Today we are chatting with Blake from Blake Von D!
- Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! My name is Blake. I am a 30-year-old attorney and fashion/lifestyle blogger. I currently reside in Chicago, IL, but I love to travel and try to be on the go as much as possible.
- When did you start blogging and what made you want to start a blog?
I first started blogging in 2009 as I was graduating from college. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do career wise at the time, so I started blogging as a way to sort of flesh out my ideas about the next stage of my life. I was really into thrifting at the time and would always share the great finds I came across. Over time, readers started to ask for more of that content, which eventually lead to a full-fledged fashion blog.
- So many bloggers have set goals to blog full time — how do you feel about this and what are your big-picture blog goals?
Full-time blogging provides a lot of creative freedom and allows for a ton of amazing opportunities. However, I think it’s a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly or for the wrong reasons. Full-time blogging is not as easy (or glamorous) as it might appear from the outside looking in. There are a lot of long nights, tight deadlines and it requires proficiency in a lot of areas (writing, image editing, content management, and administrative skills). It’s about more than Instagram engagement and fun events. There’s the financial stress of making sure that you’re meeting your own needs without the security of a traditional 9-5 job and the hustle required to create opportunities for yourself. There is also the legal and contractual side of blogging and collaborating with major brands. These are all things you have to be well-versed in and understand well in order to be successful in this space. Which leads me to what I’d like to do next with my blogging experience.
Because I am also a licensed attorney, it is my goal within the next year or two to start a firm specializing in the intellectual property and brand management needs of creative entrepreneurs. Being a creative requires a lot of emotional investment, vulnerability and sacrifice, but I’d like to teach creatives how to set the emotion aside, when necessary, and master the business side of the industry in order to ensure their longevity and sustained growth.
- How do you stay true to yourself while continuing to evolve, and be relevant in the blogger community?
My motto is “Community Over Conversions.” I stay true to myself by keeping the community aspect of blogging at the forefront of my mind. It’s easy to lose yourself when you’re chasing clicks and campaigns. If you maintain an authentic voice and prioritize the real and relatable things about yourself and your life, the clicks, conversions, and campaigns will naturally follow. Audiences like to be talked to, not talked at. I do my best to make sure I’m always selling them a story, an experience, a conversation…not a product.
- How do you balance your blog life, work life, and personal life all at once.
I will admit, I’m not the best when it comes to balance. Someone told me while I was in law school, “Your 20’s are for selfishness. Your 30’s are for sacrifice.” I’m sacrificing for my future right now. I’m doing what I have to do now, so I can do what I want later. That sometimes means I don’t get to see friends as much as I’d like and I haven’t been on a date in months, but the people important to me understand because many of them of making the same sacrifices. We’ll meet again at the top in a few years. Lol.
- Has there been that moment where you felt like you made it, and what was that like?
I don’t think I’ve had an “I made it” moment just yet. Not sure I ever will. I’m the type of person who always, always wants more. One moment that I’m particularly proud of is the campaign I shot with Katy Perry earlier this year. I was one of the faces of her newest fragrance, along with four other influencers. What makes me so proud of that campaign is the fact that I was handpicked by Katy because of who I am and my story. Not my personal style, not my Instagram following (per se), but because of the things about me that I’ve shared with my online community and the things that make me unique.
- How has your style and blog evolved since starting your blog journey?
My blog started out as a fashion blog, but over the years it’s transformed into a lifestyle space. I’ve been incorporating a lot more travel, and soon will add home decor.
- What does the next year look like for Blake Von D? The next 5 years?
As I mentioned earlier, I plan to spend the next few years really growing my blog and influence to create a stepping stone for my law firm. So, in the next five years, I’d like be less of a “blogger” and more of a business.
- Do you have any fashion or lifestyle bloggers you admire and follow yourself?
Of course. One of my favorite influencers to follow is Asiyami Gold (@asiyami_gold). Her imagery and storytelling ability is unparalleled. She’s someone I look to for guidance when it comes to authenticity and community. I recently started following Caroline Daur (@carodaur). Everything about her life and personal style is totally swoon worthy.
- Any advice for bloggers on networking, or pitching themselves for a project who aren’t so comfortable with it?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
- Do you have any tips for bloggers starting out or bloggers looking to focus on a vertical like fashion and lifestyle?
I get asked this question a lot and my advice is always: “Just do it.” There’s never going to be a perfect moment or a perfect time. Just start! Your vertical can change. Just get going. Figure out the rest later. There are thousands of bloggers, but only one you. So, YOU arethe one thing the industry is missing.
- As a blogger you get to wear some great brands, which are some of your favorites?
Great question! I’m all about affordable style (with the occasional splurge) and my personal style is “comfortable, edgy.” So some of my favorite brands to wear are Zara, River Island, A.L.C., and Loeffler Randall, to name a few.
- What are some of your favorite brands you’ve gotten to collaborate with? What was it like?
I’ve enjoyed all of my collaborating in one or another. But some of the coolest opportunities have been my travel experiences. I’m just a girl who grew up in foster care in Macon, GA. So being able to say I’ve been on a snowmobile in Finland or bungee jumping in South Africa is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
- What is the one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m really introverted. I enjoy being alone and crave the quiet.
- Insta-stories or Snapchat? Your social media handles?
Insta-stores. I have Snapchat but I never use it. I’m too busy (and old…lol) to keep up with a million social media pages. So I love that I can post real time content in the same place I post my curated content.
My handle is @blakevond on all platforms. (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, ShopStyle, etc.)
- What do you love about ShopStyle Collective?
I love that ShopStyle feels like a community and not just a platform. I love that I have a such a personal relationship with my rep and that she always checks in to see if there is anything she can do to help me meet my goals. I also really appreciate that ShopStyle embraces and prioritizes diversity. That’s a must for any platform or product I share with audience.
Loved this interview so much, thanks, Blake! If you want to be considered for our next blogger spotlight leave us a comment here on this blog post telling us why!