The Strengths Of The ‘Hobby’ Fashion Blogger
By: Chelsea Burcz

The Strengths of the Hobby Blogger
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With so many career-focused fashion blogs popping up, it’s time to show a little love to the ladies and gents that see blogging as a creative outlet, rather than a way to pay the bills.

Geri Hirsch, the founder of the curatorial blog because i’m addicted, started posting in 2005 while she was miserable working a finance job. It was a way to show her friends what she was up to, “much like a Facebook wall,” she said in a recent conversation.

She admits that her blog does generate a substantial amount of income with advertisements, however because she’s kept it as more of a side project rather than a career, she’s felt that she has less pressure to force posts. “I pay attention to analytics, I’m a perfectionist by nature. I get bummed out if my numbers drop but not too much,” she admitted. “No one helps me, I do it myself — it’s still a hobby.”

“For me it always felt like something I could fall back on since it has been successful,” she continued. For example, if one day she had a family, she would have her blogging as a back up career. Hirsch does plan to have a business based off of her blog soon, and believes the following she’s gained can leverage a launching pad into a successful business — even if the business isn’t exactly within the blog.

I also spoke with Michelle and Marie, the ladies behind the blog Kingdom of Style, about what motivates them to keep blogging as a side project and why keeping a blog is still beneficial even if it’s not a career.

I categorize you both as ‘hobby’ bloggers since you use your blog as more of a side project even though you have had success. What are your day jobs?

Michelle: Whilst we don’t earn a living from our blog, I don’t actually consider us just “hobby bloggers.” It is a side project, yes, but we do approach our blog in a very professional way. It certainly wouldn’t be any better if we did it full time and, in many instances, we have much more involved content compared to some professional bloggers. I guess I consider the blog more like a second job, albeit an upaid one. In my other paid job, I work for a large digital design agency as a designer.

Marie: I’m in total agreement with Michelle here, I wouldn’t really be happy being labelled a “hobby blogger.” We have been blogging professionally since 2006, long before many other ‘career bloggers’ were even aware of blogging. Although there is no commercial element to our blog, we are totally committed to producing original and quality content. During the day, I am creative director in small design and marketing company.

How do you find time to work on your blog on a regular basis? How often do you post?

Michelle: We post twice a day. All my spare time is split between the blog and ballet. My weekends are now entirely devoid of a social life now, as all of it is spent on blog stuff – writing, researching, blog maintenance, photographing stuff.

Marie: We don’t find the time, we make the time. We post twice a day — every weekday.

Why do you chose to keep blogging as a ‘hobby’ rather than a full time career, especially when you have a solid following?

Michelle: Personally, I don’t like the uncertainty of blogging as a career. It’s great now, but will it always be this great? With social platforms things change all the time. Nothing has longevity. I feel brands will eventually stop paying the kind of money they do to bloggers, and I wouldn’t like to be in a possible position where I relied on brands paying me x amount only for them to stop and I’m left having to find the shortfall. It’s all too risky for me personally.
But also cluttering the blog with banner advertising just isn’t our thing. Not to mention that fact there are 2 of us so any money, once it’s split, is probably never going to be enough to sustain a reasonable living anyway.

Marie: I think perhaps age, experience and location have a little something to do with it. Both Michelle and I had established careers and hectic ‘real lifes’ before the blog was established. The blog was started as a distraction and for fun, not for commercial gain. If we had been younger and based in London, we may have been less secure in our vision of what we wanted the blog to be and have been more easily persauded to monetize the blog and take a more commercial mainstream approach.

What keeps you motivated?

Michelle: For me, doing something well and being proud of it motivates me. I’ve never been the kind of person to do the bear minimum to get by, I believe in giving 100% to every venture, even if you don’t get paid. I’m really proud of the blog and love what we write about and I think the work that goes into it really shows. Seeing a good end product motivates me I guess.

Marie: We’re motivated because we write about what we genuinely love. But there is no denying that it is a challenge and hard work.

Have you ever considered stopping?

Michelle: There are times when I’ve thought about stopping, of course. We don’t always get people interacting now via comments, which sometimes makes it feel a bit pointless, but then I find something I’m excited about and want to share and I realise it’s still worth doing. I’ll do it while I get pleasure from it. If I found myself in a position where I had to force myself to post each day, then I’d need to question my motifs for continuing.

Marie: When you are tired and down, you do sometimes think – “what’s the point of it all?” But then a wonderful email drops into The Kingdom inbox and you are revitalized and ready to rock again.

Do you know of any other hobby bloggers that you enjoy?

Michelle: I actually can’t think of any other non-commercial bloggers off hand. All the blogs I read are all now using their blog for revenue or some sort.

Marie: Again, I really don’t like to use the tag “hobby” it seems somehow dismissive. People like Louise from Super Duper Things and Joanne from Godammit, I’m Mad! like us, have just been doing their own unique and wonderful thing for years and years without feeling the need to succumb to advertising

Does it ever feel overwhelming?

