I got an email the other day that really sparked a few thoughts for me, and usually those kinds of thoughts end up coming out as a blog post. I'll share a little part of it.
"These last two nights I've been looking back in your blog at your first post and just your first years of blogging."
This kind of an intro made me nervous. I first thought, "Oh no! What is she going to say? That I've changed? That she likes the old stuff better? That my old photos and content surprised her?" And then I kept reading, and what I found was such nice feedback that was exactly what I hope I'm doing every time I post something.
"It's really inspiring and makes me feel hopeful. It's just nice to see where you started from and where you are now. It's not like you started out as an "amazing fashion blogger" and knew how to do it, what to wear, perfect pictures, shopped at Nordstrom, etc. It's cool to see your growth not only as a fashion blogger, but also your confidence in yourself. It gives me hope for myself and my personal growth."
Yes. I actually wore and posted this outfit.
She is totally right in that when I started blogging, I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't follow any fashion blogs or really any blogs at all. I learned everything I knew about blogging from a super successful craft blogger, so I didn't know the ins and outs of being a fashion blogger. As I got started, I realized that I liked sharing fashion more than crafts, and although I liked sharing personal things, I didn't really want to be a mommy blogger. So I worked on the skills of blogging, like photography and SEO and networking, and my little blog slowly started to grow. As I got better, more people were interested in seeing what I was putting out there. I shopped at thrift stores quite often, and Instagram was just gaining some ground. I didn't have a clue about helping other people shop or recommending items to actually buy. I just knew how to dress myself in my own way, and I had my three-year-old document it in real time.
Over time I studied more successful bloggers, I went to conferences, and I tried to improve on everything that I saw working for other people. I've redesigned my blog many times. I've gone from Easton taking my pictures to Soren to a professional photographer. I've gone from drafting and posting things in real time to sending them to an editor first. Instagram has changed from being behind-the-scenes real photos to a secondary mini-blog. I'm by no means a pro or a huge blogger or anything, but my blog has grown as I've made it better.
And as I look back at my blog, I can see the effect that blogging has had on me and my life. A lot of things have changed since I started just over four years ago. I've reached out of my comfort zone so many times. I've tried new things. I've put myself out there. I've learned and researched and worked to get better. My photos have gotten better. My writing has gotten better. I spend more money on clothes. I've learned how to not only enjoy the creative side of blogging, but also how to turn it into a secondary income for us. We've started a business, and I've used blogging knowledge to grow that business. We've shared the addition of two kids to our family plus the heartache of having a miscarriage. I've learned more about myself, and I've gotten more comfortable in my own skin. I've met other like-minded women and been in touch with so many of you in many ways.
I blog for a lot of reasons. I love to write. I enjoy sharing style. I like helping people with styling and beauty. I love the community. But the first thing I tell people that I want to do is to inspire. I want to uplift anyone who reads my blog in any way that I can. I want to help others see what they are capable of and to make it easy for someone to try new things. I want to make a difference.
Things have changed here at OLM and inside of me, because I truly want to always be improving. And I want that to come through to anyone who reads it. I hope that our small, family-owned start of Nickel & Suede can be an inspiration to people someday. I hope people go back and see what a bad job I did at blogging in the beginning. And I hope that jump starts them to start something that they feel overwhelmed by. Because everybody starts somewhere, and it's that story of growth that I hope to share.
Thank you for the years of feedback, support, and love you've shown me. It's made all the difference!