The Industry That Boomed Out Of Girls’ Bedrooms – Interview Exclusive

Blogging, a hobby that many of us most likely do for fun, now sits proudly on its own two feet as an industry. A picture of us at the beach, at a bar or at the departures lounge of an airport is, to the everyday social media addict, merely a tool to update our friends on our activities, but for some it’s now a full-time job in itself – and a great financial endeavour. Most people could boast the number of Facebook friends they have as under a thousand, and feel fairly proud of the achievement. For these savvy ladies, it’s closer to a quarter of a million – and still growing. Blogging is an industry that is captivating the world, and young blogger’s from all walks of life in all of their everyday glory are the faces of this new-found practice. What is blogging? Why has it boomed out of girls’ bedrooms and into the offices of PR houses all over the world? And most importantly, how can you make a go of it? Fashion Industry Broadcast Editor Michelle Ives and photographer Kelli Strong chat to some of the biggest names in the Australian game to find out more…

To this day, an indication of the prevalence and austerity of a profession is no more evident than when it is the reason behind a trade publication’s necessity. Independent Fashion Bloggers, unarguably the world’s one-stop shop resource for aspiring “blogger babes”, exists solely for the purpose of educating the average Internet-addict on how to make a living out of their hobby. Bloggers write, photograph and comment on all aspects of life; from travel to fashion, from cooking to make-up – all the way to the innate complexities of tea-making and even animal care. At the highest tier of this industry are, of course, the fashion and lifestyle fanatics, and it’s in fact our sweet little Sydney that is home to the some of the most eminent fashion-forward ladies of the new decade. The most interesting part? Almost none of these women were doing this a few years ago; nor had any idea what it even was.

The duo behind They All Hate Us, Tash and Elle. Photo Credit: Ministry of Talent.
The duo behind They All Hate Us, Tash and Elle. Photo Credit: Ministry of Talent.

For Elle Ferguson, one half of the duo running the fashion blog and style shop They All Hate Us, the endeavour started because of e-mails that the pair would send one another to help get them through slow afternoons at work. “This whole process has been completely organic,” she told us. “Even down to our posts each day, every single one of them comes from what we love or are obsessing over. The blog [actually] started over our love for everything fashion – we needed a place to house all of the montages that we were making with photos.

“We’d covered every wall in the office already.”

The art of talking about what you like is really the crux of what blogging is. It is based heavily around photos, video and other types of audiovisual media – because who doesn’t love a pretty picture? – in addition to a journalistic style of social commentary that’s personal, colourful and engaging. And according to our blogger’s, what the public love moreso than anything else is the “real-time” aspect of the content. According to Emma Lucey (“no it’s not hyphenated, that’s my real name!”), the creative mind behind the style and travel blog Spin Dizzy Fall, her fan’s come back time and again for that very reason. “It’s so important to be relatable,” she said. “For instance, I’ll go to the beach in the morning and I’ll take a picture and it fits in well. You know, I’m making my blog about my life anyway – so it’s just me saying ‘this is [me], I go to the beach.”

The blogging heavy-weights across the globe write about everything that’s hot, both externally and in their own lives. Controversial createur Perez Hilton is credited as leading the movement half a decade ago with his online celebrity gossip rag,, which not-so-subtlety covered who was spotted where, wearing what, dating who and arrested by, becoming a worldwide phenomenon in what felt like overnight. Nowadays, bloggers write less about other’s and point the lens more towards themselves – literally, with a whole bunch of gorgeous selfies – making the entire experience wholly more accessible. And this doesn’t just have the perks of a few compliments from strangers on their style.

Emma Lucey, the savvy young lady behind Spin Dizzy Fall. Photo Credit: ASOS Online.
Emma Lucey, the savvy young lady behind Spin Dizzy Fall. Photo Credit: ASOS Online.

As any type of industry example will demonstrate, the financial rewards of such a job can mean that it can be extremely lucrative. Advertising agencies and large brands naturally picked up the scent of gold when they saw a means of reaching their target audience en masse through product placements, sponsorship opportunities and direct endorsement deals with our leading ladies, and some brand’s have been known to pay up to $1,000 for a simple tweet. Lucey told us that she is often approached by brands for such opportunities. “Mostly they come to me,” she said. “But sometimes if I’m travelling, I I like to get in touch with hotels and accommodation and team up with them for comp nights with views and stuff like that.

“I’m not serious about profiting from people who are going to help advance my travels, but I will stay there. I basically will get in touch with their PR and say ‘would you like to get involved? I’m coming over on these dates and this is what I can do’. And they’ll take care of me and give me a nice big breakfast because they know I’ll take a photo of it. It’s so much fun, I love it.”

From student-turned-fashion aficionado Yan Yan Chan, owner of style hub Parfasseux and one of TopShop’s content curators, this sentiment is mirrored in her own work:, even still referring to it as a “hobby”:

“I monetize this hobby through collaborations and campaign work. But monetization of the blog isn’t really something I’m focusing on at the moment. I’m just trying to do as much creative work as possible with as many creatives as possible. I knew that it was a full-time gig when checking e-mails became the first thing I did every morning! [laughs].”

