Transparency or…. Vulnerability?

So if you follow me on Instagram stories, then you know I was at a really cool event this weekend.

Reformation recently opened here in San Francisco {this deserves a whole post on it’s own because the store experience is next level & very interactive}, & they hosted a sustainability & business panel on Saturday that I was lucky to be invited to.

I’m always fascinated to hear business advice from the CEO themselves. Yael Aflalo, the founder & bossbabe of Reformation, was on two of the three panels. Well, she said something that had me straight shook.

I could not stop thinking about it all weekend & honestly? It’s a reason why I’m so late at this post today because it has been lingering in my mind all day that I HAVE to share it with you guys.

It’s advice for business owners and creatives… and honestly…. life advice too.

Ok, you ready? It’s actually quite simple & very to the point.

She said something along the lines of {disclaimer: i didn’t write it down even though I should of}:

“Don’t be transparent. Be vulnerable. It’s very easy to be ‘transparent’ when things are going well, however it might not be relatable. Vulnerability shows you are a person behind the business & it’s what people want to see.”

I literally froze when I heard this. I never thought about it but she was 100% right.

She had a great example about sending out a Reformation newsletter with the goals update. On one of them, she said she did not make the goal by a long shot to something very important to her brand and reconsidered sending it in an e-mail. However, she decided against it & sent it. After all, goals are the bigger picture. If you don’t attain it, it’s okay & more fuel to the fire. More importantly, being raw & open to her customers and subscribers was more important & far more rewarding… & leads to trust & loyalty.

People want to hear the raw process, the struggle, the story… but more importantly? They want truth sans the sugar coating… which will only give you a headache.

It’s not about being just transparent…And the word “transparent” – hell, that’s a word you see me say often on the blog. In fact, I’ve used that word in 20 posts. What does it even mean though?

Transparency is being straight up, while vulnerability means diving deeper, making yourself susceptible to the judgement and feelings of others…Which honestly… is really fucking scary to do when you decide to blog but it reminds anyone reading this that there is a human behind the screen.

These days, everything is so curated & it’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap {i see you, instagram #GUILTYASCHARGED} where the vulnerability can really be refreshing… & leads to empathy.

At the end of the day, we are all human beings just trying to make it. While it’s sexy to be “transparent”, vulnerability isn’t so easy but is what creates community & helps cut through the static of percieved perfection which there is PLENTY of online.

Keep things raw, keep things real.

More people will relate than you think & it creates relationships. In fact, the accounts I personally engage with {which is the start to a lot of my online friendships & relationships} are the most vulnerable & open ones vs the constant pretty pictures in front of a brick wall… though don’t get me wrong, I did spent all day Sunday posing in front of brick walls. #yawn

ANYWAYS it is amazing how much I got out of that one thought alone & something I am still ruminating on.

OK I hope you got as much out of that one blurb as I did!!

Thoughts? would love to hear from you – weigh in!

xx Shannon

+++ jeans here {similar} , top here, holographic slides here, beer here


  • current fav lipstick: TULIPA from @makebeautyofficial & Lucy agrees! 🌷 I actually discovered this brand via instagram and I’m just obsessed.
  • fun fact: but in the winter, I LOVE Chardonnay {especially those that have seen oak}, it’s my go to when the temperatures drop. ❄️ They’re full bodied, complex, & really just so comforting, right? I’m a HUGE fan of @macrostiewinery chards & also love the @fortrossvineyard mother of pearl. Any you love, let me know - always looking for more to drink lol 🦢 #trustmeimasomm
  • because I really dig my outfit today but also this top was designed with the 80s in mind BUT ALSO “true faith” by new order has been stuck in my head all week thanks to American Psycho so HEY figured it’s all just a v on brand mood, right? ...right?! 💾📠 #slsootd
  • I can’t explain but there’s something so soothing about the colour of the sky here 💙 don’t forget to look up! 🎐 #slssf
  • always missing Tokyo 💟 whenever I travel, I love to stalk the “{insert-city}photographer” hashtag. You find so much local talent and can connect and create content with that specific local vibe - in fact, I make a point to shoot with someone local at least once. That’s how I connected with @future_vizion - not only is he BEYOND talented {seriously, check out his profile}, he has such a unique eye and perspective... not to mention it’s kind of totally rad making friends around the world, especially in a city I’m so passionate about! #slstokyo
  • working on a secret project {here’s a hint: 📼🏙⛏📿💋📟🗽📲} but had to get outside to take an insta & blue light break! 🍒 jeans are vintage @jordache from the 70s & shirt is @reformation ❤️ #slsootd #jordache #reformation
  • the one thing that all sf bloggers deal with but no one talks about... how kcufing hard it is to edit photos in the damn fog 🌁 I finally just gave up and threw on a hella grainy 90s film filter lol anyways this was my outfit yesterday and this sweatshirt from @azaleasf is as soft as a marshmallow! 🍡 #slsootd

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