Erica at Fashionlush on Micro Influencers, Insta Editing, + Why Readers > Everything

Erica at Fashionlush on Micro Influencers, Insta Editing, + Why Readers > Everything

 

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.

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Branding

♡  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!

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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.

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♡ 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

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Blogging

♡ 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!).

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 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

Thank you!!!

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!).

 

Social Media

♡ 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!).

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♡ 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?

So many- but right now I am loving the aesthetics of @mikutas & I am also super into @laurenelizabeth because she is REAL & just an all around really cool girl. (here and here)

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♡ 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.

 


*mic drop*

I don’t have words to wrap up her advice.

You can follow Erica on Snapchat (@fashionlush), Instagram here, and obviously her blog, here.

 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.

xx

 

Follow:
  • Ahh, what an awesome interview! I’m obsessed with Blog-Doo–the branding is PERFECT! This interview was so raw and real and you can really see that shrine both through Erica and in you as the interviewer! Also super awesome she responded so quickly. You can really tell she keeps it real af.

    http://www.insearchofsheila.com

    • Right ?? The blog-doo branding is so cute and unique. The best thing is like she truly keeps it real and consistently. Over the last 2 years I’ve followed her, she’s never wavered from being super honest and just herself!

  • I love the colors of her Instagram theme. This is the first time I hear from her so I will definitely check out her blog.

    xx, Melissa
    https://elephantontheroad.com

    • Same, she does a great job. It’s super different from my style which I love! Thanks for reading this girl xx

  • I love interview posts like these! She has so many great tips and her other brand, Blog-Doo is amazing! Definitely going to use her tips for my blog 🙂

    Kristen | http://www.sophisticatedgal.com

    • For sure give it a try! I would really love to know how the tips work out for you if you use them, so keep me updated !! You have an amazing interview series, too.

  • I love both of your styles…plus your clothing is pretty cute too 🙂 Seriously, I really appreciate both of your transparency.

    • Lol thanks girl. Erica’s style knocks me out of the park. SO glad you liked it !! transparency is always end game here.

  • She is completely awesome! I’m in love with her branding style as well and how she is so down to earth!! And I totally get what you mean about other bloggers not responding to emails. We’ve reached out a few times to some people within our own niche for a quick comment on a post and have sometimes not received a reply, yet other bloggers who have an amazing following have! I think it definitely separates those bloggers who really do care about their audience and who genuinely want to provide value to people. Can you please do more of these??! I love these interview style series and finding new bloggers to follow! 🙂
    Amanda xx

    • As you wish !! For my own selfish reasons, I loved doing this because I learned so much, too. And yes yes yes to all that. It totally separates them for me, too…like the A+ bloggers from the B+ bloggers. I hope if I ever forget my readers like that, someone slaps me in the face lol.

  • I love this interview! Such great insight and the Blog-Doo branding is soooo genius!

    • I kinda feel like this interview goes along with your name!! Like it’s all about not being basic and being UNIQUE. I actually just peeked at your blog, and I’m loving the uniqueness of your posts!

  • I loved getting to know more about Erica! I’ve actually never seen her blog or Instagram before so thanks for the intro. I love her authenticity. It really shined through on this interview.

  • Amy Victoria Baldwin

    Loved reading this interview! I haven’t come across her Instagram yet but she comes across as so real and a girls girl – so motivational and positive for people who are starting out like me! Off to take a peak now! 💖

    • 100% a girls girl, which I love. I’m just starting out, too, so I think laying your ground work with a foundation/values like this is so key.

  • UHMM LOVE THIS INTERVIEW! Seriously, it’s the best one I’ve read in SO long!! I’ve noticed that the bigger bloggers or business people I reach out too always respond the fastest too – it’s why they are the successful ones IMO! Going to check out some of the articles she mentioned. Thanks for putting this together <3

    • That means a lot to me !! She went above and beyond in her responses, which I so appreciate. You can also just tell she truly cares about connecting 1-1 with readers no matter how big she gets or whatever. Thanks for reading this and for your support always <3

  • Very inspiring! I love how honest she is and the importance she places on connecting with her readers.

    • Me too. It’s really one of the things that has made her stand out to me for so long now! And she’s consistent about it, too – she’s never changed from responding to Insta comments or blog comments.

  • Adree Na

    Lots of helpful tips for bloggers. I love your beautiful photos and theme you have on them. You remind me a little of myself also. Maybe body and stylewise 🙂 I am gonna follow your blog as well.

    • Katherine

      Thanks + thanks for reading! xx

  • I love how she reached out to you so quickly! This shows that see reaches out to her followers which is an important and kind thing to do!

    • Katherine

      I definitely think it speaks volumes, especially when bloggers with smaller followings don’t bother to reply at all. Her honesty + openness was just super refreshing !

  • I also blog to help others…when I have something that works for me, I like to share it with others in hopes that it will help them too

  • Erica seems like such a sweet and genuine person! Can’t believe those other bloggers didn’t get back to you. You did such an amazing job with this interview!