all photos by Arielle Levy, an amazing photographer in San Diego
Guys, I am beyond pumped today to share Erica at Fashionlush with you guys.
First off, she is a big time blogger. And yet she responded to my email asking for a quick interview like 5 hours later and was like, “Yeah girl let’s do it, send me questions.”
That’s why I love her + that’s why I wanted to share her with you guys.
A brief background: Erica was working in fashion and she got laid off, circa 2008. Her bff, and one of my faves, Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential, said “That’s great. Give your blog 6 months, go all in, and see what happens.”
Flash forward 8 years later, and she is a full-time blogger and content creator. She also owns Blog-Doo, the blogging witch doctors (LOVE this branding, too), and she helps bloggers with website design, blog branding, etc.
In terms of bloggers who I think are doing it RIGHT, I knew she would have some killer advice for you guys, which is why I wanted to have her on Slightly Savvy to share her branding, social media, and blogging tips.
She has an on point Instagram, which I actually talked about here in “How to Create a Beautiful Instagram Feed + Grow Your Engagement.
Without further ado….meet the babe behind the brand, Erica.
♡ Your whole brand is bomb. It’s unique and cool and authentic, without being fake. Could you give us the 411 on how the color scheme, the vibe, and the name came about?
First of all- you’re the sweetest & just skimming these questions, I am so excited to get into this interview. I love the effort & thought you put into these questions so thank you for interviewing me!!
I just (today actually) did a post on branding because it is a question I get asked a lot- how to brand your blog & it is such a good question because a well branded blog is a huge part of creating a successful brand.
For me, I knew I wanted things to be black/white/ and very minimal so that my content could really shine… yet it took me a hot minute to get to that place. Over the years I have played around with colors, because people LOVE color & I thought that was the *right* way to go about it, but eventually I realized- that’s just not me… so I went back to the black & white combo w/ just a tiny pop of pale peach & once I honed in on my vibe, people got it. If there is anything I have learned from blogging, being yourself in all aspects is the key to attracting more readers!
I started my blog about 8 years ago & had ZERO clue what I was doing. I was in college & just thought it’d be a fun hobby for me to express my creativity. There were very few bloggers in the game at that time, so I really had no examples of what I “should” be doing. It was more a compilation of my own inspiration than a blog & I was pretty much writing for myself… & maybe my Mom/Sister/Dad. I started it on a whim, while laying in bed, & went with Fashionlushxx (yes, an xx… which has since thankfully been removed because people thought maybe my site was a dirty one. HA!).
My thought process behind the name was actually based on the whole concept that people become a LUSH when they drink a few glasses of wine, but I was never a big drinker… so the only thing that turned me into a LUSH was fashion.
I am lucky I love the name, because it’s actually not how I would recommend anyone start their blog current day. The whole process needs way more thought & planning, but also not TOO much thought/planning or you will be faced with a serious failure to launch problem.
Think about it, but don’t over think it. Always get second opinions as well, because if I didn’t, I may still have that horrid xx attached to my blog name.
♡ Just a quick story: I emailed you and three other bloggers I really admire. You have the biggest following by at least 3X of the others. And you responded to me in like five hours. The others haven’t responded to me for over a week.
I get people are busy, but it makes me feel pretty worthless as a reader when I love your content, watch all your stories, etc. And you can’t even answer an email. Especially when there’s people like you and Lauren who literally Snapchat back like three minutes later. It just really puts some bloggers in a whole other category for me. Like if you ever do a collab, idfc if it’s with a vacuum cleaner brand, like I’m going to buy it. Thoughts on this?
UGH- this actually drives me crazy because it makes me think bloggers are blogging for the wrong reason. The biggest joy I get out of my blog is connecting with other women, helping other women, & always doing my best to inspire other women.
My readers are the sole reason I blog. I am not blogging to show off all the fancy stuff I own (which isn’t a lot!) or to hard brag about how cool my life is cause honestly- I put on my pants one leg at a time just like the rest of the world.
I am a normal girl, I am a homebody, I love my dogs, I love my family, & I LOVE more than anything talking to my readers & answering all of their questions/give them any advice they need. At the end of the day, that’s what keeps me going.
♡ Can we talk Blog-Doo for a second? The branding behind that is amazing (they’re the “website witch doctors,” their packages are called “spells…”). And it’s really unique you and Lauryn own it together, and somehow Blog-Doo branding fits so seamlessly into both Fashionlush + The Skinny Confidential. How did you do that?
My second baby! I love blog-doo & am so passionate about helping other women create their own badass brands/blogs that they are proud of. The internet is vast & there is room for anyone… it’s all about collaborating, not competing!
As for the branding, I feel like blog-doo is Lauryn & I’s alter ego.
Her site is very pink and feminine which works so well with her audience, my site is very black & white which works well with my audience, & blog-doo is our witchy little wonderland where we make blog magic happen!
We both love that whole magical vibe (think crystals, tarot cards, & voodoo dolls), so we really wanted to express that design aesthetic through blog-doo!
If you guys need blogging help, hit them up here!
