Saturday, 29 April 2017

Get To Know Me / My Thoughts On Blogging

Having started my blog way back in 2009, before blogging was even considered a 'thing', I have continued to steadily grow my blog and social media channels over the past 8 years. Whilst many bloggers put themselves in front of the camera's on a regular basis posing for the perfect selfie or outfit pic to make for a good Instagram feed or post content, I have shied away from this style of blogging (with the exception of the below two pictures of me). I approach my blog from a different perspective - writing from more of an industry insider perspective. So I who am I? What is my story? How has my career impacted my style of blogging? 
My Career up to now...
I have always been a creative person, loving art and design from a very young age, so I naturally couldn't see myself following a career path in anything other than a creative field. I fell in love with textiles whilst at secondary school, being introduced to the work of Celia Birtwell and Zandra Rhodes whilst studying for my GCSE art. It seems my art teacher recognised my love of all things colour and print! Textiles A-Level was the progressive next step, followed by a Foundation Art Course. After this, I enrolled in a 3 year Textiles and Surface Design Degree at an art college. I loved my degree, getting to be creative everyday, putting pen to paper designing concepts for collections. After spending most of my final year looking like a hot mess locked away in a screen printing room and covered in fabric dye, I graduated with a First-class Honours Degree. I had set my sights high and was able to exhibit at both Premiere Vision in Paris and PrintSource in New York (where I sold one of my fabric designs to the American retailer Bealls). NYC had captured my heart whilst exhibiting at this trade show, so I took a leap of faith and moved to Manhattan for 3 months to undertake a post grad internship with the fashion brand Milly. Upon returning to the UK I moved to London and began my career in the world of 'fashion'. Four years down the line, I have worked in administration, wholesale and trend - now working for a global eyewear / jewellery design house and manufacturer. I am not going to go into detail about my employment history, as I think it is important to keep some aspects of my work separate from my blog, but I have been very fortunate to work and liaise with some of the biggest and best fashion retail brands in both the high street and luxury sectors. When you are studying for your degree you aspire to work with such brands, so it still sometimes seems surreal to be casually emailing these clients all in the name of business! Each job has set me up with a great skill set and I have even been lucky to enjoy work trips abroad in both Europe and the USA. Nothing in life is perfect though, so of course there have been up's and down's but I have managed to keep my chin up and continue to push on with my career in this industry. There is always a solution to be found for a less than positive situation!
The blogging part...
When I first started my blog my posts were related to my degree, so I would showcase my own personal design work. After graduating I began blogging about trend as this went hand in hand with my day job. I was seeing first hand what catwalk trends retailers were buying into for next season, so I was able to form a strong knowledge of which key looks were going to filter through the different market levels of the industry. Trend is a real passion of mine. I look at all the runway collections, street style, fashion influencers, culture, global retail news etc to form solid seasonal trend reports. With my blog, I post 3 times a week and regardless of how busy I am at work I always strive to stick to this schedule. Many people start a blog as a hobby, and whilst only a very small percentage of bloggers will turn it into a full time career or make revenue from it, it can still at times feel like a second job. Getting home from a long day at work and then staying up late busying away on your laptop writing posts can sometimes mean that it is difficult to ever really 'switch off'. Constantly thinking of ideas for content, new trend ideas, when you are going to filter writing your next post into your busy life? For me personally, working in fashion and blogging about fashion does mean that I feel like I have fashion on the brain 24/7 - but is there anything wrong with showing dedication to something you love? So credit where credit is due to all the fellow bloggers who hold down a busy full time job and still manage to produce top class content, without missing any post days!  

These days if you say you are a blogger people role their eyes, with blogs being ten a penny, but its not about becoming the next big blogging sensation or international star of YouTube. It's about pouring your enthusiasm into doing something you enjoy and anything else should be a bonus. Granted getting invited to an event by a great brand is wonderful, and I always feel very grateful for the experiences, but if I didn't get invited to these events or even work in fashion i'd still be blogging about trend because it's what I love (as cliched as that sounds). People look up to the full-time bloggers and develop a competitive streak to try to reach their level of success. Buying instagram followers, follow/unfollow, etc - surely it is a much nicer sense of pride to know that someone follows you because they genuinely like your content as opposed to knowing it's being because you've employed questionable tactics to increase your subs? I also think it is important to have integrity and stay true to your blog ethos. For example, sometimes I get introduced to a brand, who may have great products, but if it's not right for my content I won't post about it. This may seem harsh, but if you want to set your blog apart from the rest finding a niche is key. Of course my blog is not perfect, nobody's is...we are all just trying to do our own thing the best we can!

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Phillippa x

Twitter - @phillippa22
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Pinterest - phillippadesign

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