I am a huge fan of Color Me Courtney and Hopeless Hostess so I was thrilled when Courtney accepted my invitation to interview her for my The Preppy Post Grad. I was going to choose one of my favorite outfits and parties but I simply can’t choose. I love them all and can’t bare to rank them in a pyramid à la Dance Moms.
With no further ado I give you Courtney’s interview.
1. How did you come up with the idea or focal point for your blogs Color Me Courtney and Hopeless Hostess?
Color Me Courtney – My blogging all started a few years ago when my mom read an article about a girl who took on a fashion challenge: she picked 15 pieces of clothing and made two weeks of outfits out of them! My mom then challenged me to do the same and record my findings, it was the beginning of the school year and I was bored so I thought “why not”! I made some changes to the challenge by picking only 6 items of clothing to make 20 days worth of outfits out of! (See the challenge here, I probably shouldn’t share it with you since the quality is embarrassingly poor but it is nice to look back and see how far I have come, although I still have a long way to go! http://www.colormecourtney.com/2010/08/fashion-challenge-1-twenty-day.html ) It was fun and made me miss my closet, but that’s how my blog was born! At that point I was not a .com and was called “Courtney’s Closet”, but when I chose to buy a domain name, I wanted to further brand myself and my blog into something memorable and me! After about a month of name hunting I decided on ColorMeCourtney because my signature style is always overly colorful and to represent my over-the-top personality!
Hopeless Hostess – I like to consider myself as a “party planner extraordinaire” just because there is nothing I enjoy more then a good party… and theme! In high school I lived for theme and spirit days, and as a student council member, I planned a lot of them. Post high school, and into college I missed theme days and would even begin to create my own “spirit days” to dress in accordance too just out of boredom (weird… I know). Some day’s I would embody a fashion Icon (Jackie O), other days I would take on a time period (legwarmers and a side pony to rock the 80’s)! When that still wasn’t enough, I started having themed dinner parties and inviting a few fun people. It started with a simple “Night In New Orleans”
2. If your blogs had mission statements what would they be?
For ColorMeCourtney I just created a slogan, which is: “Dress Outside the Lines!”, but the business student in me wants to create an actual mission statement for my blog, so here it goes! “To brighten the world and wardrobes of fashionistas (and the fashionly challenged) everywhere by sharing my style tricks, tips and over-the-top outfits, which will hopefully inspire readers to have fun as much fun with their clothing as I do!” :]
Hopeless Hostess: “To invite readers to keep the party going long after the even has ended and show the world that no event is too small to celebrate!”
3. What advice would you give to people who have just started or would like to start a blog?
Oh this one’s a toughie, because I in now way consider myself a blexpert (blogging expert… sorry, I love to make up corny blended words, it’s a problem). I have a lot of things to learn myself! But I think the most important thing is to spend some time defining a clear vision for your blog, if you look at some of my old posts, you can see that I have struggled with that. Now, I really think I have a strong concept that I can maintain, but it took me a while to get there. If you can start of strong, I think you will be able to gain a greater following early on and feel more blog confident! Oh, Confidence! I cannot believe I am just now touching on that! Not to sound cliché, but confidence is key! It took me a while to become so comfortable with myself, on and off line, that I was willing to talk to a stranger about Color Me Courtney. I think that’s the biggest tell, if you can chat with a person in the elevator about your online persona, you pass the confidence test! I also think that if you aren’t proud of yourself and your work, you might not be quite ready to share it with the world. Just because there are people who will leave mean comments (its only happened to me twice, but I only let it bother me once) or disagree with what you are presenting. But stay strong, stay positive and stay true to yourself. When comments (or lack there of) get you down, keep calm and blog on!
4. What forms of social media or widgets do you use to gain readers and followers? How have you been able to gain friendships with other bloggers?
Uh Oh… so this is something I really need to work on! But let me start by making excuses…I am a full-time graduate student (well, somewhat beyond full time since I take 1 more class then the average full-timer) and I work 25-30 hours a week and I have two internships (and I’m applying for my third, fingers crossed) and I’m a shopaholic (okay… this one is my own fault) So between juggling all that, blogging as much as I do and trying to find time for friends, family and my fabulous boyfriend, I already barley sleep (I’m lucky if I get three hours each night..yikes!). Anyways, now that I have rambled on, I can tell you that I don’t use as much as I should! I just got a Color Me Courtney twitter that’s completely different from my personal twitter and that’s helped meet a lot of fellow bloggers, before that I was getting most of my traffic from facebook, so using twitter has helped me expand outside that bubble. Pinterest is also great, I created a Color Me Courtney board where I pin images from my posts, currently that board has more followers then my account or any other board, so hope that is helping! Working at Kate Spade has helped! Some people recognize me from my blog (so weird… but in an amazing way!) or I tell people who compliment my on my outfits about Color Me Courtney, so I would recommend a job in your blog industry! Also creating blogger relationships where we hype each others posts and looks has also helped me drive a lot of traffic (especially http://www.katespade-aholic.com/) If I had time I would attend blogger networking events or just fashion events in general where I would pass out my business cards and do some grass-roots marketing to drive traffic, I think that is an easy and fun way to get your name out there!
