This month, twelve years ago, I started a little fashion blog in Las Vegas just to prove I could. I sought hands-on experience in content creation, content management systems, especially WordPress, basic HTML, and an outlet to express my interest in fashion and retail, as well as a place to share cute photos of me wearing cute outfits. I found all that and more in the establishment of Lollie Shopping.
What transpired as a result was surprising. After a couple of years, I started receiving sponsorship inquiries and freelance writing opportunities. Within a few more years, I was being listed among the top fashion bloggers in Las Vegas, receiving invitations to attend MAGIC (just a few years prior, trade shows refused to recognize bloggers as media members), and I was writing for the LA Times supplement travel section once a month.
I’ve nabbed interviews with Marc Jacobs, Tim Gunn, Clinton Kelly, Nelly, and Nick Wooster. I’ve blogged for shoes, been bestowed gifts from the likes of Tiffany & Co. and Coach. I had the honor of working for the beloved fashion designer Rachel Roy. I’ve been on local television recounting who wore what at the Oscars, what to buy for Mother’s Day, and what the latest spring trends are (almost having a live TV meltdown once, as the segment took place just days after deciding to leave my husband). I’ve attended some pretty hot fashion events and hosted some, too—all because I wanted to prove that I could create a personal brand just by starting a blog.
And, I did.
Then life happened. I got divorced. And suddenly the destruction of my marriage made fashion and shopping seem less important to me. Things like self care, my career, traveling with my best friends, and just a general formation of a new lifestyle that better represented my single self became my focus.
That’s when Lollie Shopping evolved from a little fashion blog to a lifestyle blog for grown ass women. I was a woman interested in more than the latest trends for fall. I had become a woman interested in dating, sex, and opposing the status quo by sustaining an independent life free from the regulations of couplehood and monogamy.
Simultaneously, my day career continued to excel year after year. I went from writing product description copy to managing content writers, to public affairs, to working as a communications specialist (think corporate editor) for a top design and development agency.
Just like I couldn’t have booked amazing fashion and celebrity interviews, earned impressive bylines, and been invited to be on local broadcast programs had it not been for Lollie Shopping, my day career wouldn’t be as stable and rewarding as it has been without this blog. Having Lollie Shopping has taught me how to multitask, be creative, negotiate, stay on top of the details, work independently, and be a sharp, mature professional who surpasses client and/or partnership expectations.
There was a time when you could read five new blog posts on Lollie Shopping a week. A week! Nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to discover five new blog posts in a single month. Life has really happened. Divorce led to depression. Old age led my father to dementia then death. That led me to more depression, eventually coupled with a serious hospitalization.
Meanwhile, the freelance opportunities have increased. My job has became a haven from my troubles while offering a stable and handsome income. Never having been a needy person, I have suddenly become so with my friends and family.
And… dating. Oh, the damn dating. Even when nothing substantial is happening, just the online flirting, text messages, ghosting, bread crumbing, obsession, bitching to my friends, one night stands, IRL meetups, heartbreaks, and disappointments, man, it can be so time consuming!
With 12 years of content under her hood, Lollie Shopping is pretty damn self-sustaining. I could go a month without blogging and still have an inbox filled with requests for sponsored collaborations. So, I allow my tragedies, moods, emotions, need to melt into the comfort of my family and friends, the joyful distraction of my current job, and even dating to get in the way of regular blogging. I’m not done with Lollie Shopping by any means. She’s still relevant, still wanted, still read.
But I am ready to start something new—a podcast. Soon, I will be launching “There Are No Nice Guys,” a podcast about divorce, dating, sex and what happens when single women realize that there are no nice guys. Think of it as a support group for single women. I’ll let you know when episodes are ready.
There is also my book There Are No Nice Guys, still unfinished, still a work in progress. But I posted a chapter here on this blog, if you’d like to take a peek.
And that, my dear reader, is what the culmination of 12 years of Lollie Shopping has been like. Thank you for your repeated visits. I hope she has provided you with some value. While her origination was selfishly for me, her continued existence is for you.
Thinking of starting a blog?
You’re not alone. I hear it all the time, “I’ve been thinking of starting a blog…” Well, what’s stopping you? Do it! Here are my tips.
- Use WordPress. I work in the WordPress ecosystem, so I’m biased. But there was a time when I didn’t, and I was still using WordPress. Lollie Shopping didn’t begin on WordPress, but after a year, I moved her there and she’s been happily at home ever since.
- Develop a skill set. Before launching, be sure you know what you’re doing. You have to know how to write (grammar rules and all), edit photos, market and promote, use social media, and how to build and run a website (I use StudioPress themes on the WP Engine platform. It’s an easy drag-and-drop process to build your blog.)
- Have direction. Know your blog name, topics, and where you want it to go. Create a plan, a road map, and stick to it.
- Don’t wing it. It will read and look as though you did. Use some professional polish, especially if you want to be taken seriously.
- Create a calendar. Establish how often you will blog and what day(s) and time you publish. Make a routine and commit to it.
- Work your blog like a job. If you really want your blog to grow as Lollie Shopping has, then I urge you to set aside time every day for it. This may not always include writing. Use the time to answer sponsor queries, research your topics, and further development of your skill set, such as learning about SEO. Invest in your blog and yourself.