Diary of a Failed Fashion Blogger

fashion blogger rough field
Hey everyone! This post is both a hello and a goodbye. Until about two weeks ago, I was editor-in-chief of IFB. It was a really fun gig. I worked from home, made my own hours, and was paid well for my efforts. I got to be creative, my bosses were entertaining on Slack and took my ideas seriously. Most importantly, I learned a lot about how to run a successful fashion blog.

Still, my own blog languished. I launched Stylenik in September 2010, and at peak moments, I have attracted around 10,000 pageviews. But my numbers often slump much lower, and then I get really depressed.

But even after six years of more downs than ups, I have never wanted to quit. Something in me really wants to create my own successful business, even though I have proven over and over that I suck at running a business.

I guess that’s partly why a few weeks ago I sat on my couch running IFB’s editorial for the last time (the other part was that I enrolled my daughter in a co-op preschool, wow did I underestimate how that would change my life—for the better overall but negatively time-for-my-work-wise!). I realized that after a year of writing and editing stories about affiliate marketing, SEO, social media, photography and blog design, I was not making any great strides with my own blog.

That’s because writing and editing articles about success do not equal success. You actually have to do things that directly effect your blog—like write posts and promote them, for example. Little things like that.

About a month ago, I made a big effort to publish consistently on Stylenik. I wrote daily posts, and promoted them on all my social networks. My daily traffic tripled! I was thrilled. Then, I got busy with wrapping up IFB, preschool, travel, etc., and my traffic tanked. I badgered my IT manager (aka my husband) about it—did you break something? Surely some technical glitch is preventing my fans from accessing my brilliance.

He said no, actually, he had reduced my page-load time by 75% and if anything I should be seeing higher numbers.

Then I published a post with great photography, promoted it on my social channels and cross promoted it with the brands I was wearing, my photographer, etc. My traffic quadrupled.


fashion blogger hills
Despite having written an article for IFB precisely addressing the ineffectiveness of magical thinking when it comes to blog success, I still have to remind myself that it takes consistent, practical, hard work to make a blog (or anything else) succeed. Wishing doesn’t work. Being cool, pretty, smart or otherwise awesome doesn’t work—not alone. You have to recruit all of your attributes in an organized fashion and make them work for you. And you have to do it every day.

At least that’s what my year as IFB’s editor-in-chief (and my yoga instructor) have taught me, and now I’m finally putting it into practice. I’m halfway through IFB’s Instagram course (next is the SEO course), and I finally created a media kit! I hope you’ll follow along on my journey. I’ll be posting about my progress every other Tuesday.

[Photos by Brad Wittke]

Related Posts

About The Author

In addition to being editor at IFB, Kristen writes for Forbes, Eat, Sleep, Denim, and her own blog, Stylenik. Previously, she served as the San Francisco editor for Racked, covering the intersection of retail, fashion, and technology. She has written about everything from human cloning to luxury shopping for publications including Wired, Gizmodo, Refinery 29, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in a '70s house in '70s clothes on the Northern California coast. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

26 Responses

  1. M. Akua

    Wow! I love this post! It’s like i could have written it. I love blogging so much and also launched a blog year ago. But i barley make it to blog content. And after all those years it’s still a very small blog 🙂 But hey, i love it :))

    wish you very good luck with your new career <3

    M. Akua


  2. Bettye Rainwater

    I hear ya, Kristen. I have a couple-month-old plus size fashion blog…I’d been posting 2x a week, that was manageable, but I wasn’t seeing much traffic (yes, cross-promoting on facebook and instagram and, sporadically, lookbook). Someone in a Facebook blogging group I belong to threw out the challenge of 30 blog posts in 30 days. Never one to turn down a challenge…I started on June 1…I’m 15 days in, and as challenging as it has been to blog something worthwhile(ish) (ha) every day, so far I haven’t missed a single day…and my views and comments show it. My follower count is slowly rising and there’s a nice manageable stream of comments and likes daily on the blog, facebook and IG. It’s very rewarding to see. BUT…I can’t sustain this. I know that. I have a full-time day job, a part-time evening job, and a photography business. At the end of the 30-days I’m going to have to cut back. I’m going to TRY to do 3 GOOD posts a week and hope the following and activity don’t decrease TOO much. Cuz even three good posts a week is a lot of work and it sucks to not show anything for it.