Most fashion and style bloggers nowadays can be seen sitting at the front row of the world’s fashion weeks alongside A-list celebrities and style leaders, duly noticed by our very own editorial team when we registered for Fashion Week in Sydney. Alongside our standard ‘journalist and photographer’ option was one titled… Blogger. Says Elle: “If a blogger that I love is over the other side of the world and watching a show at Fashion Week, it [feels like] it’s happening now in real-time. There’s no delay.” Hearing this, it’s actually no surprise that blogger’s are now considered as important as the media to a prestigious fashion event. In a sense, they are the media. It’s a whole new form of citizen journalism and it’s continuously changing, another important facet of the profession.

“You know what’s funny?” said Lucey. “When I was blogging a few years ago, everyone was like ‘how long is blogging going to last?’ In a sense, blogging is already gone, and it’s been replaced with these new versions of blogging. Probably something new will come along and everyone will transfer. You have to adapt. I think SnapChat’s going to be big. It’s bizarre, I made the account ages ago and now everyone’s using it. And that’s how it happens with things like this. It’s better to be on it and just wait it out.”

Emma Lucey told us how she got her start: “like most of the big names in the Sydney blogging scene, I started by selling vintage clothing online.” For someone who wants to make it big in the blogging space, having such a time-consuming side hobby might seem like a hurdle in the way; but in actuality, it’s far from it. Bloggers are born out of their hobbies. If anything, we adore bloggers because of their relatability, so it makes sense that they’d have a genuine interest in the topic they’re paving a career for themselves out of. In fact, when many got their starts a few years back, it was obvious that no-one could comprehend the gravity of their power. If they got themselves into blogging knowing fame and fortune would ensue, they wouldn’t have the genuine appeal that caught their readers from the get go, because doing what you love isn’t strictly about your own happiness, it has a lot to do with the quality of the product you create.

Yan Yan Chan, the mind behind Parfasseux. Photo Credit: Chan.
Yan Yan Chan, the mind behind Parfasseux. Photo Credit: Chan.

According to Chan, her blog start came to fruition in a similar way as she told us about her many lunchtimes spent in dark rooms developing rolls of film.  “I started a blog when I was 15, not really knowing what I was doing in terms of content and aesthetic direction,” she said. “It just sort of evolved into whatever it is now. It’s [essentially] a personal blog where I document outfits and basically my life. I was a dancer for 15 years and have always been interested in art and photography, so being creative is something I’ve always done and been really interested in. I took up a photography and film class in school one year and it quickly became my favourite subject. From there I was taking photos of my friends every weekend and spending most lunch periods in the dark room developing random rolls of film.

“I ended up having an entire album on Facebook of these little impromptu shoots I’d style and shoot and decided to move them onto blogger. “

Lucey told us that something really important to gaining followers was exposing them to all your content and channels. In response to how she generates more followers, she said that her key was: “a lot of cross-promotion. If I have a blog post it’ll also go on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.”  All of our ladies’ also mentioned the importance of uploading regularly and being consistent, and collaborating with like-minded people; emulating the basic back-scratch theory. In any other industry, it might seem odd to ask someone so young and ordinary for tips on how to become successful in a particular space, but for one as young and fresh as its moguls, there really are no better people to turn to. Growing up in a digital era, many of us now understand how quickly things can shoot up out of seemingly nothing with the Internet, and careers are no exception.

These young women are pioneers in the business of blogging and with the hundreds of thousands of followers they look after, they rightly should be recognised as entrepreneurs in their market. From a societal perspective, blogger’s make information easy to digest. A new post, or photo, or tweet feels like it’s coming from a friend you know, rather than an entity you don’t; some edifice of a media conglomerate. Essentially, they tell rather than sell. Following is like having a good pal that you’ve never actually met, with virtual lunch dates, nights’ out and shopping trips, to keep you up-to-date with all of the insider goss, glam and excitement of the world you love: an extension of the one they do.  

Yan Yan Chan said that blogging is a "hobby" for her. Photo Credit: Pinterest.
Yan Yan Chan said that blogging is a “hobby” for her. Photo Credit: Pinterest.

Tash and Elle, two women who “wear many hats” (literally) gave us their top tips on how to run a successful online hub: “for us, it’s hard work. Tash and I always say we thought we were working hard before, but right now this is the hardest we have ever worked. Personally, this industry is just growing and growing, and you only get out what you put in.” Chan says, “I find that a lot of new bloggers might think that there is a certain mould to fit into, but there really isn’t. The more you be yourself, the more transparent your content will be and people love that. Avoid trends!”

So, next time you’re out and snapping your meal, holiday or outfit, upload it to a blog. You never know, there might be a few thousand eyes waiting to see what you can do.