Blogger sculpts success
Equipped with an arsenal of coding skills, a killer wardrobe and delicious fresh-baked goods, Kelsey O’Brien, an SF State apparel design and merchandising graduate, is an unapologetic fashion blogger whose popular website “Blondes and Bagels” wholly personifies her cheekiness and sass.
O’Brien describes her blog as a “happy accident,” after she made her boyfriend his own sports blog as an anniversary gift.
O’Brien has a background in multimedia. She created her first website at age 10. O’Brien said her experience with website building made launching “Blondes & Bagels” relatively easy. She initially posted her first article to Facebook, without attributing herself as the author.
“I expected nothing,” O’Brien said. “But it got like, 80 page views. Then I was like, ‘okay,’ and kept doing it.”
Within just two short months, her blog gained about 3,000 page views.
“I thought I was blogging to nothing, but now I’m realizing it’s not just mom reading it anymore,” O’Brien said.
“Blondes & Bagels” offers a little bit of everything for her audience: red carpet fashion, a secret Starbucks menu and what it’s like living with anxiety, O’Brien said. She has found people are most drawn to posts that offer her authentic, tongue-in-cheek point of view. Her most-viewed post, “What It’s Really Like to Own Louboutins,” exemplifies just that.
“If you Google ‘owning Louboutins,’ it’s just a bunch of girls in their fancy-schmancy dresses, lounged across fainting couches in their shoes,” O’Brien said. “But I’m like, ‘These fuckers hurt.’”
O’Brien said she has found that connecting with and expanding her audience is all about interaction. Her morning routine includes perusing other blogs over coffee.
Emily Emig, another SF State graduate of the ADM department, said she created her blog for that very reason.
“I love getting a feel for other people’s sense of style through their blogs and I wanted to convey my sense of style to others,” Emig said.
Emig launched “Emily Emig — fashion lifestyle” at the beginning of April. She said that she, too, expected mainly family to read it, but quickly saw her audience grow. Her blog’s success has opened doors to other career opportunities like working with designers and retailers and collaborating with other bloggers, Emig said. Her blog has become almost like a second job, according to Emig, with a single blog post taking up to a week to publish.
“I never expected blogging to be so time consuming, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Emig said. “I love meeting people who have a passion for creativity and sharing their sense of style with others.”
A shared love of fashion connects bloggers to their audience, and inspires other bloggers, said Christine Platt, a senior at SF State who said her role as a viewer helped her launch her own fashion blog. Platt is an art major with an emphasis in studio art/photography, so she said she was used to being behind the scenes. She said that following other bloggers and their opinions has helped her transition to the front of the camera.
“It doesn’t only give me an idea on how to style an article of clothing, but it also gives me new ideas on how to improve my up-and-coming blog,” Platt said.
Platt just recently started her own fashion blog, and expects it sets her apart from other people in her career field.
“Photography alone is a competitive field, and seeing that I love to photograph fashion, the experience of having my own blog and writing about fashion will benefit me to work in different fields,” Platt said.
O’Brien also said she hopes “Blondes & Bagels” will open doors to other career opportunities, and one day possibly become her career. Through this experience, she said she has learned the importance of finding something she loves to do. She said she encourages everyone in their 20s to have an “entrepreneurial stint.”
“They kinda send you away to college at 18 and expect you to know what you want to do with your life, and that’s not realistic in my opinion,” O’Brien said. “Do something and fail at it.”