Some people like to say time flies when you’re having fun, and I’ve certainly had a lot of fun in the last six years. If you had told me back then that a website I started as a summer experiment would not only still be up and running today, but also be a business and a brand that I built myself, I wouldn't have believed it. It hasn’t all been fun and it hasn’t all been easy—but it got me to here, where I am today. When I first started my blog (and more on that here if you’d like to read the whole journey over the last few years) I thought it’d be a fun way to pass time the summer before college. I thought it’d be a website where I could upload outfit photos and that maybe if the right people saw them I’d become a big, famous blogger like Rumi Neely or BryanBoy. But most of all, I thought it’d be a great creative outlet for me, as someone who loved writing but was starting to move away from journals and notebooks and who felt the pull of the digital world.
You may be thinking that after doing this for six years there’s a lot that I must know, and while that’s true I still have so much more to learn. My blog has changed so much in the last six years and it’s all been for the better. Sometimes it can be hard not to compare myself to other people or bloggers who started their websites two or three years ago and who have way more followers than I do or way bigger brand deals. Even though this website started in 2012, it wasn’t really until March 2016 where I started writing blog posts with a more specific idea of who my audience was and what they wanted to see from me and my experiences working at magazines completely transformed my perspective about things like pageviews and shares. You can be creating the coolest content ever, but if no one can find it, it’s less impactful.
In 2012 Lookbook was bigger than Instagram and blogs were hobbies and not full-time jobs. So anytime I get frustrated that in older blog posts there may be typos or out of focus photos or bad SEO, I have to remember that it got me to where I am now. Despite what it may seem like to us on social media, THIS STUFF TAKES TIME. And I’ve been posting for six years, occasionally saying no to plans on a Friday night to stay in and create content I was proud of. You can go out and buy a thousand Instagram followers right now or get a bunch of bot pageviews on your website, but it’s so much more satisfying to work for it and attract the right audience for you who actually want to stick around and hear what you have to say. I thought it would be fun to look back on some big firsts from my blog, that were in a sense milestones for me and the direction I wanted to start moving my website in. I hope you have fun reading through these moments whether you’re reliving them from a long time ago or taking a look back in the Keep Calm and Chiffon archives for the first time.
My First Collaboration, August 2013
Almost a year after I started my blog I got my first email about a collaboration. It didn’t even occur to me that I could be working with other creative people up until that point, but it made me so happy to get this email. A girl who ran the online thrift store Midnight Marauders reached out to me and offered a 10% discount to the site for me to purchase a pair of shorts to feature on my blog. At the time, it was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me.
My First Fashion Week, September 2013
To be clear, I didn’t actually attend any shows at this fashion week. But it was my first fashion week in New York City and I didn’t care how humiliating it was to go to the tents and Lincoln Center sans tickets and stand around and stare at the editors and bloggers who got to actually attend the shows. I just wanted to freaking be there. So I went.
My First Post on my Newly Designed Website, December 2014
When it became clear that Keep Calm and Chiffon was not going away anytime soon, I decided to get serious about my website and moved it from Blogger to Squarespace for a more professional look and for my own domain name. I loved the sleek design and how easy it was to navigate and I immediately felt more of a sense of ownership over my site and the content. So naturally I arranged a shoot in a gold sparkly dress.
My First Paid Post, May 2016
I applied to a post through a blogger network to create a post for ASOS, a website I had heard of but hadn’t really gotten a chance to investigate at the time of the post. They offered to send me two pieces AND pay me to write a post for them. I probably passed out when I got the email about that one. Oh, and I’m 100% sure this is what lead to my current obsession with the online retailer.
My First Beauty Post, December 2016
Fashion has always been something I’ve been interested in and I spent so much time reading fashion magazines and blogs that I felt that I had a pretty good handle on it. But beauty was something less familiar to me and because of that I’d always been hesitant to talk about it on my blog. I saw YouTubers doing professional level makeup tutorials and I thought “what the hell do I know about beauty?” But I knew my own experiences, and sharing those has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for my blog. And if I hadn't started writing about beauty I might not have done travel, career or lifestyle content either.
My First Video, June 2017
Starting my YouTube channel was one of those now or never decisions. I could hem and haw for a few more months about it not being perfect or I could jump in headfirst and figure it out as I went along and I’m so grateful that I just did it. I had no idea that some of the videos I did would reach as many people as they did or that I’d discover so many new bloggers who inspire me through the YouTube community. I can’t wait to keep pushing myself with this medium and see what else is out there for me.
Do you have a blog? What is your biggest accomplishment so far?