When I started this blog in March 2015, I had no concept of where blogging would take me. This week WeLoveHome was shortlisted for an Amara (v. important industry award) for Best Interior Stylist Blog. I’m thrilled and a bit too excited for words. I feel like I’m on the top of the world, and I want to share what impact blogging has had on me.
My day job as an Interior Stylist involves styling for magazines like Ideal Home, Home Style and Real Homes and for TV shows like Gok Wan’s Fill Your Home For Free or The Ugly House. There is no denying I have an awesome creative job. But, I’ll be honest, over the past 20 years of styling, I’ve found it hard not to become jaded.
Writing and styling for my own blog has ignited my love of interiors. Blogging has put a huge rocket up my bum when it comes to seeking out new trends and ideas, and it’s made me fall in love with interior design all over again.
I’ve been trying to put more and more effort into making my posts look more ‘me’ by styling and taking my own photos. Last week I had an email from New York from a leading USA interiors blog called Apartment Therapy. They spotted my kitchen makeover post and want to feature it. First person I called was my mum, and I was screaming down the phone to her with mum excitement. I doubt before blogging, they would have ever heard of me!
Brilliant Blogging Friends
I’ve been freelancing for ten years, and this involves working on my own at home. I very rarely meet other interior stylists (although we all know of each other) and it can be a rather lonely job. Not any more. I have a huge new group of blogging friends. Bloggers have to be the most lovely, friendly, welcoming people I have ever ‘virtually’ met. They are the first people I message at 3am to help me figure out a new ‘widget’ for my site or to help with Pinterest traffic.
I’m dying to meet some of my new friends at the Amara awards. I’m going to stalk animal-print loving Kimberly at SwoonWorthy, Pink-haired Anna at Don’t Cramp My Style and the shy Jacquie from Sweetpea And Willow. I’m going to talk BLOG GEEK with them. And I’ve been tweeting all the other bloggers in my category – Lucy Gough, The 2 Lovely Gays, Carla Jones Designs and Georgain Regency Interiors – as I’m keen to get to know them too.
Love + Recognition
This one is most in my mind. As an interior stylist there are not many industry awards for what we do. They don’t hand out awards for stylists who make House of Fraser’s mattress look bouncy, or style up Debenhams’ latest coffee machines. But there are 100s of stylist (like me) out there who make really dull stuff look fabulous, and we kinda of get passed over at award time.
In 10 years styling, I’m proud to say I’ve won one award and was shortlisted for 3. In 18 months of blogging, I’ve won one award (for my youtube videos) and been shortlisted for two awards for my posts, and nominated for two as best new blog. Maybe it’s a mix creating my own content or reflects the changing way we get all our inspiration. Who knows, I’m just happy to be involved.
Just a thought, maybe I should start up my own interior stylist award for ‘Best Styled Pots and Pans’? Or ‘Most Excellent Styling Of Cushions’? Hummm…..
Being Tech Smart
Learning how to blog has been like going back to school. I’ve feel I’ve done a Degree in social media marketing, a Masters in networking and a PHD in graphic design in my first 18 months. At first, I was clueless about Pinterest or wordpress, and I hated twitter. Now I love all these things. I’ve picked up a camera and taught myself how to shoot and edit photos. I’ve even made my own YouTube videos.
These new skills have seen me grow from 3,000 followers in 2014 to the 26,000 followers I have today….not bad for someone who was called ‘slapdash’, ‘careless’ and ‘sloppy’ at school. Yes, I can’t spell for toffee. And my blog is full of typos – my teachers were right about that bit.
Working With Amazing People
With WeLoveHome, I’ve worked with hand-picked brands that I love. Not to brag (well a bit…) I’ve collaborated with Laura Ashely and Lakeland Furniture in my dining room; Sonos Speakers, Eeze Covers, Feathr wallpapers and Samsung Serif in my living room; Joseph Joseph, Symphony Kitchens, Rangecooker.co.uk, Tile Giant, British Ceramic Tiles, Warm Up in my Kitchen and then EcoFlex, Annie Sloane Paint, Dulux, Swish and Hillarys in my bedroom – as well as Ventrolla, British Gas, Cole and Son, Little Greene Paint Company, Adored Doors, House Signs, UK Flooring Direct….Phewie! And have also been asked to be a regular blogger for Real Homes magazine, as well as Marie Claire as their interior design expert.
What is my most favourite company to work with? No contest – Bathroom Takeaway! They have been so supportive of my blog and are great bunch to work with. Currently they are helping me makeover my best friend tired bathroom with a brand new suite – how lovely is that?
For years I have worked behind the cameras making the makeover magic happen (the back of my head is very famous as I’m filmed in the background of tv shows). Blogging – well vlogging to be exact – has pushed me to step out in front of the camera, and I have discovered that I love talking doing up a house on a budget and at speed. And it’s fun too – especially when the dog gets involved. Want to see my on-screen attempts at presenting then you have to click this link to see my first home tour video – it’s I can’t stop giggling.
With a bit of practice, I’m getting more confident talking about interiors to nearly everyone. I even did a talk at Heals last month to launch their new Sleep range. I was nervous as hell but not something I would have dreamed of doing before blogging.
Posting eight blog posts a month has made me value my time. I now get paid a fair wage for what I produce (Blogger’s moto: ‘Great exposure won’t pay the mortgage’) and I get to produce features tha.
I’ve become very protective of my blog – it’s my pride and joy. I won’t just blog about any old thing – it has to be relevant to me (oh and you of course).
I’m still soft and cuddly as ever in real life; I’m clearer about what I want from life. Thanks blog.
Taking Brave Steps
The scary thing about blogging is putting myself out there on the Internet. Every week I’m chatting away about my shopping ideas or makeover plans, and I’m waiting for people to read my posts and comment on my home.
I’ve had one negative comment out of 1,337 so far, and counting. She didn’t like my choice of door handle (erm, okay I can handle that). All the other 1,336 comments are so positive. That is really special and encourages me to blog into into the small hours.
That’s how blogging has changed my career and life.
I have a brand new creative outlet which is mine, all mine. It’s opened doors to work with some amazing people. I now have a huge network to lean on when I get stuck – from bloggers to brands. And the love and support show from everyone who voted for me in the Amara award (from all my facebook friends to my mum’s entire singing group) has tickled me pink.
All I can ever say is THANK YOU – blogging has become my world.
I often get emails from others who want to start up their own blogs and so I hope this post has provided some encouragement to just go ahead and do it. It could change your life too.