Let’s get this straight. I’ve been at this blogging game for less than a year and still consider myself to be a newbie. One who is still learning. One who is sometimes struggling. One who, like my fashion sense, is still budding. I know my blog is not the fanciest thing around. Still, it’s my own creation and I’m pretty proud of it.
So, I was a bit surprised and completely honored when I was asked to be a panelist at a recent event for fashion bloggers and aspiring bloggers: The Bloganista Mini-Con organized by Javacia Bowser of See Jane Write. The goal was to offer tips on how to be a fashion blogger/start a fashion blog and also to offer tips on how to dress like one, even if you aren’t one. I may not be a full-fledged fashionista, but I certainly love talking about fashion and how I get dressed on a budget. Plus, I figured I’d surely get tips from other, more seasoned, bloggers about how they have found success. (To meet the other panelists, click here.)
Before I get into conference details…here’s a look at what I wore! I mean, you have to try to dress to impress when you’re introduced to a group as a “fashion blogger,” right?? I couldn’t go shopping for something new and fabulous, so I made do with what I had. I chose my yellow 3/4 sleeve Banana Republic dress and accessorized with other pops of color: a turquoise necklace from Lotus Boutique and fuschia Guess T-Strap heels from T.J. Maxx. I added my free Banana Republic clutch for a bold, black and white contrast. I love this dress and I loved how it all came together. The look also got me featured as a “Fave of the Week” by fab blogger Sydney Summer on her Facebook page!
Now that appearances are out of the way….
Here’s What I Shared:
1. My Sale Shopping Secrets: I’ve mentioned them before, but the biggest takeaway is knowing when to shop. The best retail deals will be found in January (end of fiscal year) and July (the fiscal half) when retailers are trying to quickly get rid of old merchandise, make room for new inventory and boost those profits before posting financial reports.
2. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Social Media: Hit up Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to follow your favorite retailers for unadvertised, non-emailed, pop-up and flash sales. You may be surprised at how many businesses reward their followers with some amazing one-day/last-minute sales!
2. Expanding Your Wardrobe on a Budget: make the most out of what’s already in your closet. Each week, evaluate what you already own and pair two things you’ve never worn together before. Try new combinations of colors or patterns (or both!).
4. Try a Style Challenge: If you ever look in your closet and have no idea where to begin, these challenges can really help you make decisions on what to wear every day. Here are some I’ve followed in the past: Hilary Rushford from Dean Street Society posts one to her Instagram account/blog once a month. Sandae from Curvy Girl on the Run also has style challenges, although I think she won’t be having one for the month of August. Coast to Coast Central posts a style challenge twice a week. These challenges are tracked on Instagram, but you can always just use the challenges as a personal guideline for help. No Instagram #ootd (outfit of the day) necessary!
Here’s What I Learned (about blogging):
1. If you can make money off your blog, that’s great! But if you don’t that’s ok, too! Unless your entire purpose for starting your blog is to make money, don’t let that consume you or be your driving focus for content. Remember why you are blogging to begin with.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Every panelist and speaker at the Bloganista Mini-Con uses social media (whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and/or Facebook) to expand their reach. Brand yourself accordingly. Know that whatever you put on those media outlets is a direct correlation to your blog. Your brand. You.
3. Don’t compare yourself or your blog to anyone else’s. Not only can you set yourself up for disappointment, you’ll end up losing focus on your own product. Yes, some bloggers find overnight success. Others may find a huge following after years of hard work. The main goal is to stay true to yourself, your vision, your content, your mission. Which brings me to my next point.
4. Success will eventually come. There were two great keynote speakers at the Bloganista Mini-Con–both started their blogs with no intention of gaining a mass following or to bankroll a rich and fabulous lifestyle. Alexis Barton with Same Chic Different Day started her blog to fulfill two passions: writing and fashion. It’s not her main source of income, even after years of plugging away. BUT, it has afforded her numerous opportunities which have ended in paying jobs, local TV appearances and speaking engagements. Megan LaRussa Chenoweth started Southern Femme as a tool to share her experiences in New York with family back home in Alabama. She has now parlayed it into a bona fide business.
Being part of the Bloganista Mini-Con was one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had as a blogger. I had the chance to meet a growing community of local bloggers. I applaud Javacia for taking the ambitious task of organizing the event. I consider it to have been a wonderful success! Who knows, maybe next year it won’t be “mini” and we’ll be reuniting at a full blown conference! To read her recap of the Bloganista Mini-Con, click here.
Here are just a few more pics from the event I stole from the See Jane Write’s Facebook Page! Hope you don’t mind, Javacia!
As always, thanks so much for reading and thanks for joining me on this journey!