Weekly Feature for Fashion & Beauty Fanatics: Q&A with Nikia Jefferson
Today we’re talking to Nikia Jefferson of the blog ChiTown Fashionista! She gives us an look into the local Chicago designers scene, chats about her time in London, and about how she became known as “the enabler of fashion consumption.”
Q: First things first, what inspired you to start a fashion blog?
A: I spent almost a year in London, for work. And it was then that my interest in fashion really peaked. There were so many markets–that I frequented almost every weekend–that provided an opportunity for consumers to interact with local designers, and I felt there was a need for that in Chicago. A blog was the quickest and simplest way for me to provide a platform for indie designers and boutiques to gain some exposure.
Q: Your say on the blog that one big goal of the site is to showcase local up-and-coming designers and shops. How do you find these new designers?
A: I typically discover them while spending an insane amount of time on the computer, scouring sites like Etsy for the most unique goods, and attending local fashion events. Since emerging designers tend to support and collaborate with one another, once you have one on your radar, you’re bound to find a handful more, simply by attending their trunk shows or stalking their social media sites.
Q: You’re called “’the enabler of fashion consumption”—where did that title come from?
A: With all the one-of-a-kind designs, designer discounts and store promotions that I share on both my blog and social media, there have been quite a few people that have deemed me an enabler when it comes to shopping. Plus, I wanted my blog to cater to readers who enjoy shopping–or as I call it “boosting the economy”–but don’t necessarily have the time or energy to keep up with the hottest designers or current sales.
Q: Does the blog focus on Chicago fashion trends only, or do you sometimes feature other areas?
A: Being in Chicago means that I can’t help but focus heavily on the local designers and trends in my own community. However, it does not stop there. If I spot a trend while traveling or discover talent that is based in another city or country, I will feature it on my site. At the end of the day, the more unique and hard-to-find it is, the better. And if that means featuring a handmade t-shirt line in D.C. or a jewelry designer from London, I’m all for it.
Q: Who is your target audience, and what do you think draws them to your blog?
A: My target audience is women who shop often but are not necessarily department store dwellers. They are women who tend to go against the grain when it comes to their fashion choices and understand the importance of supporting emerging talent.
Q: What have you found to be the most fun or glamorous part of being a fashion blogger?
A: It’s always fun and a bit glamourous being able to obtain preferred seating at runway shows (hello, Fashion Week!), preview store openings or designer launches and collaborate with brands that I’ve always appreciated.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
A: Currently, the most challenging is finding the right work/life balance. With a new baby, my priorities have undoubtedly shifted and finding the time to blog as often as I would like is certainly not an easy task. But I always manage to find a way to make it work!
Q: Where do you get ideas for your posts?
A: My ideas stem from a multitude of sources, whether one of my favorite fashion blogs, a local shopping event or even instant messages exchanged within my circle of fashion friends. I’m always looking for ways to keep my blog fresh and create original content. And that’s why I pull inspiration from everywhere.
Q: What is the strangest pitch you’ve received? Any tips for PR professionals who want to get in contact with you?
A: I haven’t received any strange pitches, per se. But I occasionally receive emails that start with “Hi there!”, “Dear Jefferson Blogger” or my personal favorite “Hey babe!” These blatant blanket pitches are extremely impersonal and have become such an annoyance to many bloggers. Bloggers like to feel that they have been contacted because their blog is a perfect match for what is being pitched. My tip would simply be “do your research”. Target specific bloggers with your pitches instead of sending it to every contact in your address book. Oh, and don’t forget to bcc!
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