Happy Thursday friends!! As I sit at my desk trying to tackle my 150+ emails in my inbox, confirming holiday brand collaborations, signing contracts and doing all of the other things that allow me to make my blog a business (which I am absolutely grateful beyond words for!), I came across the sweetest email from a young girl who shares the same passions as I do…
“I am 14 years old and my mom showed me your Instagram! I thought it was amazing! I absolutely loved it; I am very interested in doing the same thing or something similar to what you’re doing! I was wondering how you got started and if you had any suggestions for me! I absolutely LOVE fashion and I love to write as well!” -Gracie
As I began writing back to her, I had to pause for a moment. While my blog is now also my way of making an income, at the heart of it all, it is the fruition of the same dream I had when I was Gracie’s age. Because I am a “yes” person (and an extreme optimist who, at times, believes there is infinite hours in the day), I often find myself with little time or room in my editorial calendar to write about things on a whim, to share spur-of-the-moment thoughts on the happenings in my life and this world, and most of all, to answer questions and directly connect with YOU, the people who actually allow me to make my dream a reality each and every day (and who I am also SO extremely grateful for!!)
So thank you, sweet Gracie, for your email that not only turned around my morning, but has inspired me to create a new series on the blog in which I can get back to writing from the heart, without any sponsorships or affiliate links.
So here it goes, my first-ever heart-to-heart with you all.
You may remember a few months ago that I announced I would be doing a monthly Q&A session on the blog. First of all, let me apologize that I didn’t make that happen. I had SO many incredible responses with questions and tutorial requests from you all that I honestly got so overwhelmed about how to fit it into one blog post that I kept pushing it back. But no more of that…this series is also a solution/answer to my Q&A post series idea that fell off the radar. Luckily, I saved the questions you all sent my way, so I’ll be answering all of them in an upcoming post. And if I didn’t or they somehow slipped by me then I’m SO sorry, but if you could please send your requests/questions my way once more (email@example.com), I’ll include them in an upcoming post! Stay tuned!
It would only be appropriate for me to start this series off by answering the question that helped inspire this series. I actually had many of you ask about how I got started blogging and for suggestions to those just starting, so this answer is for all of you babes…
Q: “I am 14 years old and my mom showed me your Instagram! I thought it was amazing! I absolutely loved it; I am very interested in doing the same thing or something similar to what you’re doing! I was wondering how you got started and if you had any suggestions for me! I absolutely LOVE fashion and I love to write as well!” -Gracie
A: Hi Gracie! Thank you so much once again for your sweet compliments about my IG and your email that helped kick off this series, and tell your momma I said thank you for the introduction. 😉 I was actually a lot like you when I was your age. I knew I loved fashion and I loved to write, so I decided from about the age of 12 that when I “grew up” I was going to combine those two passions and be an editor for a fashion magazine. That dream carried me all the way through college where I got my bachelor’s degree in Magazine Journalism at the University of Texas. Believe it or not, there was no social media back when I was your age (not even Facebook!) and I’d certainly never heard of blogging, so I could never have dreamed that the opportunity to combine my passions for my career would be possible first in my home state of Texas (all of the fashion magazine headquarters are located in NYC!) and then from the spare bedroom of my own home. But all of that changed during my time in college.
My journey to blogging had its beginnings as a childhood dream, but it culminated into a real possibility while I was in college in Austin, Texas. I landed a marketing internship with an up and coming jewelry designer, Kendra Scott, in Austin at the start of my junior year and because the company was so small (I believe there were 9 total employees), the marketing director tasked me with running the blog and social media outlets. Kendra Scott grew rapidly and I LOVED creating content for the blog and social outlets, so I kept coming back every semester, even spending one semester in NYC with the PR firm that represented the brand, only to realize that NYC wasn’t a place I wanted to live after graduating (there goes the magazine editing plan). Luckily, when I returned for my senior year, I was offered a part time position at Kendra Scott as the social media specialist with a promise of a full-time job when I graduated.
As fashion bloggers began to stir up the world of social media, Kendra Scott decided we needed to start reaching out to send them jewelry, so I took on that task. It was at a rewardStyle conference for bloggers in Dallas in which I was sent as a representative of Kendra Scott that I began to see the incredible opportunities in fashion blogging. And thanks to my experiences at Kendra Scott, I knew how to create and run a blog. A little spark developed in my mind at that time and I actually bought a domain name and created a blog site for my sister and I to share, but it fell through the cracks (and I could still just kick myself for not being more serious about it then!). I went to the rewardStyle Conference as a Kendra Scott rep again the following year, and this time, I was truly inspired. The second night in my hotel room, I began writing down possible names and with the approval of my mom and my sister on the name, I bought the domain name for vandifair.com that very night in my hotel room.
So that’s my very long saga (sorry about that – I really did try to keep it short!) of my journey to starting my blog, and all that’s to answer your next question. Here’s my personal advice for you, Gracie, and to any young girls out there who dream of owning their own business one day.
1 – if you have the seed of an idea already planted, then GO FOR IT!! I sometimes wonder how much further along my blog would be now if I hadn’t let fear and doubt stop me from pursuing my dream of blogging the year before.
2 – stay creative. The best thing you can do as a writer and a creative is to get a journal and write things down. Whether thoughts from the day, ideas for topics to write about, short stories…whatever is on your mind or makes you excited/gets your juices flowing! It will make you a better writer and will spark new ideas that could lead you on an exciting adventure!
3 – save or make note of things that others are creating that you love. So much of my inspiration starts from me bookmarking a photo on Pinterest or in a magazine because I like the way the colors look together or I like the layout. When I first started blogging, I used to stopped myself from looking at other blogger’s content because I wanted everything I posted to 100% come from me, but I quickly learned that getting inspired by other creatives is not only a great thing, but it’s necessary to do in the field. As long as you remain true to who you are and take your unique spin on everything you create, finding inspiration in other creatives is an amazing way to inspire new ideas within your own style and brand. Gathering inspiration from other creatives can help get your creative juices flowing and inspire your own unique
4 – stay hungry for your passion. The truth is, when you’re old enough to begin pursuing a career, the entire world of social media will have changed. Who can even imagine what kind of opportunities there will be in social media and technology in the next decade, so be sure you’re on the cutting edge by exploring what’s new in the world of social media, writing and fashion.
Okay y’all, I’ve gotta get back to my inbox, but I loved getting to take a moment from the hustle and bustle of the work day for a little real talk with you all. If you have any requests for tutorials on the blog, answers to questions, or really any ideas for me in general, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to include them in an upcoming post! Stay tuned for more in my VF On A Whim series!
- Fair-well xx,