Big hits: Irish fashion bloggers making a name for themselves
Three bloggers who have quickly risen to the top of the web reveal how they got noticed and managed to earn a living in such a fickle world
From left: Anouska Proetta Brandon, Lorna Weightman and Leanne Woodfull. Photographs: Holly McGlynn, Chris O’Neill
The blogosphere is a crowded place. The statistics are spectacular: there were 157 million bloggers on Tumblr and Wordpress alone last year, according to website monitor Royal Pingdom, with thousands in Ireland jostling for attention. Here are three successful Irish fashion bloggers who stand out from the crowd.
Anouska Proetta Brandon, 24
The chic, articulate and driven Anouska Proetta Brandon gets 50,000-75,000 unique visits a month to her blog, which has been praised by Teen Vogue.
Initially, she uploaded self-portraits to Lookbook.nu "to share her style with others", having completed a course in photography in Stillorgan. (Left: Brandon's pick for autumn-winter 2014, an Acne backpack with loepard print detail)
Proetta Brandon was born in Monaco. Her father is an Irish carpenter and her mother is Austrian and Spanish. She divides her time between France, where her mother lives, and Ireland. “So I am a European milkshake,” she says.
“My blog has a direct market of fashion-conscious girls aged 15-35 who like to shop and look for style inspiration. Brands are attracted because it goes directly to the audience they want.”
She posts four or five entries to the blog each week, documenting her lifestyle through imagery, word and video. It’s now her full-time job. “Being Irish helps. I shoot in different Dublin places, which American followers like.”
Her aim is to get as many followers as possible, but she has no idea where it will lead. “Blogging and technology have changed so much and there is so much competition, but I am always thinking about how to be on top of it. I know my value and I am concentrating on being the best I can be, which is what my parents always taught me.”
Lorna Weightman, 32
When Weightman started to blog five years ago, Irish fashion bloggers were thin on the ground. “Now there are thousands,” she says. She was always interested in fashion, and was a professional model at 15. She combines that with a sharp business sense: she has a degree in business and economics from Trinity College Dublin and later qualified as a chartered accountant. She started to build her website, Styleisle.ie, in 2009. Weightman earns her living as a fashion professional on programmes such as Exposé and Ireland AM, by hosting fashion shows and by contributing to Beaut.ie. ( Weightman's pick for autumn-winter 2014, a Winter coat from H&M, €129)
She is friendly, sociable and generous with her time – which makes her popular among other bloggers – and calls herself a hard grafter. She writes three posts a day. Her highest readership is on Monday mornings. “Because I had a business background, I knew how to grow the company,” she says. “I was able to develop my own product strategy. In terms of blogs, I get 20,000 hits a month. I treat it like a child, it gets daily feeds from me. It used to be my outlet to escape to, and now I live in it.”
Next month she has been invited to Prague to speak at a global publishing company conference. Her subject? From finance to fashion: new business as a fashion influencer.
Leanne Woodfull, 21
Woodfull has a niche as a tattooed blogger who loves sloths and “being obsessed with unusual things”. She claims to be the only Leanne Woodfull in existence, “which is handy for social media”; she is relentless on Twitter, as well as vivid, opinionated and courageous. Her frank and revealing exposure of jaw surgery touched many readers as did her honest appraisals of tattooing, piercing and teeth-whitening. Fashion savvy to her fingertips, she knew about Chanel and the 2.55 (the famous quilted bag) at the age of 10, and she started buying fashion magazines at 12. (Woodfull's pick for autumn-winter 2014, silver glitter boots fro St Laurent)
She started her blog in 2009, when she was in transition year. She called it Thunder and Threads, “because I love storms”. A year later she started doing Youtube videos. Now she get 5,000 hits a day and has an international readership. Earlier this year, she was named best international blog at Company magazine’s style blogger awards.
Woodfull is passionate about human rights, fashion and feminism. She believes that if you have followers, “it is your duty to make them aware of what is important”. Her main social medium is Instagram – where she has 38,000 followers – because “it is so visual and it directs traffic”.
She makes her blog pay by doing collaborations with photographer Chris O’Neill in hidden Dublin places.
She intends to do the new three-year degree in visual culture at the National College of Art and Design. Unless she loves a beauty product, she will not write about it. “I swear by Nuxe, Touche Éclat, Benefit and Bebe. I don’t recommend fake tan. I love being pale.”