Sitting on a gold mine

Pussycat London Dress

Pussycat London Dress

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It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you can only ‘make it’ in fashion through blogging, if you are located in a big fashion capital. Claire Johnson, of the blog Sitting Pretty, knows this as her blog got noticed by big fashion retailers such as Missguided, Marks&Spencer, and Debenhams to name just a few.

Why did you want to start blogging and how did you manage to increase your online following?

I started my blog Sitting Pretty (sittingprettyatmydesk.com) as a place to document my research while at university and it sort of snowballed in to what it is today!

For the first few months I was finding my writing style and tailoring my content to make sure I was writing about things I loved.

Eventually I started to see my follower count slowly creeping up and the hits and website traffic continuously growing.

It’s such a lovely feeling to know that people out there are reading what you write and enjoying it.

Before long my blog had evolved in to a personal style diary, which came pretty naturally as I was studying Fashion Styling and loved putting outfits together.

Do you believe people should strive to achieve qualifications in creative subjects? How do you feel studying art &design at college and fashion styling at university helped you with how you got to where you are today?

I absolutely loved my college and university years and would go back to them in a heartbeat!

I achieved a triple distinction in BTEC Art & Design at Preston’s College, and a 2:1 Degree in Fashion Promotion with Styling at UCLAN.

One of the best things that being at college and university taught me was that I should be confident in myself.

I think my time in education really brought me out of my shell and gave me the drive to start up my blog and make it what it is today.

Until I started university, I wasn’t really that familiar with blogs or what they were about, but in the fashion and creative industries they are important and I really wanted to be a part of that.

My two biggest loves were always fashion and interior styling throughout my studies, so to have a platform on which I can share my passion with so many people is brilliant.

Tell us about your collaborations with big brands, who did you enjoy working with the most and why?

I’ve had some incredible opportunities in the past few years that I owe to blogging, and have worked with some amazing brands such as Outfit, Matalan, Very, Missguided, Hilton, M&S, Debenhams and Nintendo.

I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed to say that I’ve been able to collaborate with companies like these and often feel I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s true!

I’ve been incredibly lucky to be approached by brands and PR companies like these who show an interest in my blog.

My favourite would have to be working with Hilton Hotels as I got to stay in their Manchester Piccadilly chain for a night and review my stay there.

I’ve also had some other really fun opportunities such as trying out the personal shopping service at Debenhams, Preston and also taking part in blogger events at a new Outfit store in Preston.

How do you think being based in Preston has helped you on your journey in the fashion industry?

I think Preston has a great creative community, which is what I love about it.

There are so many great things going on at the moment. I especially love to take part in all the vintage fairs and craft markets as I have a vintage clothes stall called Sitting Pretty too!

Plus, we have some great little independent boutiques and cafes hidden way off the beaten track.

Coco Boo, Retro Rehab and Strictly Cupcakes are some of my number one haunts, and I actually organised an event at them last year for local bloggers to show some support to our local businesses.

There’s also so many great places to go for photography in Preston; Avenham Park and Moor Park are a couple of my favourite places to go and shoot some pictures!

What are your future aspirations and where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Although I don’t see my self doing it full time, I plan on sticking with my blog for the long haul as it’s become a big part of what I do and I enjoy it so much.

I’m currently working in an e-commerce role in a busy jewellery company in Bamber Bridge.

I look after the marketing activity and social media sites for a jewellery retailer and a wholesaler that sells components and kits around the world.

My duties include photographing new products, listing them on the website, writing the company blog and interacting with customers on the social media platforms.

I’m really enjoying my job at the moment and hope to continue to progress here for the foreseeable future, then who knows what will be around the corner!

Do you have any tips for the aspiring bloggers of today on how to get noticed and contacted by PR companies?

With regards to the company collaborations, I’m still a little unsure what exactly made them pin point my blog!!

I think the fact that I always give an honest opinion, have a relatable, chatty writing style and try to post good quality photos are key factors that could draw them in.

I’m always a little taken back when they contact me, as it’s hard to believe they have chosen to work with me!