In June, I quit my day job as in-house counsel at a fashion company in LA to pursue blogging full-time.
I started my blog, Good, Bad, and Fab, as a creative outlet and distraction from the rigidity of law. What started as a hobby grew into an all-consuming passion as I quickly realized how much I loved expressing myself through writing. I didn't quit because I had “made it” as a blogger. I hadn't. I quit simply because I loved blogging and yearned to spend my nights and days doing it. A few weeks after taking the big leap of fashion faith, I saw an email in my inbox from IFB promoting the Saks Fifth Avenue search for an official guest blogger. I usually don't enter blogger contests as so many of them are based on self-marketing skills more than anything. But this contest was different. This contest would be judged by Saks and IFB on the blogger's content and his/her review of a NYFW show. I got excited.
A few days later, after a particular heated and emotional phone call, I decided to sit down and start on my entry as a way to calm myself down. I wrote a review of the Herve Leger Fall 2012 runway show. The show was particularly memorable because I got to see it in person in all its harness belted bodycon glory. I immediately forgot about the phone call as the writing process was utterly therapeutic and completely mood altering. Once I submitted my entry, I pretty much forced myself to forget about the contest. I'd never won anything in my entire life so I didn't want to put any eggs into the basket.
A few weeks later, there it was-a big CONGRATULATIONS email heading from a Saks.com email account. I'd won! How amazing! What happened next was just sheer fashion whirlwind. I was on the phone with the Saks.com content editor going over ideas and pitches.
An interview with Yigal Azrouel? Yes, please! Play dress up at the Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills store? I can be there in thirty minutes! I'm quite sure my giddiness jumped right out of her cell phone and enveloped her New York office. A few days later, I was standing in shopper's mecca aka the Saks Beverly Hills store reporting for my first assignment-a “day to night” styling piece in which I got to run around the store picking out whatever I wanted to style however I wanted. Fabulous!
For the next couple of months, I continued to write posts for the Saks Fifth Avenue Point Of View blog on a regular basis, visiting the store to style outfits and attending fabulous parties like the one celebrating the 40th anniversary of W Magazine. I even got to showcase what I wore on my three week trip to Europe.
The experience has profoundly changed the way I blog and how I collaborate.
I've learned that brands and companies appreciate working with bloggers in a collaborative environment and that they are very much open and willing to hearing bloggers' ideas.
Blogging as an industry didn't exist a few years ago which means we are breathing, living, and evolving in an unexplored marketplace. So don't be afraid to innovate and think outside the box. You never know what new heights can be reached. You just have to voice it!
How can you maintain relationships with brands too?
- Be Proactive. Always remember that companies are excited to work with bloggers because we add unique and fresh perspective to their brand. So don't wait for them to pitch you. Pitch them first!
- Know your audience but be authentic. When writing for Saks, I tried to incorporate stories and products that would resonate with the Saks readers without compromising my own blogger identity and voice.
- Have fun. You love fashion and you love to write. So don't let the fact that you are working with a company place unnecessary pressure on you which may take the fun out of blogging. Whether you're getting paid to blog or not, at the end of the day always remember you're doing it because you love it.
Jenny Wu is the blogger behind Good, Bad and Fab, the personal style and fashion musings of a fearless LA fashion lawyer by day, fierce fashion blogger by night living life in the fab lane.