When I started my blog, it was just a girl, her love for fashion, and a WordPress account. In all honesty, if I wasn't in my current occupation, I would write for Elle. I needed a project I could channel my creative energy into that would act as a stress reliever. Since then, my blog took off. There are certain things no one warns you about when you start a blog.

Lots and lots and lots of clothes everywhere

Food bloggers cook. They cook a lot. Beauty bloggers try many different products and experiment with looks. Fashion bloggers, well, we buy quite a bit of clothing. It's the nature of the beast. My closet runneth over. The hubby may have to vacate soon. A blogger has to engage with their muse. My muse is fashion. Fashion involves clothing. It's a never-ending cycle.

Forgetting price points

My brand centers on frugal fashion. I post blogs and Instagram photos of outfits below a specific price point. Of course, I remember the pair of Tahari heels I purchased for $11 or my $12 Calvin Klein jeans find at the thrift store. Who could forget the 50 cent Express dress with pockets from a yard sale? I remember a few fashionable finds, generally on the higher price point or designer side. From there, it gets a little fuzzy. I forget how much I paid for items.

My favorite conundrum is the rewards/sales combos. A shirt retails for $40. I buy the shirt for 15% off along with a few accessories that are also on sale. I use my $20 rewards certificate combined with another coupon or reward. Forty dollars minus 15% off, subtract the $15 off a $30 purchase, take away the $20 rewards, carry the one...just swipe the card and be done with it already. We won't even discuss BOGO. I usually purchase multiple items, so the receipt isn't much help. I end up taking a pic of my haul and post the I-paid-X-and-saved-XX disclaimer.

Creating content in your sleep or in your car

So. Much. Content. To my credit, I do manage a blog, YouTube channel, and several social sites in addition to a regular day job. Content creation is the most difficult aspect to blogging. Not everything I create sticks to the wall. Posts I thought would do well flop. Posts I hurriedly threw together generate views. My best ideas come at the most inconvenient times. I have pieces of blogs typed into the notes app on my phone. I'm always afraid someone will hack my phone and find phrase such as "personally I prefer to hide my bum at all times."

Fashion_Meme

Lots and lots and lots of selfies

I cannot selfie at all. If I can find a way to post an outfit-of-the-day shot without actually appearing in the picture, I will. I can never find the right angle. It's like a nightmarish game of Twister, and I'm the only one playing.

Receiving constant apologies

I honestly do not judge you for your outfit. Your aesthetic does not have to match my aesthetic. Please do not apologize for what your wearing. No one died and made me Queen of Style. That honor goes to Coco Channel. I am not her. Apologies insinuate wrongdoing. You have not wronged me. Carry on.

My camera is my best accessory

I have graduated from a camera bag to an entire portable studio complete with lighting kits and tripods. Ever lugged camera equipment on a shopping trip or a hair appointment? No? It's character building. Having the plague is less socially appalling.

Never have an off day again

Although I don't judge you for outfit, people often judge me for mine. There's the anticipation of wondering what she's going to wear next. I thought most people didn't notice what I wore until I was told otherwise by several people. If my YouTube channel ever blows up, I'm in trouble. I still have some anonymity left. Some days I just want to go to Target in sweats and an oversized tee.

Brand Ambassorships and Affiliations

One thing everyone hopes to gain but never discusses openly is the collaboration between brands and bloggers. I'm a marketer and communications instructor in my real life (i.e. my day job). I'm always neck-deep in a stack of research and data. One of the conundrums of marketing is reaching Millennials. This generation doesn't respond to traditional media advertising in the way previous generations did.

Enter the influencer. Brands will seek people on social media, blogging websites, and YouTube to wear their clothes or accessories in photos, blogs, or videos. There is usually a vetting process involved. The company ensures that your brand coincides with their mission. You can accept or decline their invitation to collaborate. The arrangement is quid pro quo. There is an exchange of free product or a monetary incentive for publicity. Fashion affiliates often receive discount or promotional codes. In some cases, commission is involved.

Here's the tricky bit. How do you sell or promote a product without selling or promoting a product outright? Thus is the challenge of any blogger. I usually default to lookbook videos and tutorials. I will say it's a nice perk. I rarely decline freebies unless the product violates my clearly-defined principles and policies. But the companies already know what those are through their vetting process.

Oversaturation

So. Many. Bloggers. Everywhere. Figure out a brand. Find your niche. Stick to it. Patience and hard work are virtues. You'll need it in spades. Don't live and die by your analytics. It takes time to develop a brand. Going viral is a rarity these days. It's also a short-lived existence.

Research Everything

I spend more time researching than creating content. I read every fashion magazine monthly. I watch live streams and media coverage of fashion weeks twice a year. I surf the internet and several prominent websites. I review marketing research and trends. I experiment with new social media platforms and technology. I spend three hours of researching to every hour writing or filming. I'm trendsetter. It's my job. If I'm not ahead of the trend, I might as well pack up and go home.

Networking: social or otherwise

Instagram is my favorite. Buy a skirt? Instagram it. Get a haircut? Instagram it. Remember that whole content creation thing? Most of it involves social networking.

I can totally get away with using Instagram as a verb, right?

Building contacts is the second form of networking. My city is developing a fashion community. I also reach out to other bloggers, YouTubers, businesses, and fashion industry professionals. Networking is a second job in itself.

This is the short list. I'm sure many other observations could make the list. If you plan to start a fashion blog, don't say you weren't warned.

Published by Heather Leigh Stanley