Ever think about starting your own blog? Calgary based fashion, lifestyle and travel blogger Jocelyn Jacobson had those thoughts too, so she decided to jump in.
“I just saw other people doing it, not so much here but more like New York, stuff like that, I thought it was really cool and I wanted to try it out,” says Jacobson.
Now, four years later Jacobson owns and manages her own successful blog, the Fox and Fern.
The concept of style and showcasing great Instagram photos is what originally sparked the idea of becoming a blogger. Jacobson has been an avid Instagrammer since the site began and always dreamed about doing more.
“I want to do that too, I like to style myself and I like to take pictures,” says Jacobson who has over 25,000 followers on the website.
Jacobson originally started blogging with a friend but quickly found she was more invested than her partner and eventually moved on her own. Her site had a slow start, but became popular in the last two years.
There are costs involved with a fashion blog, primarily with purchasing outfits. She would buy three outfits a week in the beginning, even though she wasn’t doing this as a full-time job.
“I spent a ton of money on clothes,” says Jacobson. “I probably didn't need to do it, but I had it in my head that I needed like new outfits every week.”
Another major cost was time. Jacobson only had weekends to take the photos.
Though the blog was time-consuming Jacobson found it fun in the beginning just creating new looks. But after a while, her blog came to a standstill and she felt discouraged. Despite wanting to quit, Jacobson’s love for her niche made her press on.
“I feel like if I didn't love it, I would have quit a long time ago,” says Jacobson.
Jacobson’s success became possible due to different factors such as using the right hashtags on Instagram and connecting to her audience at an intimate level by responding to their comments.
“I think when you’re more relatable and they can tell you’re a normal person, then it makes you more appealing,” says Jacobson.
The most rewarding thing she got out of this whole experience was confidence and a stronger notion of self-worth. She has learned to ask for what she wants from someone rather than take what they offer.
As a Canadian blogger, it can be hard to make a significant profit. Jacobson still has a full-time job, but also relies on advertising and sponsorship to maintain and grow her blog.
One was for Smirnoff Ice where she did a shoot in the forest. This shoot incorporated travel, fashion and lifestyle themes.
“They [the sponsors] have to be able to see their product,” says Jacobson.
As a blogger it is important to recognize how to make a profit without compromising the aesthetics of the blog. Jacobson says a blogger should promote products they enjoy using and not use them purely for the sponsorship.
“It has to make sense that it’s something that you're into,” says Jacobson.
Jacobson did not get invited to events until after she built an audience, which was in her second year of blogging. Companies would invite her to dinners and events on the opening nights of their stores, such as the opening of Saks Fifth Avenue at Chinook mall.
“Stuff like that, it's something I didn't even know existed,” says Jacobson about private events.
Even though her blog is successful she still faces some struggles, especially for outdoor photography. She finds it hard to find new places to take photographs that she hasn’t used before that fit her style.
“It’s not the hugest city, there is a limited amount of cute spots that you can take photos,” she says.
Calgary’s cold weather also hampers her creative ideas. Some of her outfits have to be put off until warmer weather arrives.
Jacobson says that Calgary is the perfect place to start any type of blog. There are many people interested in any given topic and with the city’s size there is not too much competition at a local level.
“You just kinda have to find that thing, and if you're really into it, it makes it easy.”
- By Alexandra Nicholson & Shaunda Lamont