@katherineormerod

@katherineormerod

Superhero interview

@katherineormerod

Learning from Super Heroes

  • Name: Katherine Ormerod, @katherine_ormerod
  • Profile: Fashion
  • Location: UK
  • Followers: 38.000

Katherine Ormerod is a former fashion editor turned influencer who also runs her own content creation business and works as a freelance writer and author. While she’s known for her style, she also campaigns for social media honesty and authenticity. Here she shares her career story and passions.

Plan B Career

All I ever wanted to do was work on a fashion magazine. I was obsessed with shopping and clothes, but it wasn’t until I got to University in Edinburgh and started a Saturday job working at Harvey Nichols that I really thought seriously about it as a career path. After I finished my undergraduate degree I applied for a Master’s programme at the London College of Fashion in Fashion History and started interning on lots of different magazines and newspapers including Instyle, Marie Claire and the Independent.

My first job was at matchesfashion.com just after they launched their online business. It was so amazing to be around such a dynamic team, but when Sunday Times Style magazine offered me a job as a Fashion Assistant, I jumped at the chance. Over the next five years I moved into fashion features writing then on to trend forecasting before working as Senior Fashion Features Editor at Grazia magazine which was such an incredible experience. From the front rows at fashion week to countless amazing opportunities to interview some of the industry’s most successful names across the globe, it was everything I had hoped it would be.

But after I turned 30 things changed and I started to feel very aware of my lack of financial security. Magazine jobs are notoriously poorly paid and I’d recently gone through a divorce so was on shaky financial ground. I decided it was time to set up my own business and try and build a new career with a more recession-proof future. I’d been working across the print and digital sides of magazines for years and helping brands with advertorial work, so I decided to set up a content business to help brand editorialise their online platforms.

Influencer Hustle

I’d also set up my own Instagram account, but at this stage I only had about 5k followers. However, from working on magazines I had met some of the biggest early bloggers and had a good idea of what they were doing across social media. I decided to try and grow my audience on Instagram and increased the amount of posts I was doing to one per day, covering fashion, travel and lifestyle.

However, I knew I didn’t want to launch a traditional blog-there are so many amazing fashion sites out there and I just felt it was too crowded to add yet another #OOTD url to the pile.

Authenticity Rules

Over the years of working in fashion and social media I had started to feel that there was an increasing pressure for us all to be perfect and that only the photogenic sides of our lives were being talked about. In 2016, I started working on my website, workworkwork.co which I call an ‘anti-perfectionism’ platform. On the site, I interview influencers and young women who work in aspirational careers and ask them to be really honest about their lives and the many challenges they’ve encountered along the way.

To me, it’s so important to feel that you can be authentic, honest and open on social media which can be such a pressurised environment. It’s completely possible to build an audience that connects with the ‘real’ you and still loves following your fashion content-you just have to try and strike the balance between your inspirational imagery and feeling comfortable with admitting that not everything is picture perfect every day.

Now I find the posts that get the most engagement are the ones where I talk about issues or highlight struggles I’m going through. It can be really tempting to just keep things totally superficial-especially when you work across fashion, travel and lifestyle-but to really connect with people you have to be vulnerable. That is how you build a true community.

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@ropesofholland

@ropesofholland

Superhero interview

@ropesofholland

Learning from Super Heroes

  • Name: Lindsey Holland, @ropesofholland
  • Profile: Fashion
  • Location: UK
  • Followers: 47.000

Lindsey Holland is a physiotherapist turned blogger who has turned a love of Scandinavian inspired casualwear and globe-trotting into fast-growing Instagram account and blog. Here she answers our 10 Zero to Hero Questions:

If you could give three pieces of advice to any blogger starting out what would you say?

Firstly, stick to what you love and don’t try to follow suit. Most importantly, absolutely do not compare yourself to others: you’re you, and that’s enough

What do you think your biggest mistakes have been in your blogging career?

When I first started out, I’d say it was burning myself out. I would go to the opening of an envelope because I didn’t want to be rude and turn kind invitations down. Now, I understand what is important in terms of saying yes both professionally and personally. Another mistake was taking on a project that absolutely wasn’t right for me -I had a lapse in judgement and now I always follow my gut and feel like I know what my brand is.

And where do you think you made the best decisions?

Deciding to take blogging on full time was the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s been the most amazing experience so far and being my own boss is actually something that makes me happier than I could have comprehended. Other than that, it’s been surrounding myself with the best people. Making friends in the industry can be tricky, because there’s an unspoken competition that can bubble beneath the surface. I’m very lucky that I don’t feel that way, and the girls I have around me don’t either.

How did you get over feeling intimidated by the industry?

I started to love and believe in what I was doing which led me to believe that I’m successful because of my own actions, hard work and style, I suppose! Don’t get me wrong, it’s taken me a few years.