5. What goals do have for your blogs?
Last year, I was averaging 60 views per post, so my goal for 2012 was to reach 100 views per day and 3,000 views a month. As a February, I am averaging closer to 200 post per day and 6k a month! So its nice that I have already exceeded my initial goal! My BHAGs (sorry, this is the business student in me coming out, BHAG is a business strategy term for Big Harry Audacious Goals, meaning long term stretch goal) is to be featured on the Kate Spade blog (http://www.katespade.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Kate-Site/default/Blog-Show?blogID=blogEntries). They have a “blogs we love” section, and since I am such a major fan of the brand (I am also hoping to work their post grad school) I want to someday be big enough and established enough to be featured. It’s a stretch, I know, but I like to dream big! More short term goals would include doubling my traffic again by the end of the year, doubling my following on twitter, and generating more blogger partnerships and some initial product partnerships, I am excited to be able to really work on reaching all these goals and setting new ones after I graduate this July (eek!)!!
6. How do you get inspiration for posts?
My brain goes like 100 miles a minute, it is really a problem, so I am never, ever in short supply of blog inspiration. It comes from anywhere, my closet, television, my job, pinterest, shopping or simply from people on the street. If anything I have too many ideas, I have countless lists in my little notebook I carry with me, on my phone, on random post-its and on “stickies” on my computer. I also have a rolling rack with some outfits I have created (sometimes I want a break from everything so I have a dress up party with myself in my room and make a zillion outfits! I know, I know… so weird) so if I am ever feeling uninspired, I pull from there!
7. Who takes all of the photos for your blog?
When I am lucky enough to have my boyfriend in town he is amazing enough to spend the majority of the time being my personal photographer! My mom, who was a photojournalist in the 80’s, but is now an interior designer (woo go mom!) takes a lot of them when she is in town as well! Sometimes, when I am out and about with someone, and motivated enough to carry my camera, I have a friend snap a picture! My co-workers have also helped! But 99% of the time I take my pictures myself, with a self-timer, on the rooftop of my apartment, or in the garden! Its tough and takes time, but I don’t mind, anything for the blog (well… not anything :] ! )
8. I love your categories for Color Me Courtney (Looks 4 Less, Celebrity Style Stalker, Trend Tracker, and Blair Flair). Can you explain them to new followers?
Of course! I am slightly OCD and I love being organized, so as my blog started to grow, I wanted to separate the posts out into specific sections and the categories were born! Looks 4 Less is fairly new, but really exciting! There, I find cheap alternatives to the designer pieces I love for the reader on a budget, such as a ModCloth dress that looks exactly like a $400 Kate Spade Dress from last spring! Celebrity Style Stalker is a goodie that I need to jump back into, where I replicate some of my favorite celebrity looks to show readers how to emulate expensive outfits using what is already in your closet! Trend Tracker focuses on teaching and informing my amazing readers about current trends while showing them where to buy! Blair Flair is one of the most popular segments on ColorMeCourtney because it focuses on the style of the always-fabulous Blair Waldorf, where I recreate her outfits for less!
9. I adore Blair’s fashion on Gossip Girl. What are four tips and the four types of clothes needed to channel Ms. Waldorf?
I love this question! Blair is amazing, but like most characters and fashionistas, her style has evolved over time so I think its important that you define which Blair you are: either her school-girl style circa season 1 or the more current and classic outfits you may see her in today! Or maybe you’re both! I know I am! Anyways, since I am a bit of an over achiever, I had to give you 4 accessories and 4 clothing pieces that you need to channel your inner Blair! Here we go!
for more blair check out my Blair Flair segment: http://www.colormecourtney.com/search/label/Blair%20Flairj
and my Dare to be Blair post: http://www.colormecourtney.com/2012/03/dare-to-be-blair.html
Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Preppiness,
The Preppy Post Grad