Heavy on Fashion Talks to Lillie Morales-Torres of Jerseyfashionista.com
Heavy on Fashion: Lillie, how did you get into blogging? What would you change about the blogging industry?
Lillie: I started blogging when I was in college. One of my professors was talking to us about how soon print could become extinct and how important it was to be able to write for online publications or even start a blog. One of our projects was to start a blog which our professor read weekly just about every day life. I liked it so much that I started to explore the world of blogging. I started with a domain like LilliesWorld at blogspot where I featured fashion posts and stuff about my life. In college, I always covered Fashion and Lifestyle for the paper on campus. So, I decided to create a blog where this was all I covered- beauty, fashion and lifestyle mainly in New Jersey and the surrounding areas. I came up with JerseyFashionista and the title stuck out ever since.
After college, I was ill and had to wait almost 6 months before job hunting. Even with my high GPA, internships and experience, work then became difficult to find or wasn't what I was looking for. They say when every door is closed, you need to make your own and that's pretty much what I did with JerseyFashionista- I built my own brand. I went from simply blogging, to video interviews, hosting events, styling shows, and working with other writers and brands.
What I would change about the blogging industry- the way brands work with bloggers. I think we work very hard to produce videos, photos, and content for the little we get in return. I feel they should at least feature our posts on their websites for a week for example, that way we would gain exposure, maybe new followers. I also feel we should get more in return whether it's product or pay.
Heavy on Fashion: How did JerseyFashionista.com come to be? What make JerseyFashionista.com different from other blogs? What has motivated you to keep going over the years?
Lillie: I think I answered the first part of this question above, lol! JerseyFashionista.com, to me, is unique. It is sort of a blog/magazine. The first thing people tell me is that the content is well written. I think knowing how to write is so important if you are going to have readers follow you. Next, I'd say is the photo and video. I am a photographer aside from a blogger so this helps me to produce nice photos and video when covering events. And it is not biased. You will not see any negative or vulgar content on the site. Posts are written in a way that the reader can decide whether or not they like something for themselves. It just gives you info straight out. No bashing or bullying. Our topics are also unique- JerseyFashionista.com has sections such as Beauty, Fashion, Mini Fashions (for mini fashionistas featuring mostly my daughter and other little girls!) Lifestyle, Health and more. I love doing it. JerseyFashionista.com has opened many doors for me I never thought possible, it's taken me so far so when I feel discouraged I look back at all of my posts and pictures and I just keep it moving.
Heavy on Fashion:What is the biggest challenge about your fashion blogging?
Lillie:That would be keeping up with outfit posts- there is a strong outfit of the day trend going on right now in the blogging world. I honestly don't have the time to photograph myself every time I get dressed. So that's definitely a challenge but I am working on it. Also, picking and choosing which events to cover or what brands to work with. Some events seemed so great in the past and once I took the time to cover, I'd realize they were not worth my time or maybe the event did not go with what JF covers. Same thing with brands- as a blogger you don't want to work with a pest control company if you're covering fashion for example.
Heavy on Fashion: Describe your day as the Editor of jerseyfashionista.com
Lillie: My days can be pretty hectic. I have assigned myself with Tuesdays and Fridays for blogging. This is a busy season at work right now so I don't want to abandon the blog completely.Sometimes it can be everyday though I will admit. I start my day with checking and responding to emails and messages. Then, I work on social media. I try to post at least a few times per week whether it's an outfit or make up or an upcoming event. I write down ideas for posts, create outfit inspiration boards, and instagram and tweet a lot to keep JF on the radar. Aside from the behind the scenes work I also have days where I either interview people or cover events and speak at events. I attend many networking events and have gone to speak at schools to help inspire younger generations. I also help style shows featuring local NJ designers. I run the site on my own as far as content and all. I do work closely with a great company (2Vibrant.com) that provides my hosting, ads and more for me. I keep in touch with them on a weekly basis to see how things are running or fix anything.
Heavy on Fashion: What are some of the best and worst aspects of running your own blog?
Lillie: The best- it's something I created on my own. I get to share my passions, my style and information about great products or events happening. No one can sensor my content or tell me what to write about and people or brands go straight through me to work on projects, posts, campaigns; etc.
The worst part- running it by myself. It'd be nice to have a partner. Sometimes, I believe with blogging, two great minds can be better at it. It's a lot to take on if you want it to be successful. I'm not yet where I want to be with this but I know it will get there eventually.
Heavy on Fashion: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What steps are you taking to reach your goal?
Lillie: In 10 years, I'd love to see JF expand. We are currently working on a radio show and a mini web series - adding more video to our channel on youtube.com. We will also be partnering up with another major NJ publication soon to gain be able to reach more readers. I'd also like to say JF would have an e-book published and partner with major brands or magazines. We have a lot in the works for this year so I do see these things as a possibility. Aside from that, an online shop to sell merchandise that would help benefit some type of young aspiring female journalists.
Heavy on Fashion: Who is your biggest inspiration in your life?
Lillie: I look up to any strong independent entrepreneur female to be honest. There isn't one person in particular that I can say inspires me. I admire people like Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson who have taught us that you can pretty much do anything and not just limit yourself to one thing.
My daughter also inspires me to do great things. She is only 7 but says things to me like "mommy you have the coolest jobs. Who's mom gets to see fashion shows and meet designers?" She has met a few designers with me and loves to draw her own designs and style her own outfits. She is quite the mini fashionista. When I hear those things from her and see the excitement in her eyes from watching a show I covered, it truly inspires me to do more and maybe one day this can open a door for her, too.
Heavy on Fashion: Describe the style of New Jersey?
Lillie: Jersey is a little gaudy, sparkly, name brand obsessed, voluminous hair, and and animal print wearing. I have my own unique style which can be edgy and vintage mixed together but as the tagline of JF reads "Style with a Jersey Twist," I do have that Jersey twist. Whether its the hair, the animal print or bling it's there and I love it!
Heavy on Fashion: Any upcoming events for Jerseyfashionista.com?
Lillie: Always. Apart from working on different projects, there are a couple of events such as the Central New jersey Prom Expo 2014 which I was able to style and run the show last year. And then there are a few fashion and styling events. You can stay posted by checking out JerseyFashionista.com under the Lifestyle section.
I would like to thank Lillie Morales-Torres for her time!
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