The Flair Index

Jennifer Alfano, Founder

If you’re looking for inspiration from strong, entrepreneurial women, The Flair Index will become your browser’s most visited page. Having been an editor for nearly two decades (at Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, no less), founder Jennifer Alfano has cultivated a discerning content hub profiling inspirational women across industries. In our interview, she speaks on the many ways she’s adding flair to her readers’ lives, both online and off.

What made you decide to launch TFI? Did you see a gap in the crowded digital media marketplace?

I was a magazine editor for almost 20 years, I started at Vogue and worked at Bazaar on-and-off for over a decade lastly as the Fashion Features Director. I missed interviewing people who do amazing things, women in particular, and felt there wasn’t a space where I could read about them enough—how they started their businesses, the highs and especially the lows because no one ever talks about them, what inspires them and more. I am constantly inspired by the women I interview, the decisions they make and the often complex paths that lead to their success. I aim for one profile a week and then fill the other days with fashion, beauty and lifestyle ideas that fit into the “flair” theme.

I definitely think the digital media space is crowded, but honestly I don’t care. The positive reactions I get from readers learning how other women navigate successful careers or share information that helps us look, feel and hopefully do better makes my day.

What does the name The Flair Index mean?

My tagline is “Life Needs Flair.” Flair is that intangible extra that makes the ho-hum extraordinary. I want to live a Life With Flair and am drawn to others who seek it in their lives or create ideas and things that bring flair into others’ lives.

Who do you feel your typical reader is?

She is an urban woman who is considered and thoughtful about every aspect of her life—from fashion to friendships.

How do you select the women you profile?

Some I have known for years and followed their careers, some I have admired from afar and cold emailed, others are introduced to me. What they all have in common is that they are strong women who are usually entrepreneurial in spirit, even if they are an artist, and who create their own path to success and have a strong moral compass.

How do you plan to evolve your brand?

I am most interested in creating more off-line Flair experiences that bring women together to share, educate and catalyze. I had a few last year and it really is a chance for women to come together in ways that don’t happen online—personal and business connections are made, often in the most unexpected ways. Nothing can replace human connection and interaction. Plus they’re fun and we could all use more fun in our lives.

Do you have any predictions for the future of the media landscape?

I think, or hope, there will be an end to click-bait content. Everyone has been predicting the demise of people reading, but that is just because there is a lot of lazy, half-assed content out there nowadays. Readers are smart and people read--The New York Times subscriptions have increased a lot. People just don’t want to read a lot of nonsense. And I certainly do not mean that I am posting award-winning journalism on my site, but I never post something just to have a new story up—there has to be a reason. If I don’t have anything I want to share with my readers, then I don’t. They are busy women and have plenty of other ways to spend their time.

After a long career in-house, what have been the pros & cons of entrepreneurship?

The pros are creating your own work schedule, the ability to try anything and see if it sticks, and to be fluid and proactive when something is/or isn’t working. The cons are success really takes longer than you think, you have no one to blame but yourself and while you can create your own schedule, your work life (if you really want to make it) doesn’t close shop everyday at 6pm—it’s 24/7.

Who are some women that inspire you?

Joan Didion, which almost feels like a cliché these days, but she has been such a fearless reporter and her writing is so simple but almost brazen in its honesty, it can jolt you. Stella McCartney for creating a long-lasting company and adhering to her moral principles—especially in fashion, which you’d think would be a woman’s world, but really isn’t.

Describe your personal & design aesthetic. 

I am a minimalist with a bohemian streak. I strongly believe in buy less, buy the best you can afford. I embrace modern but don’t like trendy. I hate loud clothes that wear you. I also tend to be allergic to pastels.

Any brands that are current obsessions?

I am not happy that Phoebe Philo has left Celine—her basics, not the runway pieces, are sublime. The Row’s accessories—the shoes and bags—are some of my favorites of late. I rely on Nili Lotan for everyday pieces, they make me feel cooler than I really am. Also of late I like a lot from Vince. Caroline Belhumeur, the creative director whom I’ve featured on the site, is taking the brand in a much more directional way, with not-so-basic basics.

What are some of your favorite recent travel destinations?

I just got back from a family trip to Italy for two weeks—Rome, Positano, Venice, which was great, especially because my girls have never been. I recently went to Marfa and fell for the tiny dusty town. I have an ongoing love affair with the West—I was married in Santa Fe eons ago, so places like Marfa, Utah and New Mexico are some of my all-time favorites which I will return to again and again. Next on my list is Oaxaca. I went to Mexico City for the first time last year and want to go back—Mexico beyond the tourist-heavy beach towns is incredible….the people, the history, the food.  


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