Blogging is big news at the moment and in light of the trend we gathered five leading Gold Coast bloggers to participate in our vintage-inspired photo shoot. Here are the faces behind the Oracle Fox, In Spaces Between, Unknown Pleasures, Daydream Lily and Girl With A Satchel..
RACHEL MAGAHY – IN SPACES BETWEEN
YEARS BLOGGING: Since June 2011
FOLLOWERS: 400 in 6 weeks
FAVOURITE BLOGS: Sarah Wilson, White Hot Truth, Table Tonic, Gary Pepper Vintage.
You describe yourself as an inspiration junkie; what does that mean? I am inspired by so many different things and I think the reason I have done my blog is because I had these files on my computer filled with beautiful words and pictures and I really just needed somewhere to put it all in one spot. I am inspired by amazing interiors, photography, design, and style so I guess it really is from all different facets.
How many hours do you spend researching your blog? It’s funny because now that I have a blog I actually spend less time reading other blogs. I guess it is because I am creating my own content. I work full time and blog every night for three to four hours during the week and then one day during the weekend. It is a lot.
How do you work out what to post on each particular day? I am trying to work to an editorial calendar so I have a month in advance planned out and it chops and changes. The main topics that I cover are interiors, style, weddings and then a happiness kind of post so every week I try and do something within those categories.
I think its good because then you sort of mix it up. I really love your happiness posts. Yes it is a great reminder for me to think about all the good things in my life and what is making me happy that week.
What inspires your blog? I am really inspired by other people doing amazing things especially if they are exploring their own life or a better life. Journalists like Sarah Wilson, I absolutely love her blog and Daniela Laporte, White Hot Truth and she sort of nails the tough love approach to personal development. There are so many blogs out there doing the same thing so it is nice to take inspiration from what they have going on. Books, magazines, other blogs. I spend a lot of time reading and I have a huge pile of books beside my bed that I am determined to get through.
I find it really hard to find the time to read. I love reading which is why I do what I do but now I don’t have time. I would love to have time to trawl through a book a week.
I don’t know how you fit it all in. It has taught me a lot about myself because I have quite an active social life and trying to plan a wedding and people have said to me why are you doing this blog and why a you doing it to the level that you are. I just think there are so many mediocre contributions out there that better to go big and just do it properly. And it doesn’t feel like work because I actually enjoy it.
Is your fiancé supportive of you spending the time on your blog? Yes he is because he knows that I have needed that creative outlet for so long. My full time job is for Gold Coast Tourism doing Digital Communications. I started out in PR and saw a gap and asked if I could move to online because I am such an online junkie I guess.
What does your job entail? I look after all the social media and all the online relationships. I look after the digital editors and push content out to the bloggers. It is totally work that goes hand in hand and supplements each other so it is good.
What do you think are the blogger tools of the trade? A laptop or computer and I think it is necessary to have a good SLR camera. The standard of photography on some of the blogs just blows me away and I think what were they doing with their photos before they were blogging? There is amazing fashion photographers and training yourself in the basics of Photoshop and I use Light room because I find that a great program. I use to use Photoshop in my old job because I designed watches. My role was product development so I would work with the designer to come up with the CAB drawing and I had to learn the basics of Photoshop. Definitely, camera, laptop and commitment.
Do you ever feel like if you don’t post daily that you will loose your following? I have had that battle in my head and some days I really don’t feel like posting but I think I have only had one day when I didn’t post, but then my blog has only been around for two months. It is a conversation I have had before with my fiancé where I think I might have to cut it down to four occasionally or just take the day off. It was interesting because on that day that I missed my traffic actually went up because I think leaving it to sit sometimes people will go through your old stuff and they will check it out regardless. It was really bizarre for me because my traffic pretty much doubled.
I have noticed Sarah Wilson hasn’t posted for a few days and I am getting a bit worried! Yes I have followed a few blogs who have got book deals and then they post once a week. It is annoying because I guess if you really like their writing you want to see it everyday and get an insight into their life but then Facebook and twitter are great for when you can’t post but you are still conversing with people online.
Do you have a lot of feedback from your online community? I do and I get a lot of emails. Everything from just saying they love the blog to asking for advice. I have had people from all over the world getting in touch and I do try and stay really active in that.
Do you ever read your earlier posts and cringe? I haven’t got to that point yet but I am sure I will. I am not trying to be anyone with this blog, it is just my thoughts at that point in my life and I am big on growing and evolving and constantly doing new things so anything that I have written in a years time I would like to think it was interesting. I wouldn’t cringe I would laugh and say that was funny that I thought that.