Michelle: Yes. I’d be lying if I said having a full time job and blogging as much isn’t ocassionally overwhelming. We’ve given ourselves the weekend off from blogging now, which helps free up some time for getting together content. The reality is you can’t have a good end result if you don’t put in the work. Nothing worth having comes easy.

Marie: Yes, especially when you ‘hit the wall’ and can’t imagine how on earth you are going to come up with anything original and interesting to say the next day. Sometimes it seems unbelievable that we have been writing for over 6 years. That’s a whole lot of posts…

Does it help that there are two of you working on the blog together?

Michelle: It helps diversify the content. But we actually work very separately. We have a schedule we work to, but we rarely actually discuss the blog together.

Marie: It does help ease the strain without doubt. There is a great emotional security that comes from knowing that you are part of a team and have each others back.

What do you think the main difference is between the motivation behind the hobby blogger versus the career blogger?

Michelle: Paying the rent I guess. We are not motivated to blog because our rent depends on it. If my rent relied on me posting every day I think it’d be too stressful. I suppose, for me, the motivation is just to have something I’m really proud of. The bottom line we don’t have to blog. Our readers could dwindle away to nothing and it wouldn’t make a difference because we are not relying on readers converting to sales for our advertisers.

Marie: The key word again is independence. We are not beholden to anyone. This is our blog. We do and say exactly what we like without fear of offending advertisers. The minute you stop being authentic, you and your blog are in big trouble…

[Image credit: Kingdom of Style]

Comments

  1. Thank you for this post.
    As much as love IFB, and visit daily to see what’s happening, there does seem to be a lot of emphasis on monetizing our blogs and how to make our living through the blogs. I’m really content having it as a side project, that does generate some revenue but that’s not why I do it. It’s just really fun. So thanks for the shout out to those of us who just enjoy our hobby for the it’s own sake. :)

    Natasha

  2. Avatar of emilyjenny
    emilyjenny says:

    Being a Hobby Blogger is not such a bad thing! I’ve had my blog for years and have small following but remind myself that I do it for me…noone else. Its my creative outlet to express myself, kind of like an online fashion diary.

    Emily Jenny

    http://www.stilettobeats.com

  3. Sarah says:

    Great article! Like Natasha, I also feel like there is a huge emphasis on IFB about making cash money, and while that is fine, it’s nice to see people who are like me. I like blogging, and if I am offered gifts or can somehow make some money off of my blog, that’s great, but I don’t want to be a full-time blogger. I have a job in fashion marketing, and I want to keep within it because I love it!

    This statement from Michelle really resonated with me. Much respect for full-time bloggers, but I just never even thought of this:

    “Personally, I don’t like the uncertainty of blogging as a career. It’s great now, but will it always be this great? With social platforms things change all the time. Nothing has longevity. I feel brands will eventually stop paying the kind of money they do to bloggers, and I wouldn’t like to be in a possible position where I relied on brands paying me x amount only for them to stop and I’m left having to find the shortfall.”

    Blogging is so new and blogging for money is even newer…who knows where this is going! My personal prediction is that that the big bloggers will remain strong and do their thing or join the traditional fashion industry either in press or retail. The rest of us…I’m not so sure. But nothing bad can come out of doing something you enjoy.

    Anyway, just some random thoughts. Thanks again for the great article!

  4. Melody says:

    Really great post. I was just talking to my bf about this. Lately a lot of talk is about how to make money from blogging, but I don’t really fall into that category. I blogging and meeting new people who enjoy similar things as me, but I think it would become too stressful if I had to post everyday or follow some sort of guidelines. For now, I’m perfectly happy keeping it as a side project or “hobby”.

  5. Avatar of Gabby
    Gabby says:

    Amazing article. I’m not inside the Fashion Industry, and not planning to be. I’m an Architecture student and having a Fashion Blog makes me balance the hard work of school and the fun I have meeting new people with the same interests. But I have to admit that sometimes running a Fashion Blog can be exhausting. Happy weekend everybody!
    http://manisma.blogspot.com

  6. lei ann says:

    thank you for this article. i’ve always felt on the sidelines as a blogger who never intends to commercialize her blog. i already have busy careers as an acupuncturist & kung fu instructor & my blog has always been my creative outlet…the uber girly side of me that doesn’t show while i’m working or teaching. i’m just happy networking with my local blog friends, being invited to events & taking the occasional sponsored post here & there. to parlay it into something bigger, no thank you & i think it’s nice to recognize that there are bloggers out there who aren’t into monetizing everything they do!

  7. April says:

    I completely agree with the above comments! It’s so nice to have an article for those of us blogging as a hobby. And let’s face it…if you’re always trying to make a dime with your blog, then you’re probably not having much fun. And I’m sure many of us who do blog on the side, do it because we enjoy the spirit of blogging.

  8. I’m a little confused at this article. Is it really about hobby bloggers if none of the bloggers quoted is actually a hobby blogger? What is the definition of hobby blogger – a person who posts their outfits online purely for their own enjoyment?

