The last 5 years in a nut shell.
For those of you who had followed me then, and still do, know that it has been a bitter sweet ride for Her Style & Grace as a brand. Between then and now, my life has been a wild - 360 - ‘who would have thought’ - world rocking - ride for the past some years. Good, bad, ugly and the most amazing moments have shaped me and this little hobby of mine today. Her Style & Grace started as a blog to share my fashion tips and some of my travel diary. First, I loved the idea of showcasing my love of shopping on a budget but it turned into sharing my Thanksgiving tablescape real quick.
I would get questions frequently on what I was wearing, where I shopped, where my Christmas ornaments were from, what type of bra I wore with an open back top and so much more. I was one of those girls who gushed over other bloggers’ gold charger plates and their unrealistic placement of candles (everyone loves candles.) So then I thought, I could do that too.
I lived in Florida for a short time where the weather was 80 + for 360 days and -30 for the other 5 days.. so unideal. I moved across the country from Long Island where I was born and raised. That was the hardest - so staying busy was extremely important for me. I went to school, I worked and I was a homemaker but something was missing. My long days of being bored and dabbling in all sorts of "get rich quick" gimmicks, turned into me taking notes on what girls like me wanted to see. Then one day, 4 years ago, I spray painted a shelf from IKEA for my office and I got an influx of messages, and sometimes still do, asking where I got this beautiful, expensive looking shelf from. And then it was like.. some chick from Austria is asking what kind of spray paint I was using. "Why did she care?" is what went thru my head. Wild.
I come to find out these girls are making money off of this….? They post an outfit or the coffee mug their drinking out of and if you buy something off their affiliated link they make a commission. Sounded so fun, and so easy. And I was so wrong.
The first OG post of Her Style & Grace as a blog
This “blogosphere” is extremely saturated and if you notice on Instagram, everyone is doing the same thing - they all look the same. Same sales, same discount codes, same Nordstrom Holiday picks. And that is OK! But you feel as a start up blogger you would never make it in such a world where these girls have started way before you. In order to be noticed and successful you needed to be different. You needed to be consistent to be relevant. You needed to give them what they wanted to see but have different taste but still desirable by 80% of the female population. I am saying all this because I started my blog out of the sheer love for it. First I loved clothes, and then I loved shopping and then I loved home decor so when you put it together and share it on social media platforms, these girls start following your everyday life.
I had it figured out! Every morning, I got dressed took a few pictures or I documented step by steps to my DIY projects and I would post! I photographed EVERYTHING. It took a while to get a following but after I stayed consistent and noticed, I found that these people actually wanted to see more. And then I wanted to make this my career. I saw money coming in from posting pictures, being engaging and relatable. I got to fly out to LA to listen to other ‘influencers’ speak about how they made it to where they are, what it took and why they loved it. It took my creative juices to another level. It was like a fantasy world of perfection behind a computer screen.
Then life hit me like a ton of bricks.
Fast forward to today..
Without completely overindulging on my life events, I moved back to New York. The greatest place on Earth. My blog had taken a hiatus which your followers hate to see and they want to know why you are MIA - other times people are just nosey. Her Style & Grace fell off the face of the Earth. Which was extremely disappointing, but I couldn’t find the motivation or the time or the creativity to keep up with the next thing. I found myself a desk job which helped me collect income for some time before I made the decision to quit my job and follow something I loved.
I went out on a whim. Literally. I always had a dream to open up my own brick and mortar business. I watched my mom and dad create and run both of their very own and very successful businesses. How inspiring? I wanted a clothing boutique that was solely mine. One where I hand picked everything and had a place where girls like me could have fun shopping. I had this whole plan and then the reality of overhead and over all stress slaps you in the face. However, I was lucky enough to have an extremely supportive and more rational support system behind me. “Start an online boutique first”. Nailed it.
I wanted to keep my blog name, so www.HerStyleandGrace.com as a Boutique was born! I had worked so hard on making it what it was, I didn’t want to lose her completely. It stuck. And I was so happy with it to begin with - So - don’t fix it if it isn’t broken.
I had no idea what to do, how to start, where to start, what I needed, how much $ I needed, how much inventory space I needed. NOTHING. It was scary. I kept trying to convince myself it was fine and if I really needed to I can find myself another job. Staying positive is crucial. You will never make it otherwise. I was also lucky enough to be with someone extremely business and people savvy. I wanted to just be able to wear something I sold and take pictures. If people asked, I would direct them to my website. LOL. My now husband (also a business owner) is a marketing genius and pays $0 to market his business. He has been open 7 years and is THRIVING. I mean, expanding in the near future, thriving. (more on him later). I will say this until I am blue in the face : In order to be successful, you need to surround yourself with like-minded, positive, smart and DRIVEN people. Oh my god is that so important. I never realized it until I decided to be a *business women*.
If you love something enough, you pour your heart and soul into it. You make it your baby. If it becomes a "job" for you, a job that you don’t want to go to everyday, it is not for you. One last piece of advice that I continue to learn - People will ALWAYS have an opinion. I mean, always. Worrying about what other people think or say is debilitating. We all have fell victim to this whether we know it or not. But that is a post for a different time.
My goal then, and maybe will be in the future is to share it. Share it all. You never really know who is watching or listening.