You change over time. Exactly and I think you should change over time. Because you learn more and you can’t go back to what you use to think really, it has to be something new. As long as you are authentic and I think the only time you would be embarrassed is if you were trying to be someone else and really put something out there that would impress other people. I am really just putting it out there that this is me and if you connect with that and like that then great.
I have noticed that some bloggers have a tendency to overshare. But you don’t. It’s not actually a conscious thing. I have actually been thinking that I might mention my fiancé a bit too much.
Nope not compared to other people. So my Wednesday post, making me happy is probably a little bit more of an insight into my life so you know I went to a wedding on the weekend, we went to Melbourne and I would generally speak more about my life. It is hard with this blog because the actual writing articles takes more time and thought and I have been flat out but there are things that I want to talk about that I think other people might get something out of.
That is an element of your blog that I really do like. By reading it I feel like I kind of know you but not too much. I really like reading the philosophies that you have on life and I think it is great that you can share them. I think you have a good balance. Yes hopefully I can maintain that. I am reading this book at the moment called the Gifts of Imperfection and it is about how people connect and talking about vulnerabilities and it is when people put up this guard that no-one can really get to know them. With blogging, it is the people who are willing to give a little bit of an insight into their lives that have readers who connect with them and keep coming back for more. It is a fine line.
I spoke to Sarah about this because I was intrigued by her oversharing and how she is a public figure who is very honest. She said that she is at an age where she doesn’t have to lie anymore and that by communicating you are giving a little bit of yourself and allowing other people to relate to you. That is really what her blog is about because she gives a little bit of herself in every post and people connect to it. I think so to. I follow Mia Freedman, Zoe Foster and Girl with a Satchel. A lot of them have come from a past where they were in magazines and were just a pretty face behind the masthead and now they have these blogs where they are quite open with their audiences, and I think in a way it gives people an insight and they need that base line to compare themselves to.
A day in the life of Rach..I get up at 5:20 every morning, no matter how late I am out and I normally spend 20 minutes pottering about and waking up. Then I exercise come back and get ready for work where I am till 5:30pm. During my lunch break I might jump on other blogs and have a look or plan out a post. When I am driving along I am always writing on index cards, my brain is always going. Then I come home and post and go to bed. Some times I am more organised and do a few posts on the weekend for the week ahead but I am always on the go, always busy. The name In Spaces Between was actually a conversation that I had with my fiancé where I was saying I really wanted to get to the point where I fill up those spaces in between doing all these creative things so it is actually a reminder to me that good stuff happens when you slow down and take your foot off the pedal a bit.
ERIKA BARTLE – GIRL WITH A SATCHEL
YEARS BLOGGING: Since 2007
FOLLOWERS: Around 20, 000 a month
FAVE THING TO POST ABOUT? My faith at work in my life
FAVOURITE BLOGS? I check in with all my favourites throughout the week.
Let’s talk about when you first started your blog. I was still working in magazines and it was early 2007 and I had just got engaged and blogs were just started to take off. I think I saw the blog as a platform to navigate my way through this crazy time in my life when I was going through heaps of changes. I was worked on Girlfriend Magazine as the deputy editor and as you would know the deputy editor has to do a lot of copy editing and editing other peoples work and not a lot of your own writing. The blog is a real creative extensive for me as a journalist plus at the time I was editing Girlfriend’s Get It Guide pages and the Love to Shop Guide that they do quarterly so I liked fashion but I was also working on a self respect campaign. It was at that time I was getting into my spirituality too so there was a lot of different things going on in my life and I thought it kind of needed a creative panel or channel so I started the blog. It garnered a bit of a following from the get go from the start because I was in publishing. I think six months before that Zoe Foster had started fruity beauty and that was doing really well so it seemed like a good avenue for writers to do, a natural one, not a forced thing, it was time to blog.
So it felt like a natural progression for you.. Yes it really did. I have to say it was a little bit scary putting it out there. You know what do you call it, what do you write about, should it have a niche from the get go, or do I wing it. So I suppose it was really winging it.
I have noticed your blog is go through a lot of change and you have gone through a process of working out how much you want to share with your readers. How have you dealt with this issue? I started the blog when I was 26 and I am 30 now so it has really grown up with me. It is such a big time in a girl’s life. You come out of your 20’s and it is fun and it is a time for exploration and working out who am I and what is my purpose and by the time you have half worked out what that is. So I guess it has been a process of elimination, cultivation, nourishing in some ways and getting rid of things that I wasn’t comfortable writing and really finding my groove. It hasn’t always been a pleasant experience because there has been this tug-of-war inside me between wanting to deliver things that I know there is a niche market for, so being more business orientated, and writing things that I just want to write about.
