LAST year, that is. Another rule in my head, broken: I took these photos with a group of friends (and Mr. Dot) walking through Richmond Park on the most glorious January 1st, 2010. We had had the most perfect New Year's Eve party: four couples, two unrelated little boys, one of the wives' sister's fabulous huge house somewhere near Richmond, and we dressed up and ate in the dining room like grownups and everyone made a course. The neighbours even gave us a firework display.
My rule was: do the New Year's Day post in the first week. A year went by. I couldn't even fit it into the first week of THIS year. And then on Friday I forgot to do my FBFF questions - I don't even know if we're allowed to post them on Sunday. And yesterday was Mr. Dot and my anniversary - which deserves a post in itself - and I just haven't been online much.
Anyway, here goes:
January 7th's Fashion Beauty Friendly Friday (FBFF) topic: Success and our Perception of It.
1. Have you ever looked at someone's blog and thought yours will never measure up?
Of course. I mean, I must have when I started two years ago. I don't feel that way now. Just as each human being is unique, so is each blog.
I didn't worry about measuring up in terms of content, but in terms of 'success' - fame, yes. I never thought I'd get as many followers as, say, The Sartorlalist. But Sabine of Psynopsis put it so well: I wouldn't want the stress of that kind of exposure, either.
Yeah, I definitely looked at bloggers like Rumi, or Susie Bubble and said to myself, I will never be as famous as them. But I also knew didn't want to be them, or do my blog like them, so it was a moot point. I actually used to go to the 'big blogs' in the early days and see all those comments, just to torture myself. No one commented on my blog. I couldn't even get my friends or family to comment. My husband - bless him - would leave comments like 'Love her shoes! xx', with fake girls' names, just so I wouldn't feel like such a loser.
2. Do you (did you) feel pressure to meet some kind of undefined standard for fashion bloggers?
Not standards, no. But I did go through a phase when I stopped doing strictly street style, when I lost followers and had several disgruntled customers. I even offered to give them their money back. (Joke). (Pretty Lame Joke, at that).
3. Many established fashion bloggers are also extraordinary DIYers, bakers, and crafty people. Do you think you need to combine all of these things to be successful at blogging?
Oh god no! I hope not. I can't DIY: I have a morbid fear of cutting or altering clothing - I start thinking of a jumper or a dress as a living entity and I wouldn't want to hurt it or permanently disfigure it. I'd make a crap surgeon. I admire the courage of people who can DIY. I'm a fabulous baker (she says modestly) but I'm afraid if I started posting my food shots - I'd just get more irate letters.
My first job, in NY, was as a junior graphic designer for Push Pin Studios, the most 'famous', successful studio of that time. One of the founders, Milton Glaser, said the secret of success is to focus on one thing, and do it well. After you're successful, you can basically do whatever the hell you want.
That is, if your idea of success is of a lot of people coming to your blog, which I'm really ambivalent about anyway. So if you want to bake a cake and post about it, do it! But once you're famous for your culinary skills, don't come crying to me if people expect you to bake yummy things all the time.
4. The most successful blogs are the ones that have their own personal voice - how are you developing your voice or how did you find yours?
I started out with an idea that my voice would be kind of Fifties Housewife Tips for the Modern Woman: squeaky clean, yet ironic. I soon discovered that it's easier to post in my own voice. You just can't fake an alternative personality day in, day out. It's too much hard work.
5. Toot your own horn... what's one thing you do that is unique to you and your blog? What gives your blog an edge?
Okay, if you insist (sigh).
I can write, and I can take pictures. And my background as a graphic designer and photoshop artist means I can crop, edit, etc. I'm always in awe of people who have beautifully designed blogs with no 'formal training'. It's all a question of taste anyway.
Granted, when I started in February 2009, I thought the idea of a 'street style' blog was unique. I had never heard of The Sartorialist: my inspiration was Bill Cunningham of the NY Times, who I grew up fascinated with as a child. I liked the anthropological aspect of trend spotting. There were already a bunch back then and there are even more now, and I am so not unique.
But the one thing that might be unique is I talk with my subjects about their lives. I give them a chance to get in touch and, I'll send them the shots in higher res. Some have become close friends. So perhaps it's the stories that I tell about the people I meet on the street that's unique.
Altho: anyone out there is welcome to steal that idea! Depends on how much time you've got on your hands.
Thank you to Katy Rose of Modly Chic for putting together this fabulous FBFF community. Anyone interested in learning more about it, click here.
Thank you to Brook's Italian girlfriend for the shots of me. She saw me shooting the deer and thought that I looked like some kind of prey, so she said 'give me the camera'. In her lilting Italian accent, of course!