During the month of October, I was able to experience two amazing weeks of fashion in two amazing cities- Phoenix and New Orleans. The news that I would be able to cover New Orleans Fashion Week (NOLAFW) came at the last minute…but I was ready! It was my first time even being in the “Crescent City” and I had one glorious week to explore it. I arrived in New Orleans via Amtrak‘s ‘Sunset Limited.’ It was a marvelous ride, as I had a whole row to myself and I could sit back, relax and watch the countryside zip by. The only downfall was no wifi. Dear Amtrak, if you are reading this…PLEASE install wifi on the trains! For the duration of my trip, I stayed at the chic boutique hotel- The Hotel Modern, located on Lee Circle. The room was lovely and I’ve never slept better! The entire staff were wonderful and catered to my every need. During one of my later night meals at Tangerine (the hotel’s restaurant), I enjoyed chatting it up Kim, who was tending bar that night and the only other patron in the room (and later I found out)- Chad, the owner of the hotel. The hotel was reasonably close to what I wanted to see, so even though the streetcar wasn’t running (the time I was there), I could still hop on a bus, take a cab or just use the legs God gave me to walk the mile or so to the French Quarter, Magazine Street or Lower Garden District. I enjoyed walking the city and breathing in its culture and rich history. I sampled the beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde with an amazing elderly couple from Mississippi who invited me to sit at their table. I had a “vegetarian” po’boy (basically a grilled cheese…dressed) during lunch with a new gal pal I met during the first night of NOLAFW at Stanley’s, housed in a building centuries old, in Jackson Square. I just loved how the room had a high ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows and ample natural lighting. I also partook in shrimp gumbo a couple times. Despite my ‘limited options’ on food, I knew I had to sample the local flavor and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my dietary needs get in the way. I toured the famous St. Louis Cemetary #1, where legendary voodoo practitioner- Marie Laveau is reportedly buried. I could go on and on…New Orleans is such a great city, if you haven’t yet explored it’s wonderful historic core, you MUST!
NOLA Photo Diary
The first night I was there, there was a “Business of Blogging” Q&A seminar with Christine- the gal behind My Style Pill. It was moderated by two lovely ladies from New Orleans Fashion Council- Lauren Lagarde and Andi Eaton. Christine discussed her background working for magazines and being a stylist. She also discussed how her blog started out as just a creative outlet for her. She started out by taking her outfit pictures using a point n’ shoot on a tripod in the courtyard at her NYC apartment. She also told us how getting laid off helped her to get into blogging full-force. For the past four years, she did anything she could so she didn’t get a full-time job, such as being a temp or babysat. Now here she is, one of the top New York style bloggers. She is sweet, humble and has always stayed true to her voice. Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:
~ When reaching out to brands; be proactive but NOT aggressive. Make your emails personal by first researching the brand and knowing their product.
~ Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands that you want to work with. If you work with brands you believe in, it’s more likely that brand will come back to you and you both will have that mutual respect.
~ Work on your SEO…list yourself as who you want your readers to see. Such as personal stylist…
~ Lauren made a good point that if your blog is more about the writing, be your own editor. Write what you need to write, but then step away from the computer for a minute. When you’re ready, come back, read your post. Chances are you will probably end up deleting a few sentences…Edit yourself…Plan posts ahead.
~ Stop reading other blogs if you’re feeling overwhelmed about what outfits to post next. Step back, go into your roots by going into your closet to find inspiration. It’s ok to use pieces of your wardrobe more than once. Make it a challenge for yourself by pulling out your favorite pieces and do a “Wear a H&M Skirt Five Different Ways” post. It’s also ok to be honest with your readers (i.e. I’ve had this blazer since high school…). “Remix, play, have fun and get back to the root of why fashion was so fun and why we love it..”
~ Avoid pigeonholing. You will never be stagnant if you mix hi (separates) with low.
~ Dress how you want to dress. Don’t buy something just because five bloggers have it. From this blogger’s point of view, it’s boring to see the same thing on the same bloggers consistently (let alone the trends that are seen on EVERYONE)… You want to stand out right?
~ Another great point is that bloggers should help out each other. Whether it be linking each other, retweeting, instagramming, cross-promoting or doing a post where you are styling another blogger or doing outfit swaps. Whatever the case, the keywords are: ‘building a community.’
~ rewardStyle is a great affiliate program from those of you wanting to go down that route.
Huge thanks to Christine, Lauren and Andi for the lovely evening!
So dear readers, I hope this has helped if you are looking into launching a blog. I would love to hear your thoughts! Or if you have further advice regarding the “business of blogging,” please feel free to leave a comment!