So what wins in the end? It has to be me. Because work is such a big part of your life, we spend 80 per cent of our life at work and if it is something that doesn’t bring you pleasure and joy and something you don’t look forward to getting out of bed every morning to do, life is too short. While I am certainly mindful that the blog needs to make money to me what is most important is now, having been through some tough times is work/life balance and enjoying my work everyday and feeling that my work is contributing to my life in a more positive way.
Do you mean to your readers or to yourself? Hopefully it has a flow on effect. I feel like the energy is positive and I am gaining satisfaction from what I am doing, then there has to be a flow on effect, hopefully. And if not, at least I tried and I am not afraid to fail either. You know it might all go up in a puff of smoke.
Do you feel that you mull ideas over on your blog and hopefully come to a conclusion by the end of it? I think someone famous once said, I write to see what I think and it is a bit of that process. I am at a stage in my life where I am more sure of myself and values and I am not willing to compromise anymore and for me the blog has to be about quality so if I am personally not feeling, you know if I am having an off day and that can be a real danger zone for bloggers because they feel the pressure to be delivering every day if not more. On those days I have learnt that instead of putting something negative out in the world I will do filing or my BAS statement or go do something for inspiration to feed me. I think bloggers feel that they are putting out so much, they are always giving and it must be like having children, it is like a child and it can be draining so you need to refuel. You might check out what other blogs are doing and find ways to creatively feed you and your soul.
I guess that is best for your blog, if you can stay inspired and creative you are going to keep your readers. Yes and I think that is why I enjoy teaching the students at QUT because blogging can be very isolating even though it is social media. I call it my bloggers hobbit hole when I am writing but I think it is important to get out and be sociable. The students at QUT are inspiring and they are young, creative and full of energy so I sort of leach of that energy in a lot of ways. I give them the knowledge I have and they inspire me.
It must be so great to give something back to the industry. You know as journalists when we are starting out we need people to support us and give us a go so to be able to help out must be great. Definitely, I find that with the blog as well as encouraging women in media. A lot of people like my critical voice and I think there is a time and place for that but women need support and encouragement too for when we do the right thing and that has to be a big focus too because at the end of the day we all make mistakes. I guess I try and take on more of a nurturing and encouraging role but I am not afraid to discuss the big issues either because the statistics and facts are there for us to see. Women on the Gold Coast are terribly self-conscious about how they look and the industry pays a lot of attention to how we appraise ourselves. So I think it is a way of saying hey, we are all in this together and what we can do to make more positive choices in media practices. Because I am a Christian I am carefully not to make comments that are snarky comments. Constructive criticism has to have a certain tone because if I was going through a blog and it was just shouting nasty, mean things at me all day I just wouldn’t go back.
We expect you to criticize the media, you are a social commentator on that but you are right people don’t want to read about that all the time which is why your blog has such a great mixture of commentating and other stuff as well, which is a good mix. Thanks, I think a lot of bloggers are criticized for that snarkiness, and not just bloggers but the anonymous commenters as well which just kind of adds to an environment which I don’t think is particularly healthy, especially for women as well, because we feel down about ourselves, the world is hard enough.
Do you feel that it is often the reactions to the posts that adds to this environment? I have a very quiet commenting community. I have found that a lot of people come and read, then go away to ponder it and then just let it be. I think this is fine because I don’t have a lot of time to spend commenting. I think there is a mutual respect because pretty early on I laid out a code of commenting conduct, fair is fair, I have to be on there everyday, it is my online home so don’t come in and trash the joint, please. Look I have had mental health issues in the past and I am now at a much stronger, healthier place in my life but we are sensitive creatures and it can get you down. Really, really tough. I can’t imagine being Mia Freedman. She has emotions of steel. She has an amazing profile and with that comes responsibility and people will attack you. It is like being a politician, it can’t be easy.
You have to give it to Mia, she does say what she thinks and she knows that is going to happen. I think when everything settles down, maybe it will give people something to think about, why do we idolize our sports people in this country, I don’t know. We are such a sporty country but I think blogs have been able to tap into niches that are maybe unexplored by the media that gives issues a lot of coverage, especially sport and politics.
Tell me about your time on Mama Mia. It was very exciting for me to open up my daily email and see an email there from you. Yes, Mia and I have been sparring online, she jumped online soon after I did in 2007 and it was at a time when she had just left Channel Nine and we were both navigating this crazy online world together. She has always been very supportive in a very motherly kind of way and I suppose we have a mutual respect for each other and she has a curiosity about faith and how it works and she is often very jocular about it, which is fine, it is just who I am and I wear it on my sleeve to my determent sometimes. I guess she just wanted that voice on her blog and I was happy to oblige. It is always a scary thing when contributing to blogs that have amazing commenting communities because you never know how it is going to be received.
