Today we have the lovely Jennifer Taglione who is very similar to your very own LadyBallers. She is the founder and owner of Stiletto Sports: a site that began in 2008 as a small blog hoping that its fun and unique voice would help encourage women to learn more about the sports that are dominating our society. Now, it has an extremely dedicated following.
Please give us a little background on how you got to your current role:
Oh boy. Well, it kinda fell in my lap by accident. Back in 2008 I up and quit my job to become a writer and start my own blog! I had no idea what I wanted to write. My friend told me I had to find a niche, something I could say better than anyone else. In the meantime, he recommended I start typing up all my old articles from our college newspaper. In the wee hours of the night/morning, I found myself laughing at loud at the articles I had written for the sports section of the paper. I had friends on a lot of teams and they would always make me cover their games--from basketball and softball to rugby and hockey.
And that’s when I realized the thing I could do better than anyone. I could teach other females like myself, the pink sparkly high-heeled wearing no-jerseys-ever kind of girls, about sports.
Stiletto Sports began as a little feature about the World Series of Boredom on my personal site until we could get the website up and running.There was a soft launch in November 2008 and officially launched with Holiday Gift Guides in December. By January 2009 it was so popular the site had to be redesigned from a blog to a magazine style website. The site continued to grow throughout 2009 and I began designing a product line based off the Stiletto Sports Signature Red Stiletto Cleat. In January 2010, Stiletto Sports Designs launched it’s first custom line: Stiletto Bowl XLIV.
Despite many forced hiatuses due to my other job, Stiletto Sports continues to grow and thrive.
How did you learn you wanted to get into the sports industry?
Probably my senior year in high school when I was doing an internship at our local NBC News station in the sports department and got to go to a Celtics-Knicks exhibition game in town. After the game they were all waiting to interview the players and they told me I could go on in to the locker rooms... Imagine my shock as a young high school girl going into the locker rooms of half naked famous men. I was actually able to interview people like John Starks, Charlie Ward, David Wesley and Dee Brown. It was pretty amazing.
Was there a time or situation that made you second-guess your path?
All the time. I’ve come under attack a few times for my site and my point of views. That it’s too pink and sparkly and not for true fans. To which I always point out, it’s not supposed to be. It’s designed to get people into sports that normally would not be!
I know so many people that just don’t get what I do. Friends, family, co-workers.... they think it’s just some hobby thing. And that’s tough since I’ve managed to create a 5 year business plan for this “little hobby.” I’ve tried to distance myself from those who don’t get it, and surround myself with others that believe in me and help to support my ideas. And every time I go to edit my e-book I have the self-doubt of “who am I to tell others about football?” Then I’ll get a comment from someone thanking me for helping them learn.
Do you think there is a negative ring that automatically lies around females within the sports industry since it’s a male dominated industry?
Oh absolutely. And I come across it all the time since Stiletto Sports plays up and fully supports all things pink and sparkly about females. I’ve been blasted for it time and time again. But just because I’m not a jersey and sneaker wearing, face-painted, tailgating kind of fan, doesn’t mean I don’t scream at the tv on Sundays!
Please let us know who your mentors were/are on your journey.
Mike Crimmins from Daily Shot of Coffee has been one of my biggest fans, supporters and inspirations. He’s the first person I told about my “great idea” and he’s been running the back end of Stiletto Sports since before it was even Stiletto Sports. Seeing how far he has grown Daily Shot of Coffee amazes me daily.
Erik Sweetland has been unbelievable. He’s been my March Madness buddy since 2007 and this year our friendship has grown to football. I spent every Sunday at his place hijacking his NFL RedZone and his insights on all things football. He has been editing my e-book and patiently answering every sports question I have.
My parents. They instilled in me an intense work ethic, tons of creativity and endless love and support for any decision I made. Even when I quit a steady job to be a blogger.
What tips or advice would you give to a female wanting to enter the sports industry?
