I’ve been asked a lot recently to tell my blogging story – the why, the when, and all the reasons I added this crazy world of daily Instagram posting and writing to my life. As we enter a new year, and I have my feet under me a little… I want to start writing about more personal things so you can get to know me better, in addition to the fashion and beauty posts.
Well let’s start at the beginning. I didn’t really know blogging was a “thing” until a few years ago. I stumbled upon a couple bloggers named Alyson Hayley and Lauren Kay Sims… and through following them, I was opened up into the world of fashion and the LIKEtoKNOW.it app – and the way I shopped for clothes and beauty products completely changed. I waited for their posts daily and was not only getting advice on how to style clothes, I could shop the things I loved right off their Instagram posts. As soon as I liked the photo (now you have to screenshot), an email was sent to me with links to everything she was wearing. I found myself buying smarter pieces that I could style different ways, and also got new ideas on how to mix color and pattern, or use the clothes I already had to create a look Alyson and Lauren were wearing. So easy and helpful.
I’ve always loved style and fashion, but this blogger world was inspiring to me. These girls were making a living on their own by supporting brands they love and giving other women advice on how to dress for their body type, what skincare to use, workout tips, meal recipes, posting daily on what stores had the best sales… they literally were doing the work for me. I was buying everything! For the next year or two I followed probably 50+ bloggers who’s styles I loved and continued to shop and admire their photos. Mostly I admired how honestly convincing they were, and how someone I didn’t even know had such an impact on me and my purchasing decisions. I loved how I could watch in their stories how a product worked, or the fit of a top, or ask what size they were wearing for a reference – and they would answer! They gave honest opinions – good or bad – on products so we as an audience could make our own decision through their influence.
I started my blog in May of 2018… I wish I had started it earlier, however I wasn’t in a good headspace at the time. It may come as a shock to you but I don’t love taking photos of myself. Occasionally I see one of me and I think “oh I look really cute” but usually I would just look at a photo and dismiss everything I see. As women, I feel that is something we all do on a daily basis. I saw these bloggers as inspiring – but would also envy how beautiful they were, or their toned abs, or their gorgeous homes and think – OK I can’t do this till I start working out, or get a better apartment. They were posting twice a day sometimes three… and I could never fit that into my life with a full time job AND bar tending on the weekends. There’s also so many girls already doing this, so why would anyone want to follow me? Every excuse I could think of I threw at myself as a reason I wouldn’t be successful if I tried.
I also had a string of not so great relationships.. and when I say string I mean about 6 years of trying to make it work with not the right people. Not bad people per say, just a lot of time spent an energy exhausted where it shouldn’t have gone. Pair that with jobs that I was either struggling in, or felt like I didn’t quite fit. This all added up to a not so happy Kelly. I was anxious, I was reacting to situations in ways I shouldn’t have, and was holding onto a lot of anger. I started seeing a therapist, and after a lot of hard work week after week… I was starting to feel like my old happy self again. Not every day… but a vast improvement from where I was.
In January, I had a major hip surgery. I trained the entire 2017 for triathlons and torn the labrum in my right hip. Also had some bone damage due to that protective cartilage wall being broken through. I had this repaired, and had 8 weeks of downtime in a massive brace that didn’t allow me much freedom. If you all know me… downtime is not my jam, ha! I work full time, bar tend on the weekends, and bake cakes! Free time is not something I’m used to. I was kinda like, OK… now what? I watched way too much TV for a couple weeks and decided that… I’m gonna start a blog! I’ve never built a website… how hard can it be right? Turns out not super hard… but not super easy either. Now that I know what I’m doing it’s a breeze, but I’m glad I used those 6 weeks to build up my site, write some post, fill up the site with some photos… so I was ready to launch on May 1st.
I knew before the surgery that this was the year I was going to put all my energy into myself. Something I hadn’t done in a long time. I spent months researching blogging, reached out to TONS of bloggers I had been following forever, and waited for responses. Some answered, some didn’t, but overall I was able to gather up enough info to really figure out what I wanted to do, how I was going to accomplish this on my own, and work this into my already insane schedule. My bonus hit in March, I loaded up my closet, and started taking pictures with my mom, some friends, and eventually just started attacking the photo game on my own.
GIRL get yourself a tripod and remote blue tooth clicker! GAME CHANGER! Did you know I take all of my photos myself? YUP! You can’t tell (most of the time) but I’m holding a remote in every photo. It’s super small and I can hide it in my hand that holds my purse, behind a prop, in my hair…wherever and stand in front of my camera and click away. You can lower the tripod, raise it up, walk in front of it for an action shot, sit down in front of it… once you have no shame that someone passing by may think you’re a creep, just gets easier and easier! You’ll know the best ways to stand, how to tilt your head, what smile to use for each photo etc. I don’t have time to schedule big shoots with friends anymore. I’m also terrible at asking for help and don’t like to bother my friends… so this is just the best option for me. So I pack up one or two looks every couple days and head out on my lunch break, change in my car, and shot some looks in under half an hour in back alleys where I can find cool walls. In the summer I go after work since it’s still light out. Sometimes I snap a pic BEFORE work if I’m running early… just so much easier to squeeze it in on my own time and not worry about who can help me. Sunny days are the WORST for photos, while cloudy days are the best – no shadows! I’ve never watched the weather so much in my life!
