1883 Magazine
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Before we realised, it’s 2017 and more than a decade has passed since blogs morphed from a platform designed for susceptible teens to share the emotional injustices of everyday life, to beautifully professional outlets to explore one’s affairs with a range a topics.

In a blink of an eye this media began to infiltrate the circumscribed lines of the Fashion Industry, challenging its elitist structures and allowing anyone from students to postmen (or postladies) with a following to penetrate its perimeter. Join us in talking to Uptown Style’s writer/co-founder about her experience with this media. 

The Romanian born and writer/co-founder of Uptown Style, Luoana Negut, spent significant years of her life in the USA where she developed a tough sheath and effervescently confident mien typical of American nationals which now transpires into every aspect of her life. A few years after moving to London in her teens, Luoana started a blog called Uptown Style where she confabulates about the archetypically feminine topics of Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle. With her minimalistic and well-groomed blog she has laid her gonfalon down and made it stand out in the medley of blogs that have, with full potency, invaded the internet. 

We interviewed Luoana about what made her start her blog, how she came up with the name Uptown Style, the lessons and challenges of blogging, career goals, guilty pleasures, exciting projects, and much more. 

What made you start your blog?

Actually, it was inspiration from Jay Mitchell, the CEO of 1883 Magazine that made me start my blog.

Really?

Yeah! Getting to know Jay and getting to know 1883 [Magazine] brought a lot of inspiration to me at an influencing time in my life. When I first met him, gosh, 6 years ago, the same year I started university and my first time at London Fashion week, I immediately was hooked to what he was doing with the magazine and with this full functional well refined brand. A few months down the line, in September 2012, I started my blog and I said "I’m going to embrace it and see what happens”. Jay has my back! 

How did you come up with your blog name? 

"Uptown girl, she’s been living in her uptown world" [Billy Joel - Uptown girl] I was listening to this song while on an uber ride home, and after I got home, it kept singing it over and over again, until I realised there’s the lyric "uptown girl" and then "brown eyed girl", so I immediately  jumped in excitement as it all just fit, ok I’ve got brown eyes, I’m uptown, I’ll just call it Uptown Style! Before choosing a name I spent a good 2 days looking through blogs and trying to get inspiration, but didn’t get anywhere until I got out the house and found the inspiration in my surrounding, or a Uber driver with a fantastic Spotify playlist!   

So when did you notice your audience start to grow? 

I went through a phase in my second year of blogging where I merged my Instagram accounts.  I had a personal one for me and a business one for the blog, I funnelled down all my audience to one main platform, and that’s when I automatically started to notice an increase in my engagement. So, yeah, I think it was in my second year of blogging that I started to notice a growth and I started to actually take it serious - completely serious - I knew that my audience needed something to survive, so being devoted to writing, consistent with the content I created was a necessity for me to keep going at this whole blogging thing and I felt proud that people started to notice! 

Do you have any Insta filters or just settings that you normally use? 

Yes! So this is something that no one knows but you’ll find out now. Firstly it’s really important that when taking instagram photos, or just photos in general your back drop does more of the work! So, if you go on my Insta feed - I actually got feedback from a lot of people about this - everyone thinks that I’ve got a very spotless marble kitchen and bathroom and great tiling because that’s how I take my pictures. But in reality I actually own massive plates of marble. Secondly, you must pick a filter and sick to it, having an ascetic flow through out your feed creates consistence which attracts an audience. And this means you can apply it to iPhone edited images or camera images. 

Are you serious? Oh my God!

Yeah, they’re very heavy and I’ve got four massive white/grey/green/badge plates of marble. I think they’re roughly 25Kgs each. I have to pick them up all the time and move it in my house depending on how the light is to take the right shot. I try to create a scene. I try to create a bathroom scene, a kitchen scene, and I try to play around. I’ve got smaller tiles as well that I use for props, but the idea is, I use what I got to take the perfect shot. But if you guys want to do the same, be ready to spent a lot of money on those. 

Did you get them just for your blog/Insta?

Um… I did, yeah, crazy I know. But having a photography and graphic design background, ascetics is so important for, so this was an investment worth my money. It made me alter the way my photos look. I mean my house is great and it looks fantastic, but I wanted a certain ascetics to stick by - and you know you can’t really change your whole kitchen for one image - I had to be creative about it and find a solution.

So what is the biggest lesson you have learned from your blog? 

Be yourself, be your ultimate self, love yourself, because people are going to judge you anyway even if you’re on the internet, walking down the road, being in a bar, dating someone you shouldn’t be dating. Be kind to people no matter where they are from or who they are at that point in their life! I’ve learnt that people can surprise you, and a little kindness goes a long way for some people even if they don’t show you. 

What has been your biggest challenge with blogging?

My biggest challenge... Well there’s a lot of challenges, especially when you’re trying to build a business from nothing… so with that questions, I don’t know where to start. 

Tell me all of the challenges then.