I felt really proud of you when you went on Mia’s blog because it is such a huge community and to me and for you to come out and say this is my life I thought was a really big thing to do. Thank you. I suppose with the media commentary I try to put the spin of what would Jesus think about this but that is professional me and media is what I studied, it is what I practiced, it is my trade. But increasingly it is a struggle between how much I talk about that and my faith which is my core and what gives me so much joy that I want to scream it from the rooftops. But at the same time I understand that is not everyone’s flavour. It is fine I have come to a place where we have to respect people for their voice and I guess I always have but you can be overzealous as an angelical Christian but I think talking about the media brings me a lot of joy as well. I grew up with the media, my mum worked at Channel Seven and she was a big news reader and it is part of the fabric where we are deriving our moral code. I was been sort of called a glossy moral guardian, lets talk about where we are drawing our moral compass from. Who says we should be featuring ten year old models in fashion magazines? Where is the line drawn? And in viewing my work with those kind of Christian values without being extensively showing it down people’s throats.
Do you think you have a responsibility to share your faith? Yes I think it is important to be transparent about your interests. And not in a ‘I want to convert the whole word sense’ but this gives me so much joy, I feel so whole and so complete, what right do I have not to share that with people. It is not for everyone I guess but it has certainly been the thing for me so I feel a sense of responsibility to say there is one way to do life but there is another and the one that I am walking is pretty awesome. It doesn’t feel wonderful every day but nothing has quite compared to it. Sometimes I think, I’m I bonkers nuts but then I go out and meet the most intelligent doctors and artist and all these people who share my faith and that is the great thing about being able to share it on the blog is that people are like, oh my gosh I didn’t realise you were Christian, me too! And all these people come out of the woodwork and they are like, it is so nice to meet someone who likes nice clothes and who is a Christian because there is this stigma of Christians being very uptight and daggy.
I thought you would be really different to what you are? Maybe my blog sounds too serious? I think part of that comes from the fact that I have been to some really dark places in my life, I suffered with anorexia for about two years and it was so dark and now I am at such a great place in my and I think sometimes it takes these experiences to realise all the good things in life and really it is a blessing to experience that.
Even when I was going through it there were joyful moments and it wasn’t all darkness but there was a sense that when you are a Christian you sort of look at people differently. Like how exciting to be able to meet new people and find out what they are doing with their lives and what motivates them and I am much more interested in people and it is just exciting to be part of things. Maybe I don’t get out enough? Maybe that’s it; I am just a sad little hobbit. I get out and I am like a puppy who hasn’t been let out before!
Let’s talk about the money. That is an area that I have really struggled with as well because as a journalist by trade I am really into the editorial content producing side so you really do have to set time aside if you want to monetize it, to work on advertising. The thing that has been the best thing for me is that I haven’t chased any advertising it has actually come to me so there is no marketing plan, there is no business plan it just kind of happens. I am very lucky to have some big clients.
Like a magazine, advertising revenue goes up and down. One month I could make $300 off it, another I could make a few thousand.
How do you survive? My husband works in Christian ministry so he is not on an income either. Truth be known we have been living off love and an oily rag for the past three years since we have got married. We live a really simple life and we have been boarding with his parents place while we are building our home, a shipping container home like what you might have seen on Jamie Durie’s show, on their ten acres on Mount Tamborine. We are really blessed to be able to do what we love with that level of support. We would not be able to do this in Sydney or Melbourne as the cost of living is pretty low for us but we have very basic material needs. We also both work outside our roles so I work at QUT and do some freelancing jobs. So we subsist on water and an oily rag and we are blessed with some things and it is a very simple life.
But you wouldn’t give it up for the world. No but mind you I have contemplated going out and getting a normal nine to five job but Jim [Erica’s husband] has been very encouraging and you need that because it is tempting to chuck it all in and it certainly has been tempting to chuck it all in. I have a belief that the Australian market has been very slow, as far as advertisers are concerned to have confidence in blogs and bloggers and I can see a million reasons for that to be the case, but increasingly online is attracting eyeballs and audiences and it is become a more lucrative platform so if you can stick it out and carve out a bit of a niche for yourself and gain credibility and awareness then why not give it a go. You read stories about countless business people and they failed numerous times before really cracking it so why no?
You do have a niche, you have the credibility and awareness? Yes so it is really about sustainability which is why the blog has really had to grow with me because I am not where I was four years ago when I started it and in four years time I am not going to be where I am now either. You start to think about having a family and succession planning and who might take it over and there are a few girls that I have my eye on to fulfil the role.
