I started my first blog back in 2015.
The story begins back when I was in fashion school in NYC from 2010-2013. I was addicted to blogs and Tumblr but I never felt the need to be a fashion blogger. Lifestyle bloggers were few and far between at the time, and fitness gals barely existed besides BBG cult followers. What drew me to the process most was the aesthetic and styling of the images. I would save picture after picture in folders on my desktop (pre Instagram and certainly pre saving and filing away on there! Thank G-D for that feature!). One folder was fitness and the other lifestyle/fashion. My two alter egos. So, I spent hours and hours on tumblr with no idea how to start anything remotely blog like and therefore I didn’t. I was young and the idea of starting seems so far away.
In retrospect, I wish I had but regret is a useless emotion. That being said, my now boyfriend tells me that on our first date in 2013 in NY he asked me what were my goals after I graduated. I told him I was going to be an influential blogger. He was one of the only people I told that to… and I didn’t know why at the time but I trusted him. He also now tells me at that moment he thought… okay, this girl has big dreams and what the heck is that even?! Ha. Well 5 Years later, he now is my biggest supporter, the best photographer and teammate!
Fast forward a few years, living back in MTL…. When 2015 rolled around I was two years into my corporate marketing role and I was looking for a personal passion outlet. Many of you know I started my blog in search of personal fulfillment and finding my own happiness. At the time I had about 1000 followers on Instagram just from documenting my own personal adventures in career. I remember the moment that I hit 1K. Again, back when Instagram would put the K after any thousand followers… now a days you need a minimum of 10K. So there I was, a girl with a laptop like so many of you reading this, lost in her personal career growth story and looking for something that would bring a little spark back to her day to day. I made my first website on Weebly, then eventually switched it about a year later to word press and now you can find me powered by Square Space since relaunching as The Fit Fatale. The tittle of my blog was called Silver Lining by S. I remember I had no Images other than what was stock on Weebly and that was the cover page of my blog. I posted articles on events I went to, new restaurant openings, and coffee shops I loved. I didn’t care much if people checked it out, that being said…. They did! And this is how it all began.
I was fortunate that my past life was in corporate retail marketing where I held a very high profile position for someone of my age (perhaps how I grew the thick skin I have now in the social industry when everyone rolls their eyes at my job as a “blogger” … Even in corporate I was constantly asked how old I was, why I had the job I did… only up until they worked with me!) I was invited to many events, sat in meetings with high profile clients and brands, and hosted events for media and the slowly emerging blog scene much prior to my own. I was friends with most of the fashion and lifestyle bloggers in Montreal from work, so when the time came for me to personally launch I got SO much love. I still pay thanks and credit to this. I hosted a launch party June 10th, 2015 and it was PACKED… packed with love and support, from friends and brands I knew, even my incredible boss of who was VP marketing at my corporate job was there. When I started my job as a 22 year old, my boss’s reaction was “you really know everyone!” And with years of experience he ACTUALLY knew everyone, so it was a funny comment coming from him. I just loved people. I was hungry to hear their story, chat and smile about what was going on and kept those connections with everyone I met close to my heart…. I still do! This is a comment I often make to Kiki my now brand co-ordinator as she has this same quality. Its called caring about people and their story! After the launch, all the other local bloggers posting and tagging me with support, brands SPONSORING the entire event and my family’s support in my new hobby, I was overwhelmed! A lot of jobs come from connections that you make. My journey as as a blogger was no different. I got to where I was with those same connections and support.
My following quickly grew from 1k to 5k on Instagram from all the team I had behind me and I was loving it. I was writing before and after work and shooting cute pics with friends on the weekend. Content! I remember asking one of my coworkers in corporate to take my picture almost every lunch hour with my coffee. Just to have something to post on Instagram! I realized I really was filling myself up. I was happier…. and loved creating and writing.
