UNC student Grace Lee has been running her style blog "Gracefullee Made" for seven years. Here's how she balances blogging and being a full-time student.
Seven years ago, the chic style blog “Gracefullee Made” was created when Grace Lee started documenting her passion for fashion. Grace started blogging as a creative outlet to showcase her carefully curated outfits and inspire others on finding their own personal style. Now a senior studying public relations at UNC, Grace has collaborated with other bloggers (including N.C. State YouTube vlogger Natalie Barbu), has been featured on Lauren Conrad’s blog, and has been invited to many fashion events, including the upcoming New York Fashion Week. I caught up with Grace to learn more what it’s like to be a style blogger as a college student, what she’s applied from her UNC education to her blog, and what she’s learned about herself.
Amanda Nguyen: How’d you get into blogging?
Grace Lee: I started blogging my sophomore year in high school when blogs weren’t common at all. But my friends and classmates would always comment on what I was wearing and ask where I got them from, so at one point, I just said, “I’m just going to start a blog!” The blog was a way to share with others how I styled my outfits.
AN: That’s really neat how this all started. Who serves as your inspiration for your blog?
GL: My readers really inspire me to keep going, and I love when they comment on posts and I can respond and help them out. It’s cool how I’ve created a following and a sort of community.
AN: So what would you say is the coolest interaction you’ve had with one of your followers?
GL: Oh, here’s a good story: I was in New York last year and was shooting with a photographer in Central Park when a woman approaches and asks if it was me. It turns out she followed me on Instagram and it was so cool because it was so random. And in New York, out of all places!
AN: That’s awesome! What kind of opportunities have been presented to you?
GL: I’ve actually had many different opportunities! As for local events, I’ve been invited to a couple of fashion shows in North Hills and sneak previews of new clothing collections. As for collaborations, I’ve done a wide variety, including travel collabs with Toyota and being sent to Asheville to travel around that area. I’ve also collaborated with Bath & Body Works, Belk, American Eagle, Tobi and Henri Bendel, which is one of my favorite brands right now.
AN: Wow, so do these brands reach out to you or how do you get connected to them?
GL: Most of the companies reached out to me. I’m actually affiliated with a couple of networks, including RewardStyle and Shopping Links, which connect bloggers to brands.
AN: I know many people are interested to know to what extent blogging supports you as a job. How does being a blogger support you as a college student?
GL: I consider blogging to be something I pursue on the side since I’m still a student. Right now, I wouldn’t say I get enough for this to be my only job. I do get commissioned off of RewardStyle and Liketoknow.it, and there are other collaborations where I get income from.
AN: That’s interesting. I was wondering what certain things have you applied from your education at UNC to your blogging and how do you balance blogging with your schoolwork?
GL: That’s a good question because it’s actually pretty tough. I’m the type of person who likes to stay organized and on top of things – and I have to be that way as a blogger. I keep a blog schedule that has all the content I want to post ahead of time. If I have an exam week, I would have to work ahead in order to study and post on the blog. I’m also a public relations major at the media and journalism school at UNC, and that really helps me because I’ve learned how to write press releases and media kits. And it’s funny when I can see it in action, like when I get emails from PR people at companies I collaborate with.
AN: Yeah, that’s cool to see what you’ve learned being applied in the “real world.” So what are your plans for after graduation? Will you continue to blog?
GL: I’ve been applying to lots of jobs recently, but it seems like I’ve had my blog for so long that I don’t know what it would be like without it. The blog is definitely my creative outlet and has become a part of who I am.
AN: How do you deal with the pressure knowing that hundreds of people read your blog and look to you for advice?
GL: I definitely feel pressure from that. In some blogs I’ll write things like, “Stay positive,” but on days where I’m not actually feeling positive, I’ll go back and read my own words I’ve posted to motivate myself. Nobody is perfect, so I’ll write things that are relatable to people.
AN: What are your tips for other college students who want to start a blog? What are your tips for finding your personal style?
GL: I first want to point out the difference between someone who wants to start a blog just to be famous, because I’ve seen that a lot, and those people are the ones who don’t succeed in the long run. For those who want to start a blog, you have to be dedicated, motivated, and do it for you. You should be writing your blog for yourself, because you want to do it and not just to please others. As for finding your personal style, it’s something that you have to experiment with. I can’t pinpoint what my personal style is – it’s a bit of everything. Style is what you make of it.
AN: What is one social channel that you can’t live without?
GL: Instagram for sure!
AN: Do you have any tips for us to getting the perfect Instagram photo?
GL: I wouldn’t shoot for getting the most likes. Thinking about perfect lighting and layout is great, but I think that it’s more important to share something that’s relatable to everyone. So I like sharing photos that include quotes that inspire me, and I think that draws more attention.
AN: I’ll wrap it up with a reflective question: What are some things you’ve learned about yourself from blogging?
GL: Ooh, I actually wrote a blog post on this. I’ve learned what I can and can’t handle. I’m a perfectionist and like everything to be done perfectly. But with blogging, I’ve realized that there are going to be some days that I won’t be able to post or the photos won’t turn out that great. So I’ve discovered how much I can handle and manage and to accept that. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
Special thanks to Grace Lee for taking the time chat with me!1 comment