This week, I'm so happy to feature Grechen Cohen, for Professional Blogger Spotlight, she owns several blogs. In a world where bloggers seem to come and go, Grechen has built a powerful niche with her blogs with personally curated content. I really admire Grechen's consistency, entrepreneurship, and how she maintains the individual spirit of blogging that made the medium so appealing to begin with.
Tell us a little bit about the Grechen blogs.
Well, I started out with just one site in 2004 – Grechen's Closet – which was a place for me to post outfit pictures, host my designer directory, and feature the fun things I found online. I created my second site in 2007, grechenscodes.com as a place to post the coupon codes advertisers & affiliates were providing to me, which turned out to be a great idea – grechenscodes.com is now the bigger money maker, and allows me to keep Grechen's Closet for outfit pictures and random cool things and not be cluttered up with coupons. In 2008 I started Green Grechen for eco-fashion finds, and Free!Grechen as a place for fellow fashion bloggers to post their giveaways to an audience already interested in fashion. Then in 2009 I started grechenblogs.com as a place to talk about blogging and in 2010 when I moved to Austin, TX, I started newtoatx.com, which is mostly now a place to announce the local blogger meet-ups that I host. Whew! My “baby” is still Grechen's Closet though, it's where I get the most personal with my readers.
How did you monetize Grechen's Closet? (ie. consulting, ads, product sales, etc.)
I'm a bit of the odd-woman out amongst professional bloggers it seems; I monetize only with ads/affiliate sales on all of my sites (only 4 of my sites make money). I work in the pretty specific niche of contemporary women's fashion and am affiliated with or have as advertisers most of the major players in that field, so I make enough to do well. I'd like to branch out into consulting eventually, but at the moment, my time is taken up nurturing what's working for me right now.
How has blogging affected your career?
As soon as I saw that blogging was becoming successful for me in 2005, I started transitioning away from my previous career and towards blogging as a career. This is SO FAR AWAY from what I originally planned to do with my life (wanted to be a international political economy professor!), but right now, blogging is my career and I can think of no other. I never really tried to do both things; I had to devote my life – everything – to what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and fashion/shopping blogging was it.
What are you working on now?
I'm trying to re-build a large part of my site (the designer directory) that I had to abandon a couple of years ago.
What is the most important piece advice would you give aspiring bloggers?
Don't read other fashion blogs. No, I'm just kidding – kind of. But I do think it's important not to compare yourself to others. If I was just starting out today, I might not have started Grechen's Closet for fear that I'm just too different. There's so much competition now, and to be honest, all of the a-list fashion/style bloggers are the same to me. They look the same (not like me or anyone I know), act the same, go to the same events, work with the same brands…it's almost as if to be successful, you somehow have to emulate them. Which, even though it does seem like it sometimes, is NOT true. There's room out there for everyone, as long as you are genuine and have a passion for what you do.