker, storyteller, and brand magician. Which one manifested first, and how do you hone these different skills?
Renae Bluitt: While I didn’t imagine myself as a filmmaker at the start of my career, my work has always centered the art of storytelling. I worked in PR and engagement marketing before launching my blog and while many may see these as two different paths, it all connected pretty seamlessly for me. The skills required to be strong and effective in PR are the same skills I applied to producing my first film. You have to be creative, curious about your clients and/or subjects, and pay close attention to details. Once the film was completed, I put my PR hat back on and pitched it to the media outlets I thought would be the best fit for the project. Knowing how to tell my own story to amplify the stories of others has truly been a blessing.
Let’s discuss how you first developed this vision for She Did That. How did you make decisions to branch into different forms of media from films to podcasting to creating in-person spaces?
Renae Bluitt: The vision for She Did That. was inspired by my blog, In Her Shoes, which was essentially my love letter to Black women entrepreneurs. Like most creatives, there came a time when I was ready for something new. I wanted to continue telling these empowering stories, but I needed to stretch myself by exploring a new medium. After blogging and producing events for the women’s entrepreneurial community, the next step that felt right for me was filmmaking. As a person who loves documentaries, I noticed that Black women founders’ stories weren’t being told in this space. We were sprinkled in here and there, but there wasn’t a film that centered us and our unique experiences. While I didn’t have filmmaking experience, I had the vision, the passion, and the relationships so I knew I was the person to change this. The expansion of She Did That. from film to podcast, and now shopping experiences, also felt very natural. During the pandemic, the freedom to go out and host screening events and engage with the community I’ve built in person didn’t exist. The podcast was the best way for me to stay safe, continue building my brand, and introduce the world to some of the most innovative Black women you’ll ever meet.
This is an empire across different forms of media, and no empire is built in one day. Could you describe your earlier projects and lessons learned from your early days?
Renae Bluitt: One lesson I’ve learned over and over again throughout my journey is to trust the process and let go of my attachment to certain outcomes. It’s perfectly OK (and expected) to set goals and want things to unfold a certain way, but more times than not, the magic is in the unknown. When things seem to be falling apart, they’re usually coming together for your own good. My strategic plans are nice to have, but what comes out of life’s unexpected twists and turns (also known as divine detours) is always so much greater.
You clearly have a lot of natural skills like storytelling, bringing people together, and prevailing creativity. What were new skills you had to learn in order to continue building and growing?
Renae Bluitt: Some of the new skills I’ve had to learn or dedicate more time to nurturing are marketing and reaching our target audience through an ever-changing media landscape. What was effective when I launched the platform is not quite as effective now. So, while I’m creating, I have to be mindful of how we’re going to market, and the best ways to create a buzz and keep our audience engaged, while truly being of service to our community.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to do what you do, and be a modern storyteller but they’re starting from scratch?
Renae Bluitt: As cliche as this may sound, my first piece of advice would be to just get started. My work in this space started with a blog that at one time may have only had a few readers, which mostly included my family and friends. In a world that’s hyper-focused on numbers, data, and impressions, we can’t lose sight of the fact that you can be influential and have an impact within smaller communities too. We all have to start somewhere and “perfecting” your craft is a lifelong journey so why not start now?
Finally, She Did That held an event in Brooklyn this summer, which was a massive success. Are there any upcoming events or projects that you’d like to share?
Renae Bluitt: Thank you! We had such a wonderful time at City Point Brooklyn this summer during Black Business Month and look forward to bringing our community together again soon. The next experience we’re working on is our annual She Did That. Holiday Bazaar where guests will be invited to discover and shop nearly 50 Black women-owned brands. This year’s event takes place on Sunday, December 3rd in Fort Greene, Brooklyn at the new Shell’s Loft. I’m super excited to be working with Shell’s Loft, an Afro-Latina-owned event space, for this year’s event, and can’t wait to introduce our community to some of my favorite brands. To kick off this year’s She Did That. Holiday Bazaar season, we’re partnering with Samsung to host an event at their space in the Meatpacking District on November 14th. Tickets for both events will be available soon so be sure to follow me on Instagram (@iamrenaebluitt) to be the first to find out how you can join us. Information regarding both events will also be shared on shedidthat.co!
Renae continues to create a blueprint for empowering and encouraging other Black women. Her admiration for her peers transcends different media, and her work will inspire and inform generations to come.