Simply Stylist, an organization founded by Sarah Boyd in 2009, provides tools and tips from a panel of experts to those interested in fashion, styling and beauty. With conferences throughout the year in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Boyd and her organization create networking events where fashion and beauty junkies can learn valuable skills and meet industry leaders.
Culture Trip attended the New York event, where the focus was on blogging: an industry that’s changing the fashion industry. “The editors haven’t embraced bloggers,” Boyd says, referencing a recent article where Vogue editors dismissed bloggers (read the article and you’ll see that’s putting it lightly). But the reason fashion editors are wary of bloggers might have to do with the green-eyed monster. “Brands are increasing what they spend on bloggers, moving away from fashion magazines,” explains Boyd. “Let’s face it, the fashion world is cliquey.”
Fashion editors have a reputation for being exclusive. Fashion bloggers, on the other hand, bank on their accessibility to the average Jane. And the cultural impact as we move from fashion magazines to blogs is huge. “People are buying from blogs, and they feel like they’re buying from their best friend. Blogs are fun.”
Although Boyd is right, blogs are more than fun. They have turned into a lucrative business. Media outlets from The New York Times to Harper’s Bazaar have run stories crediting a shift in the current fashion landscape to bloggers. Indeed, according to FASHIONISTA, some fashion bloggers launched multimillion-dollar businesses and become household names; and to some fashion editors’ dismay, these bloggers have become front row fixtures at all the big shows.
But for those who reach towards a more democratic fashion industry, blogging is about inclusivity. Blogging is about accessibility. Blogging is about engaging with an audience, and bringing people into your fold. So how can you become a fashion blogger? Turning your blog into a business entails more than taking cute #OOTD pictures. Know that everything, EVERYTHING is curated.
You must find your comfort zone between sharing and not oversharing. You have to go 100 percent in on a collaboration with a brand and make it feel organic, otherwise the readers will know, and it will backfire. You have to know how to use social media, and be consistent in your social posts (7 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. etcetera). You can sign up for a social media calendar that tells you when your followers expect a post and when you’ll get the best engagement. Do these things like you would to slay at any other job.
Want more tips? Read Catt Sadler’s interview with Lauren Bushnell to find out.
Cat Sadler: You’re killing the internet with your blog Sparkle In Her Eye. How did you do it?
Lauren Bushnell: With a lot of help! I was so intimidated by the tech aspect at first. I had to teach myself WordPress and how to use social media to direct people to the blog I’m still learning. [My advice on starting is] don’t be afraid of diving in. I like a challenge. Next up, I’m learning YouTube because I love makeup and skincare and want to do tutorials. I’m not a professional so it’s been an evolution.
CS: There should be a university for blogging. How do you decide what’s important for you to convey?
LB: I don’t dwell too long on decisions. I follow my gut and confidence drives me. I’ve got pretty feminine instincts and my favorite color is blush. So there’s blush all over the blog. Also, the name came from an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote [where he talks about] a woman being beautiful for more than how she looks on the outside, not just like the girls in magazines, but for what she thinks, and the “sparkle in her eyes.”
CS: What shouldn’t you do, starting out in the blogging world?
LB: Don’t be afraid of failure. You’re going to make mistakes. Don’t doubt yourself and take other people’s opinions too much. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They’re freeing, actually. You think, well I already screwed up once.
CS: How do you deal with trolls?
LB: At first I didn’t handle it well. I know it sounds weird because I went on The Bachelor, but I like to be a fly on the wall. I took a lot of criticism from being on the show, and that was hard. I was struggling. But my family helped and Ben [Higgins] was so patient, kind, and loving. So that experience prepared me for [blog trolls]. Trolls make you stronger. My goal is to be a light and to use my blog to give back and raise women up.
CS: So much of what bloggers do is based on their personal life and how they put it out there for social media. The bigger a blogger gets, the more you have to deal with this. How do you decide what to share and what to keep private?
LB: One thing I love about blogging is that your blog can follow you through every stage of life. I look forward to having my blog revolve around where I am in life.
*The above was excerpted from a Q&A with Catt Sadler and Lauren Bushnell at the Simply Stylist event.