INDIANAPOLIS -- As the city of Indianapolis sits on Amazon's short list of places to invest and build their second headquarters, many business owners and politicians are working to show off what Indy, and it's suburbs, have to offer. And now one Indianapolis resident and Center Grove graduate says her business and brand is all about showing off what is trendy in Indy.
Hence the name: "Trendy in Indy" -- a fashion, travel, beauty and lifestyle brand proving that a Midwest city can be on the cutting edge of what is hot right now.
It's not just an Instagram page or a blog with pictures of clothing. Creator Steph Weber calls herself an influencer, tapping into a newer marketing trend of "influencer marketing" where she says real people promote products and businesses they recommend. It puts a real face behind a brand and that person has the ability to communicate a story with their followers on social media platforms.
"It's an interesting self title. In this world and [fashion] industry it's easy to lose sight of yourself," Weber said. "But I can speak to a lot of things, recommend brands, make connections with local businesses and then share what I learn with everyone."
Her passion for the fashion industry and marketing started at a young age. When Weber was 16, she knew she needed a job to pay for her gas and expenses. She says she always loved clothing and fashion, so she got a job at a local prom boutique. Her dreams just grew from there, studying strategic communications at Butler University, and eventually interning in New York City. Her brand and business "Trendy in Indy" officially took off about a year ago, and she hasn't slowed down since.
"I truly believe clothes can say something about your personality without even saying a word."
Weber uses a number of platforms to communicate with her followers including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and a public blog. She works to connect with local business owners to collaborate on posts and develop a marketing plan that fits their specific brand.
"Eighty percent of my audience is in Indianapolis, so this area is a big focus," Weber said. "And every business owner has a story, a reason they started what they did, and I can be their voice to speak to a specific audience."
Weber wanted to stay in the Midwest for fashion, instead of following so many others to one coast or another. She said the Midwest has a place for fashion, and that's especially evident in Indianapolis with the number of local boutiques popping up. Growing up south of Indy, she has seen the area change with new cultural movements bringing new ideas and people to the area.
"Fashion unites us, universally," she said.
And she is ready for 2018 to be a big year for Trendy in Indy, with the creation of new fashion services under the title, Trendy U. It's a styling concept that you may see in bigger cities, but many Hoosiers may not have access to that type of service at an affordable price.
She now offers various services for closet organization, shopping sessions, and something called Trendy Wardrobe.
"A lot of people buy pieces and don't know how to wear them so they leave the tags on them and that piece sits in the closet," says Weber. "Together we go through each piece of clothing, talk about it, decide whether to keep it or not, and discuss how to style it. Then we make a simple shopping list."
Weber calls this process a "closet discovery" and not a purge. She says an organized closet is an important start to every person's day because deciding what you will wear for the day is the first decision you make each day.
During the shopping sessions, Weber likes to take clients to many local boutiques and businesses and uses her discount codes that she creates with the owners to support what Indy has to offer.
Weber says on her website that Trendy in Indy as a whole is about community and building local brands in an authentic and creative way. And this 20-something isn't slowing down anytime soon, as she works to show people here and outside of the state why Indy is so trendy.