Tell us about yourself.
My name is Erika Knudson, I grew up in Wyoming and live in Bloomington, Indiana. I am 43 years old, am married to an art historian, and our family includes two American Pit Bull Terrier mix dogs, a German Shepherd mix dog, and a cat. I work as Director of Strategy and Client Relations for Indiana University's internal ad agency/branding and marketing operation, IU Communications.
I love animals, fashion, writing, reading, and learning people's stories. On the weekends, I volunteer at my local animal shelter (Bloomington Animal Care and Control) as an adoption counselor and animal photographer. I am listed on the Pitbull Rescue Central website as a resource for people who need help rescuing pit bull-type dogs.
In my day (and often night!) job, I help the Indiana University and our internal clients identify their part of the Indiana University brand story. With my creative and informational/emerging technology colleagues, I create marketing strategies to help the university recruit students, cultivate alumni and donors, and communicate with the world. I have been fortunate to connect in my work with amazing alumni of Indiana University who are in the fashion world, including fashion blogger Jessica Quirk and men's fashion director of Singer22 and blogger, Jace Lipstein. I love my job, the projects we get to work on, and the new things I learn and people I meet every day!
What's the story behind your Polyvore profile name?
My avocation is to serve as an advocate of pit bull terrier-type dogs, a now life-long dedication that started when my husband and I signed up to be a foster home for homeless and abandoned dogs for our local animal shelter. Our second foster dog was a pit bull named Cuddles--he was torn up and scarred all over his body and the shelter believed he had been abused. He was going to be euthanized if he didn't find a foster home, and when my husband and I walked up to his kennel, he looked at us soulfully, threw back his head, and howled his story. We took him home that night and he has never left. Cuddles (whose mission in life is to snuggle anyone in his vicinity) was the start of a parade of pit bull foster dogs through our house, and the beginning of my passion to advocate for a terribly misunderstood and deeply loving breed of dog. I adopted "bullygrrl" as my Twitter name and alter ego, and so it was natural to keep that as my profile name when I joined Polyvore.
On Polyvore I can follow my other passion (for fashion!) ... and it is a somewhat unconventional way to advocate for so-called bully breeds. Sometimes people send me Polyvore messages asking if I am a bully, or they are puzzled and think I am advocating bullying... but it is the exact opposite. I stand against those who would bully or hurt people and animals... I stand up for the breed of dogs that has been most misunderstood and mistreated.
What are your personal aspirations/goals?
I feel lucky to be in a job that allows me to meet new people and learn new things every day. It's a long way from my childhood dream, which was to be a jazz flutist and to write for the New Yorker! I'd still love to do the second half of that dream--I am a writer at heart and am happiest when I have uncovered a good story and have found an innovative way to tell it. I would love to work at Polyvore in another life (or perhaps later in this one!) I'd also like to dedicate my life to speaking and writing about pit bulls to help change perceptions about these dogs in a significant way.
How has Polyvore affected your life?
Since I have moved from being "creative" to a strategy and client services position, my writing has moved from writing stories and marketing copy to writing proposals and strategy statements. As my work life has changed, Polyvore provides me with a deeply creative outlet, a place for my imagination to play and create. I have also made deep friendships with people around the world on this site, and have been able to connect with and be inspired by some truly remarkable people. I have met two of my Polyfriends in real life and text, e-mail, and call one Polyfriend regularly. I find the site to be a bit addicting and sometimes have to remind myself to go outside and play!
Describe your personal sense of style.
My personal sense of style is a little eclectic, a pinch of edgy, feminine, and runs the spectrum from my "creative professional" persona to my grungy dog-walker garb. I love wearing high heels and boots.
What are some of your favorite brands?
Well, I LOVE Marni. Its combination of patterns and shapes delights me and I find endless hours of fun putting together virtual Marni outfits on Polyvore. On a more attainable note, I enjoy clothing from Banana Republic and Anthropologie, thrift shop finds, and hand-me-downs from stylish friends. My dream designer wardrobe would be stocked with Marni, Miu Miu, Anne Demulemeester, Rick Owens, and Rodarte.
Got any requests for the Polyvore team?
You guys rock. Love the site, love the contests, love the community you have created. Two requests: Polyvore meet-ups around the world, and a way to identify and track your favorite friends on the site.