A few weeks ago I interviewed an international blogger (Eleonora Carisi) and a design prodigy, (Kathryn Beker) for you. This time, I dug a little deeper into my networks trying to think of someone else I deeply admire and respect… I nearly jumped out of my seat when Daniel, the Editor-in-Chief of Fashionising.com, popped into my head. Stylish, suave, articulate and insightful, Daniel shared words of wisdom about blogging with me at a Christmas event last year. What he informed me has helped shape Cecylia.com to be what it is today. Here I ask him to let us into the Fashionising world and pick his brain about digital media.
1. Hello Daniel! It’s always a pleasure to see you. I’ve known you for over a year now and you never cease to amaze me with your aptitude for online media and your drive for Fashionising.com. Could you tell us a little about your background and how Fashionising.com was born?
Hello and thank you – that’s high praise indeed.
I’m a child of the digital age. I got my first computer before I could walk (it took casette tapes instead of discs and I promptly destroyed it). But I’ve never been a person who cared about what was on the inside – I’ve never been one to enjoy the bits and bytes, but rather the experience. What you can do with the technology has always interested me far more than what makes it tick.
And that interest of what you can do led me into Internet publishing in a roundabout way. I manually put together what you’d now call a blog (this was before WordPress or any system could do it for you) for the first time around 1998 and got into new media publishing some time around the year 2000. Back then I focussed on my love of cinema, and eventually I found my way into writing about the pleasures we can derive from dressing well. Dressing well has always been something that interested me in the sense of ‘what fashion can do for us’ as opposed to the ‘it has a designer name I simply must have it’ way of approaching the art. And so Fashionising.com was born.
2. What strategies/platforms have you implented to make Fashionising.com one of its kind in the world?
One above all else: passion. I’m passionate about it and about the art of online publishing. And our whole team is passionate about what we do, how we do it, and where we’re going. I’m lucky in that Fashionising.com is made up of a small team of A players who really understand what we want to achieve.
If I had to offer up a more substantial answer (though I honestly can’t think of anything greater than passion) it’s that I always ensure that we remain conscious of the medium we work in. We publish digitally, and that means we always have to work to understand how digital publications are used and consumed. That changes year by year. When I started it was enough to have a web page, then you had to know something about search engines – today you not only have to mastered publishing, but you also have to master platforms such as Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter. For publishers, these aren’t solely social media platforms but also publishing platforms, each requiring a different approach.
3. For most fashion bloggers, traffic is everything. What advice would you give to them to improve their blog content, readership and vision?
I think you nailed it with the last word. Vision. Have one. There are so many sites, whether they’re blogs or full blown publications, that lack a vision, that lack an auteur driving them forwards. You have to stand for something, and it has to be more than just ‘this is something I like’. Push boundaries or defend them, love something or hate it, but have a vision of what you represent, and make your site 100% about that.
And when you have that vision, represent it professionally. In this day and age of Instagram and status updates, there’s a feeling that things can be hastily put together. And that’s true of platforms like Instagram – no one is expecting art there; that’s not what Instagram is about. But your site has to be art. It has to be the pinnacle of what you do, and it has to look great for it. That’s not easy and it usually doesn’t come naturally, but you have to work on it.
Have vision and professionalism, and the readership will follow. We’ve never spent a cent marketing Fashionising.com – in this day and age you can grow a dedicated readership organically. But on this I’d like to go back to the first part of your question – “traffic is everything”. You’re right, for most bloggers that’s the measure of success or failure. It’s the number that drives them forwards. But it shouldn’t be. It’s an unnecessary influence upon people’s feeling of success and self worth. It’s an illusion. Traffic alone doesn’t pay the bills, get you vacation time or buy you nice stuff. Traffic alone doesn’t determine if you’re a success or a failure. As I always tell our team: I’d rather have a single dedicated reader and for he or she to be a billionaire than to have a million readers that are all paupers. The billionaire is always going to make you more successful; having a million people that aren’t helping pay for what you do will leave you with a number that can only stroke your ego.
4. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. Tell me Daniel, how does such a busy team at Fashionising unwind?
By practicing what we preach. I’ve always defined fashion as more than just clothes – it’s more about having a great life, a fashionable life. A life where, to totally nick a cliche, you walk the path less trodden. So though we don’t always get to write about it, we’re always unwinding by enjoying the world. In this month alone the majority of our core team will be weaving through the airports of Sydney, Hong Kong, Milan and Paris. We might not feature any content on a single one of these cities, but we’ll certainly enjoy every moment we spend in them.
Here’s the other trick to unwinding: love what you do so you don’t have to unwind in the first place. I live and breathe Fashionising.com, but I don’t consider any of it work. Ask people about work and they tell you it’s that thing they hate but begrudgingly do for the pay cheque. I love every second of what I do, seldom do I have something to unwind from.
5. I completely agree, blogging is my only ‘job’ which is not a job because I adore it with my soul. So what is next for Fashionising.com in the next 6 months?
We celebrate our 5th birthday in 2012, so it’s a massive year ahead for Fashionising.com. It’s a year that I’d like to see us revisit our roots, take stock of where we’ve come from, and understand where we and the industry are going. We’re always looking at how we can improve our content without writing more of it (I’m a big believer in Fashionising.com being a digest of the day’s best ideas, as opposed to everything we can possibly write about), and we’ll open our London office this quarter. More importantly 2012 is a year in which I want us to give something back to the industry as a whole. The next few years will see the online fashion industry mature, and I hope that our team can bring our 5 years experience to the table and help in that natural process.
Wow! A London office! Another reason to visit the hip Brit city. Thank you so much Daniel for taking the time out of your busy schedule to provide us with such insightful and inspiring answers. Hope to see you soon and happy 5th birthday to Fashionising!
I hope the interview helped answer some of your questions! What did you think?