It’s no secret that fashion and lifestyle bloggers have changed the way we do brand marketing. I recently caught up with one such Chicago-based blogger Erika Karl, of BABESKILLS. She shares her journey to becoming a #BossBabe, her biggest successes, and offers advice to up-and-coming bloggers below.
Tell us a little about your blog and you
BABESKILLS first originated on Instagram as 15-second “how-to” videos within the fashion, beauty and lifestyle space.
Since then, BABESKILLS has evolved into a full blown blog, where I not only share these short bursts of inspiration, but also my personal style, beauty tips & deeper issues we face as women.
I am also endlessly passionate about travel, personal growth and leading a balanced/healthy life. I am newly married and currently reside in Chicago, with my husband and the other love of my life, my pup, Santino.
What made you want to start BABESKILLS?
Before I left my dream job to move to Chicago for my now husband, I was working as the Fashion Editor of a magazine. After the move, I was struggling with the transition as well as my next career jump. A bad case of FOMO prompted me to start BABESKILLS as a micro-blog on Instagram, in order to stay connected with my past life.
What did you do before you began your blog? Is it your side hustle, or do you also maintain a 9-5?
I previously worked as the Fashion Editor of a magazine. However, a little known fact is that I actually was as a chemist for 5 years prior! Long story short: I was fulfilling someone else’s dream, rather than my own.
During the early blogging years, I acquired a knack for web design and a ton of digital marketing skills, which helped me score a coveted job in restaurant marketing here in Chicago.
Fast forward to present day and I currently work for myself doing freelance digital marketing for a handful of clients, as well as growing my own brand full-time!
This is why I LOVE the analogy of a career jungle gym rather than a corporate ladder! I encourage women not to feel pigeonholed by their degree or prior experience. My first fashion blog was a side hustle while I was working as a Chemist and ultimately helped me land my gig as Fashion Editor.
Biggest blogger challenge and triumph?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced as a blogger is awareness. The internet and social media are both saturated with bloggers and digital influencers. As a result, bloggers have to be super innovative in the way they share content and really view themselves as a multi-media brand.
My biggest triumph would be truly connecting with my readers, whether it be a heartfelt email or an in-person coffee date. I have a small army of loyal readers, loyal being the key word, which I’d much prefer over a million disengaged followers.
What or who inspires you?
I am so inspired by people who turn nothing into something. I am a champion of the underdog, who uses shear motivation and grit to find success.
Proudest career moment to date?
My proudest career moment would be attending and covering New York Fashion Week (NYFW) and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. More recently, achieving freedom with my time by working for myself. I feel like time is our generation’s new luxury.
One digital skill all #BossBabes should master?
The art of list building and email marketing is so important. Being able to land in your reader’s inbox is highly personal and keeps your blog in front of their eyes on a regular basis. Pro tip: don’t just include a round-up of posts they can easily find on your blog. Provide education and/or a personal note that’s only available to them as a subscriber.
Any advice for future blogger babes?
Always be 100% you! From your blog images to your voice, being authentically yourself is your best chance at success and standing out from the crowd. Also EDUCATION. I think as a whole, we’re not satisfied with just looking at a cute outfit on Instagram anymore. We’re craving substance. So try including some education about the product you’re posting (is it on sale? is it super soft?) or even an unrelated tidbit about your day. I also think being transparent and vulnerable from time to time is important!
Find more of Erika on her blog, BABESKILLS or on Instagram (@babeskills).