♡ I know blogging can have its unique struggles, and I’m sure being a full-time blogger you have even more unique struggles. What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
Probably the competition factor amongst bloggers, & also the inauthenticity I come across way too much in the blogging world. I have worked hard to build an authentic audience, so when I see bloggers buy their way to the top & it WORKS for them… it is really upsetting.
You can spot an inauthentic blogger miles away, but they are getting jobs before me & that can definitely be frustrating! I did a post on inauthentic blogging here that kinda breaks down how to spot it, & how not to let it hinder your own personal growth.
At the end of the day though, that’s playing the short game cause if you can’t convert, brands will catch on… which is why midtier bloggers will soon be stealing the spotlight (smaller audience that is authentic = higher conversion percentages!).
♡ If someone is struggling to figure out their niche in blogging, do you recommend a niche? If so, how do you think they can go about narrowing it down?
I definitely recommend a niche to start. Once you gain a loyal following, you can branch out more, but it’s smart to start small. There are so many bloggers these days, you have to find what makes you a big fish in a small pond rather than being a small fish in a huge ass ocean.
When trying to determine your niche- think about what you want to see that is missing in the blog space, what you’re passionate about, what you’re good at, & how you plan to provide your readers with useful content versus fluff content. You can’t just be a fashion blogger anymore, you have to provide your readers with more value than just links to your outfits!
♡ Any tips and tricks on the tech side of blogging? For example, I use heat maps on my blog to track what users are clicking on and engaging with. Do you have anything like this?
Googling heat maps now!!! I haven’t heard of that one yet.
I just did a post on my top 5 favorite plugins for WordPress users which pretty much covers the bases on this one- but to sum it up, I love my Google Analytics plugin & everyone needs to install a good SEO plugin on their site ASAP!
♡ Favorite post you’ve ever written? Some of mine are your Morning Skincare Routine, Authentic Ways to Grow Your Instagram Following, and On the Top Shelf: Clean Beauty
My favorite post is probably the one when I came out to my readers about my lifelong struggle with severe anxiety. I wrote that post for me because my anxiety was spiraling & I was honestly reaching out for help. The response I got was overwhelming. Just knowing I am not alone in that struggle helped me so much & I have since gotten the chance to help other women struggling with debilitating anxiety (which has also helped me with my own!).
♡ Your photos everywhere are gorgeous and so unique. What’s your biggest secret weapon?? Mine would be the whitening tool on Facetune. Also, you guys NEED to read her Blogging BTS: How I Edit My Instagram Photos here.
You are so sweet girl. I also would have to go with the whitening tool on Facetune- it is my holy grail cause I hate yellow tones in my photos.
I also love the details tool in Facetune. It sharpens up parts of images, & I always use it on my jewelry so that it really pops in a photo (especially great if you are collaborating with a jewelry company, it really makes the product shine!).
♡ So I’ve been following your Instagram for a long time. You always have the quote in your bio, “My money’s riding on the dark horse.” I really love it – why do you like that quote?
Actually, it was Lauryn who nicknamed me the dark horse & it has just stuck ever since. You would have to ask her the full reasoning behind it in her opinion, but personally I think it is just a representation of how I overcome my own shortcomings.
For example, I was SO nervous about giving a speech at Lauryn’s wedding… like a couldn’t think straight kinda nervous, but I did it & not to toot my own horn… it turned out to be pretty epic.
I don’t always trust myself, so it’s moments like that the dark horse thing makes sense to me.
The quote itself, I was googling dark horse one day & that quote popped up. It really resonated with me & I just LOVED IT.
It actually reminded me of this one time I was at the horse races & bet on a horse called “Richard’s Kid” solely cause my Dad’s name is Richard & I am his kid. The horse had the WORST odds of all the horses, but ended up winning the Pacific Classic (biggest race of the season). I think I turned my $3 bet (it was the end of the day & that was all I had left) into $120 bucks. It was a moment I will never forget. My money was riding on the dark horse ;).
I am rambling… but that’s the best way to sum it up!
♡ Your voice really comes through and your blog and your Instagram captions. What’s your biggest tip on creating a unique voice and sticking to it?
Be yourself & pretend you’re talking to a friend. I talk to myself a lot when writing a post cause saying things out loud helps me really think about how I would authentically say something.
♡ Snapchat or Instagram Stories ??
I try to keep up with both, but Instagram stories just works better for my audience!
♡ Do you have a favorite Instagram account?
♡ Random but important question… Your skin looks amazing. What are three skin care products you can’t live without?
Thank you! My Mom convinced me to score some Retin-A when in Mexico (so much cheaper than here & you don’t need a prescription) & I have been loving it. It makes your skin super sensitive & you have to wear a shit ton of sunscreen everyday, but it really sloughs off all the dead stuff & clears up acne.
I also swear by rosewater spray (this one is my fave cause it has vitamin E, coconut oil, & geranium in it) & any/all skin oils. I also swear by Korean sheet masks. They just started selling them at CVS & they really make my skin glow.
I don’t have words to wrap up her advice.
Thank you thank you x1000 to Erica for her time and secrets !! If you think this post is valuable + helpful, please give it a share! It means so much to me.