5 minutes with blogger Amanda Start.
I first spotted blogger Amanda Start via her pared back Instagram feed (@onlinestylist) and was instantly smitten with her take on dressing for the every day with a little luxe thrown in on top. When I started reading her blog (The Online Stylist), she seemed to me to be the arbiter of common sense when it comes to anything from how to dress like a grown-up who hasn’t given up on style, right through to maintaining a sensible work-life balance and how to #elevatetheeveryday (which is her genius hashtag).
Having since met her in the flesh and put the world to rights over a glass of fizz and a cake or two (you can read all about that here), I still tune into her blog to find out her take on daily life – in essence. I think I’d like to be her when I grow up. So I figured she would be the perfect person to fire a few quick questions at, ahead of a busy weekend for her and some other blogger pals who are running an inspirational Big Small Business event at gorgeous lifestyle store Hero Stockbridge.
On her work as a blogger…
How did you get into professional blogging?
Completely by accident – I like to think of it as serendipitous! I left a career in finance after taking redundancy and found blogging as a hobby. I kept going for a couple of years before I began to realise there might be something in it. Once I realised there were ways to generate an income, I began to approach it more like work and tried to post regularly, etc.
But honestly I’m still learning about the business side – I think you always need to be open to learning as it’s a continuously evolving world.
What’s your fave part of the job?
Would it be lame if I said all of it? I truly love that I can call it a job and am so excited to get back to my desk every day. I guess I love the actual creation of content part the best though. Both the words and the visuals and learning how to make them both the best they can be.
How long does it take you to put a blog post together?
It really varies as to what the post is about and how involved the content will be. A simpler style How To with collages and inspiration can take the best part of four to five hours, but a project for a brand around a particular storyline can take up to 3 to 4 days in total.
What’s the hardest part of running your own business?
Staying motivated when you feel low but also trying to remain productive when there’s a tendency to flit about from one element of work to another. I’ve learned that multi-tasking in blogging is not a good thing and am trying to practice the one touch method more often.
Who’s your icon in the fashion industry?
I have many depending on my mood! I love how Olivia Palermo puts together a look, but my own wardrobe has become much more paired back these days. I look to other style bloggers for inspiration a lot. There are some amazing bloggers in Australia – Harper & Harley is amazing. Sara has a mostly monochrome wardrobe and whilst we’re in different generations, I think her style is timeless, and much of what she wears could be worn by a woman any age. I love how Alex from The Frugality puts together a look too – she is responsible for many of my own purchases!
What’s your photographic weapon of choice?
iPhone 6sPlus and I’m (slowly) getting to grips with my Olympus OM-D EM10 II. Slowly being the operative word! I need to take the time to dedicate to learning how to use it properly. And I’m notoriously bad at allowing time out from the day to day of blogging!
What’s a typical blogging day like for you?
After saying goodbye to husband departing for work and daughter off on the school bus at 8.00am, I take the dog for a walk – preferably to the beach.
Then its to the desk with copious coffee and Spotify access. I try and segment out my time so that content creation, admin, social media and other projects or any freelance work I might have committed to get their allotted time needed.
Around 3.30 my daughter gets in, and once she’s settled into homework, etc. then I try and finish off any last tasks. I generally step away from the desk around 6.00pm having attended to a few domestic things that need my attention in between. It’s quite challenging having a desk at home and being firm enough to switch off from work and stay in home mode.
If I make a fresh immediate To Do list for the next morning, then I feel more relaxed in the evenings.
If work loads are high, then I supplement my schedule with a few late nights or early mornings but refuse to allow that to become the norm.
Other bloggers… comrades or competition?
Definitely comrades! Everyone has something unique to bring to the blogging table, and I detest the idea of pitting ourselves against one another. It serves no purpose and will only make you feel isolated at the end of the day.
One of my favourite bloggers, Ella from Cocos Tea Party has just launched a podcast with another fave, Monica from The Elgin Avenue – its called Lets Discuss and I listened to their first episode recently.
Ella quoted the saying “A rising tide floats many boats”, and I LOVE this – it’s so true. There is a lot to be said from adopting the community over competition attitude.
How do you dress for the day – comfort or style?
I aim for style even when working at home but comfort is always a first priority. My theory is that if you feel uncomfortable, you won’t have a cat in hell’s chance of feeling stylish!
On her style…
What’s your personal style quirk?
It’s boring, but it’s monochrome. And grey. I’m thinking of changing my first name to Grey. Grey Start – has a good ring to it, doesn’t it?
What do you splurge on?
Cashmere…and the occasional (coughs) scented candle.
Which item do you wish you could have from your mother’s closet?
Can’t say I’ve looked in my mother’s closet for years so probably not best placed to answer that one.
A fashion rule you never break?
The rule about throwing the rules out the window and instead focus on what makes me feel good.
Heels or flats?
Flats 99% of the time.
Current street style or Instagram crush?
Oh lord, I have MANY! As well as Alex mentioned above I love @damselindior, @thestylistandthewardrobe, @kaity_modern, and @mija_mija. They all have a different take on style, and I completely appreciate their unique elements they bring to the table.
3 of your fave stores/designers?
COS, Céline and Topshop although Céline is the one I tend to admire from afar and daydream about.
Lipstick or chapstick?
Lipstick – in a fiery red when the mood strikes. Which is often!
With thanks to Amanda for taking the time to get grilled – make sure you pop over to her blog, and I dare you not to become addicted.