    Hey, I have that IFB Instagram course somewhere – I’ve never even made the time to read it! Guess I should get on that, huh?

    Anyway, good luck to you on your blog going forward, hope you can find a way to make it AND the rest of your life work 🙂


    • Kristen

      Wow congrats on sustaining a post per day, that is impressive, especially with all you have going on. Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. Ana

    That’s quite an intriguing title but I don’t think you are in any ways a failure. It sounds you learned a lot from your experience so that makes it worth it.

    And thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.
    I started my blog a while ago and decided to turn it into a fashion blog recently, but I posted no content yet.
    Looking forward to some blogging adventures of my own.

    • Kristen

      Thank you for your kind words… hopefully some success is around the corner for both of us! 🙂

  4. Lera

    I’m going through something similar, and it’s pretty tough. At times I feel so discouraged that I barely see any reason to go on with the blog. It’s constant ups and downs. Thanks for the support!


  5. Angie from reasonstodress.com

    LOVE THIS SERIES ALREADY!! Good luck with your journey and maybe I could interview you on my blog?

  6. Nicole @Nicole's Lifestyle Lounge

    This post is an awesome reminder that no matter how much you know, if you don’t put in the work, you won’t get the results.

  7. Jeanine Marie

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It is very insightful. It does take a lot of work and you have to distinguish from other bloggers or you become one of the thousands of out there who do not see the big numbers. I was just asking myself if it is worth it anymore.

    Today you have to keep up with SEO, social media, keeping your site safe from hackers and spammers, dealing with brands/affiliates who find ways not to pay you for promoting their product. It leaves me with little time to do put into photos and content. I think I need to got eat a Snickers bar and think about my future in blogging.

    Best of luck to you.

    Jeanine Marie

    • Kristen

      Seriously, it’s so much to keep track of. Thanks for your comment and let me know if the Snickers helps 😀

  8. Moya Stone

    I’m wondering what kind numbers equal success. I have never reached 10,000 hits for my fashion blog but I keep going. Sure, I’d like to do better but I have a regular readership, however small it might be, I often receive compliments for my posts, and I really enjoy writing what I write. I say my blog is – the little blog that could.

    • Kristen

      Sounds like you are already successful… if you’re proud of what you’re creating, getting positive feedback and achieving your own personal goals, I’d say the numbers are less important!

  9. ty

    It happens to the best of us, but patience and hardwork eventually pays off

  10. Elisa Negro

    I think you’re one of the best on internet fashion blogger I follow.
    I love your writing style and your contents.
    Stunning outfit and attention for details.
    Good job!
    Consulente d’immagine ed esperta in personal styling Elisa Negro

    • Kristen

      Wow, thank you so much for the kind words! You made my week! xoxo

  11. YANS Chi

    I also running my own blog page in facebook. I post around 2 post a week as I dont have much time. Got a full time job and having a little time for blogging makes me harder to increase the readers and followers. I am going to increase my posts. Thank you! You help me much

    YANS Chi
    Chi’s Little World

  12. Stephanie

    Really needed to hear parts of this post today (overall it was great!)!! I’ve had my blog up and running since I graduated high school in 2012, but only got serious about it in 2014. But over the past few months I’ve been in the most ugly rut ever, I just can’t stay motivated to constantly post and it has been driving me up the damn wall (pardon my French). A large portion of it has to do with my job, I work fulltime in fashion retail as an assistant manager and when I come home from a shift I’m just fashionable-drained for lack of better terms. I think mainly it’s just a matter of trying to find the perfect balance between job and what I love (because I’ve never wanted to quit blogging for fashion in general) and digging deep to give myself the kick in the arse I need to get out of my rut! I just finished contacting some of my favorite bloggers and fashion figures for some advice and any helpful motivation they can give, so hopefully that’ll help even more!

    Best of luck on your new journeys! xox

  13. Honey

    I just signed up for the IFB course. I’m really excited to get to it, even if it turns out to just be a personal project.

  14. matrimoni villa Varese

    Your blog is so awesome!
    I love your articles and I love your style. You’re always so gorgeous!
    I’m very busy ( I’m an italian artist which realize allestimenti per matrimoni a Varese) but when I’m free a really love to read at yours!
    Thanks a lot for your so inspirational blog and for sharing it with us.