Can you believe it? Because we certainly can’t! We have made it. Fashion Du Jour LDN is a big, fat, glorious 1 today!!! Our baby has toddled all the way to our b’day today and much like any baby – it had stumbled, fallen, taken time to reassess and then dusted itself off, got itself back up and ploughed head first forward, becoming stronger each time. Yes, it has been a year choc-ful of some of the highest highs and the lowliest lows, with plenty of steep learning curves along the way. But, our dearest and loveliest fillies, would we have had it any other way? Probably not, as then it wouldn’t have been OUR journey and it wouldn’t have made our blog what it is today. So click this way as we reflect on what a mighty marvellous, beautifully bonkers year it has been here at FDJ LDN HQ…
It only seemed right to us to have started our blog on the cusp of a new season last year. Yes, September is synonymous with fresh starts and so we heralded the start of autumn with the start of our Fashion Du Jour-ney (read our very first post here)! We had both been Insta-blogging for a number of years separately, with a number of followers and were lucky enough for brands to approach us for collaborations through social media despite not having a blog at that time. We both worked fairly regularly within the fashion and beauty industry and had a number of contacts accordingly. So…why not team up, combine skills and see what would happen? And so Fashion Du Jour LDN was born.
September brought with it not only the start of the blog but also London Fashion Week (where we got to sit “In the Frow” for Moixa’s uh-mazing SS16 catwalk show) and our first events as bloggers including Bloggers Festival. We were blown away by the support and opportunities that came our way from the blogging community and we are still in love with the community as a whole. It is one of the most supportive places to be a part of, and we are especially proud to be a part of the Thirty Plus blog movement, which is going from strength to strength. Not being in your twenties can be difficult in the blogosphere it would appear, as numerous brands and PRs seem to deem that once you hit a certain age, we drop off a cliff where no fashion, beauty or lifestyle lovers are to be found. It is a bizarre school of thought, but it is there nonetheless! We are so happy that there is a collective that is fighting this and it seems the tides are turning as we are discovered as a vital, talented and very much active age bracket to tap into. Long may it continue! We want to say a HUGE thank you for all the support they have shown to us and every member of the Thirty Plus blog collective. We have been lucky to make some of the most amazing friends and it’s thanks to the lovely bunch at Thirty Plus.
Blogging, we thought, would be simple. Take some nice pictures, write some great content and publish. What’s so hard about that hey? But oh no no no, dear filly! It is not simple. Blogging is a job in itself. It is a job that never has a deadline – as soon as one post is published you are thinking of the next – and next week’s, next month’s, next season. You are “social media-ing” constantly, posting new content, replying to comments. You are planning around your full time jobs as to when you can do photos, reply to emails and actually write. You learn about things that you never knew existed and are spending time reading about HTML coding, DA, Google Analytics, do-follow/no-follow links like a mother in the bid to become savvier than Bill Gates. If you are thinking of starting a blog, think seriously! It is a work of dedication and can become more than a hobby, you essentially are building a brand.
Speaking of this, we have been extremely lucky and have got to work with some of THE most amazing and talented brands and designers that any fashionista worth their salt would die happy collaborating with and have built relationships that have lasted. Again, we want to say a HUGE thank you to each and every one of you that has taken the time to work with us and have made Fashion Du Jour LDN’s corner of the internet a sassier, sparklier, special place – you know who you are. When we started we wanted to support new and emerging brands and designers and so decided to celebrate them on our blog accordingly. For us, we wanted to know more about the people behind the brand and so decided to create a series on the blog to do just that. We loved hearing about their inspo, their passion, their them-ness! We have adored getting to showcase some of the amazing talent in our “On Our Radar” interview series and want to extend fashion snaps to all who have taken part so far: Matilda Bay Apparel, LMJewellery, Sand and Seagulls, Barley & Bo, Desiri Couture, Caramel Jones, Novella, Black & Sigi – thank you for letting us interview you and for inspiring us with your awesomeness! We heart you!