Having just left the competitive world of fashion school in NYC I was always hungry to learn more. Old habits die hard and knowledge, connections and having a pulse on the industry is power in the fashion world. I booked a few blogger conferences which have since then BLOWN up. This was three years ago and I was using my vacation days and any savings flying to major north American cities to attend events like Create and Cultivate and Bloguettes - workshops and conferences that helped you propel your career in the social world. I remember I sat there and booked tickets and hotels to travel alone for the first time. I was investing thousands of dollars in myself… but something told me to do it and stick with it… even if the idea of money coming in was SO far from my mind. Ultimately I thought it would help me when I wanted to return to the entrepreneur world later on (and it still may ;) !) … little did I know it would BECOME my brand and company on it's own.
So I traveled and invested, and I did what I do best. TALKED! I met everyone. I was alone and I knew I needed to be to push myself out of that comfort zone and grow. I met more influencers and brands who supported me and helped me to cross promote. I always saw a huge spike in my audience in the areas I travelled to. I strategy I still use today as I expand from Montreal to Toronto and NYC. Location tags. Local brands. Star influencers from the city. Hashtags. It was all a huge part of my growth and within a year of launching the blog I had reached 10k followers on instagram. A huge milestone for me! Instagram algorithms were not what they are today, the platform was not as saturated, nor was the blogging market and tags went a long way. I remember some huge brand features or tags that would get me THOUSANDS of new followers … like my feature on The Every Girl, Create and Cultivate, tags from girlfriends I met such as Jennifer Lake, Bows and Sequence… It was thrilling.
I started getting free product and it was pretty freakin’ cool. Here’s a question I get a lot… It wasn’t until I hit that 5k or so that I was getting free things to post. Back then brands were not as versed in the micro influencer world as they are today. Now brands have a budget for gifting to smaller accounts with great engagement for their following. I eventually started getting my first paid gigs in exchange for content creation. Brands realized first this aspect of the industry had value. They were willing to pay for great photos of their products, hotels, etc over paying a “pretty girl to tell her friends”. Trust me I’ve heard it all. I still get eye rolls every day and I smile. Its normal for people who have been around the block to let it slide. No eye roll or turn down from a brand phases us anymore. No need for rants on Instagram or competitive responses … we know business is business and I respect where you put your money just as much as I hope you respect my work. Partnerships need to be two sided.
Look at the end of it all everything takes time. If you want to grow something it takes passion, long hours, education and experience but most importantly RISK. I talk a lot about risk on my social media because its one of the number one things that I can say has turned me face down and has equally if not more lifted me higher than I ever thought I could reach. I risk a lot for what I believe in. There will always be people who don’t know where you came from and no one will understand the work that has gone into it besides you… but surround yourself with believes, a team and those who don’t care to know your story will fade away.
A year and a half ago I left my corporate secure and well paying job to venture into the world of blogging full time. I was scared shitless. At first, I didn’t take the full risk. I took a few jobs here and there in marketing and social media to stay afloat as I worked for 6 months living off savings and the odd work to fund and relaunch my website. I knew if I was leaving my “career” I needed to dedicate my time to what I believe in… and build a brand. I refined my image to be about health and wellness with an edge. The Femme Fatale of Fitness ;) and so The Fit Fatale was born just over a year ago in July 2017. I now return back to that brand with each decision I make. Each event I go to, each partner I work with… would this girl do that. Would this brand go there. I respect every brand, every launch and every entrepreneur who reaches out and is kicking butt hustling. But when you build a brand, have a vision. Who is your market? What is your vision?
Since that moment I have seen a huge growth in brand outreach, income, engagement and traction. Most of you know the story from there, but I can now say I surpass my corporate income significantly without diving too much into my personal finances. I know why I’m here, I know what it took to get here, to continue to be relevant and to stay in a competitive world. And I sure as hell know where I’m going. So when you’re looking at what’s next in your career or how to dive into the blogging scene, think about what you love, what youre willing to spend hours and money on, wake up at 5am for, and think about what you’re willing to RISK it for. And feed that. My hats off to the people in the industry who know that hustle…. And my even greater gratitude to the people and brands who have supported me. It is impossible alone and I will forever support you.