Sustainably Chic

Diary of an 'Ethical' Blogger | How Blogging Became My Full Time Job

LifestyleNatalie Kay

I know I kept saying I would come out with a video explaining my journey and how I've created a tiny tumblr blog into a full time job, but honestly, I can't find the time to learn how to edit video and I'm not sure if that is the best outlet for me. Being a total INFJ, unless I'm in a theatre acting a character out, being myself in front of a camera is really stressful. It's not that I'm insecure {I have my moments}, it's just too personal for my lifestyle. I didn't even start a blog with the intention of being on it - which I will explain below - so being the main subject in photos is already more than planned. 

Today, Sustainably Chic turns 3 & A LOT has happened since my first blog post July 7, 2014. 

But first - let me rewind back 7 years....

I was in university at the time studying fashion, not exactly sure what I wanted to do after graduating. After every semester, I felt less excited about what I was doing. Towards the end of my studies, I started reading a lot about unethical treatment and waste within the industry. I thought, ‘this seems odd - why aren’t we speaking about this more?’ I started doing my own research on the side, and realized from that point on I needed to go down somewhat of an unpaved path in order to feel comfortable within an industry I had truly loved at one point. I knew something was wrong, and every fiber of my being was telling me this is what I needed to focus on. Five years ago, I became much more serious about my purchasing habits. At that time, there weren’t any engaging documentaries or Instagram accounts helping guide me along the way. I really felt I had to reach out a ton in order to gain all the necessary information. For fun, I started an Etsy where I used recycled materials to make accessories - nothing super fancy, but cute and it kept me busy & working on sustainable fashion. It wasn’t until three years ago I decided I needed to be more vocal about the fashion industry. My studies in fashion, marketing and sustainability only seemed fitting to create a blog. Sustainably Chic was an outlet for me - I definitely never intended it to become a full time job. That thought never crossed my mind. 

< Something funny I should note, writing was never an interest of mine. I used to hate it! Mostly because I wasn’t confident in my ability. I chose to focus on musical theatre growing up instead of english class. I studied classical music and opera and learned to pronounce several languages, but when I had to put my own words on paper, I choked. Still to this day, I know I’m not great and many of the other ethical bloggers could run circles around my sentences. >

The blog was my way to showcase brands I thought were creating a better industry. I’ve always loved fashion. I see a lot of value in it and people all over the world rely on this industry to help put food on the table {which maybe I will discuss economics of sustainability in another diary entry}. I just wanted to make it more fair, and not see people suffer because someone bought a cheap dress. It was never about me - you hardly saw me on the blog - and all of that changed after a year. While I’m still very quiet about my personal life, I started getting a lot of questions about what I liked and wore. That's about the same time when brands asked me to wear the clothing. It got so busy I couldn’t keep up with my other job so I had to decide: do I focus all my time on Sustainably Chic OR do I stop blogging and continue working for someone. I created a Media Kit with pricing and for the brands I wanted to work with I sent them the options, and if they wanted to help support the site, then we could partner up. Otherwise, it wasn’t sustainable for me to write about sustainability for free. I started with a super low rate like $10, and just made my way up until I could sustain myself. I still charge about a quarter of what my work is worth, but I want all size brands to be able to participate regardless of their budget. {& yes, I still get asked if I can do this and this and this for free - and yes, it hurts my feelings :P}

I feel the positivity that radiates from Sustainably Chic has made it successful. I try my hardest to not make people feel guilty about their past purchases, and make this movement as inviting and practical as possible. It can be a tough topic to discuss especially with the complexities of sustainability {as well as, a lot of the big personalities within the industry}. The concept can be quite subjective so having an open mind when communicating your views to a large group of people I find to be super important. There is a ton more work to be done so I try to not distract myself when negative comments arise but I think that comes with any platform you use. You can’t really avoid it, but I would have to say, I don’t respond to that anymore. There is a lot of grey area in sustainability & you could talk forever - and I have so much to do {& learn/grow} - we all do…


I plan to continue these little entries into my 'diary' so if you have a question or topic you would like for me to cover feel free to comment it below.  Whether it be ‘how to work with sustainable brands’ or photography tips, I’m happy to help!

Thanks for reading & big hugs to helping me continue growing this slow fashion movement.