Really, so do you have people working with you on the blog? At the moment no, I scaled things right back as it got too burdensome to be managing contributors and I am a perfectionist and I wanted to maintain the blog at a certain standard and quality which means it just comes back to me which means some days it just doesn’t get updated. But I think it is our role to bring other young journalists up to the mark and share what we know in the hope that they might carry on the legacy. There has to be some future goals to look forward to so I will probably do a relaunch at the end of the year. Your blog is like a shop with a window dressing and you want it to look kind of new and fresh. So if you are getting bored looking at it chances are other people are too. Magazines do relaunches all the time and blog need to too but I have been a bit slack, but now I have put it out there I have to do it.
Is it true that I Subscribe gives you all your magazines for free? No not at all. Lots of the publishers like News Magazines and Pacific Magazines have been very generous. ACP a few of the titles have come on board. I get asked, do editors hate you? And now they are generally really amicable and I have had some terse conversations with a couple of editors but they are generally very respectful and obliging and in some ways I bat for them because I love print and I love that they have huge potential to do positive things, so it is not all about mag bashing.
It is uncanny that you and your husband kind of do the same thing? Yes but it has caused problems because we are both really set on what we want to do. In relationships there is usually someone who is prepared to sit back and cruise and the other that is a bit of a goer but we are both goers. So we have had to negotiate and make time for each other but the more we have done that the happier we are in our marriage the happier we are in the world.
You came to a time where you needed to slow down with your work and do a recheck. Tell me about that. It is crazy being up till 12 o’clock at nigh trying to get things done and you wake up saying what is driving me to these levels of craziness. But sometimes I think you go through a season and it’s really busy but you have to get the job done and otherwise we have to delegate things which can be hard if you are a perfectionist. Sometimes I think it would be really nice to be able to delegate to someone who will do it just like me.
MANDY SHADFORTH – ORACLE FOX
YEARS BLOGGING: Since August, 2010
FOLLOWERS: 6 or 7,000 on blog lovin. I haven’t really checked lately.
FAVE THING TO POST ABOUT: I get really excited when I see someone from Australia doing something different that the rest of Australia hasn’t seen before. It doesn’t happen all the time but sometime I’ll see an up and coming model that’s doing really well so I’ll dedicate a post to her or if there’s an amazing look book that’s come out that’s really exciting. Those kinds of posts I get really excited about. Knowing that my readership is mainly international, it’s really cool to be able to share Australian flavours with the rest of the world.
FAVOURITE BLOGS: Saturday Surf is a nice inspirational blog for surf culture, because I love surfing. As far as fashion blogs go, probably one of my favourites is Studded Hearts. A lot of people wouldn’t know that Yenny is Australian, she lives in Melbourne and it’s like a trend forecasting blog. She posts a lot of editorials and look books. I look to her for inspiration in terms of trend forecasting. She’ll be one of the first bloggers to pick out the colour of the season, she looks at runways and picks out prints and then does a post. She’s amazing, a real sweetheart. I think now I’m becoming biased as well, a lot of the bloggers I like; I’ve actually travelled and met them. If I was to rattle a few off, I’d probably say lovers in vain, purse n’ boots and Tobacco & Leather.
Why do you think Oracle Fox has become so popular so quickly? It really surprised me, I’m not actually sure. But if I was to follow my heart and think about why other people would be interested in my blog I would probably say that it is because I am organic with the way I post. I only really put up things that I believe in and that I like. There’s no ulterior motive to anything that I post, sometimes when your blog grows and grows you can be influenced by other people. Probably the crux of it is, I’ve always stayed true to myself and posted things that I really love. Maybe people can see that, I don’t know.
I think, it’s weird too because most of my followers are in the States, which is kind of unusual for an Australian blog. I know that most of the people that read my blog are from the US but then the second group is from Australia. I try as hard as I can to promote Australian labels and also the aesthetic of living in Australia without it coming across as too cheesy.
What’s it like sharing your life with the world? It’s kind of freaky. When I started I didn’t really do any personal posts and then I noticed a couple of people following. I really didn’t care if anyone was following or not, because I was an artist anyway, I was always collecting images. I was a bit of a nerd; I had heaps of scrap books and stuff. I thought I might as well put it in a blog. Then I started to get to know other bloggers who were on a smaller level like I was. Just the idea of putting images out there to be timeless and be able to reference back too was a really good idea. It just grew from there and as time went on I decided maybe I could just share some small things. At that time I had 60 followers and I don’t know what happened but over about a month I had heaps more followers so I started blogging for a while, like a week or two. It freaked me out. Then I thought maybe I should stop doing it, it was a full growth spurt. I’m happy to share the things that I think are relevant to share, obviously not too much of my private life. I guess it’s been an evolution and you never really know what’s right or wrong, I think you’ve just got to be smart and stay true to yourself and you learn as you go.
