This week's Professional Blogger Spotlight highlights Jessica Quirk, the sweet and energetic blogger behind What I Wore
. Jessica spilled the details on her blogging experience these past few years behind the scenes at her daily outfit blog
, what’s in store for the coming year, and tips for bloggers new and old!
Tell us a little about What I Wore?
I've been taking a photo of my outfit (almost) everyday since May 5, 2007. I'm coming up on chronicling five years of style! It's so fun to look back at how much it has changed since my first photo. In the early days, I was positing the photos on flickr and to the wardrobe_remix group while maintaining a personal blog. Then one day I decided the photos needed a home of their own and the What I Wore
blog was born. I started out taking all of my own shots with a timer and a tripod (or park bench, street light base, etc) but now my husband collaborates with me by taking all of the photographs. The photos you see on What I Wore
are what I actually wore to get out of the house and we take them on the way to where ever we're going. What else? I've been sewing for almost 20 years so I like to make a lot of my own clothes and do other little crafty projects too. Whatever can keep me inspired is what I move towards!
I have two main revenue streams – banner ads that I run as part of the Stylelist Network and sponsored advertorial content like brand ambassadorships, product integrations, and contests.
What role does social media play in your blogging life?
The key social platforms I utilize are Twitter
and Instagram (or Instagrid
) all under the What I Wore
handle. I use them in two ways – about 10% is to alert people that there is something new on the blog and the remaining 90% is just day in, day out parts of my life. I read blogs because I want to connect with the author as a person and I try to use social media to do the same. Follow me on Instagram and you'll see photos of my cats (too many), what I ate for breakfast, sewing projects and other little tidbits that are cool enough to share, but not on the main blog.
How has blogging affected your career?
Blogging has become
my career. I left a job working on the development/design side of the fashion world to being my own boss (not always a good thing!) and creating my own day job. I still go into an office, I set deadlines and I have to deal with insurance, accounting and legal people on my own. But I also get to explore my creative side daily, whether its through putting together daily outfits, creating collages or special projects like my book or design collaborations. There's really no limit to what I can spend my time on, thanks to having turned What I Wore
into a business. It's great!
Any big projects in the works?
I'm actually focusing more on making my day-to-day more enjoyable, creative and fulfilling. So it's a big move towards simplicity, I guess you could say!
What is your blogging resolution for 2012?
This year I'm moving away entirely from receiving freebies or “care of” items which I started phasing out in 2011. I want to draw a clear line between the editorial (my daily outfits) and the advertorial on site. I have a handful reasons for moving in this direction. Firstly, for my readers, it's a lot more realistic to not have a closet full of free clothes. I'm not throwing out things that were gifted to me in the past (or part of a larger sponsorship), but everything for 2012 will be purchased with my own dollar. Secondly, I don't believe you can build a business based on receiving free bags and shoes. They're not scalable and I don't think they're equal value to the service/influence you provide by showcasing them to your readers. The year is young, but I've received a positive response to this position thus far. It's my hope that more bloggers will move in a similar direction!
What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?
I was thinking about this just the other day and I really think that interning for another, more well established blogger is the way to get your foot in the door and get some actual experience. I get a lot of e-mails asking how to get more exposure and get a wider audience. We all hear that an original point of view and unique content is important. That's absolutely true, but getting a nod from a blogger with a larger platform can be a be a big launching point. A lot of your success (if you measure it with traffic) is going to be from being recognized by your peers. So what I'm getting at here is if you can do great work for someone who has that platform and will recognize you, you're leaps and bounds ahead of the game. Many of the most prolific designers in the fashion industry worked for someone else before they opened up their own shop. There's a lot to learn!
Check out some of Jessica's other blogging tips on her blog here.