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Monday, July 28, 2014

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Friends launch Montreal women’s blog site

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WiseWomenMontreal's Lisa Brookman, left, and Elizabeth Wiener

MONTREAL — Lisa Brookman and Elizabeth Wiener have been best friends since their teenage years.

But neither West Islander would have imagined that WiseWomenMontreal.com, a free women’s blog site they launched last Labour Day weekend, would result in their being recognized on the street.

But that’s what is happening.

Brookman, a clinical psychotherapist, and Wiener, a teacher and professional style expert, have already made three appearances on Breakfast Television Montreal, with more scheduled.

And as of a few weeks ago, the site had recorded 18,000 “page views,” which is considered impressive.

The site’s slogan is: “Everyday wisdom for an extraordinary life.”

It has all come about as the result of Brookman’s brainchild about a year ago: create a Montreal-specific blog site for women that would bring together a large team of expert women bloggers – almost 30 in all – filing regularly on a range of subjects within their expertise that women care about, thereby eliminating the need to troll the web.

“We see it is a one-stop shop for all resources,” said Brookman, who approached Wiener to join her for their blog site adventure.

The site covers its subjects under the general headings of Health, Beauty, Lifestyle and Family.

This would include blogs on yoga, fitness, doctor’s visits and sexuality (under Health); “style 101,” makeup and hair tips (under Beauty); home décor, travel, and women and money (under Lifestyle); and pregnancy, parenting and single motherhood (under Family).

And there’s much more. The bona fides of the experts – whether the subject is sex or Japanese sake – are all described in detail on the site.

The site also allows inquiries, suggestions, blogs by users themselves and “guest wise women” blogs.

“The whole idea has been to empower women,” said Wiener, who, like Brookman, is married with three children. “And everything is at your fingertips.”

The two women appear to be very different.

Brookman said she is the dreamer, full of impulsive, creative ideas, whereas Wiener is the more cautious, analytic partner, the one who tends to look more before leaping.

Yet the two seem to complement each other perfectly – “and it works,” Brookman said. “We might not agree on everything right away, but we always figure things out.”

Getting the site up and running, and then having it continue to run smoothly, was – and remains – a challenge they face every day: assembling the “team,” attracting sponsors and supporters, using their “developers,” keeping up with the latest trends, writing and editing, editing, and more editing of the blogs that keep coming in.

Brookman and Wiener have also made extensive use of their own personal contacts and social media including Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram to get the word out, build support and win a regular following. If things go their way, plans include Wisewomen blog sites in Toronto and elsewhere.

And while making Wisewomen successful has become an overarching preoccupation in their daily lives, it has also meant juggling their own careers and family lives.

“But so far, we’re managing to do it,” Brookman said.

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