“The people we were prior to our sight loss and the things that brought us joy are still intrinsic to who we are today. We just found ways to adapt so we could keep moving forward” ~Stephanae McCoy
Stephanae (Steph) McCoy is a successful businesswoman, style setter, blogger and abilities crusader who breaks the myth that “blind people can’t be fashionable.” As a blind woman who happens to love fashion and style, Ms. McCoy founded boldblindbeauty.com, a successful website that brings women together to share in the beauty of fashion and style, provides a community that encourages empowerment and camaraderie, and makes a connection between the sighted and non-sighted worlds eradicating misconceptions and long-held stereotypes about people with vision loss.
The mission of boldblindbeauty.com is to improve humanity by changing the way we perceive one another. The site is personified by Ms. McCoy’s alter ego, Abigale (Abby), the stylish on-the-move fashion icon who walks in confidence, reflecting the beauty of all blind and visually impaired sisters. The site also includes an online e-commerce boutique component with Abigale Style that makes available stylish apparel designed by visually impaired women for both sighted and non-sighted women.
When Ms. McCoy lost her eyesight as a mildly seasoned professional, she quickly learned that thriving within the sighted world meant overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles – the most significant being the misconceptions around sight loss, blindness and the capabilities of blind people. She accomplished this while successfully serving at the largest of the Big Four accounting firms after her sight loss. Ms. McCoy’s career success was built upon a solid foundation of perseverance and a strong work ethic that together helped her foster a positive environment motivating her teams to deliver a high level of customer service.
Ms. McCoy’s love of personal style began when she was young where she honed the ability to present a self-assured, polished image as her personal trademark, contributing in part to her successful business career. Later on, while researching the viability of a business focused on serving women with disabilities, Ms. McCoy discovered that the high number of disabled working-age women – particularly those who were vision-impaired, had a high unemployment rate disproportionate to women without disabilities. Around that time, when giving a presentation to vision-impaired women on applying makeup – the light bulb went on: she realized that there was an underserved community of blind women interested in fashion and style, paving the way for her style blog boldblindbeauty.com.
With her combined business acumen, commitment to disability advocacy and enthusiasm for style, she was able to develop today’s successful boldblindbeauty.com where she now devotes most of her time managing the business and her blog – while at the same time continuing her advocacy of empowering blind women interested in fashion. To date, the blog has reached more than 61,000 site visits and continues to flourish, gaining the attention of a growing list of advertisers. Within two years she’s already looking to hire a marketing specialist, publicist, and social media strategist to take the company to the next level.
Ms. McCoy found that although she has lost her eyesight, she has not lost her vision of helping visually impaired women be all they can be. When the focus is placed on abilities versus disabilities – anything is possible. Ms. McCoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.