Local women’s social networking grows up
For Yana Berlin, her light bulb moment came in the middle of the night.
At 3 a.m. one morning, the Carmel Valley resident decided she was set on creating a social networking site for women over the age of 40. In those early morning hours, Berlin purchased a Web site URL and wrote a business plan for Fabulously40.com.
The online venture was a bold move for a self-described computer illiterate. When the site first went live in 2006, she was psyched just to be able to load a picture. Now, she is creating newsletters in HTML format.
Much like Berlin’s computer skills, Fabulous40.com has come a long way. Traffic on the site is booming as women exchange ideas, make friends, share support and promote their businesses.
“I think it’s important for women to know that we are old enough to know what we want and young enough to go out and actually get it,” Berlin said. “And who can not use more girlfriends to tell them they can do it?”
Berlin, who came to the United States from Russia at age 12, has been a Carmel Valley resident for 13 years. Her four children all attended local schools and her 16-year-old daughter is currently a junior at Torrey Pines.
While Berlin spends the bulk of her time working on the site, she is also an artist, the designer behind the site’s logo of a funky, fabulous female.
Inspiration for the site came from experience. Turning 40 was a time when her friends were really starting to change in profound ways, Berlin said.
She had friends who were going through divorces, career changes, as well as the physical changes that came with growing older.
She watched as her children connected with friends on sites like Myspace and Facebook and noticed there was no space for women of her age to do the same.
The site launched in March of 2006 and at first it took time for women to become comfortable with posting on and using the site.
“We got a burst of traffic about a year ago and it just snowballed from there,” said Berlin.
The site recently caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch and Berlin was flown to New York City for an interview. Despite mishaps with the subway system and unpredictable weather (it poured), the experience was exciting for Berlin.
For those as technology challenged as she once was, Berlin said the site is easy to navigate. Through her site, women connect online as well as offline, meeting up for girls’ nights out and booking clubs.
Blogs are all posted in one spot, with members musing on holiday cookie recipes or how to get a great haircut.
“Of all the sites, you are the most honest, kindest and open group of women that I have met outside of my very small group of friends,” wrote member Terri.
A new group setting is in the works, allowing women with common interests to come together.
Check out the site at Fabulously40.com.
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