We all know that the fashion industry likes to throw a little shade at bloggers from time to time. That’s why we were so surprised to see a blogger included on Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List! Not just any blogger, but Hallie Swanson of HallieDaily.com! We caught up with her to find out what it was like to be included on the list, and what advice she has for up-and-coming bloggers.
We were so excited to see you on Vanity Fair's best dressed list. What was that like for you?
It’s almost impossible to describe, it’s like winning an Olympic Gold Medal for fashion and style! I really never expected it, but I’m so grateful to the readers and editors who could look out over the world of incredible fashion bloggers and find me and appreciate my efforts and taste. It’s very humbling to be recognized like that, put in the company of princesses and famous celebrities.
I think of myself as “Everywoman,” like a billion other women on Planet Earth– a mother and wife who still aspires to be stylish, elegant, and sometimes sexy, on a “normal” budget. I feel that my selection for Vanity Fair’s “International Best Dressed List” honors not just me, but all the other women around the world who put effort into looking their best.
Does being on such a prestigious list make you feel like, "Wow, the pressure is on!" What's it like to be among these influencers?
Of course the recognition immediately puts pressure of a sort on me, but everyone has pressure of all kinds. This “best dressed” pressure is good pressure, like “wind beneath my wings.” It gives me more power to keep me moving forward and upward.
I follow the “Dress for Success” principle, that if we look good, we’re happier and do better in life. And an important part of my goal is to live by that principle, to show my sisters around the world how to have a better life just by dressing the best they can for every situation. I think people we meet really do react to how we appear, the first impression is the most important one. If stylish dressing can make the first impression good, then it’s worth making that extra effort.
A lot of our readers have personal style blogs. What advice do you have for girls that are just starting out?
Don’t be jealous about what other bloggers have accomplished in their work; be happy for them, and be inspired to work hard for your blogging goal. Instead, increase your confidence in yourself, never stop learning, and blog because you feel passion for it.
What's a common mistake new bloggers are making?
For new bloggers, there are always questions about how to get more followers and drive more traffic to the blog. I know a lot of bloggers leave comments like, ”I am following you, would you follow me back?” Or they “unfollow” somebody if they know the person doesn’t follow back. Believe me, I made that mistake at the beginning, too. I thought, if other bloggers did that, why shouldn’t I?
But then I realized that was very immature to do that. “You can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink,” and it’s the same with followers, if you “force” them to follow you, but they don’t really love to visit or read your blog, then what’s the point in getting followers like that?
I think the key to success in life is to go after substance, and in fashion that means styling and writing what inspires you, and attracting people who genuinely like your approach. It sure has worked well for me so far!
How do you keep your readers engaged?
Besides trying to update my blog very often with a new post almost every day, I spend a lot of time searching online to refresh my blog’s data, and find new things to share with my readers, like new, good products from ASOS and others, or good coupons or sales start at popular shopping websites, etc.
Very important, I always try my best to follow up and respond to my readers through social media. That’s very hard because I am still a full-time mom, but once in a while I succeed in giving them some thoughtful help, or respond to tell them I care about them, and that really helps to get their attention and help them move forward, I think. Even though I don’t get to meet too many of my readers, the blog still creates relationships with many of them, and that’s good for them and for me. Win-win!
Why and how did you get into blogging?
That’s quite a story that still surprises me! My life changed a lot in the last six years, when I was living in China where I was born, and blogging became an important part of that change. First, I met my husband while I was guiding a Chinese government tour group through Los Angeles, which I moved to when we got married. We had a son (Red Bear as he’s known by my readers) pretty quickly, and I was suddenly a full-time mom and wife, thousands of miles away from my family, friends and roots.
I didn’t know anything about blogs, but I spent $150 to have a Chinese tech friend set up a website – www.halliedaily.com -- and I started entertaining myself by writing in Chinese about my changing life and new experiences and uploading family pictures, aimed at my sister and friends. But pretty soon I learned that a lot of people that I never knew from many countries were reading and commenting on my posts, so I started to take it more seriously. “Do what you love, and you will succeed.”
The readers were mainly interested in life and style in America, which always fascinated me, too. I started to pay more attention to what I shopped for and what I wore, studied how to style things better, and focused more on fashion instead of personal things. I also started to write in English, which really helped my readership grow.
Lastly, if you weren't blogging, what would you be doing?
I was an International Travel Consultant for the Chinese government before I moved to the U.S., and my education is in International Business. I helped Chinese government officials develop their foreign relationships with different countries in various business fields when they traveled. If I wasn’t blogging, I probably would establish a foundation or council to promote business relationships between the U.S and China!