A guest post by Jozy of Blonde and Bliss
How did you get started as a blogger?
I give a lot of credit to my mom for pushing me to start a blog. She’d always told me that I had a skill for writing and that I should consider starting a blog, in fact, she probably told me that for over a year before I finally listened and even wrote a single post. So that being said, I started Blonde & Bliss when I was 19 as a way to indulge in my creative side. I was feeling pretty uninspired during my freshman year of college as I was pursuing a degree (at the time) that I was not passionate about. I began writing posts and publishing them to my website without anyone else even knowing it about it. When I officially launched Blonde & Bliss 6 months later, I already had 20+ posts published. I was nervous about the initial launch, but received SO much positive feedback from friends, strangers, you name it - and am so thankful for the journey that it’s led me on. Fun fact, on top of being my biggest supporter, my mom is actually my photographer, too!
How has starting a blog changed your life?
Blogging has totally changed my life in more ways than one. Starting out, I had no idea what kind of response I was going to receive and had no clue what brand collaborations even were. Now, 2 years later, I’ve worked with numerous brands on collaborations and campaigns that I could have only dreamed of when I first started out and am planning my first blogger vacay to NYFW! Beyond the collaborations and business side of things, blogging has led me to some incredible opportunities to attend various events and meet some amazing bloggers + photographers both local to Minneapolis and abroad as well. One of my favorite memories and connections I’ve made was during my time in London, UK. I had reached out to a photographer and we had such a wonderful time shooting around Notting Hill and to this day, we still keep in touch and support each other!
You are super fashionable and always on trend. How do you keep up with styles while being in your early 20's and most likely on a budget?
First of all, thank you! It means a lot to hear that. Thanks to my mom, I’ve always been a bargain shopper. She taught me early on how to always snag a good deal and really get a bang for your buck. That being said, growing up I shopped at T.J. Maxx religiously as it was one of the only stores in my hometown where you could find trendy styles at affordable prices. Looking back, I think that my initial love for fashion began at T.J. Maxx because it introduced me to name-brands as well as taught me how to shop for fashion on a budget.
Currently, I do a lot of my shopping at Nordstrom and local boutiques and focus more on buying quality pieces that are timeless and going to keep their value. My rule of thumb when shopping is that if I can’t wear it more than 3 ways, it’s not worth it. I will splurge on very few things, but jackets, shoes, amazing denim and purses are an exception.
What went into your blog niche and how have you seen that evolve over the years?
When I first started out, I always knew that fashion was my forte, as it was something that I was passionate about and commonly asked about as well. Going into things, I didn’t have a specific niche in mind as I really wanted to appeal to anyone who felt inspired by my daily looks. My favorite looks are constantly changing with the seasons and trends, but my style has remained the same and I think that is what people enjoy coming back for is my consistent “girly chic” style.
What is your favorite color to wear and why?
This varies by season, but black is defiantly in my top 3. I love having several staple pieces in black simply because they pair well with a majority of the looks in my wardrobe. In the winter, I am very minimal and stick to greys, whites, and blacks. However in the summer months, give me all the color! I love incorporating pinks and blues into my Instagram feed and enjoy the mustard tones as well. If you look at my feed, you’ll likely notice this color scheme, which definitely has an influence on the clothes that I wear/buy.
Traveling as a blogger can be difficult & overwhelming. What tips do you have for being stylish while not over packing?
My biggest tip for when traveling is to always work with a color scheme. When I studied abroad in Europe, packing with a color scheme was a must to ensure that I could have a variety of looks to wear without having to pack a million different things. I always start with my favorite pair of jeans because no matter where you are going, denim is a must. In the winter, a layering piece (such a leather/denim jacket) is great to have on hand to mix in with different outfits. As for the summer travelers, having a comfy dress is always a go-to on my list. Dresses are easy to style from day to night with the swap of an accessory and make packing a breeze.
What's the first piece you grab when beginning to style a look?
In the summer months the first piece I grab is usually a dress. I am all about dresses and practically live in them during the warmer seasons.
As for the winter, I always need a good layering piece. In Minnesota, I think its important to invest in outwear since we wear it 3/4 of the year. Having a variety of staple jackets and coats makes my wardrobe so much more versatile!
You've been blogging for just over 2 years, congrats! What's the best thing you've learned so far?
The best thing I have learned so far is to focus on yourself. It is so easy to get caught up in the comparison game and compare yourself to those around you, but quite honestly, that is exhausting. There is nothing fun about constantly wishing you had what you don’t and comparing yourself to others. I’ve learned that the more I focus on myself and my own influence, the more I’ve grown and thrived both as a blogger and in my personal relationships as well. Always make time for yourself and those around you because they’re the ones that are always going to be there for you.
What 3 tips do you have for bloggers who are just starting out?
I actually just wrote a blog post on the 4 Biggest Things I’ve Learned Blogging that shares my tips and lessons learned! Pulling from that post, these are definitely three things that I think every blogger should know.
Focus on YOU.
The second you start comparing yourself to others is the second you’ve lost any hope at building your own unique influence. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to look at other influencers and wonder what it is that they’re doing and you’re not, but the second you let that curiosity start to control you, you’ve lost. It is so easy to get caught up in comparison, but what I’ve learned is that the best thing you can do for yourself and your brand is to be you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing because what works for them, may not work for you.
Learn to say “no.”
It’s easy to want to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way. Trust me, I am still guilty of this today. But what I’ve learned is that by saying “no” you’re actually doing yourself a favor because it allows you to say “yes” to the brands and products that you truly love and have more time and energy to create amazing content for those fewer campaigns.
Know your Worth
Content creation takes a lot of time. Planning, shooting, editing, posting, sharing - it’s a tedious effort that is ultimately what makes your influence dive or thrive - so don't undervalue yourself! Taking the time to do each and every one of these steps is HUGE in the blogging industry and deserves to be recognized by brands. Knowing your worth is key to avoiding the burnout that can potentially come along when working on brand collaborations. I’ve been listening to Julie Soloman’s Influencer Podcast on and off for a few months now and she talks a lot about the topic of working for free and she has totally transformed the way that I think about product exchange collaborations. I think of it this way: Your Instagram feed is your billboard. If someone wants to advertise on your billboard, they need to pay for their spot. Your billboard (IG feed) represents you and your brand and if people want to be a part of that, you deserve to be paid for their spot on your billboard.
How did you create your cohesive feed and what advice do you have for bloggers trying to find there’s?
The key to having a cohesive feed, in my opinion, is to plan as much as you can before you actually shoot your content. If you look at my feed, you’ll notice that I have a color palette; pink, white, blue, and the occasional pops of yellow/red. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t planned because it totally is. I spend a good chunk of time every week laying out my feed and picking colors and backgrounds that flow with my feed. The more prep I do for my shoots, the easier it makes the editing process.
That being said, I use Lightroom to edit all of my photos and have a preset that I use for every single one. I think that being consistent in your color scheme and only using 1-2 presets is key for having a cohesive feed.