To Blog or Not To Blog?

Coming to the end of the BCIT course that prompted the start of this blog has me wondering….what’s next?  Do I keep the blog going?  Should I just shut it down?  In the end, I have decided to stay on this blogging path for a while longer and see where it takes me.  Now and Jen will live on and I will shop on.

Lifestyle brands are a dime a dozen these days so I know I am in a competitive field, but I also know that having a blog is important.  It can drive traffic to your website, improve your SEO/SERP, position you as an industry leader and provide your customers quality content which, in turn, will results in better relationships.

In my case, and the case of many lifestyle bloggers/brands, my blog is my brand.  I’ve spent a lot of time looking at comparable examples for ways to improve and also ensure the long term sustainability of my blog.  Below are three sites I looked at and the three relevant take-a-way points I have learned from them.


Gwyneth Paltrow really started the actress turned lifestyle brand trend.  Many have followed in her footsteps including Blake Lively, Jessica Alba and very soon Reese Witherspoon.  GOOP promotes the ultimate high end lifestyle that in Gwyneth’s own words is supposedly “wonderful, incredible, blessed, genius, and beloved” and entirely out of reach of the every day person.  Can you afford a $12,000 one of a kind hand faceted vase?  Nope, me either.

Despite being out of reach for most people GOOP does a lot of good things.  The design of the website is strong, responsive and easy to read.  The site is updated regularly with quality content which makes for return guests and improved SEO.  The aspirational lifestyle is linked with the ability to purchase which should, in theory, make the brand sustainable in the long term.

– Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 5.17.21 PM

Take-a-way #1 –  Strong blog design with a sales purpose goes a long way to help leverage success.


Possessionista is one of my regular stops.  She finds the clothes that are worn on TV.  You see something you love being worn by Julia on Parenthood….send in your request to Dana.  Odds are she can track it down.  She even has a feature where you can send her photos of people from the street or Facebook and she will try and find what they are wearing.  Creepy?  Yes.  Entertaining?  Yes!!  Her writing is to the point, comical and you can see her success in the growth of her brand.

Possessionista does a great job of linking her blog to social media.  The icons are very apparent on her site, she keeps her social media up to date and the platforms cross reference each other with content.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 5.26.55 PM

Take-a-way #2 –  Social media can drive the success of your blog and your blog can drive the success of your social media.  These two things need to work hand in hand.


While not a lifestyle brand per se, although there is a Lifestyle section on her site, I felt I have to include Lainey Gossip as one of my influencers.  I read her blog every day without fail.  Lainey started her blog as an e-mail to friends sharing celebrity gossip.  In the years since, that e-mail turned into a full time money making blog, role on eTalk for Lainey, co-hosting of The Social and ultimately Lainey is now one of the world’s most successful celebrity gossips.  Toronto Life did a fascinating article on Lainey earlier this year that is worth a read.

In regards to Lainey’s blog specifically, she has turned her passion project into a brand.  She did that strategically, while staying true to herself, by treating her brand as a business.  She has slowly integrated advertising and sponsored posts into her site while remaining committed to her original purpose of the blog which was sharing fun smut and insight into the business of celebrity.  Lainey managed her growth, her blog and her brand like a business.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 3.11.05 PM

Take-a-way #3 –    Your blog is business AND a reflection of your brand/yourself.  Treat it as such.


So, my blogging journey continues and I will endeavour to include these three Take-a-ways to help grown my own brand and see where it leads.


Wendy’s Look Book

Long before I started this blog, I was an avid follower of a number of Lifestyle and Fashion Blogs on-line.  Now that I am blogging myself, I am looking to these bloggers for inspiration   One of my all time favourites is Wendy’s Lookbook.  Wendy Nguyen started on Youtube, branched into blogging from there, quit her business banking job and has since become on of the most sought after fashion bloggers.  Wendy has 334,000 Facebook likes, 582,000 Youtube followers and 45,000 Twitter followers to give you an idea of her popularity.  Wendy has turned her passion into a career!

I stumbled across Wendy’s Lookbook when trying to find a new way to tie my scarf.  Wendy’s 25 Ways To Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes went viral and garnered over 25 million views on Youtube.  Even more fascinating than the video, is the backgrounder on her blog which details all of the work that went into making the video – three days of storyboarding, 8 hours of filming and many hours of editing.

Wendy’s Lookbook features beautifully shot pictures and videos, which are often practical and easy to replicate looks, links as to where to buy each item and quite a few advertisers.  There is a lot that I can learn from Wendy as I head down this blogging path!

Forbes recently covered Wendy during New York Fashion week in their article Going Viral: How Wendy Nguyen Of Wendy’s Lookbook Got 25 Million View On One Youtube Video.  They caught up with Wendy at New York Fashion Week to learn more about her blog.  You know when a business publication wants to cover you that your blog has gone big time!

So, for my first video blog I thought take some inspiration from Wendy’s viral video and show you 5 Ways To Wear A Scarf in 1 Minute.  Enjoy!

Nordstrom’s Instagram Is Hard On My Visa

There is many, many reason why I love Nordstrom. Their in-store shopping experience, their on-line shopping experience, their customer focused return policy, don’t even get me started on their sales…I could go on and on.

My new favourite thing about Nordstrom is their Instagram account. The account is regularly updated, features great photography of Nordstrom stock, includes product details including brand names and is monitored by a team of staff who reply in a very timely fashion. Now, as marketer, I appreciate it even more. They have found a way to link Instagram with the on-line purchase decisions of their followers.

Nordstrom recently announced that it would be the first retailer to launch the Like2Buy platform.

Like2Buy let’s Nordstrom Instagram followers click on product image and then purchase it immediately from their corporate website. While, many of the visual social media platforms have been heading in this direction, it is no surprise that Nordstrom is ahead of the retailer pack in launching a program such as this.   Check out the like2buy link right on their Instagram profile page.

Nordstrom Instagram

With over 575,000 Instagram followers providing a more seamless shopping experience fits right in with Nordstrom’s brand positioning and customer centric culture.

There is nothing more annoying seeing something on Instagram that you need to have in your life, most recently for me a Bailey 44 jacket, and not being able to find a place to buy it. Nordstrom has solved that problem and now my Visa is paying for it.