I will tell you… this is NOT an easy thing to do. People may look at your photos daily and think “oh cute”, or that the outfit in the picture IS exactly what I’m wearing that day – yeah, not so much. I take anywhere from 2-8 looks at a time and they’re all different depending on what collabs I have coming up or sales I know are on the horizon. You have to keep up with sales, watch the clothes you’ve already got for when they get marked down, hope that what you bought doesn’t sell out by the time you can take a photo and post it. You have to make sure when you throw up a photo you have some way for followers to shop your look – whether that’s a blog post or LIKEtoKNOW.it app, or ShopStyle! Oh, and you don’t make money in the beginning! HOORAY all this work for no mula… ha. It takes a couple months of photos to be able to even to apply to RewardStyle or ShopStyle… and I think this is where most people give up. It’s not worth it. This is too hard. Why am I doing this?
Trust me… this isn’t the easiest and can be stressful… however, all that being said – oh how rewarding this whole experience is! The girls…omg they’re the best and so supportive. If you ever want to feel great or be uplifted… throw up a post and watch the comments flow in on how much they “love your look, THOSE SHOES GF, Omg you’re the cutest EVER, I love your style” it is literally blogger fuel that keeps you going. I’ve connected with some many amazing people who uplift me everyday and encourage me to keep going. You’ll get your first collaboration with a brand and it’s like THE BEST feeling. As you grow you can start charging for posts, you’ll make money when people shop your looks, and things just start to feel really positive. Maybe that takes a few months, maybe a year, maybe two years but you just have to keep going for YOU!
I picked affordable and versatile style because that’s what I buy on a regular basis. Classic and fun pieces that can be worn to work and out, and in multiple ways. I don’t make superstar money (yet) and need to stretch my budget as much as possible. I think other women have that same issue. We all stare at our closets and were like OMG I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR! Um yes you do girlfriend… you’re just defaulting to always pairing the same thing together every time. Rock that t-shirt dress with some booties and a denim jacket, tie a flannel around it with some sneakers and a ball cap, wear a chunky long sweater over it with knee high boots in the winter… these are all things I wanted to help others do, with clothes they already have, or show them… hey this dress is $50 but you can wear it all year round and to multiple occasions, and this is how. See below!
I stayed in this niche… and posted daily about sales, style this three ways, remember this top from last month? It’s now on sale… and I kept pushing this. Eventually I broke into some skincare… haircare… and some apartment decor. I think that’s what helped me do well. I didn’t take on too much in the beginning. I didn’t want people to be confused on why they were following me and drop off. You get enough drop off in this world as it is… so less confusion was better for me. Maybe you all want to see more? Ha, IDK?!?!
Growth is a journey in any business, and in this one… it can take off, it can be slow, it can go backwards and forwards at the same time. You wake up with 30 new followers and somehow your number stayed the same… DAMMMNIT people stop following, ha! One post gets 1000+ likes and the next one gets 258, ugh WUT? How is this happening? Instagram changes its algorithm all the time and makes it hard for us blogger babes to grow and be seen unless we spend 10 hours a day on the app. With two jobs I just don’t have that luxury, so I do the best I can. I go all in with anything I take on. Take pictures at 7 am, take photos on lunch, film stories at night that I wont be posting for a couple days out, plan my photos for the week on Sunday and get the lined up, take small breaks at work throughout the day to engage like crazy, make sure everything is linked in LIKEtoKNOW.it before so I’m ready to fire off looks whenever I need to, go to events to meet other bloggers, learn from their experiences, I still reach out and ask for help, and research every way possible to keep this journey going strong!
This year is a whole new year and I’m going to put a lot more on the table. Fashion, Hair, Beauty, Skincare, Fitness… and more personal posts like this one. I am going to try and bring you into my life a little bit more with stories – however I am kinda boring so don’t get too excited haha! This is something that makes me so happy. And if you’re thinking about doing this, and you’re not sure if you can, or if people will follow you or support you, or you are afraid of putting yourself out there… know that all of us feel that same way at times. I’m just now starting to feel comfortable in front of the camera and while it makes it easier, it still makes me nervous ever time I post.
While I want to paint a real picture for you, I also want you to know that if you’re a mom with kids, or work two jobs like I do, or just work one job, or volunteer, or you don’t have a ton of money, or you have a crap load of money but maybe are super self conscious… if this is something you think about, or want to do… DO IT! Nothing can stop you. Look at me… I’M NUTS! Haha literally everyday I’m tired and think “what did I get myself into?” but its like a high for me at the same time. Man do I love the pressure of being out of photos and wanting to post the next morning at 8 AM! Oh, it’s pouring? SHIIITTTT…. get that photo in the car, whip out a flatlay, or find somewhere inside that’s fun…. YOU CAN DO THIS! If I can you can… and I hope this gave you a little insight to what I do on a daily basis! Thank you for following and liking and commenting and keeping this dream alive – you ALL are the reason I keep going!