Ottawa-based Katelyn Zborowski is ‘The Skinny Blonde Girl’: a blog dedicated to depicting Katelyn’s outfits, clothing, jewelry, makeup, travels, and love for all things pretty. Calgary Fashion had the opportunity to interview Katelyn on all things blogging.
CF: Tell us about your blog, and your offline life.
My blog, first and foremost, is an extension of myself. In the beginning, I considered narrowing down and focusing on a single topic or creating a “niche”. I quickly realized it’s impossible since I, as a person, love so many things and find my taste and style changing all the time. With that being said, my blog has a lot of fashion, some beauty, a bit of travel, and a lot of personal commentary. Often, I write about things I want to read about but have had difficulty finding on existing blogs or sites.
Girls today are hitting the internet before making big (or small) purchases to make sure that someone else has tried this or that product and someone else was pleased with it. If I can share my experience and help someone else keep from unnecessary spending, or encourage someone to invest in a killer product or piece of clothing that’s worth the cash, I feel happy.
I love including sarcastic remarks and dry bits of humour in the blog, too, because laughing is a bit part of my life. I’ll be driving home from work and will start laughing aloud at something that happened days earlier. I’m always thinking and like sharing side notes and after thoughts within posts.
My name is Katelyn Zborowski and I’m 21 years old. I’m a vegetarian, hate cooking but love food, and have a 3 year old Yorkshire Terrier who I call my son in public. In my offline life I’m still online most of the time. I have a degree in Mass Communication and English and work in Marketing Communications for an online makeup school. I write their email marketing content, manage 6 Facebook pages, and collaborate with the marketing team to develop interesting and engaging new courses and ways to connect with prospective students.
I married my boyfriend of 5 years last June and currently live in Ottawa, Ontario on the 19th floor of an apartment building overlooking downtown. I’d say my life is pretty “on track” for my age, but can’t help but push myself to go a little further. Case and point, this February I’ve been working like a mad woman at the office and got to spend some time in NYC filming interviews during NYFW, then came back to Ottawa to attend Ottawa Fashion Week and got some great content for the blog.
I’m always going, going, going and I absolutely love it.
CF: What inspired you to start a blog?
Honestly, I never thought I’d be a “blogger”. I have been an avid reader of a handful of fashion blogs for a couple of years now and have always loved writing, but never saw myself doing it. I suppose I didn’t think my life was exciting enough to share with the world or that I wasn’t as well dressed as some of the blog girls I’d seen.
One evening, I was trying to convince my sister to start a blog to pass the time (she’s staying with my husband and I while she attends college for the year) and the pros I was doling out at her began sounding really enticing to myself. The next day, my friends and I were all discussing creative outlets and their importance when I realized I really didn’t have an outlet of my own.
That night, I went online and started the blog, not really knowing what would come of it and hoping someone might stumble upon it and like it.
CF: What mistakes do you see fashion blogs making?
1) It drives me absolutely mad when fashion bloggers only write about things that even they can’t afford themselves. Fashion blogging doesn’t need to be all Chanel handbags and diamond encrusted Jimmy Choo pumps. Yes, obviously I’d love to have those things, but I mostly want to read about things that are actually affordable and are versatile.
There’s nothing embarrassing about wanting to get your money’s worth in a piece of clothing, and I wish more fashion bloggers would be brave and bold enough to share something from Joe Fresh or Shoppers Drug Mart.
2) Recently, there was a discussion happening on Twitter wherein bloggers were going back and forth arguing about having advertisements on blogs. Too many fashion bloggers go on and on justifying the ads they put on their blogs. Who cares? Banner advertisements shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who uses the internet, and just so long as you use interesting and relevant images, everything is okay.
A fashion blogger should never dedicate entire posts to apologizing to their readers and explaining why they included something on their own blog. If you feel that guilty, don’t put ads up in the first place.
CF: Have you ever made a mistake with your blog?
I triple check the spelling and grammar of all my posts, but it never fails that I should find at least one typo after I hit publish. I’m constantly re-reading my own content to make sure I haven’t spelled anything wrong or missed a word. I’m insane about spelling, grammar, and punctuation and feel utter disgust when I encounter an error in my own writing!