It can be hard to make even a tiny wave in an overly saturated sea, where we have witnessed bloggers and influencers literally clambering over each other to be the next in line to be the next big thing and get the next big opportunity. It can be brutal, it can get ugly – but we believe in not competing, but supporting and concentrating on making our own content the best it can be – to try and bring something different to the table, whilst still remaining true to ourselves. It can be hard when opportunities and money start to come your way…it’s odd when you get emails offering you money and products which clearly don’t fit our ethos or brand. It can be tempting, yes, to blog about ANYTHING when money is offered. Can we really write about dog food when we don’t have a dog? No! That would be ludicrous! But we have seen people that have. All power to you, but we just can’t be about that here. We decided from the get-go to only feature things that a) we like, b) we have tried and c) that we can write about honestly. We have brands ask us to change what we have written or add in things, that we will not do. Our ethos is to be “aspirationally attainable” and we hope that is something that resonates with you, as much as it does with us. If not, there’s going to be another blog out there for you for sure and that is awesome! All of us are different in our own ways, have different strengths, tastes and opportunities that come our way and there is literally space for ALL of us to be here. Be you, embrace your you-ness…which brings us nicely onto the next part of our journey…
With every brightness that has shone on us this year, there has also been a number of moments of murkiness. We are not into throwing shade, but sometimes by shining a bit of light on something we hope that it will go away. Whether it is some less desirable “brands” wanting the moon on a stick by offering you an “awesome” opportunity that actually tries to leave you out of pocket, or the culture of people trying to use your webspace to offer services and advertising for free, we have encountered it. Be wary fellow filly – if an offer is too good to be true, stand your ground and say NO…loudly! There is no shame in doing so and don’t feel bullied into putting something up that you don’t feel happy with.
Blogging can bring the best out of people but it can also bring out sides that you just don’t understand. A whole different world can lurk in the blogosphere. There are “blogger cliques” (apparently), there is the buying of followers and likes (which is weird and obscure if you are wanting genuine engagement) and there can be downright stealing of ideas and style. What follows are some cautionary tales, one that has both made us laugh and also feel sad for those behind it. Yes, we have encountered the “Attack of the Clones”. One at the hands of a Spambot and one at the hands of a so-called (ex) friend.
The Spambot stole our Instagram pictures (all of them), all the text and tags that accompanied them and essentially became us, as to pose as a real account for people who buy followers. Luckily we were alerted by one of the brands we had worked with and so the battle of who was the real Fashion Du Jour LDN rumbled on for numerous months. Believe us, this felt like a lifetime as their likes and followers grew and our intellectual property was poached. Eventually, after lots of reporting by us and our followers, the battle was won. But seriously Instagram…you need to speed up your fake account reporting and investigation!
The tale of the so-called friend is a little bit harder to explain and is one that is a LOT weirder than the Spambot attack, as this feels much more personal. Hey, yes, we have a number of friends who have blogs, anyone is entitled to one and we are the biggest supporters of our little blog gang. It’s lovely swapping tips, event details and retweeting each other – we all rise by lifting others. But what we are adverse to is this: Stealing of content, stealing of style, stealing of collaborations – that is not on. When it first started, we were unaware of who was behind it. For every brand that connected with us, this blog tried to piggy-back off the back of it. They started around the same time and would constantly like/unlike, follow/unfollow and it was getting annoying. For every Insta post we did, they did very similar in picture style and the caption underneath. It was odd, it was weird – like them going from a couple of hundred followers, to a fair few thousand overnight. But we thought nothing of it. Until like in Scooby Doo mystery fashion, the mask slipped and we realised who it was.
We were bewildered as to why you can be texting and FB-ing us about other stuff, but you fail to mention your outright pilfering or that you even have a blog?! It got so bad that whole blog posts of ours were copied, almost word for word and style for style – it was just plain strange. So we had to block this person and her blogging buddy (as yes, they are a blogging duo too) on every social platform. Funnily enough though, all the copied posts from social and the blog have either been deleted or changed from the moment they must have realised the blocking happened which smacks of a guilty conscience. Unfortunately, yes, we have been made aware that they are still clearly looking at our blog and appropriating writing style and photo “tips” for their blog and social *sigh*. We see them pop up from time to time as we are in the same blogging niche and have a wry giggle to ourselves, as they are either copying someone/something or endlessly reblogging the same content again and again. We suppose you can look at it this way, copying is meant to be a form of flattery right? Although, that being said, a copy is never worth as much as the original. But we digress, this is meant to be about OUR journey. We wish them luck on theirs and hope they manage to find their own path soon!
Yes, blogging can be hard. It can throw up unexpected hurdles but the joy comes from overcoming them and creating something you are proud of. Yes, you lose your blogging mojo from time to time. Yes, you will find that you are hard pushed to put anything up for a couple of weeks as life is busy. Yes, you can sometimes get annoyed when people think that you are constantly getting stuff for free. Yes, all of this is part of the course. But the biggest part of the journey is this – creating your own space, your own voice, all on your own terms. That’s what is utterly Fashion Du Jourable! We are lucky to have each other to share the load, and the fun. We are looking forward to what the next year brings, the lessons we learn and the new adventures we will have together along the way, because there is something that makes it all the more enjoyable with our best friend by our side – each other! Thank you to each and every one who has made this year what it has been. Here’s to the next year, and to you – cheers!
Until next time fillies,
Nicky and Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN HQ x
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