Why did you start blogging in the first place? Well because I was an artist and I was collecting imagery all the time to put toward my work, I plan my work a year in advance. So now that we have the internet, I collected pictures out of magazines but I also went on the internet and started collecting pictures online which is how I found the blogs. It’s weird because I never knew what blogs were. Then I thought maybe I could put my inspiration on a permanent format so I could go back a reference it. I realised too that it was a way to expand my creativity so I really like other genres other than painting. I love painting but I also love to draw and I love photography. I thought maybe I could experiment and get in touch with other creative people. Living on the Sunshine Coast I’ve felt isolated but then when I started my blog, I realised there a lot of people in Queensland that are amazing and that you just don’t read about every day until you get into the internet.
What is your day job? I don’t really know. I only really started styling since I started my blog. I’ve always been creative; I was a sign writer originally when I finished high school. Then I had my own business for a little while, I was a chalkboard artist. I also used to sell my paintings in galleries so before I started my blog I was a full-time visual artist. It’s weird because when you’re creative like that and you live on a coastal strip people are like, ‘do you think you could help us work out what colour to paint our restaurant’ and ‘can you tell us what to do for this and that,’ so I’ve always consulted people on random artistic and creative things. I spose my job is a full-time creative consultant.
You’re married right? Yes I am, he works in the construction industry. He has a small business laying pipes, he’s very supportive and he loves what I do. He doesn’t fully understand it but he thinks it’s cool. We’ve only been married since October last year.
What do you love most about Oracle Fox? I love that it puts me in touch with amazing people around the world and I love the opportunities that it gives me. I love that if I hadn’t started it, I wouldn’t have met you and the girls today or seen Brie again and I wouldn’t have had the chance to go to fashion week in New York and I just got back from styling a shoot in Italy. So that sort of thing you wouldn’t normally do if you hadn’t put yourself out there and tried something different. So that side of it, I’m really grateful for.
How was fashion week in New York? It was hectic but it was really really cool. Also really daunting because it’s very different. My life before I had a blog was just surfing and painting and then 6 months later I’m in New York so that was kind of surreal but it was overwhelming in a good way. I wanted to go back for September but I have to catch up on my work. I think it will be something that I continually do now. I just went to the shows, some awesome shows. Really Avant Garde stuff which appealed to me as well.
Have you always loved fashion? I’m laughing because I am the biggest dag you have ever met. I’m really nerdy, I’ve always loved fashion but I’ve always been a tomboy. So even though I love fashion, my dress sense hasn’t always been what’s cool. So there have been times when I used to make my own transfers on t-shirts. Like cartoon characters and stuff, I wasn’t cool. I was wearing bike pants in the 90’s and they weren’t cool then. I’ve always loved fashion but I’ve interpreted it in my own way. I spose I’m lucky that people appreciate individuality.
Why do you think blogging has become so popular seemingly overnight? It’s weird isn’t it? Because I’m only new to blogging as well, it’s only something that I recently knew about in the last 18 months but I feel like Australia is only just getting used to the world of blogging. I’ve travelled a lot in the last 18 months and the rest of the world as far as I’ve seen, blogging is much bigger. I think that blogging will only be stronger here as time goes on. I think the reason is the most successful people speak honestly and more consistently. It’s almost more direct. People often ask me if I think blogging will take over magazines but I don’t think it will and I think it would be really sad if that happened. I love magazines and amazing editors work their whole life to be where they are. They work really hard, they study and they intern and they work their guts out to get to where they are and I don’t think someone like me could ever take that persons place. I’m kind of like a random that just puts up pictures of things they like. So I feel like in that sense, that’s why blogs are successful. It’s just an everyday person sharing things that they actually believe in. Sometimes with magazines I think that gets lost.
What’s the significance behind the name of your blog? I don’t really talk about that, it’s like a secret. It’s fun. I’m not a secretive person. Oracle Fox is inspired by something in my life that exists already. It’s not a person but it is a living thing. I’ll leave it at that.
What do you love most about the creative world? For me, I’m a Libran so I don’t really know any other form of expressing myself. For me creativity is about expression, people often ask me what I think is the definition of style and I don’t know I’m not the master of that but I think style is defined by people that can express their individuality in the best way they can. So if that’s wearing pluggers and ruggers and you can pull it off, that’s stylish to me. Creativity to me is being expressionistic and true to yourself.
How would your husband describe you? He would say energetic and passionate and creative. Funny, I’m not funny today because I get really nervous.