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you! I was thinking the same thing. It’s an interview with “hobby” bloggers who themselves say they are NOT “hobby” bloggers? To me, a hobby is something you do for your own enjoyment, and not to make money. Still an interesting article, but I feel like maybe it was mislabled.

      Sarah’s Real Life

  9. Avatar of Libertad
    Libertad says:

    I really think that being a fashion blogger should give you fun, and if you’re worried about paying your bills, you totally loose all the fun you could have doing this… so of course I agree with this article and ‘hobby bloggers’. I guess I’m one of those: I don’t want to pay my rent from blogging, just have fun (it’s good if a brand or a magazine put an eye on you, but it’ isn’t the important thing about the blog).
    Also I really don’t like when a blog looks like a commercial tv channel!

    http://sahakiel.blogspot.com.es/

  10. Anthea says:

    Thanks for featuring this! It’s so true. I love having my blog as a side outlet where I can be creative and feature anything I choose at any time I want! Wonderful and inspiring interviews :)

  11. bhakti says:

    nice one, made me broaden my view and yes i do agree with you

    xoxo
    bhakti

    http://bhakti-pinkandeverythingthatgirlswant.blogspot.in/2012/07/monsoon-must-buys.html

  12. Kristian says:

    Very nice article. As much as I do enjoy reading about people who have been sucessful enough to turn their love into a career, it is nice to hear this side of things too and I hope you write about this topic of “hobby bloggers” again (though, if they find the term annoying what else could we call this type of blogger?)

  13. Avatar of Alicia
    Alicia says:

    Thank’s for this article and I also agree with most of the above comments. I like blogging as a hobby, you feel less pressure and the freedom of posting what you want and when ever is possible. :)

  14. Rebecca says:

    ,,,love this article. I blog for the fun of it and because I enjoy it. I don’t get paid to blog, I don’t have advertisers on my blog; nor would I consider it at this time. For me it’s a form of “journal-ing.”,,,

  15. Rome says:

    This was a really great article! I recently started a joint blog with a good friend of mine as a creative outlet to share inspiration and projects we’ve done and we both really enjoy it. To see other people blogging for the love of sharing their ideas and not purely for monetizing is encouraging- especially when it seems like everyone and their mom has a fashion blog with the same giveaways and brand associations!

  16. i am greatly inspired by this article. we can share our projects and thoughts freely in blogging. we can get information about our relative object from blogs. i use blogging for fashions.

  17. T. says:

    Well, aren’t the majority of blogs hobby blogs? Only a lucky few can make a living out of blogging!

  18. Avatar of Christa Marzan

    If you’re blogging in addition to your full time job, but still make time to regularly update the blog, monetize from ads, work with brands, go to events, etc., I think that you should be called a “part time” blogger instead of “hobby” blogger. For some reason, the word “hobby” seems to downplay how much time some bloggers put into their sites and content.

    I would love to see more part time blogging featured on IFB. It does seem like there is a lot about becoming a full time blogger and monetizing as of late, and not all of us want to go down that route.

    Christa
    http://www.freshsqueezedfashion.com

  19. Avatar of Saint Salvage

    I happen to work in construction safety in Camden, NJ as my “day job”. Blogging is an online diary of experimenting with beauty, fashion and DIY-ing. This is a great way to get in touch with my feminine side and have a guilty pleasure of stress release and networking with similar opinions.
    I’m always shocked when people decide to follow me on FB or twitter, or even Pinterest.
    http://SaintSalvage.blogspot.com

  20. Avatar of monja
    monja says:

    thanks for the great article it’s relieving to see that even popular blogs,, don’t get that many comments, it’s hard for newbies to really know if it’s worth cuz the only thing we want is readers who really wants to read our blog instead of just wanting to get a follow back. we keep getting in that position if we’d like to follow each others blogs, which can be distracting cuz all we want is the person to follow the blog cuz they like it without expecting anything back except inspiring posts.
    I would love to be a part time blogger since we put a lot of time and work in it. It would be awesome to go to events and such
    thanks for the article again, very boosting :) )

  21. What a great post. For sometime I thought everyone was making money out of their blogs but me. I haven’t even thought about placing ads on my blog. I do it just for the pure pleasure of creating and exploring new ideas. I think a nice comment from my readers every so often is the best pay I can get :) that really makes my day.

  22. Avatar of Marquis of Fashion

    Great article. A agree that there should be more focus on blogs that are writing and styling from the heart and just having fun. But… I respect and follow those blogs that are making enough money to pay themselves through blogging and here’s why.
    I think there is a misconception about professional bloggers. They don’t decide to be a pro-blogger, they become pro-bloggers because their sites pull in “X” amount of money and brings in “X” amount of opportunities so they don’t have to work a traditional 9-5 any longer. Honestly 1% of bloggers make enough from their blogs to go pro and I personally feel that those are the ones that have that extra something that sets them apart. They get the cash because they have the great product aka great blog.
    That being said I have to admit, at times, I find the hobby bloggers are sometimes more adventurous and creative because they aren’t thinking about revenue streams as much.
    Just my 2¢.

What do you think?