THE GIRL BEHIND @THELUXILOOK
A few years ago, when I was working at Urban Outfitters HQ, if you asked me who my favorite blogger was, I would have said, "Ugh, bloggers are so ridiculous, I can't stand all of them." Moving forward to starting my own line, my response would have been, "It's not my thing, they're pretty girls who dress well, but I guess I'll have to start paying attention to them and try gifting them." Fast forward to the present, and my response is, "They are the future of fashion, and have one of the most challenging gigs in the industry.."
So WTF caused the change of mind? Well, first of all, I realized that gaining and keeping a following on Instagram is not just a simple upload; it is an entire planning, editing, and strategic process. (Which, mind you, takes up half of my life, and is legit the most challenging thing I have done to date.)
Second, bloggers have become a main part of my marketing objective. Why? Well, I don't have a huge budget to plaster S+S across advertising platforms, or to gift to Kylie Jenner. I need my content, and promotion to be organically generated. Working with various types of bloggers and influencers in exchange for product has allowed me to reach new + targeted audiences; have amazing/professional imagery for reposting and website purposes, and lastly, the TRUST that my product is not only cool in photos, but is worthwhile to purchase IRL.
Third, I moved to LA (Santa Monica to be exact), and bloggers became my friends, personal digital guru's, and most recently, my design partners. Quite frankly, I was astounded at how much these girls work! Blogging is no joke. The majority are extremely well-educated, and over-the-top self-motivated. To say, "I am impressed", would be an understatement.
Amy Zhang of The Luxi Look is one of the reasons my change in perspective was solidified. She would absolutely never divulge this, or brag, but obviously I will... Amy is beyond impressive, on all fronts. She graduated from Northwestern, works full-time as a Strategy & Innovation Manager for Sony, and is one of LA's top fashion bloggers. I STILL don't get how she does it, stays fit, AND has a life?? It literally boggles my mind! Since my perspective WAS so similar to a lot of people (outside of LA, of course) who don't quite understand "blogging", I felt like Amy would be the right girl to feature to open some eyes.... So enjoy!
*Also, ALL jewelery/bags featured in this post are 15% off with "theluxilook" at checkout! Click here to see Amy's picks!
LF: You have built a successful fashion + lifestyle blog, as well as 50k followers on Instagram in SUCH a short period of time. When and how did you begin blogging?
AZ: You're so sweet - thank you so much for the feature!! Blogging was something I've followed and been interested in for years. What I didn't know was that with the rise of some of my favorite influencers, the entire business of blogging was built, something I did not know much about until I immersed myself fully! My desire to start my own blog came out of several friends and my boyfriend encouraging me to post and write about my outfits and share my tips and tricks for being a normal, working girl on the go. My day job is highly analytical and strategic minded, so finding a creative hobby was the perfect counterbalance! I sat down with my boyfriend and we brainstormed a name, bought the domain, and set up a Wordpress site. I changed the name of my personal Instagram account and then just started posting!
LF: Well I bet you're so happy you started when you did! One of things that really impressed me upon first meeting you was that not only are you prevalent in the blog scene, but you also work full-time, and have a killer career. How do you manage both? Your time management skills must be out of control!
AZ: Ahh thank you so much, Lindsay! That really means a lot to me. I TRY to stay organized as much as possible. I live and die by lists - I keep them EVERYWHERE. With that said, I'm only human! It's tough to balance a blog and a full time job, and I'm not always able to do as much as I would like. I try to set clear goals and have a vision - BUT, I don't beat myself up if I fall short or don't create as much content as I would like. After all, my intention is to learn from both experiences.
The key for me has been prioritizing - think: what are the three things that HAVE to get done today? It helps to break things down into smaller tasks and chunks so it isn't too overwhelming. I've also had to learn to not be afraid to ask for help when I need it, and recognize that I won't be able to do everything myself! For example, as much as I would love to learn how to take and edit my own photos, I don't always necessarily have the time to do so. Working with talented photographers and outsourcing that aspect of my blog allows me to focus on writing, communicating with brands, and other critical tasks. Also, time blocking is a lifesaver!! Not so surprisingly, you get a LOT more done when you put the phone down for blocks of time.
Finally, I really make a point to take care of my body and mind. That means regular exercise, a good diet, and at least 7 hours of sleep every night. I also try to meditate or do yoga on a consistent basis, and have one day a week (usually Sunday) where I disconnect. This means no email or social media. It hasn't been perfect, but I'm really working on it!! I am a huge proponent of living in the now and enjoying real life, not social media life.
FRINGE CARDIGAN BY THE LOVERS AND DRIFTERS CLUB
LF: Yeah.. trust me, I know. It's so hard balancing a full-time job, your own business of any sort, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle! You have a great way of looking at it! Any advice for girls who are just starting out in the blog scene?
- Have a clear vision but don't be afraid to pivot.
- Be willing to work hard! Good things take time and effort, so be patient.
- Do not compare yourself to others! It is fruitless and a waste of your time. Stay in your own lane and focus on YOU.
- Always always be kind and say thank you for opportunities. It's a much smaller world than you think!
LF: Yeah the WORLD is a smaller place than you think!! So..what is your favorite part of being a blogger?
AZ: Meeting new creative individuals and brands, and working with them to achieve their strategy and marketing goals, even if it is in a very small way! Blogging has opened my eyes in so many ways and presented me with incredible opportunities in a short amount of time.
LF: We are in the midst of a digital revolution that has been a game changer for business platforms, marketing, and communication. A few years ago, the term “blogger” or “influencer” had little to no meaning. Where do you think the blog/influencer world is heading? Is it here to stay?
AZ: It's crazy to think how an entire industry has been built around content creation and influencer marketing! Although it's tough to say exactly where the industry will go, I think you will see a huge shift to video content over static images. I also think brands will also shift to more performance based marketing and become increasingly analytics driven. This may or may not change the way they work with digital content creators and the amount of money they allocate to them. As to whether or not there will be a new hot platform - my guess is something new will emerge that we haven't seen yet!
BLACK MAXI DRESS BY SPELL BYRON BAY
LF: Now, moving on to fashion… What trends are you most excited about right now? What do you think will be the IT items for fall?
AZ: I am LOVING all things glitter & metallic. I also can't wait for more fun variations on fur (always faux for me!) - think colors and prints. And everything in the color red!
LF: Alongside Sticks+Sones, you have a great amount of smaller brands that you regularly work with. Who’s up + coming that we should check out?
LF: Ok no lying here.. what are your 3 current bags on repeat right now?
LF: Several bloggers have ventured into the product side of the biz, do you think you’d ever be interested in going that route? If so, what type of product category can you see yourself in?
AZ: I'm always open to learning new things and love sharing my favorite tips and tricks with my friends and readers! Because of that, I think it would be so fun to produce some sort of information product in the future. On the retail side, an accessory or activewear collab would be incredible.
LF: Since you are my go-to for all things digital or blog related, I am DYING to know! Who are a few of your favorite bloggers? Who inspires you?
AZ: I am ALWAYS looking to other digital content creators for inspo. Right now I am really loving travel bloggers for that escapist element! Some of my faves are Rocky Barnes (@rocky_barnes), Belen Hostalet (@belenhostalet), Lauren Wells (@laurenswells), and the droolworthy couple behind @gypsea_lust and @doyoutravel.