Boston fashionistas in the blogosphere
In today’s incredibly competitive fashion industry, young hopefuls desperately trying to break into the scene have an easy way to start: blogging.
Sarah McManus fits that mold perfectly. A 2005 Northeastern graduate, Sarah is a fashion stylist and blogger who started her own site, ShopSarahMac.com, last summer. Although she had been working privately as a fashion consultant she found that moving to the Internet really helped her business. Within a week of creating her own website, she already had a new client.
“People have really been responsive,” said Sarah of her site. “It just picked up sort of a fan base. I didn’t even think I was a good writer or anything, but people really started to like it.”
Writing wasn’t even something Sarah had thought about until after ShopSarahMac had been up and running. Once she had the platform, she found that it wasn’t hard to write her own posts. “With my job I’m always looking for stuff, clothes and shoes and makeup,” explained Sarah, who uses her shoping finds as inspiration for her writing.
Currently, Sarah writes a weekly “Boston Trends” column for the Examiner, a hyperlocal news site that allows writers to share their thoughts on a specific subject. She is also a contributing writer for AnyWearGirl and ShopItToMe. Sarah began writing for ShopItToMe from a connection she made through her Twitter. Although she never saw herself as a “twitter-er” she has discovered it is an amazing tool.
“I just found a lot of fashion people putting up links to their posts. I found that when you do those things people really go to the page and really look at it,” explained Sarah of Twitter. “You meet the same people in your circle. I’ve met so many people in Boston that I didn’t know before.”
A few weeks ago, Sarah went on what she describes as a “first date” with a Boston Herald writer that she met on Twitter. After interacting on Twitter, the two decided they had a lot in common and went to grab lunch away from the computer screen and out in the real world. Although Sarah says their initial meeting was a bit awkward at first, she believes it’s those connections that make utilizing social networking sites completely worthwhile.
“It really does make a difference. You can see who works where and get in with them that way. You just meet the same sort of people and then, once you start talking, it’s ‘Hey want to do a shoot?’ or ‘Do you want to be part of this style Boston thing?’ Staying in touch with those people is definitely a good idea, and that’s how you can – by using Facebook and Twitter. It just seems easier now than anything else.”
“Twitter and Facebook are definitely amazing tools if used in the right ways. It’s really unbelievable what you can do with them. I definitely have made contacts that way, in terms of editors and writing and it definitely is a great tool,” she explained.
Kara is currently working full time as a kindergarten teacher. Although she hopes to one day break into the fashion industry, she isn’t quite ready to give up a steady paycheck to make the jump. In the meantime, she has found that blogging is a great way to get her feet wet.
“It’s not exactly a great market right now,” noted Kara of the fashion industry. “I think blogging is a really great way just to get into it and to get yourself out there.”
“I was always interested in the arts, in photography and design and anything having to do with making things look pretty. Clothes and fashion seemed to be kind of an extension of that,” explained Martini, who works full time at a non-profit working on child development policy.
“As a byproduct of that I started looking at a lot of the street style blogs, and just at blogs in general,” she said. “I noticed that there weren’t that many in Boston. I thought, well you know Boston isn’t know for fashion however there are people who are quite stylish and doing quite wonderful things here. I wanted to be able to tap into that and capture the essence of the city.”
While Martini doesn’t utilize social media, she believes that being a blogger isn’t about hits or advertisements, but about having a conversation with other people on the Internet.
“What you really want is to communicate with people and open a dialogue,” said Martini. I think I’m slowly building my community and really figuring out who my readers and what they’re about.”
She feels her voice as a blogger is unique, and although it’s only her unpaid side job, she finds simple joy in thinking and writing about fashion.
“It sounds really flippant, but it’s an interesting thing to think about what really shapes our society and to actively take time to notice how people are expressing themselves,” said Martini. “I think normally I would just keep those things to myself, but because I’m a blogger, when something strikes me I can actually talk about it, I can open a discussion about it and see what people are thinking and feeling.”