How would you spend your perfect day? I had a pretty good day on the weekend actually. I think it’s just for me, because I work so hard now and I never have worked so hard before, a perfect day is getting up, going for a surf and surfing til your arms hurt. Then having breakfast with my friends, a little organic café and then going to the markets and chilling out for the rest of the day, hanging out with people I love. My husband and I are obsessed with surfing, we are always travelling overseas trying to find waves.
What do you wish for in the future? I never really have any goals that are streamlined; I just really want to let everything run its natural course. And to be creative in ways that come to me and embrace whatever happens.
What is your favourite trend of the season? I love the cats’ eye sunglasses that everyone’s wearing at the moment. I love pastel pink, I think pink is really strong at the moment. I love that things are changing a little bit. For summer, I think sandals with like gold heels that are really cool. I think realistically the fresh trends we are going to see are the shows in New York in September; I’m really excited for that. A lot of things are so accessible in the world, when I’m travelling a lot of things I’m seeing in the world are getting to Australia really quickly now. Girls can buy online now and Aussie style is awesome. Girls are so much more interested in fashion now. We’re a lot luckier with online shopping and trends filtering through to Australia quicker.
Where are your favourite places to shop? I’m like everybody else, I like to try and find things that are different and it’s harder and harder as the world gets smaller. So I love markets and I love vintage. I don’t wear a lot of vintage but when you find something that’s unusual, I don’t go vintage shopping often, but I love finding something that’s different. When I travel, I love finding boutiques down side streets.
What advice would you give to want to-be bloggers? Good question. I think one of the key elements is to work out whether you want a tumblr or a blog. Tumblrs are becoming really popular now and they’re good for people who don’t want to write. The two are really easy to control. Tumblr is probably easier to start with. The second is, what you put on the internet is permanent. So even if you take it down, someone can save it and someone can re-blog it. You know, a fashion blogger can see it in an instant and re-post so you have to be careful. The third thing I would say is be true to yourself and really try to share images that really mean something to you. Every time you post think about, is this something that I really love and then it will be a real reflection of who you are. Which is what blogs are for.
ALLY CAREY: UNKNOWN PLEASURES
YEARS BLOGGING: Almost a year
FOLLOWERS: About 500
FAVE: Outfit posts are my ultimate favourite.
FAVOURITE BLOGS: ORACLE FOX, GARY PEPPER VINTAGE, FASHION TOAST. I read a number of blogs not just fashion blogs, photography and all different things to get inspiration on different levels
What made you decide to start your blog? I was reading so many blogs and I felt like there was no reason why I couldn’t do the same thing. I have all the resources so I thought I’d put them into play.
Did you have an idea about what you wanted to blog about before you started? It’s kind of evolved since starting, I never really thought anyone would read it except for my family but they probably didn’t understand why I was doing it in the first place. Through reading it, you can probably see that it’s evolved. Most of my posts are photos now, since buying a camera and learning all the tricks I enjoy photography as well as reading other blogs now. And just doing inspiration posts, I really love photography.
What do you love most about Unknown Pleasures? I like the reactions from my readers about the outfits I choose to post on. I like having stand out pieces like my shorts in my most recent post. I didn’t necessarily think most people would love them but I just thought I’d be a bit daring so I people’s reactions with things like that.
How would you describe your blog in your own words? An eclectic mixture of photography and my fashion loves and inspiration.
Where do you find inspiration? Even people on the street, just seeing what the every day person is wearing, how they style themselves. Even the other day, we were driving through Broadbeach and there was this older guy and he had the most awesome fashion style. It was great, so yeah gaining inspiration from everyday people and high fashion and runway shows and other blogs I guess.
I haven’t been doing as much lately with the organisation of my store, I’ve just been focusing on that. All my focus has been on that the last few months. Fingers crossed, we’ll be open in one to two weeks.
What do you hope to achieve through your blog? At the moment, coming from such a small town. Because most of my blog is on vintage, I want to show people that they don’t have to live in big cities to be able to style themselves well. I’m just going with the flow at the moment, I haven’t really thought about it. Ultimately, it will go hand in hand with my store I guess and see where it takes me.
What are three things you want for the rest of your life? I want to live somewhere by the sea, to own my own successful business and I want to be happy in life, no matter what I choose to do.
Can you describe your fashion style to me? I don’t have a set style, it really depends how I feel on the day. I’ve got so many vintage pieces, so many rock chick pieces. I’m essentially a jeans girl but lately I’ve been wearing dresses a lot which is really odd for me. It really depends what I’m feeling when I wake up and how I dress usually influences how I feel on a day as well. If I’m dressed in like a bright colour, I’m usually really bubbly. I guess you could just say an eclectic style.