I think the biggest mistake I’ve made thus far with my blog is when it first launched and I chose the colour scheme of “grey, white, black, and purple”. I did this because I wanted it to be different than the fashion blogs that are currently out there and feature a lot of pink. This decision was stupid because I, personally, have never liked the colour purple. I wasn’t being true to myself.
A month later, I overhauled everything – the blog, twitter and my business cards. I went with light peach, shades of pink, and white. I love vintage and ultra-fem designs so I took the colour scheme and ran with it. It’s a good feeling to view my blog and feel a sense of home and comfort, and I didn’t have that before with the hideous purple design.
CF: What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?
I think my favourite blog post I’ve written thus far would be “How’d you get your skin so lush-ious?”. I swear by my daily facial cleansing routine and was so excited to share it on my blog. I had friends I haven’t seen in over a year texting me and complete strangers emailing me telling me how much they appreciated me sharing my LUSH experience.
I still receive the odd email telling me how much clearer a reader’s skin is because they’ve picked up one or more of the products I mentioned. It was a great feeling to be able to help others discover something that may work for them and save them the troubles of trying product after product. It still blows my mind that someone would buy something because I liked it.
CF: How did you build a community around your blog?
I’m still building it! In my opinion, a good blogger needs to understand that you can’t just build something and then leave it to its own devices. Blogging is all about engagement and relationships. Some people say that the internet is taking us away from people and our relationships, but I’d argue that it’s the complete opposite.
I’ve met some amazing people and started fantastic friendships that I wouldn’t have met or started had I not began blogging. I think I’ve created a community that continues to grow by sharing interesting content from a unique perspective and by interacting with my readers – whether it be through responding to emails, replying to blog comments, or by spending almost all of my waking hours on Twitter.
I think of a reader, or someone who leaves a comment, as a friend. I like following up and letting them know I liked a movie I said I was going to see, or updating them if a sweater I posted about doesn’t wash as well as I’d hoped. I sort of think of posting as carrying out a conversation.
CF: Which plug-in is best for blogs, or does it depend on the blog?
It really does depend on the blog. For me and my blog, I’d have to say it’s the “Recent Tweets” widget. A blog’s readers may grow bored if you haven’t got the time to post every single day, and showing your recent tweets is a good way of delivering new content to your blog – no extra time required.
When I read other fashion blogs, I enjoy seeing a less thought out and even more personal side to the blogger, and this primarily happens through reading his or her tweets. It’s hard to be eloquent in 140 characters or less, so you get a lot more raw thought from a person when you put a limit on how much he or she can say. Readers, at least I think, enjoy getting to know the person behind the blog.
CF: What is your favorite social network?
Sorry to bore you, but Twitter! Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a time and a place for Facebook, but Twitter is so much more well suited to bloggers. I get to share my everyday life and I can follow anyone I’d like, hear thoughts and words from people I would never encounter on Facebook, and engage with others in real time. Plus, it’s a million times easier and more fun to use on a mobile phone and a lot of my tweets get sent while away from my computer.
CF: What are your favorites Blogs?
I discovered DKNYPRGIRL just over a year ago and have read her posts religiously ever since. The woman is a blog and social media genius and started her blog, and built her following, just the same as anyone else – through time, commitment, and engagement. Her attitude towards blogging inspires me even more than the content she shares.
CF: What would you say to someone who is interested in starting a blog?
Do it! But, before you do, have some sort of an idea of what you’d like to write about. When you do write, try to not just write the first thought that pops into your head and hit “publish”. It’s all about sharing interesting and relevant content, and “the bacon I had for breakfast was good” isn’t interesting or relevant if you’re a fashion blogger.
At the same time, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a personal comment or two – just make sure it’s within a post that is primarily focused on something your readers have grown to expect from you. Showing off your new Urban Outfitters purchases and adding a comment about your delicious breakfast is fine, but just know that your readers are there to read about your Urban Outfitters purchases… not your breakfast.
Courtney Kos || Images Courtesy of Katelyn Zborowski