PROJECT #BEYOUROWN BOSS: CASSIE SNEGLAR
The X Cartel is an online destination for anything from a little dose of high-quality downtime to a much needed ‘virtual vacay’. By conceptually featuring the most inspiring people and places- everything you see is totally shoppable, which probably explains why the editor of The X Cartel, Cassie Snelgar highlights that their overall goal is “simply to give their readers a bloody fun time.”
Cassie’s #BEYOUROWN BOSS Story
The story of how I got here is a complete mish-mash of degrees in Architecture, a Masters in Fine Arts and even a few (very ageing) years producing ethical resort-wear for my label, CASLAZUR. I always felt that I was a little slow off the starting blocks, but ironically it was exactly this cocktail of chaos which sprouted my idea for The X Cartel. A little sprout which grew into a digital publication with over 100K UBS in the first 6 months of launching.
The overwhelmingly positive response (and the fact that it is probably the funnest thing I have ever done in my whole entire life) made it very clear that this should be my main focus. So, armed with nothing but an acute talent for spotting anything ‘luxey’ or just a little bit ‘lol’, I now spend my days collaborating with brands, curating products, and meeting with some of the jazziest cats on the planet to produce weekly edits for The X Cartel.
We have collaborated with everyone from photographers in Wookie masks, to hoteliers having babies in Bali, basically anything a hedonist (like me) might be into. And we are known (and hopefully loved for) our interactive travel guides like ‘Can’t Even Cope-nhagen’ and ‘Paris like a Parisienne’.
The next couple years we are set to expand into India and China with geo-specific content. A super exciting/terrifying challenge. So funny how those seem to always go hand-in-hand!
In spite of the image we project, the journey definitely hasn’t always been smooth sailing. But, as with most challenges or failures it’s usually these exact moments which force the creative response that ultimately results in success. This has been true for me, and so many of the entrepreneurs I speak to.
The hardest challenge with The X Cartel has probably been having the resilience to stay true to my original vision. This was really hard when I was starting out and investment was super tight. Initially, it was tough to explain my idea to investors without having any existing examples to draw on. Then, there were a few opportunities which I have had to turn down in order to stay true to our core values. Whether it was saying no to major sponsorships because I didn’t believe in a brand’s values or pushing back against investors who wanted the site to take advantage of more traditional means of advertising.
Ultimately, I took a view that, just like with my approach to producing fashion, I wanted to create something where my values were at the core of what I did. For The X Cartel, that meant embracing sexuality, ethnicity, body shape and even Wookie fetishes. The fact that I feel I haven’t compromised on any of those core values and that the publication has done so well is the ultimate highlight for me.
As much as I love being a woman in business there are so many things that I would like to see change. Primarily, women should never feel like they have to ‘act like men’ to get ahead, they should be encouraged to embrace their own instincts, values and management styles and never feel they have to change who they are. I am a big believer that every person, both women and men, should be celebrated for their own unique value more than anything else.
So many of the incredible women I speak to identify with the concept of ‘imposter syndrome’ or not feeling ‘good enough’ to ask for a raise, opportunities or even, in some cases, payment! When we truly appreciate how amazing we all are, it is much easier to see that we each deserve to work in an environment where we feel passionate and valued. It is not always easy, but it is an important mindset to try and foster.
I would also like to see more women buying into the powerful concept that we are all our own bosses regardless of whether we work for ourselves or someone else. This may sound contradictory, but we are all in charge of our own lives. We all should take ownership of our actions, be proactive and conscious about the decisions we make. Be CEO of your life, be accountable, be passionate and be a bad-ass bitch to anyone who doesn’t value you. Especially when that ‘someone’ is the voice inside your own head.