You have had so many jobs in your life – how important do you think they all were for getting you ready to work in the industry?

Oh goodness, from mucking out stables to being a Physiotherapist, the life-skill set I have gained over all of my jobs is invaluable. It’s not just the roles, but the various people that I’ve crossed paths with along the way. My jobs have kept me grounded and given me a strong sense of myself. But again, we’re talking about a process that started back when I was 14 and had my first job.

When you first started approaching brands where did you find your confidence from?

My friends always say that self-esteem isn’t an issue for me, which is a funny thought because I’m such a worrier. They’re right though- I’ve got this fierce little attitude and if I want something done, I’ll find a way to make it happen. So, I would approach my favourite brands just by asking whether I might loan some samples to shoot for my blog or wear to a Fashion Week.

Now you’re working as a full-time blogger, but along the way you balanced your blog with work. Do you ever miss the mixture?

There are so many aspects of working as a Physio that I miss. Mainly, my patient group, which was the elderly. What an incredible, wise, enriching group of people I was lucky to treat. I miss having colleagues too, that kind of bond on a NHS hospital ward is a special one. But on the flipside, I absolutely adore my new-found freelance life.

What is the best thing about working full time as a blogger now?

The complete flexibility to choose which jobs I take on or turn down, the creative freedom and the ability to travel at the drop of a hat. It’s so incredibly liberating, I cannot believe this is my job, and that I’m my own boss.

What’s the best project you’ve worked on over the past year and how did it come about?

It’s got to be shooting a look book for La Redoute last summer in Nice. It was the most amazing trip and the team were a dream to work with.

What’s new for Ropes of Holland 2018?

Hopefully a very busy year! I’m going to visit some countries I’ve never been to before and I’ve started a new YouTube project called The Reset Series which tackles mental health in an approachable way, opening the conversation for us all to share tips and tricks that help with daily anxieties.

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@Adventurousmiriam

@Adventurousmiriam

Superhero interview

@Adventurousmiriam

Learning from Super Heroes

  • Name: Miriam @Adventurousmiriam
  • Profile: Experience
  • Location: Denmark
  • Followers: 44.000

How did you start as an Instagrammer?

Instagram and I go way back. Like iPhone 3 way back. Almost 6 years we’ve been together.
I started out with a private account where I shared all sorts of things from my daily life. But when I started blogging 4 years ago, I put on my business woman hat and created a blog account. I’ve been ambitious about it from the beginning, so I instantly started building up my brand, shared high quality photos and was really active and engaged in the community. I quickly gained a lot of followers that way.

Which camera do you use?

I always use my Canon EOS 750D – never my iPhone – because the quality is much better on a DSLR. Most of my images are landscape and scenery shots so I need the photo quality to be laser sharp.

What have you found really works and what doesn’t?

Look out for symmetry. When you look for symmetry in a scene, you have to center yourself or the main product, and make sure all your lines are straight. Be a perfectionist.

Do something different so you stand out. Stop posting photos of you jumping in front of famous sites and photos of your feet in the sand. We have enough of these accounts. It’s better to experiment, be original and find your own style.

Take self-portraits – not selfies and definitely no duck face.

How to create a beautiful profile that stands out

Follow people whose feeds you love and want to emulate. The more great photos you see in your own feed, the quicker you can develop an eye for it.

Pick a theme you love; like interior, food, fashion or travel.

Have a “thing”. You want people to take a look at your profile and see something that unify your photos. It can be how you’re taking your pictures, the angle or your pose. The way you light your shot, your perspective or the caption you write.

Be consistent and always use the same filter or editing style. For instance, I love colours, so my photos are always vivid, bright and colourful.

What is the secret to gaining followers?

Social media changes all the time, but these two tips are pretty timeless:
Instagram really likes engagement. To grow your network, you need to introduce yourself to people, but you also need to be nice and give them spotlight, too. Engage with those you’re following on Instagram. Spend a lot of time liking and commenting – and not just the casual “great photo” or “wow” comment. Leave insightful comments. It will pay off.
Also, if you’re just starting out, don’t focus on the number of followers or likes. It can be really discouraging, especially when you see other Instagrammers getting thousands of likes when you only get 20 likes. Instead, focus on finding your niche and show your personality. Once you’ve found and mastered it, the followers will come.

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@shotfromthestreet

@shotfromthestreet

Superhero interview

@Shotfromthestreet

This Week’s Hero: Lizzy Hadfield, Shot From the Street
Age: 25 Instagram: 172k, You Tube: 103k Hometown: Leeds

Lizzy Hadfield is an Instagram and YouTube influencer known for her bi-monthly Testing Basics series and her street style prowess. Here she explains what it takes to make it as a blogger.