But If I were to pick one, it would be trying to balance a full time job and blogging at the same time. It taught me a lot about self motivation and chase my dreams no matter what life throws at you, I have to be very organised and split workload accordingly all while managing my life another things in my life! I work a 9-5 and attend meetings and events after, oh and did I say I love keeping super busy! But it’s one of these things that becomes a massive challenge and you learn a lot about yourself by putting yourself through different hard situations. However, I love what I do, social media and blogging are my world - it a challenge worth taking! 

What has been the coolest free thing you have ever been offered from having your blog? 

I get some pretty cool stuff - I sometimes have to pitch myself that I get to work with such amazing brands! But the coolest thing that I got before is staying at amazing hotels. That’s my ultimate one. I love, love, hotel rooms and I love travelling. Nothing beats an amazing hotel room and that first jump on fresh white bedsheets in a room with a view. That’s just the cherry on top for me. 

I totally agree, it makes you feel like you’re living the lifestyle, doesn’t it? 

Exactly, exactly! Then you realise you actually are! Yes, it’s happening, like, my room has a view I must be living the high life. 

What advice would you give to people starting a blog and wanting to make it a business? 

I guess, just start. A lot of people contemplate on should I do it, should I not do it? If I do do it, what’s going to happen? My advice is to start, see where you’re go with it. Obviously have a plan before you start because you have to have a little guidance. If you want to make it a business, definitely make a business plan beforehand. Even if you don’t know your ultimate goal yet, just start off with something and keep writing your business plan along the way, see where it takes you. I still don’t have an end result to my business plan, it’s open to whatever is going to happen, but at least I have guidelines to guide me towards the direction I want to go. When you start your blog, decide what you want to write about first, what you want to blog about secondly, and start off with writing dummy posts, you have to allow people out there to know who they are collaborating with. Dummy posts are great, because they start you off writing and generating some content before approaching brands. Which will take some time and work but take it one step at a time! Yeah, that’s it, that’s the 101 package of starting blogging and maybe making it a business.

What are your career goals for the future? 

Uh, I... Oh wow... Still carry on with my blog, that’s my ultimate goal. I love what I’m doing right now, so I definitely don’t want to give up on it. I would love to create something more, an extension of the blog, I would love to create a range of products, even collaborate with a cool brand to do that, I would love to write a book maybe, I think there are people out there who are still reading a lot so a book could be fun to do. 

What about? 

About all secrets blogging have in store, from everything you need to know A-Z. From contacts, the way to contact people, step-by-step guides about how to...everything. Everything that I learnt and other people never shared with me, and I had to learn on my own and it took me so long to learn. I’d love to just share that with everyone, because it shouldn’t be a secret, people should just know about it.

You should start now!

Yeah that’s true, I should. I’m just... I’m good at writing on my blog, I just... I’m shit scared to write a book, that a big deal you know! Stay tuned… it could happen sooner then we all think; *wink*

Just pretend it’s your blog! It could be an ebook as well.

That’s a great idea! Do you want to write this with me? HAHA ! 

Aw, do it, do it, do it! Do all of it!

I shall! Watch out world, I am coming for you. 

Who are your favourite bloggers? 

I’m going to look at my phone and open my most searched on Instagram… So my favourite is Sincerely Jules (www.sincerelyjules.com). I love Sincerely Jules, she always goes on such great holidays. Marianna Hewitt Life with Me (www.lifewithme.com), she knows all the people. She lives in LA and she’s got a great theme on her blog, it’s like pink, and she’s really on point with everything she does. Harper and Harley (www.harperandharley.com), she lives all the way up in Australia. Her minimalism, the way that she carries herself and what she does is just so great and inspirational. The other person that I really enjoy and is friend of mine I met years ago Jessie Bush and write for We the People (www.wethepeoplestyle.com). I initially met her 3 and a half years ago. She lives in Barcelona right now. I met her because I actually following her on Instagram and Facebook and one day she advertised that she needed a photographer. She was looking for a photographer when she was living in London. I sent her my CV, I sent her my portfolio and she really liked it and we started working together. I actually haven’t seen her in a very long time but she’s one of my favourite stylists, bloggers. 

What are your guilty pleasures? 

My guilty pleasures?! Oh my god, it has to be brownies! Brownies with salted caramel. Zumba, definitely, and travelling.

What are your daily rituals?

Oh my day’s off when all I get to do is blog, I usually get up early and head out for a jogging in the morning.That’s how I get my day started. I meditate afterwards. I try to work a 10am-3pm schedule on the blog. So from 10 to 3 you’ll find me behind the computer. And then I usually love to cook dinner and maybe have a few friends over, have a bit of wine afterwards and watch a movie. Sometimes if I have a lot of work during that time, during 10 to 3, I’ll go to a coffee shop. I won’t work from home because being in your PJs doesn’t really make you as functional, you get distracted easily. I learned distraction from Jay. He is a guy who gets distracted very easily. So I just tell myself "I am going to leave the house, I don’t want to be like Jay".

Poor Jay, he is going to read this! 

He’ll be like "don’t put that in the interview, don’t put that in the interview!" 

 

Make sure to check out Luoana’s blog at www.uptown-style.com 
or follow her via @uptownstyleblog

Interview Bárbara Gonçalves
@511_life

Photography Alexandru Luchita
@alexandruluchita

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