How Dawn Graham uses her blog to market fashion consulting. Click here to watch the video!
Dawn Graham is a blogger and fashion expert at A Girl and her Jeans. She teaches about inclusive fashion – making yourself look good and feel good at various price points, regardless of what your body looks like.
Dawn started working on her blog last year, started monetizing it, and has had some great wins.
Here, she’s answering questions for us about what changed for her as she moved from from having a blog that wasn’t making any money to having a blog where she was selling fashion consulting and even making passive income with some affiliates.
Her traffic has seen huge growth recently, and we’re going to be asking her a little bit more about that too.
Why don’t you start by introducing yourself.
Sure! I’m Dawn Graham and I run a fashion blog called A Girl and Her Jeans. I started the blog because I’m, to be honest, really obsessed with wearing jeans – anything denim to be completely honest.
I also use fashion consulting to help women look and feel their best. So, it doesn’t matter what shape and size you are, I can help you look better and feel better by just simple things with your current closet or with new clothes. So, that’s what I really do. Then, of course, I work with some affiliates and some sponsors and stuff like that too.
Just to dive into that a little more – you have a personal story, that’s tied to part of this passion, right?
Yes – so, initially, when I was younger (and I’m going to date myself here) in the ’80s and ’90s, the clothes were more difficult than they are now.
If you remember back, at the time, straight, stick skinny, no figure bodies were very in style. Unfortunately for me, and fortunately for them, all my friends looked like the models. They were all stick skinny. And I was never like that. I had more of a curvy figure.
Guess jeans were really popular back then, and so, of course, I wanted to have them. The problem was, they never fit me right. They were too tight in the legs, too small in the butt and too big in the waist. It really got me thinking at that time and on into adulthood – how do I look good, but wear what’s in style?
At the time, I used to do a lot of alterations. I’d take those jeans that were too big in the waist and I altered them to fit my waist. Well, nowadays it’s so much easier. Things are stretchy and there’s some curvy looks out there and everything. But it just made me realize that just because the fashion industry tells you to wear something, it might not look good on you.
What made you want to take that passion into blogging, fashion consulting, and online business specifically?
Well, about a year or two ago, I was sitting at lunch with my mom, and all of a sudden I had A Girl and Her Jeans pop into my mind. I thought, “Oh, I need to go home and see if the URL’s available.”
It was available – and then I sat on it for a little while. I started researching other fashion bloggers, and I loved their styles. But, they were more petite, and I wouldn’t even say it was about the weight, it was about their shape. So, I would buy the stuff that they would recommend, and then it never quite worked on me.
Then I started trying to find other people that looked like me and I wasn’t finding a lot of them.
So I thought, “Oh, this is perfect. It’s a niche.”
Online is the new thing – or it’s been the thing for a long time, and it’s a good opportunity. So, those are the reasons why I decided to do that.
And why did you want to make it a business?
Well, I am a firm believer, as you talk about in your courses, in having multiple lines of revenue for your family. So, I do that with some real estate investing, and then I thought this is a great opportunity to do something I love and then also make a little money at it. And hopefully, eventually, a lot of money once I get more followers and people that know who I am and know I can help them style it up.
At some point, then, you got stuck. What was your experience in getting started blogging and where did you get stuck?
Well, first of all, I thought going into this that it would be super easy. I thought I’d get the blog up in a couple of days and be off and running.
Then, I did some research. I used Pinterest a lot, and I just found a whole bunch of conflicting opinions on what kind of site to use, what kind of host to use, where to find whatever plugins I wanted to do. Everything was always conflicting.
Eventually, I realized, “Well, this is not rocket science. It’s just like any other business. I can figure this out. But there has to be somebody that’s done this before that’s willing to help me.”
And I find, especially within the influencer or fashion world, that it’s kind of to each his own sometimes and it’s harder to get the information. So, I was having a hard time finding that information.
Then, I stumbled upon you and I was watching you for a long time. I was like, “Okay, she’s got it. She knows what she’s doing.” And I took a free Pinterest three-part series from you. That totally made sense and resonated. I was like, “Okay, this makes sense.” It was simple, so that I could figure out how to repeat it. That’s when I signed up with you.
Okay, so you got stuck in information overload. What were some of the things that you expected to happen, versus what actually ended working for you?
I was such a newbie when we met, which was actually probably a good thing, in retrospect! I didn’t have too many bad habits to unlearn.
For example, I had known what SEO was, but I didn’t understand why it was important, so I didn’t implement. And for me, if I understand why, then I can implement things. But if somebody just says, “Do SEO, figure out what it is,” well, that doesn’t make sense to me.
Then there was Pinterest – that was a game changer. I had been using Pinterest for years myself. So, I just thought, “Oh, I’ll just throw a post up there and everyone will come.” And that’s not true. Needed to figure out and focus on maybe one or two social media platforms to get some traffic.
The other thing I really liked was that you helped me with just realizing that I already had an audience of people, friends and family, and friends of friends. And since then, that’s really grown. So, it’s kind of word of mouth and it does take a little time, but once it starts going, it just keeps going.
So, some of your first fashion consulting clients were from your circle.
Yes. They were having the same problems that we all do: looking in your closet, maybe having so many clothes, some from 10-20 years ago.
And all that was clouding what was in there, that was actually something that was really cute and ready to wear.
Or, they had gained or lost weight and their body had changed, and they were still wanting to wear the similar styles. So, my fashion consulting just helped them refresh. I did a lot of refreshes.
You pivoted from selling a course to selling fashion consulting. How did you get clarity on pricing and what to sell?
