First off, I’m SO excited to start a weekly series where I answer some of the most asked questions I receive from y’all! One of my goals this year is to share more personal posts (writing = my therapy), so topics ranging from personal style and life happenings, to blogging tips and advice – and anything in between – I look forward to sharing more and exploring this new chapter of LL with you!
So, let’s kick off this week with the most frequently asked question I receive: how/why did I get into blogging? Ps. Prepare for loaded response to this one, please excuse my novel ahead but know that it all played an important role in where I am today!
^^Me & my Pops at my college graduation!
I graduated from UT with a journalism degree and quickly realized upon graduation that it’s quite challenging to land a Life & Arts writing gig in Austin (highly competitive and not a ton of jobs to go around!). Thus, I went back to working retail at Nordstrom for about 6 months in the jewelry department as I moved onto the post-college phase of life. (Ps. Nords rocks, hence why I LOVE to shop with them! I worked in their Activewear + Swim department during winter/summer breaks in college, too).
A few months in, Kendra Scott Jewelry had a trunk show and I was fortunate enough to work a shift that day and meet the team. (Isn’t fate crazy? Had I not worked that particular morning shift, my entire life would be very different!). KS was fairly small at that point and hiring like crazy, but didn’t have any marketing positions available just yet. Thus, I thought it’s best to get my foot in the door, so I applied to a shipping position and landed the job. I basically worked on an assembly line with a few other awesome gals, and we pulled products, packed boxes and shipped out online orders. Not going to lie, the sound of a box being taped up still makes me a little queasy because I used to do that for 8 hours a day, ha! Luckily, within a few weeks of the shipping job, KS opened up a social media + copywriting position that I interviewed for and was very fortunate to get! That’s where I met one of my best friends and fellow blogger Lauren of Vandi Fair. She was already maintaining the KS blog and social media but couldn’t do it alone as the company was growing, so we basically became inseparable (literally, we pushed our desks together so we could collaborate on everything!) and it was an amazing two years in that role that gave me a TON of experience (and life-long friendships!) that I will never take for granted.
^^Me and LV during our Kendra Scott days, ha! Lots of jewelry to shoot for Instagram = getting efficient and wearing two styles of earrings at one time…lolz!!
This is where I learned about fashion blogging for the first time. Lauren and I would send certain bloggers product to feature (Gal Meets Glam was one at the time!) and then re-post their content on the KS social media outlets. Funny enough, a few ladies we used to send product to have actually become some of my new friends in the blogging community – it’s so awesome! That said, I saw that these women were using all of the same skills I had – but to run their own businesses. Writing, photography, photo editing (Photoshop), WordPress knowledge, social media and of course, a love for fashion. I felt compelled to start a blog of my own and put my skills to use!
^^My very first outfit post in 2014…hey, gotta start somewhere! 😉 Ps. YES, it feels VERY awkward in the beginning to have your photo taken like this…haha!
With the support of my family, friends and Blake (…who also designed my website – thanks, my darling!), I launched LivvyLand in June of 2014 and quit my job at Kendra Scott a few weeks later. And no, it wasn’t because I was making ANY money through my blog (truth be told, I barely made anything until over a year in!) – it was simply because I was feeling unfulfilled in my job and was searching for something more. Thus, I left and had enough money saved up to go all-in with my blog for just one month, as I started applying for jobs elsewhere. After a month of being “funemployed,” while interviewing at a few places in town and pushing content daily on LL, I decided to get a temporary job working at a coffee shop! It was always on my bucket list because I LOVE the coffeehouse atmosphere, talking to people, and of course, coffee… so Caffé Medici brought me on and for one month I was what I like to call the “register girl” and it was seriously SO WONDERFUL. They take coffee very seriously (as they should!) and so I never made it to “barista” status (it takes a few months before you can train for that)… So, I brewed the French presses, made pour-overs, all the yummy iced coffee beverages and got to know a ton of incredible “regulars” with fascinating life stories who were so kind and encouraging. It was such a nice break from a 9-5 desk job and the owners + my coworkers were beyond lovely and amazing people. It was also really inspiring to work with other people pushing towards their own creative goals – lots of photographers, grad students, writers, entrepreneurs. It was so refreshing and everything I needed as I took a break from corporate life. I will always look back fondly at this time in my career because I really think that job revived my soul and provided so much clarity about what I wanted for my future. It was slow paced, they valued their employees and I was surrounded by the nicest people – all of whom were advocates for me as I worked to grow LL.
^^When coming up with logos, my sister designed this one, which I used for a while! Those of you who have followed me for a long time might remember it. 😉 She used watercolor and pen – this is just the rough photo she sent to me as a “hey O, do you like where this is going?” type of thing before she completed it!
After a month of working at Medici, I moved onto a marketing role for an IT company in town called Spiceworks. Yes, this fashion-loving girl somehow got a job in the IT industry! I still look back and have ZERO idea how that happened, but I am forever grateful that it did! Let’s just say, I now know more about external hard drives and computer storage than I ever imagined haha! Anyways, Spiceworks hired me knowing my end goal was to run my blog, and let’s just say they went above and beyond to ensure my dreams became a reality. They let me change my work hours so that I could have more daylight to shoot posts each day (what?! Unheard of!), were some of my biggest cheerleaders as my blog started to gain traction and by the end of my run there, even let me go part time after I put in my two weeks so that they could help supplement my income so I didn’t have to change my standard of living…And yes, you KNOW I started bawling once they pulled me into the directors office to offer me “whatever hours I needed” to stay afloat while dedicating more time to LL. To this day, I have never heard of a workplace more supportive of their own employees pursuing outside dreams. They were so wonderful to me and I will forever see them as a major component to my success!
^^Twinning with my good friend and old coworker, Mel, at Spiceworks! Lolz!! I think half of the office had these shoes by the time I left, ha!
Thus, while I worked full time at Spiceworks, I also worked full time at every other hour of the day to promote new blog posts, shoot outfits, snap Instagrams and nail down collaborations with brands I admired. It was a time in my life where I still look back and don’t know how I survived, ha! I was miserably busy (literally I don’t think I slept for a full year haha), but very fulfilled and proud knowing I was working towards running a business of my own one day.
After a year and a half of my “double job juggle,” in February 2016, I became a full-time blogger! Blake was unbelievably supportive throughout my time leading up to that big step (and of course, even still!), and we both felt the timing was right to take that leap of faith. I then dove headfirst into the blogging world and have been so thankful to wake up and do what I love each day ever since. In terms of work fulfillment, I have never been more happy – I am so appreciative for the opportunity to do something I am over-the-moon passionate about. It really makes a difference to do what you love! All of the hard work was absolutely worth it.
^^You know it’s official when you create your dream home office! 😉 (Ps. My home office is in our dining room…Shoutout to those living in a one bedroom apartment! #workwithwhatyougot). You can see that full reveal post here.
So! That’s my spiel! If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read it all, ha! 😉
One of my favorite words of motivation is “hustle,” and for anyone who has pushed their own dream alongside a job that pays the bills, you will understand me with that one! If you’re at a place in your life where you want to branch out and do your own thing, my biggest piece of advice is to begin. Be vulnerable, work hard, stay humble and trust in yourself that you will achieve your goals!
If you have any questions about blogging, fashion, life-things, you name it – please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below! 🙂 I am SO excited about this new series and look forward the next post!