We might not all have the courage to start a blog but almost all of us love to read and browse them from time to time. Whether it is fashion, beauty, food, DIY, or just about anything you can think of, blogs give us a little glimpse into the life of those daring enough to share. Vivienne So is one of the courageous ones that allows her readers a little window into her life whether by reviewing the products she loves or sharing heartwarming glimpses of precious moments with her son.
Years ago, she started her first blog based on her, as she describes it, "tragic and humorous dating life". Today, the blog remains a mystery as it is no longer live. The good news? We might expect to read the juicy stories all compiled in a book at some point in the future. Even as life got in the way, she never lost her passion for writing which she now shares with the world on her current blog- Jollie Pagaille.
On Jolie Pagaille, a blog that was born at the persuasion of a friend sharing the same fashion and beauty interests, Vivienne still does not shy away from sharing little personal stories here and there. Her writing style makes you feel as if you are sitting on a comfy couch with her while she tells you all about the new shoes she loves or a new beauty product she recently came across. From food to fashion, Vivienne is not limited by what the (sometimes) cookie-cutter world of blogging expects of her but rather sharing what she truly loves with the world when she has the urge to do so.
As a single mother working a full time job, Vivienne appeals to just about any woman out there that does not allow her job to get in the way of her passion for writing, beauty and fashion.
If you've ever considered starting a blog but find the idea impossible to fathom due to time constraints, Vivienne So gives us some precious insight into what it is like to juggle a busy life as a single mom and still find time and inspiration to blog.
When and how did you get into blogging? Is there a specific event or moment in your life that inspired you to get started?
I actually started blogging when it was still fairly new. People were writing more about their lives than about products back then. I had always wanted to do creative writing and blogging was a great outlet for it. I first started with a very personal blog, but it was rather boring. So I started another blog that was loosely based on my tragic and humorous dating life. It was exciting and was a bit fictional at times, but it garnered a nice following. It no longer exist, but I've often thought about turning it into a book.
I started Jolie Pagaille later when I became heavily involved with a guy who's interests were in line with mine- Beauty and fashion. He actually encouraged me to create a blog that catered to beauty and fashion! There are sprinkles of personal stories on there, but that's part of blogging.
Is there a message that you try to portray with your blog whether personal or on a larger scale, socially?
On Jolie Pagaille, I try to give my honest review of products. I try everything and if I don't like a product, I'll write my honest opinion and sometimes I won't write a review of it. I think it's important to be authentic when it comes to writing about products. I'm not going to promote a product favorably if it's uncomfortable or gives me a rash. There's not value in it for me to do that.
Your blog clearly shows your individual personality and style. Does it get difficult to maintain your identity without being influenced by the outpouring of ideas and work from other bloggers? How do you keep your individual style intact?
It can be hard! If I see a celebrity blogger carrying an "it" piece/bag, of course I'll be tempted to want it. For the most part though, I'm pretty true to my style. I love comfort, but I also like to dress according to my mood or weather. During summertime, I tend to be a little bohemian. At work I'm a bit more reserved in my attire and tend to choose outfits with clean lines. I'm currently into white, even after Labor Day!
"There are sprinkles of personal stories on there, but that's part of blogging."
What are some of the most rewarding aspects of blogging for you?
The freedom to write what I want and when I want without having to appease everyone.
What are the 3 things you’ve learned about yourself from blogging:
1. I love taking pictures, even if some aren't exactly up to par with every professional blog out there. I don't have a staff working for me to do professional shots. It's just me!
2. I love recreating my blog and changing the template to fit the current web design trend.
3. I get burnt out easily. I'll take breaks from blogging for extended periods. Life gets in the way and sometimes it really can be hard to manage everything yourself.
It is no secret that blogging, especially in such a competitive online world, requires lots of work, persistence and patience. How do you keep yourself consistently motivated?
I'll take long breaks and start posting on Instagram instead! I know that completely defeats the purpose of being competitive. I need mental breaks so I can regroup and rethink where I want to take this blog. I also think it depends on the blogger's goal. Is it to monetize the blog? Is it to be "internet famous"? Is it to truly provide value and original content to readers, so they're not reading the same dribble elsewhere? I'm constantly thinking about these things. When I'm on these breaks, I'll stay active on Instagram and promote my blog on various sites just to keep the blog alive, so to speak.
What are some of the setbacks you experienced in this industry over the years and how did you overcome them?
My setbacks include finding time to create new content. I'm a single mother with a full-time job, so time is a bit precious at the moment. However, if an opportunity arises to feature a brand that I like or that I'm curious about, then I'll find time to do it. I'm currently trying to set some time to revamp the blog. So I've been setting aside 15 - 30 minutes a day to do a little planning.
"I'm a single mother with a full-time job, so time is a bit precious at the moment."
How do you find an edge in such a competitive market?
I just do me. I think that is really important for any blogger. Don't try to be like other bloggers- Maybe at first just so you can learn the trade, but audiences don't want to read or see copycats.
Do you ever get overwhelmed by the need to always stay connected as a blogger? How do you disconnect without losing touch with your followers?
I used to be overwhelmed. Now I just go with the flow. I stay in touch via Instagram or Snapchat and post when I have something I want to share. Or when I just want to be goofy online.
You blog about a variety of topics from food and travel to beauty and fashion. What is the topic that you find most rewarding and enjoyable to write about and why? Would you say this is the one you have the greatest passion for?
I really enjoy writing about fashion and travel! I can't say that I get to touch on those subjects often in my blog, which is a shame, but those two are my greatest passions.
Some use blogging as a tool to share their ideas and personality with the world while others do it because they want to make money. From your experience, what is the success formula for being able to make a living blogging, especially with regards to the fashion industry? Is it a combination of these two elements or do you recommend a “build it and they will come” strategy?
It's a combination of everything. It's no secret that a blog must contain original content, however behind that original content there needs to be personality and creativity. Readers are attracted to either personality, creativity, or both. You also need ambition. You can build all you want and they might come. However, at some point you are going to have to promote the heck out of your blog. Some of the most successful bloggers are the ones who vigorously promote their blogs.
"It's no secret that a blog must contain original content. However, behind that original content, there needs to be personality and creativity."
How long does it really take to gain a following with a fashion blog in the online market today? Is it an ongoing process that never really stops or is it possible to reach a point where you sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor?
It can take a few months to years for a decent to good following. It can be an ongoing process. Especially, if you're passionate about fashion. Fashion is ever changing, so is the world of blogging. I think it is definitely possible to reap in all the benefits and retire from blogging. Anything is possible.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a fashion/beauty blog today?
Jump right in and start a blog. Even if you don't know what you're doing. Join positive blogging support groups on Facebook and ask questions! People are always happy to help fellow bloggers. Be your authentic self and don't sweat the small stuff, like negative comments (i.e. trolls). Negative people are not worth your time or energy.
"Jump right in and start a blog, even if you don't know what you're doing."
A journey into our design process, sewing tutorials, fashion tips, and all the inspiring people and things we love.
Today, allow yourself a few moments to explore and feel inspired and don't forget that everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. Never stop searching for what makes you truly happy.