Blogger Q&A with Catherine Brock of Budget Fashionista
About the Author
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Dealspotr’s network of influencers includes notable bloggers and social media personalities across a wide range of topics and interests, but all with a focus on frugal living and saving money. In our weekly Influencer Spotlight, we invite one influencer to share their experiences and success stories with the rest of our community. If you’d like to be featured, send me a message via Dealspotr.
For Catherine Brock, writing started out as a hobby. Over time, as hobbies do, writing turned into one of Catherine's passions, as she started to explore the world of freelancing. After an on-again off-again relationship with the corporate world, Catherine was finally able to cash in on her passions for writing and fashion and turn blogging into her full-time job with Budget Fashionista. Now, she's here to share her journey with you in this week's Influencer Q&A.
INTRODUCE YOURSELF! FIRST NAME, WHERE YOU'RE FROM, YOUR "DAY JOB," AND ANY OTHER FUN FACTS YOU'D LIKE US TO KNOW.
I'm Catherine Brock and I live in St. Louis, Missouri. I'm actually from Long Beach, California, but I moved to the Midwest about six years ago. And yes, it was my choice to move here! St. Louis is a fabulous place to live. Fun fact about me: My childhood nickname is Tig. My family still calls me that, and no one seems to remember where it came from.
My day job and side hustle are one and the same, as of about eight months ago. Living the dream!
DESCRIBE YOUR BLOG. WHAT IS ITS MAIN FOCUS?
Budget Fashionista inspires and empowers style-minded women to look their best without spending a fortune. We cover fashion and beauty trends, and cater to women ages 21 and up. I personally write mostly for the 40-and-over woman, and I have two other writers who focus on fashion and beauty tips for the younger set.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO BLOGGING? WHEN DID YOU START?
I've always considered myself a writer. Even when I had "day jobs" in other fields, it was the writing part of my job that I loved most. I stepped away from the corporate world at one point and spent about nine years as a full-time freelance writer. I wrote tons of content for other people. I ended up back in a corporate role and (of course) realized how much I missed writing. As a result, I took over Budget Fashionista as a side project in 2014.
What was your best-performing blog post TO DATE? What do you think made it successful?
Spring Fashion 2017— The Pieces You Need Now. This post did well, because it's straightforward and actionable advice. The Budget Fashionista reader is a busy lady, and she needs quick inspiration.
Fashion is about self-expression, and my goal is always to spark a new idea for stylish (and affordable) outfit. I like to think the posts that get a lot of traffic are the ones that prompt women to think, "I could totally wear that!"
What’s the one way your blog is unique or distinct from other blogs in your niche?
We have three writers including myself, and each of us has our own perspective within the niche of budget fashion. We deliver a lot of "how to style" and "how to wear" advice, rather than "this is what I bought on sale today." Budget Fashionista is less about me personally, and more about inspiring women to find their own style.
What's one thing you love about Dealspotr? Has Dealspotr helped your blog out in any way?
I love that Dealspotr deals are scrubbed so carefully by the community. I used to do a lot of Google searching for deals, but I gave that up. It's just not time efficient. When I am writing for Budget Fashionista or doing my own personal shopping, I just go straight to Dealspotr and look for deals that are relevant. Even when I'm sharing deals on Twitter, I'll typically share straight from Dealspotr, because I know the deals will work.
If you could identify the one thing (okay, or multiple things) responsible for your blog's success, what would that be?
Focus. I stay focused on budget fashion and budget beauty, even though I could share my opinion on so many other things! That sounds simple, but there can be a lot of pressure on bloggers from brands and potential partners to stretch their boundaries. But at the end of the day, my responsibility is to my readership. If I don't view it that way, I would start losing those readers and the brand opportunities would go away too.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO START A BLOG?
Do it because you love it and keep on keepin' on. Blogging is hard work, at every stage of the blog's lifecycle!
Is there a useful tool or resource you've used that you'd recommend to other bloggers? Maybe something other bloggers might not know about?
I love Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram scheduling. It really keeps me organized. A lesser known tool I use is ImageOptim, which compresses images. I publish a lot of sample sales on my site, and sometimes the stores will send me giant image files. I use ImageOptim to crunch them down to a size that's appropriate for the web.
Tell us about the most exhilarating moment you've experienced as a blogger.
I was selected for a fashion panel project that brought 16 fashion bloggers and InstaBloggers together to discuss retail shopping. That was truly an amazing opportunity and so inspirational for me to meet and greet with other creative women. When I got the call that I had been picked, I was pretty shocked, in a good way!
Which major blogger or influencer do you most admire and why?
I like Jo-Lynne Shane. Her style sense is very real and accessible.
Have you ever experienced a moment when you wanted to quit blogging? How did you overcome it?
Not really. I do get frustrated sometimes, because I feel like I'm at the mercy of Google or the Instagram algorithm and the like. But it's nothing like how I felt when I worked in corporate roles. It's like trying to feel sad when you're eating ice cream. Maybe it happens now and then, but it doesn't last long.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW?
I'm in the market for a new favorite show actually! My favorite all-time show is "Lost." For current shows, I like "American Ninja Warrior" and "Shark Tank."
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SNACK?
Cashews and dried mangos.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
That's a tough one. Can I invite Audrey Hepburn and Benjamin Franklin?
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