Marie Claire meets Jennine Jacob

Jennine Jacob started her own fashion blog 'The Coveted' in 2007. A few months later she launched the 'Independent Fashion Bloggers;' a community where bloggers can share experiences and help eachother develop their blogs.

Jennine Jacob started her own fashion blog ‘The Coveted’ in 2007. A few months later she launched the ‘Independent Fashion Bloggers;’ a community where bloggers can share experiences and help eachother develop their blogs. Now with 1.3 Million page views per month and nearly 54,000 members it’s the world’s largest fashion blogging network. A few weeks after hosting the annual IFB conference where this year speaker’s included Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine and Susie Lau of Style Bubble we caught up with Jennine the former graphic designer turned ultimate fashion blogger…

How did you get into blogging?
My father worked in Silicon Valley so I was interested in the web from my early days. I discovered Style Bubble in 2006 which was a whole new thing that I had neverseen before. Here was this cool girl from London talking about her specific style and her take on fashion. This was a lot like the interaction I was doing in my real life which was talking about fashion with my friends. So I started my own blog and fell in love with it. I was working in graphic design but I wanted to do something that had more engagement. When I started blogging I knew there was something there and that’s what got me hooked.
 
How did it lead you to founding the International Fashion Bloggers ?
I started doing a lot of research and discovered there were lots of professional bloggers, like ‘Fashion Tribe’ and ‘She Finds; but there wasn’t many professional personal style blogs. The blogs that were making money in fashion weren’t necessarily the ones I was interested in doing myself so I decided to try to figure out how to make it happen. I started the website as a way to open up the conversation of ‘how are we going to make something out of this?’
 
What’s it like being a female in the tech world?
There have been instances when I’ve gone to say a tech start-ups conference and I’ve brought my husband along. A lot of the guys there will talk to my husband and be like to me ‘Oh you must be so bored.’ I’m like: ‘err excuse me I have my own company and it’s bigger than yours!’ So I mean there is that component but I’ve seen a shift and now there are quite a lot of female entrepreneurs in the tech sector and I think it’s going to continue to grow.
 
What advice would you give to females wanting to start their own blog?
You’ve gotto determine what it is that you’re going to be talking about or what your message is – determine what your brand is. Don’t forget that blogging is still publishing – develop an angle for your story, get your sources, do your fact-checking. All of those things really help to create content that’s really compelling and interesting because the more opinions that are out there, the less those opinions have value. So you really want to stay ahead of the game and provide something that’s valuable to your readers.
 
What’s a typical working day like?
I get to work around 8.30am and check my emails. Then I put together my tweets for the day and talk about that day’s content. After lunch I work on content for the next day and then I have alot of really boring stuff I have to do like working on my taxes or talking to the developers. It’s a never-ending cycle, I could put twelve hours a day into the blog and it still wouldn’t be enough!
 
How big is your team?
I had a bigger team but I felt like the message got a little bit diluted so I’m kind of restructuring and focusing on a way to still really get the message out there. I now have three contributors and I’m handling the social media now which has been a lot of fun as I really missed doing that. Then I also have developers that I work with and you know just a lot of different contractors so there are a lot of hands in creating IFB and bringing it to a level. The part that I love the most about blogging is that we can pretty much experiment and try new things as we feel inspired and the internet is so flexible that it allows for a lot of that experimentation.
 
So do you ever turn off your phone?
Yeah I do! I’m about to have a baby in June so I’ve been thinking a lot about my work/life balance. For a long time I was working twelve hours a day and it really wore me down. Now I still do put in a lot of hours but I also try to be smart about it. I’m always looking for more ways to be productive with my time. So generally speaking I like to get home around 7pm and relax and spend time with my husband. We’ll see what happens when the baby comes! But I think it’s all doable. It’s just a matter of making priorities and you know not all the emails are going to get answered and not everything is going to get done but just being able to identity what needs to get done is 90% of the game.
 
How do people react when you describe yourself as a blogger?
I think that people to tend to think that bloggers aren’t serious or they’re unprofessional. They’re like: ‘Oh you’re just a blogger why don’t you write about my product?’ and I’m like: ‘That product has nothing to do with my website, did you even look at it? Like thepublishing industry bloggers suffer from the same things; for example the advertising model might not necessarily work and you have to get really creative. In addition you have to be able to manage a lot of different aspects of your blog in order to make is sustainable for your livelihood. I think that a lot of people don’t give bloggers enough credit when they’ve built something out of nothing.
 
How do you kind of see the future of blogging evolving?
I’ve noticed in the context of content that there is becoming a growing saturation with personal style posts like ‘here’s a post about me’ or ‘here’s my breakfast.’ You have to ask are they still relevant? Now there are niche bloggers like ‘The Curvy Fashionista’ who’s done really well for herself talking about plus size fashion, offering news and styling tips and everything like that for a particular niche and it has really grown over the last two years. Other top blogs like ‘Cupcakes and Cashmere’ and ‘Honestly WTF’ do a mix of editorial content from fashion to food and DIY. It’s really about the content and how rich that is. It’s not just regurgitating content, it’s not just posting pictures of yourself. It’s all something that is a lot deeper and I think that will continue.
 
What’s do you enjoy most about your annual IBF conference?
My favourite thing is when I see blogger sat the conference that attended the year before and now they’re making a living as a professional blogger. I always love hearing those stories! It’s a really positive thing. That’s what I’m doing this for so that’s really important.
 
What was a highlight for you this year?
I loved how Man Repeller said ‘Don’t dumbdown for your readers, bring them up with you.’ It’s a really great quote. Like Susie Bubble she really addressed some of the issues of how in blogging there has become this sort of template and how it’s our job as bloggers to kind of break out of that and do something thatreally stands out. There was a lot of focus on learning how to become a professional and discussing how things are changing in the industry. I worked hard to make sure everybody talked about what was really happening and not just give clichés like ‘create good content!’ I told everybody that if you say that I’m going to ask you how. So it was really, really great. I thought it was the best one I had everdone in terms of production and engaging people.
 
Finally who should be watching out for in 2013?
There’s this new girl ‘Bittersweet Colours,’ who has more of a personal style type formula which I think that people are really going to like. And ‘Gal Meets Glam‘ is another one to bookmark too.

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