You need tough skin and be able to stand up for yourself. You need to know your stuff and when you don’t, you have to be willing to ask questions. You can’t be shy about it. You can’t back down on your point of view just because someone tries to talk you out of it.
What would you say to the men who don’t see women as being on the same level when it comes to the sports industry? Fill out a March Madness bracket against me and see who does better!
Have you had a personal experience where someone doubted you and you proved to him or her that they should support you?
Constantly. My favorite was a few months ago. I was blasted by a hockey website (written by females, no less!) for a mistake I made in an article. It was pretty embarrassing but it made me angry enough to write a response and a lot of their readers came to my site to tell me how much they loved Stiletto Sports.
I was out a few months ago and met someone (also female) who works for a very big national sporting good company who went on and on about how Stiletto Sports will never make it. That true female sports fans hate pink. Hate sparkles. They want real jerseys. And those who aren’t true sports fans won’t buy merchanside for teams. That’s why the pink jersey market would be going under soon, as would Alyssa Milano’s Touch clothing line. We debated for hours. I explained my point-of-view and why it works, outlined my concepts and designs for her. And by the end of the night she was truly blown away by my knowledge and understanding of sports, and sports apparel for women and even asked for my business card.
If there were one thing you could change about the sports industry, what would it be?
The BCS! What a ridiculous way of ranking college football to determine the champion!
What is your favorite sports moment?
I probably have to go with the Chicago Bulls first 3-peat run. I have posters and have it taped on VHS!
On a smaller scale, getting to go to a Red Sox game with my dad last year here in Tampa. He was really excited. Then the game went to 13 innings!
What is your biggest accomplishment to-date in terms of your experience in the sports world?
Define “accomplishment!” Does talking about Brady Quinn being one of the sexiest quarterbacks on a radio station in Denver count?
My biggest accomplishment is Stiletto Sports itself. This started as a few feature articles on my personal website and somehow turned into this full fledged website with fans and loyal readers. It blows my mind every time I get an email or a comment from someone saying how much I helped them understand a sport better or thanking me for tips.
What are your favorite sport sites online?
I’m a Bleacher Report junkie. I love the community there and love the vast variety of writing styles there.
GuysGirl is amazing. Blythe just put out her first book this summer and her articles and tweets are unique and insightful.
Hockey for the Ladies rocks! Stephanie makes hockey fun, interesting and sexy!
Chicks in the Huddle is incredible. They have had a major facelift in recent months and it’s badass.
Do you have a favorite player/team?
Yes but I threaten to revoke my fan status often! I tend to like players more than full teams and since players get traded often, I go where they go!
NFL: Jets & Rams. I adore Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford. I also love to watch Larry Fitzgerald from the Arizona Cardinals. He is amazing.
NCAA Basketball: Kansas Jayhawks
MLB: Only person in the world who is allowed to like the Red Sox, Yankees and the Rays.
College Football: Have not pledged allegiance yet
Favorite sports quote?
“In the game of life, nothing is less important than the score at halftime” - Anonymous
Any advice for the LadyBallers?
Keep posting regularly! That is my biggest downfall. I’m pretty sporadic about posting because I work two other jobs but I know that a posting schedule helps big time. And keep on networking and reaching out! I was so honored to get your email and to be a part of this fantastic site! Thanks again!
HUGE thanks and congrats to Jennifer! Such great things going on and we are honored you took the time to share!
Check out our previous Female Sports Professional interviews as well:
Jennifer Rodriguez: Co-creator & co-host of Bad Girls of Sports
Justine Brown: Production-Assistant with the NFL Network
Jessica Quiroli: Baseball blogger and covers high school sports for Ultimate Athlete Magazine
Melissa Miller: Assistant Brand Manager for the Orlando Magic
Amber Anderson: Grassroots Marketing Coordinator for the Orlando Magic
Kathryn Stuart: Course Director, Sports Management and Operations - Entertainment Business Masters Program at FullSail University
Are you a female nterested in sharing your Professional Sports experience or know a female who would be good to feature? Email us and let us know!