Blogger Beginnings

I grew up in the middle of nowhere between Halifax and Leeds in the north of England. My parents raised me to always try my best at everything and that as long as I worked hard I could do anything. I definitely internalised that message and developed a really strong work ethic which I think has been central to my career.

As a teenager, I went through lots of style phases from looking a bit ’emo’ with a massive side fringe, to very northern glam in five-inch heels. But it was when I got to Leeds University where I studied History of Art that I really started to hone my taste. Most of the other girls on my course were really laidback in the way they dressed, wearing Reebok Classics, huge, baggy jumpers and workman’s jackets. I was always much more polished, but that low-key vibe did rub off and I’d say the foundations of my style are all in the mix of something tailored with something casual.

I started my blog while I was at University. I’d been pouring over the big blogs like The Blonde Salad and Fashion Toast and realised that these girls had built businesses around all of my interests from lifestyle to fashion to travel. So, I just went for it and decided to launch my own blog, then set up YouTube about two and half years ago. I got my vlogging camera for my 23rd birthday and since then I’ve religiously uploaded two videos every week.

No Pain, No Gain

For me, finding success as an influencer has always been about putting the long hours in. I start work at about 7.30am most days of the week and weekends and I usually work until about 11pm. But I do stop in the middle-it’s not like an office job where you’re sat there without a break. I don’t take weekends off, but that’s not a, ‘woe is me’ thing-I just love what I do and find it more stressful not working than when I’m creating content.

I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself, and when I started out I always tried to imagine that I had a boss to help me feel like there were proper deadlines… it’s very easy to let things slide when you’ve only got yourself to answer to. Over the years, I’ve built a system which helps me create a lot of content in a limited amount of time and I’m really disciplined-but it can get tricky when I travel.

When it comes to sharing so much of my life, it’s not always been an easy ride. Of course, speculation is only natural and you have to accept that if you’re putting yourself out there, people are going to make assumptions. For me the pros of this job definitely outweigh the cons, but it’s not an option for anyone who a) doesn’t have thick skin and b) isn’t seriously motivated. There’s a perception that blogging is an ‘easy option,’ but I can definitely say that is not the case.

Secret to Success

Overall, I think that brands like working with me because of the quality of the content I produce. I invest a lot in terms of photography and in the products (I generally purchase all the Testing Basics pieces myself) I showcase and I also produce a lot of content across all my different platforms every week, which has helped me grow my audience and engagement. You can never underestimate the power of professionalism and being polite and I also think it’s so important to always remember that it’s your audience that have put you where you are. I try and engage with mine regularly to see what they do and don’t like and always listen to constructive feedback. While working with brands is exciting and amazing, your audience always has to come first.

Me, me, me & me.

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@Mrscarlissa

@Mrscarlissa

Superhero interview

@Mrscarlissa

Learning from Super Heroes

  • Name: Carina Ervill / @Mrscarlissa
  • Profile: Interior
  • Location: Denmark
  • Followers: 235.000

How did you start as an Instagrammer?

I used to post about all sorts of things; my kids, our holidays, home and you know… life. But when we moved to a new house, about two years ago, I started to search for interior inspiration and then to post about my process of decorating the house. From that point, it just took off. I deleted all other photos and just posted about my interior decoration every day.

 

Which camera do you use?

I just use my Samsung phone. It’s much better than an iPhone, you can actually tell the difference in image quality in my feed when I changed from iPhone to Samsung!

I rarely edit my photos, but when I do, I use the Instagram filters. I think Instagram really likes when I spend time on the platform doing this – somehow, they reward it by giving my posts exposure.

 

What have you found really works?

I constantly test to understand what my followers like to see and I have learned that they want inspiration. For example, they do not really react to a close up of a new vase, they want to see that vase on the shelf and in my environment.

 

What is the secret to gaining followers?

Instagram changes all the time, so it’s hard to find the secret sauce. However, a few things that really work are:

– Post every day, as in do not skip a day! Otherwise, you lose the exposure

– Use the analytics as soon as can to see when your followers are on Instagram and plan your posts. But don’t use an automatic posting system, Instagram doesn’t like that!

– Use hashtags so followers can find you. But don’t copy them in and don’t use the same every day. Believe it or not, Instagram likes when you type them out in the post.

– Spend at least two hours every day liking, commenting and following your followers and other inspirational profiles. Repost the ones you love and that fit in your feed to create goodwill.

 

What is the best thing about Instagramming?

It’s a wonderful community. I have gotten so many friends – friends I write with every day and share experiences, tips and tricks with. I honestly have the sweetest followers from all over the world. Last week, this old lady from Brazil wrote me that she and her friends meet every week to go through my posts, discuss them and get inspiration from them. It’s become their hobby. It’s really heart-warming and it’s such an amazing feeling to be able to inspire people.

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