I hope this blog post finds you all happy and well. Today I will share a new type of interview with stylish ladies, giving us their style tips and speaking a little more about their lifestyle. As you know, I don't really do collaborations with influencers. This is because my belief is as a) a small business owner - the budget simply doesn't exist for me to compete with large brands, and b) as an independent designer I don't believe in all that is 'social media' and paying someone to wear your product is not authentic to me, or my business. Yes, I used to do it in the past, when I thought all the hype was real, but when a post gets hundreds of likes and comments, but not a single one of those clicked through to follow my account or even see my posts, you realise that influencer value is not all it's made out to be... just saying I don't believe the hype. I prefer to grow organically, at whatever pace that needs to be, but authentically.
I believe in my product and my message and know that growth is inevitable if you are authentic to yourself and your message is pure.
In this series of select collaborations, the influencers I have selected to work have not been paid to wear my products, they wear them because they truly like them and it aligns with their personal style and I promote them because of their style and beliefs which align with my own. I have asked them to style their sandals up, in their unique way, and offer some suggestions on how you (and I) can wear our flat sandals for different occasions and look and feel stylish and chic.
The shoes can make or break an outfit, and when styled correctly, a flat sandal can be just as chic as a heel.
InMonoStyle blog consists of Kate (stylist) and Magda (contributing writer). Together the girls share their love for fashion and style. So here we talk with Kate from @inmono.style and ask her about her style and her journey as an influencer and stylist.
- What is your morning drink of choice?
How bad it would sound if I say prosecco? Lame joke, fine! Then freshly brewed, strong black coffee!
- Kate, you left a career in the insurance sector to follow your dream of becoming a stylist and blogger. Can you tell me a little more about that time in your life? What was it that made you finally take the leap and quit the day job? Did you have a strategy?
There was no business strategy behind it, if that was the question between the lines. It was specific stage in my life, when I stood in front of mirror (not to assess new OOTD – LOL) trying to answer big questions that everyone needs to address at some point in their lives. What makes me happy? What upsets? What keeps me awake late at night and what makes me falling asleep bored? Where I can really do something that means to me, and where I only tick the box? Despite the fact it was not a business plan, it was enough I could afford it so I did it. Someone said: if you can dream it, you can do it. So I did.
- What struggles have you faced in starting your own brand and business? What type of initial investment did you need?
The biggest investment was not money – surprising? I was not starting a huge factory, so many things I was able to afford step by step. The biggest investment were definitely the time I needed (and still need) to dedicate every single day (everyone who runs something knows exactly what I mean) and clearly emotional investment. With a blog – as with every other business – it’s not only fab time all the time – there are peaks, there are downtimes, there are barriers you need to cross, as well as so many situations taking you WAY out of your comfort zone. I guess it was the most difficult. But thanks to great people around – I never gave up, and can be truly proud of where I am now.
- Tell me what a typical work day looks like for you, from the moment you wake up to bed time, what is your daily routine?
What do you mean by bed time? There is no bed time, I am too busy! LOL. But indeed, I don’t sleep long, I never did. I typically wake up quite early, have my mandatory coffee (without it don’t approach me – I can be very harsh unfortunately), I also need to eat right away – despite the fact I am not big person (my friends laugh I look like 14-year old if not that face – ha!) I eat a lot! As soon as Maslow pyramid is covered at its basics, I get connected with external world – thousands of emails, posts from Magda popping, billions of photos to select and work on, following on trends and blog of my friends – this is how it works. Don’t even ask about the days when I photo-shoot – it takes ages! I am never satisfied, so I needed to buy professional photographic equipment to photo shoot on my own, as all my co-workers have done at some point (but I still love them J). I typically have a break from everything in afternoon to reset my brain (it’s boiling) and then start editing photos and preparing the posts. Usually around 10 PM I visit local gym to kill myself with cardio, then I have my bed time routine (I can’t live without long bath time – this is typically when I catch up with all my friends who were waiting for my attention). It happens to me – but this is something I fight with – to take work to bed and still surf on IG till I fall asleep. But I’ll quit it, I promise!
- You used to publish an online Polish magazine, MinimalStyle. Your blog now replaced this and you write content in English and Polish. Do you find that writing in English has widened your following? Where are most of your followers from and what are their ages?
I always wanted to run it in English only, however I have a huge group of followers from Poland and they kept on asking me for bi-lingual posts (some time ago I had a first version of my blog – Mesmerize Fashion – it was only in English, and not everyone was happy). Now we have it in both languages, which I find like a good compromise. Most of my followers? UK, Germany, Poland. Because of the brands I work with – also a huge number of Scandinavians.
- What are your favourite topics to write about for the blog? What are the articles that get the most engagement with your readers, besides of course your impeccable style advice?
I would say: lifestyle. I try to celebrate my life and share it with others when I am truly happy because of something I do. I love recommending things that make me happy, just to share this happiness with someone else – like good book, great exhibition of fav painter, nice homemade face mask, or Christmas décor DYI. I get a lot of personal messages when I share my personal life (obviously I share only as much as I want, you will never find my men or family on my blog or IG – don’t wait for it!).
- Every strong brand can be described in three words. What are your three words that sums up your style and brand identity?
Haha! Have you heard about 6 words story of Ernest Hemingway? Most disturbing novel he ever wrote was as short as “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn” (yes, obviously Magda told me about it – she is philologist. Anyway isn’t it absorbing? We keep on guessing the story behind it – and it’s never finished!). I know today’s world seeks for narrative that shows direction in this bumpy, disrupted reality. For me it would be maybe something like: ‘Fewer, conscious, timeless’.
- Your aesthetic and style is elegant and timeless. I feel that a woman in her 20s can wear the outfits you suggest as well as a woman in her 40s or 50s. At what age did you discover your personal style and do you play with new trends and fashions, or have a general rule you like to follow when buying garments?
I was sure about what I like since I remember. I was also brave – my minimalistic style used to be inspired by Scandinavians, I also followed ‘BIG’ fashion and I was translating pieces of it to my style back in high school – guess what? Most of people didn’t like it! But as long as I am convinced something looks good – I am not really sensitive to opinions. I only listen to them when I have concerns.
Playing with trends? Of course – this is the beauty of fashion! But only with those trends that goes along with my pre-defined style. I don’t see myself in polka-dot dress!
- What are your top items of clothing or accessories you cannot travel without, on a summer holiday?
Watch! I am obsessed with watches! It doesn’t matter if this is desert island or crowded city – I need to have a watch with me.
- Where do you see your brand in 5 and 10 years?
Oh man, cooperating with Coco of course! Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.
- What is one lesson being self employed has taught you about life / yourself and everything else?
Aim high, never doubt in your plan, surround yourself with only positive, smart people. Impossible is nothing! Even if it sounds obvious – it really works. I tried.
Kate's selection of sandals has been the minimalist all black essential Akamas slides, which are available here, and the sand colour comfy Natalia sandals, available here, and a different variation, the Galini slides are here.
Lovers, let me know if you like these types of interviews and would like to see more styling suggestions from stylists and influencers like this. I really enjoy doing them, and speaking with other women who have a feminine personal style that resonates with my own. Also, remember to tag @alasia.lifestyle when you post your photos on instagram, or email them to me, as I always love seeing where your sandals have taken you on your travels and how your style them.
Leave your comments below and let me know if you want more of these types of posts, or have suggestions about other stories you'd like me to share.
Love & light