Have you always love op shopping? A bit of both. When I was younger mum used to always go to op shops and so did my sisters and at that stage I guess it wasn’t as popular as it is these days but a good five years and I’ve been a compulsive op-shopper. I find it therapeutic, it’s so relaxing. If I’m on a mission and know what I’m after I can be in and out in five minutes. You have to know what you’re looking for, it’s a lot easier.
How do you convince your boyfriend to play such a bog role in your blog? He’s really good, he knows it’s helping me out for opportunities in the future so he’s happy to help me out along the way but I really appreciate it. Unknown Pleasures wouldn’t be what it is without him; there are only so many tripod photos you can take. He’s a doll, even with his design stuff. Helping me out with Photoshop and all his design stuff, not only taking photos but he’s my mentor as well.
New business: I like to think of it as our project but he likes to think of it as my project. With him helping me so much to get it off the ground I can’t help but feel that it’s both our thing.
How long have you wanted your own business? I came from a family of teachers and you’re expected to go to Uni. That’s how you get a job and that’s how you make money and start the rest of your life. I’ve wanted to do it since I left school, work for myself. I’ve never thought working for other people was how I wanted to live my life. I’ve always been creative so always wanted to do something different!
LISS WINNEL – DAYDREAM LILY
YEARS BLOGGING: 4 YEARS
FAVE TO BLOG ABOUT: Probably photography is my favourite, paired with nice words that make a story. I’ve started taking some of my own using film cameras. I’ve always loved photography but I also find a lot of photographers on Flickr and usually feature them in a little gallery.
What made you decide to start your blog in the first place? I’d just started working and wasn’t really doing anything creative so I was looking for something creative to do. I started going along to these craft nights that a blogger in Melbourne (Meet me at Mike’s) was holding and everyone there had blogs so I started reading theirs. I became friends with Pip (from MMAM) and she introduced me to blogging and then I found I really enjoyed it.
What do you love most about it? When I started I really just wanted to meet some people who are like me, who have similar interests because I work in an industry that isn’t creative (science researcher). I wanted to meet other creative people; the best thing for me was meeting like-minded people. Some of my best friends are through blogging now. Otherwise, the people that read who I never expected. The other day I got an email from Lisa Mitchell; I thought it was her newsletter when I saw it. I opened it and it was this email from her saying she loved my blog and wanted to start her own blog. I can’t believe the people that read, it always amazes me.
What is the significance behind the name? Daydream Lily was basically that creative girl that I was trying to get in touch with again. So she’s kind of a persona, she’s a day dreamer, that girl that doesn’t want to grow up. She’s that side of me that I was missing and wanted to get in touch with. Growing up I always wanted to have two careers and I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to achieve that.
Why do you think blogging has become so popular recently? When I started four years ago it wasn’t that popular. Mine was probably one of the first doing that inspiration style blogging but now I can’t keep up with how many blogs there are. I don’t really know why. I think there’s something personal about it that people like, it’s not as polished and you’re more seeing that person. You get to connect with them directly. It’s about communities. I’ve never had much negativity, the blogging community tends to be so supportive of each other, if you see bloggers together they all just want to be friends. There’s no bitchiness.
I never thought I’d live here. Every time I visited here I only went to Surfers Paradise and I was like, this place is so fake, why would anyone want to live here. But now that I have lived here and seen more areas and met some other creative people I’m enjoying it more. It takes a bit of time to find that. I’m really that it’s such a slower pace of life than Melbourne. It’s so much more relaxed and the weather is absolutely beautiful. I’ve got a whole new wardrobe. I’ve got so many dresses and skirts now.
How would you describe your personal style? It’s very girly I think. A bit vintage, quirky. I love going to The Village Markets. Every time I go there I feel like I’m back in Melbourne, all the girls get really dressed up. Probably around Burleigh Heads area is my favourite place to shop.
Tell me about your love of cameras and all things vintage? I think the love of cameras is in my family; my dad taught me to use a digital SLR when I was 11 and in school I took photography classes and had my own darkroom. I like photographing random things. I discovered Frankie magazine and it was around the time I was getting into crafty stuff. I have a house full of vintage things. I love vintage patterns.
What do you see for your future? I’m pretty happy right now with my life balance. I’ve started an online store now with another blogger called Style Milk. That’s doing really well so I’m going to keep doing research for now and keep up with the store and my blog. We’ve got women’s, kids and décor and we’ve mainly used designers that we’ve featured on our blogs. Mainly Australian designers but we have a couple of international ones too. It’s just a blend of my style and hers. I never initially wanted to do a shop. I’d known Jen online for a couple of years and when I moved up here, we decided to do something together. I just love it.