I think one of the things that I would say is to just not make it complicated.
That’s what I did with my first launch, so much that people didn’t necessarily understand what I was selling. But, they did understand that I could help them with their fashion. So, they didn’t buy the course, but they reached out to me individually. Even though I didn’t sell that course, I did have quite a few fashion consulting sales around it. That was exciting, because it was definitely validating.
Then, one of the things you had said, and I know this too because I’ve been in traditional sales and technology sales for years, is to not get too tied to what you’re selling. If it doesn’t work, it’s okay to pivot. And that’s what I did. I wasn’t upset that I didn’t sell that course, because I did make sales on fashion consulting instead.
So, it’s okay to pivot and it’s okay to go in thinking, “This is what I’m going to sell,” and to actually end up selling something else.
I love how you say that, “There’s always another post, there’s always another sale. Don’t get so tied up into that.” That was helpful too.
People don’t always know what launching means. How would you define a launch?
Well, I would define a launch as something that you’re selling and you put some thought into it and work into it. And I personally put a sales page with it. So, that’s more of a formal launch tied to something that you’re selling or trying to sell. But it’s okay if that doesn’t happen, you’ll probably end up selling something else and something that’s a better fit for you and your clients.
To add to that, a launch is just organizing how you’re going to sell a thing.
A lot of people say, “I want to make money with my blog.”
So, they create a course and they send maybe one email to their email list. Or they sign up to be an affiliate of something and they write one blog post about the affiliate.
With a launch, we’re sending a series of information to our list. That’s part of why launching often results in sales for other things, because you’re putting yourself out there over and over.
Did you have any reservations about hiring someone to help you to make money with your blog faster?
Well, yes, because it’s not only money commitment, but it’s a time commitment.
I had already purchased a course and it was mostly do it yourself. The expectations of the course were that it was going to take a year, which to me seemed insane, but I totally bought into this course.
Then, I got into the course and I started doing it and the course was pretty good, to be honest, but it would only get me three quarters of the way. Then, I couldn’t figure out the finishing part.
So, I would do the course, I would do all the work very diligently. Then, it was like, the dots weren’t connecting, because I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I’m sure I could email somebody, but that’s not the same.
So, once I figured out, “Okay, there’s people out there that can really direct me and help me and get me going and in the right direction or say, ‘Oh no, that’s a bad idea.'” Then I wasn’t as hesitant.
Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about making any kind of decision about what courses to buy?
Sure. There are a million courses out there. And they’re all really valuable and great.
But two things that I’ve started doing is looking how long the person has been doing what they’re doing. So, if they’ve started a blog three months ago and they’re trying to teach you how to start a blog, which I’ve noticed this happening, probably not the best space.
Then, just to focus on the one course that you’re going to take and finish it and do it.
Because right now I have two courses that I bought for Instagram on how to become the best person you can imagine on Instagram with a million followers and all that stuff. And one of them I haven’t even opened. So, I wish I had waited to take that course and finish the other course instead. Just focus on one thing at a time.
Yeah, I got into that trap too. So, now when I’m buying courses, I bookmark them, so I don’t forget that I bought them.
It’s easy if they’re all $27 to buy four courses, and then before you know it, you don’t have time and they’re not the greatest quality.
One-on-one coaching is really helpful, because somebody can see, “Okay, you’re having this little trouble, how do I get you out of it? Or how do I push you to the next level?” I think that’s really helpful.
So, what are you the most excited about now looking ahead?
Well, I’m really excited about 2021, because while I live in California and we are locked down, it’s starting to open up.
I can see people starting to have a little lighter feel. They’re ready to get some outfits that are a little cuter than their big sweats that they’ve been wearing at work or in their home.
So, I’m really excited to start using fashion consulting to help people get to feel comfortable and confident in what they’re wearing. Not necessarily spending a whole bunch of money, but just teaching them how to put things on.
And then I’m excited because you’ve helped me to get me past some of the hurdles I was having with the technology.
So now, I feel much more confident that I’m not going to break my site. That I can do some fun things and try different and different things. So, I’m excited. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and now I can put that all into action.
What are your goals for your blog?
Well, my goals are to just make a lot of money, of course, and then to use my fashion consulting to help women know that you don’t have to be the body type of the month fashion – you don’t have to be that person. You can have a different body type, but still find fabulous clothes.
What’s the thing that you’re proudest of the most so far of your success?
Well, this is kind of personal, but I’m proudest that I got over the hump, because with a blog, you really put yourself out there and that’s so nerve-wracking to me.
But I’ve been able to do it. I’ve worked on a lot of mindset stuff to get past that intimidation.
That’s also what I’m excited about in 2021 – is that I see where my mindset has gone awry and now I’m hoping that, because I see it, I can change it.
What advice do you have for people who want to make money with their blog or turn their hobby into a business?
Well, I think that one of the key pieces of advice would be just to be consistent.
If you can’t do a post every week, then do a post every other week or once a month or every other month. But have it be consistent so that the world is seeing you. I’ve heard this from somewhere recently and you’ve probably told me before too, that when you’re consistent, then people see you, and they start to rely on you. That builds trust.
So, I’ve found that a lot of my friends in the community will say, “I love how you’re so consistent.” That’s something that’s been said two or three times! So, it really got me thinking. Now, when I start watching and following other bloggers, I notice if they start to lack consistency. You start to lose a little trust, which seems weird, but it’s what it is. So, just be consistent and do what works for you.
If you want to explore Dawn’s services, visit her at A Girl and her Jeans.