Last week I met with the lovely Lesley Graham. Many of you might know that she is my Web Manager. I do in fact write my own blog, but Lesley does the rest. Lesley recently attended the ALT Summit in Salt Lake City. ALT is a full-on action packed blogger conference.
When she returned we sat down so she could download me on what she’d seen, learned and experienced. Needless to say she had a great time and loved meeting everyone face to face.The key note speaker Garance Dore was inspirational. You can watch her keynote speech here. Note it’s about an hour so find some time to sit down with it, it’s really lovely and informative in a very informal way which I loved. She’s super lovable and very savvy all at the same time.
Another exciting development that came from my meeting with Lesley and discussing ALT, was that we talked about how my blog would be changing this year. I have been thinking about my business and my career path and my blog the past year. My cookbook was a huge game changer and the best 2 years of my career no doubt. I told Lesley that I wanted to focus more on teaching this year so my blog will be more focused on what I do best: styling, cooking and entertaining. You will also get the “behind the scenes” and of course a peek into my summers in Italy. This space will encompass all of the things I am really passionate about, the things that make me…. well ME!
Not only is this a year of teaching and sharing on my blog, but it’s also a year of retooling my own business and morphing from a “stylist who has a blog” to a “blogger who’s a stylist”. I have more and more clients wanting me to produce original content on my blog with their products so they can bypass the advertising dollars and red tape that goes with working with traditional magazines. I have less magazine work as there are no budgets anymore for lots of original content in traditional magazines. That part of my business is shrinking, I am a bit sad, I mainly miss working with my editors/friends but I have to be honest, I also find it energizing as I love change and change gets my creative juices flowing. Don’t get me wrong you will still find stories I have produced in magazines, just not as many.
This brings me to another big shift this year on my own blog… I will be producing pretty sponsored posts just as I would for my magazine clients.
I have no qualms about sponsored posts btw, as I have always worked for clients and produced stories for pay. I believe being paid for work is super important. It’s just that now instead of appearing on the pages of magazines, beautifully styled features will appear on my blog and I get to write the content which is super cool. As you can tell I am pretty excited about the opportunity to create gorgeous content free of editorial restrictions. No longer do I have to worry about being “on brand,” for someone else since on my blog, clients want my point of view. It’s exciting!
Something new – Friday Style Pins – On Fridays I will be teaching everyone out there how to style interiors, vignettes, food and lifestyle stories. So if you want to learn more about how to be a stylist, stop by every Friday.
I will also be hosting a series of food and prop styling workshops around the country! I will even be flying across the pond in the next year. I will be kicking off the first workshop in Seattle on March 22 (more details to follow!). You can also look out for talks about how to style everything from the tabletop to rooms as well as cooking demonstrations for stylists, bloggers and designers. And of course many more book signings on my schedule in the weeks to come. Check out my calendar for dates and sign up sheets. I can’t tell you how excited I am to share my 25 years of experience in the business with all you bloggers out there! Can’t wait to meet you.
I will leave you with 4 insights that help me work in a world ever changing:
1. Change is a good thing- Change is the spark that ignites creative thinking. Change and reinventing myself is a positive and healthy preoccupation for me. I am a very curious person and change feeds that curious spark in me. My point is that constant change and constant conversation leads to creative thought. As a writer, producer, and stylist that’s what it’s all about, it’s about that bob and weave. The sooner you embrace that as a fact, the sooner you’ll be able to just “do you” and make a living at it.
2. Set new goals- Look down the road, setting new goals is something that should come naturally and without any hesitation. NO FEAR!
3. Start a conversation- Speak with clients, editors and fellow stylists, photographers, cookbook authors, and bloggers, hearing their take on their projects, goals and business helps put things in perspective. Start the conversation. One of the most respected bloggers out there Grace Turshen from Design*Sponge wrote one of the most thought provoking and intelligent posts about the state of blogging recently if you have not read it you can check it out here.
4. Stay true to who you are – I have so many people come up to me and ask me how I did it, how I wrote a cookbook, and work in what seems to them like a dream job. I always say “put your head down and work really hard, and do you“!
Let me hear from you. Let’s start the conversation! What are your goals and aspirations for 2014?