Hey, ladies and gents meet Julia from Lemon Stripes . . .
Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Connecticut with my husband and puppy who light up my life on a daily basis. Even though we left Manhattan two years ago, I’m still getting used to life in the suburbs! I grew up in a small college town in New Hampshire and have lived in Rome, Italy, Los Angeles, and New York City. I love to travel the world, but am just as happy spending a day at a beach near my home. I recently quit my full-time job in marketing to blog full-time and it’s been quite a ride!
When did you start blogging and what made you want to start a blog?
People I knew were always asking me for advice so I thought I could compile it all in one place to be more organized. So, in 2010 (six years ago!), I started blogging to share my healthy recipes and style tips with friends and family. I never in a million years thought that even one stranger would look at it . . . let alone thousands.
So many bloggers have set goals to blog full-time. How did you make the transition from the corporate world to blogging full-time?
I spent six years working really hard to create solid consistent content while working full-time. There wasn’t a weeknight or weekend that I took off and I’m not even exaggerating a little! I worked really hard to build up my following and finally when the hours of a full-time career plus a full-time blog hit a breaking point for me, I left my job to blog full-time. That was in February of this year, so it’s still quite new to me.
How did the evolution of the name Lemon Stripes come to be?
When I started my blog, I called it “Lemons and Loafers” because I was really into healthy cooking and preppy style. I literally had never read another lifestyle or fashion blog. About a year later, I realized that many other bloggers had alliterations in their names, so decided to rebrand. I wanted to name it “Happy Stripes” because I love stripes and thought it was a place that made people happy, but I couldn’t get the URL so I compromised on Lemon Stripes. Now I love the name!
How do you stay true to yourself while continuing to evolve and be relevant in the blogger community?
This has been a huge challenge for me. In the past, I would create content similar to other bloggers because I wanted to be a part of the cool crowd, but I quickly learned that I looked ridiculous and it didn’t resonate with my followers. Now I just go with my gut and write what feels authentic to me.
Sometimes I miss the mark and sometimes feel that I’m always a step behind in the blogger community, but I’ve found in this business especially, comparison can be the thief of joy, so I try hard to focus on what I’m doing and my successes versus comparing myself to others.
How has your style and blog evolved since starting your blog journey?
Style: When I first started blogging, “color blocking” was the new thing so I wore a lot of outfits that consisted of hot pink pants with a red top or yellow on green. It was aggressively colorful. I’ve toned it down a bit since then.
Blog Itself: I wish I had a screen shot of my original site. It had a blue background and the layout was just awful! I’ve rebranded twice, the last time with my amazing friend Victoria as the designer. She is so talented and I love what she’s done with my site.
Do you have any fashion or lifestyle bloggers you admire and follow yourself?
Of course! I love to follow the beautiful aspirational sites like Gal Meets Glam, Cupcakes & Cashmere, DesignLoveFest, and Damsel in Dior. They have built incredible brands that continue to evolve every day and I appreciate the work that they all put into their blogs.
I also love following my friends including The Stripe, Sequins & Stripes, Corals & Cognacs, Bows & Sequins, and Victoria McGinley. There are so many more I could name but those are a few of my favorites!
Any advice for bloggers on networking or pitching themselves for a project — especially bloggers who aren’t so comfortable with it?
Networking: Relationships are your biggest asset. Treat every relationship with respect and always follow up. You never know how you might be able to help each other in the future. Just remember that it’s a give and take. If someone scratches your back, be sure to scratch back!
Pitching: It’s hard for many people to sell themselves, which I totally get. Instead of being pushy or entitled, back up your pitch with solid stats and examples. When I worked on the brand side, I was always more likely to work with bloggers who were genuine fans of the product and were willing to work within our guidelines. It’s pretty easy to get a big ego in this line of work, but check it at the door when you’re pitching . . . and in all aspects of life!
Do you have any tips for bloggers starting out or bloggers looking to focus on a vertical like lifestyle/fashion?
I get a lot of young girls who ask me what they should do when starting a blog and I always start by saying that no matter what, you have to be willing to put in the work. The following and sponsorships aren’t going to fall out of the sky! Secondly, be authentic to you. Post content that resonates with you personally, not just what you think other bloggers are doing.
Photography is a big deal for a fashion/lifestyle blogger. What kind of camera and lens do you shoot with?
My husband shoots most of my photos and he uses a Canon 5D Mark II with a 50 mm lens. It’s been great for us!
As a fashion blogger you get to wear some incredible brands! Which are some of your favorites?
As I get older, I appreciate well-made basics more and more. A few current favorites for those are Cuyana, Everlane, and Ayr. And J.Crew will always have my heart.
What is a go-to look you will be wearing this Summer?
Denim shorts, striped tee, Jack Rogers sandals. Basically, this look. I like to stick to the basics! Check out more of my Summer picks . . .
What is the one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m a big homebody. I’d almost always stay in with my husband and watch a movie than go out. I force myself to do things sometimes or else I’d never leave the house!
You share some pretty personal content (surviving miscarriage, candid thoughts about money) on your blog. How do you toe the line between how much to share with your audience?
It’s really hard but I think the blogging world has evolved into this cookie cutter picture-perfect universe of unattainable happiness and perfection, so I’m trying to break that with some of my more personal content. I want my followers to know that I’m human too and it’s not all fancy trips and free clothes.
The miscarriage post was something that I felt that I had to write as a service to other women. When I was going through such a difficult time, a post like that would have been a huge help so I hope that by writing it, I made a difference in someone’s life! Based on the overwhelming response, I think I did.
Favorite social media outlet? Your social media handles?
It used to be Instagram and I’ll never stop loving it, but Snapchat is slowly becoming my favorite. I love how I don’t have to think too much about it and it doesn’t have to be perfection. My Snapchat followers are incredibly engaged and I love connecting with them on a daily basis.
I’ve started doing a Monday Snapchat Q&A and always get a great response to that. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week!
Pinterest is always great for inspiration as well.
What do you love about ShopStyle Collective?
I love the people who I work with at ShopStyle. They are always available for questions and send any data that I need in a heartbeat. It has been an amazing experience so far!
Thanks, Julia! Always love reading honest and helpful insight like yours! Want to be featured in the next spotlight? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why you want to be featured!