What is blogging? How did I get started in all of this? How does it work now? What really goes on behind closed doors? I’m going to start talking about this industry and how it really works. I want to share my story and how I got to where I am today. I started writing a few weeks ago and questioned whether or not this would be something people would be interested in reading about but I’ve decided today I’d start out with a tiny glimpse of the beginning and see where it goes. There are good things about blogging and bad things. There are days where I love what I do more than life itself and there are days where I cry from the pressure, the insecurities and the negativity that surrounds my account and I’m sure many other bloggers accounts. I started off writing about just the beginning but would consider continuing on if this is something you enjoyed reading. I am by no means a writer, I’ve seen many of my haters comments mocking my 5th grade grammar but this is just me, writing out my story, no edits, no spell checks, no running it by someone else to go over what can and can not be shared. All I ask is that negative comments are kept off my page. I’m open to answering any questions you have about the industry, my story and what ever else is on your mind.
My story – Part 1.
I’ll start this out by saying, I love my job and I love the evolution of it all. The last nine years have been a whirlwind and looking back to write about it now has been a crazy experience.
I started my blog in 2009 for all of the wrong reasons – are there right reasons? Who knows. Either way, I started it for a boy. I was in a relationship where all I wanted to do was impress the guy I was with as our relationship felt like it was beginning to slip away from me. By doing so, I had to show him that I was a working woman who knew her passions in life. The truth is, I had no clue what my passion was or what I wanted to do with my life but all I knew was that I needed to find something. And quick. I tried so many different things from tennis lessons, dancing, assisting on random jobs for my sister until finally Danielle (my older sister) pushed me to start posting my outfits on a website. She had seen it somewhere before by a girl in California named Fashiontoast. I looked her up and I became obsessed. I checked her blog posts every single day until I was inspired enough to launch my own BLOGSPOT.COM. I loved the color navy and I knew I wanted to incorporate it into the name somehow. I kept talking about it out loud to my friend (now decorator) Hilary and repeating over and over again “I want it to be something navy. You know? Something with the color Navy. So just help me think of something navy.” After a couple of hours of coming up with random names, I decided to just go with Something Navy. I can’t believe it even as I write it out right now. Something Navy, what does it even mean? It’s who I am today which is what is so wild. Those two words represent my entire career, basically my life because after all, that is what blogging is. It launched that night.
I couldn’t wait to show my boyfriend, who was super supportive and thought it was a great idea. I became obsessed with taking photos of myself on a tiny camera or even having my mom do it or a friend. Or anyone for that matter. Anyone that was willing to hold my camera and take three pictures of me in different angles with weird poses. My outfits were atrocious but each look represents a time in my life and it’s pretty cool to be able to go back and re live those moments.
After two months of starting SomethingNavy, the boyfriend broke up with me. He asked for a weekend break but in my mind, I knew what that meant. I went to visit my little sister in Florida for the weekend to keep my mind busy. Side note: I didn’t wear sunscreen and wound up having massive blisters ALL over my face, and by blisters I mean huge white welts covering my entire face from a horrendous sunburn. The boyfriend was supposed to pick me up from the airport that Sunday to talk about going forward. I got in the car and the entire ride home headed towards Long Island instead of his apartment, he explained to me why it had to be over. “You need to find something for yourself before you’re ready to be in a committed relationship.” he said. “You’re a great girl but I just don’t think you’re ready for a relationship when you don’t know what you want to do in life.” He further explained. I was speechless and angry. He dropped me off at home and I cried for two weeks. After that, I went through what I like to call, the revenge period. I went full force with my blog. I wanted to take the prettiest, sexiest, coolest outfit pictures and post them thinking he’d be watching. I became obsessed. I was posting and writing every single day and when I look back at those posts now, I laugh. They are embarrassing and I sound ridiculous but it made me feel so good and powerful. I continued for 4-5 months and started growing a following. There was no Instagram at the time, so by following I mean – girls would come to my blog and leave me comments. “Wow! You look great!” “Love this outfit” “You’re so cute” “You’re my style icon!” These comments alone made me feel on top of the world. I didn’t need a boyfriend, I didn’t need anyone – I felt strong. Keep in mind, I also had a ton of girls from my town writing me the most awful messages, people snarking behind my back laughing at what I do. No one understood. She takes photos of herself in weird poses and puts them on the Internet? What a loser!
I received an e-mail around 6 months from a woman named Karen Robinovitz. I just searched my e-mail to see if I could find the e-mail from her but a few years ago I had to delete a bunch of e-mails to gain space. Damn it! That would have been so cool.
Either way, she told me she was in the fashion industry, she was a New York Times Bestseller and she loved what I was doing and loved my style and wanted to help me. At first, I didn’t understand what she wanted from me but I showed it to my dad when I got home from college that weekend. He said it can’t hurt to hear what she has to say so we spoke to her on the phone. She told me she has great connections in fashion and can help me create more content for my blog and one day, help me build a career out of this. She booked a behind the scenes visit for me at a Juicy Couture photo shoot. I got in a car and drove with her somewhere out of New York City (sounds shady I know) but we pulled up to two trailers and a model on a set. It was real. I got to watch how a photoshoot goes down and I was able to bring my camera, take pictures and interact with the model, the stylists, the photographers and so on. It was the coolest day ever. Got home, posted about it and my followers loved it. During this time, I was going out almost every single night, having fun with my single girlfriends and decided it was time to move into the city. I was 22 and wanted to be out of my house. I wanted to get my own apartment, get a job, and continue blogging on the side because I genuinely loved doing it even though people thought I was so weird. I sent my resume in to every designer, brand, store possible. Every single person turned me down. I went in for interviews, I dropped off my resume at 100 different locations and only heard from a handful. I never got a job. Finally, Danielle (my sister) had a friend who worked at Theory corporate who told her to tell me to start off on the floor in stores and eventually I could get promoted to corporate. I went into Theory in Meatpacking, handed in my resume and came back for an interview. A week later I started working there. 6 days a week full time, slept at my older sisters apartment or my friend Ania’s. After a few months, my sister agreed on getting an apartment with me that had a home office which I would turn into my bedroom. It was tiny tiny but I felt SO cool to be living in the city.
Moving into the city was a game changer for the blog. Through out all of this, I was still on the weekends or the afternoons shooting my outfits on the streets or at the earlier time, in the backyard of my parents house. My friend Jane (who now helps me run my business today) would take the photos for me on the side of her job for free. She never once asked me to pay her. Being in NYC made my content that much stronger. I was taking such cool shots on the sidewalks, in the middle of the streets, in all of my friends apartments, in department stores, basically anywhere that I thought would be interesting. Around 8 months of doing this, Karen walked into Theory with her husband. She looked at me and said “we’re going to get you out of here.” As if I was a damsel in distress in retail haha, but what she really meant was – I am going to make blogging an industry. I looked at her like she had 12 heads. How was this tiny little woman with big curly blond hair going to create an industry – it just seemed like bullshit to me. The next day, I got an e-mail from her telling me she booked me my first job as a blogger, I would be the blogger, model and stylist for a website called SINGER22 in Long Island and they will pay me a couple grand a month and I’m going to take a small commission for putting this together for you. WHAT!!!! I had to read it a couple of times over, I never made money like that. I didn’t even know how to process it. My dad knew the store since it was close to our house and did some research and was OK with it as long as I was OK with it. I met with the SINGER22 team a week later and that’s where my career began.
Should I keep going?