See why "Barefoot Blonde" founder Amber Fillerup Clark is winning in the world of blogging
In the world of blogging, Amber Fillerup Clark is one to watch out for.
This hair-braiding, beach-going blonde has taken blogging fame to the next level. Clark started her blog as more of a travel journal when she was about 20 years old. She loved the hobby so much that she continued to post even after her trip had ended, expanding into posting photos of her hairstyles, which caught the attention of many (and for good reason!).
Not long after, her "Barefoot Blonde" blog was born. Clark has over 1M followers on Instagram alone, not to mention another 230K on YouTube. She is known by many for her amazing hair tutorials and photos, and her travel moments that she captures with her adorable family.
It's not hard to see why so many have fallen for Clark's posts. Her eye for aesthetics and range of topic coverage is what keeps many coming back for more. She's also turned her love for hair into a business with her very own hair extension line, Barefoot Blonde Hair.
We had the chance to chat with Clark about her blog's success, what it takes to run the site, and more. Check out part one of our interview with her below.
#YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases rising talents. To see more past interviews, including more features on Amber Fillerup Clark, click here.
How did you really first get your start with your blog, what was it like for you to begin and build this from the ground up?
I went on a summer service trip to Fiji when I was 20, and I wanted to share my pictures with my family. I started my blog to share pictures from Fiji and give everyone travel updates. When I got back from the trip I realized I had fun sharing and writing my thoughts, so I kept it going. It was more of a journal at first, and then I slowly started taking hair selfies and posting those, and then people would ask how I did it, so I filmed a couple of hair tutorials in my apartment. Then it just kind of happened, because people would ask what I was wearing, and what my skin regimen was, and I just kind of started posting these things because people started to ask.
Was there a moment that you had where you realized this was going to be what you wanted to do full-time?
I was lucky because Pinterest launched right around the time I launched my blog, or rather that's when it started to gain popularity. Some of the hair pictures on my blog, that were just selfies because they were from my phone, ended up going viral. One day, I had four thousand views, and then the next day I had like 16 thousand, which was a lot for me at the time. I only had like twenty posts on Pinterest, and most of them didn't even have images. That's when I started to realize that it was growing faster than I expected it to. Then my photography started getting better because I got married, and my husband started helping me take pictures so I didn't have to rely on a tripod anymore. When I start getting paid from companies, that was when I realized that this could actually be a job. I really enjoyed it up until then, so I didn't care if I got paid or not, but then once I realized that I could also get paid I was really excited. There wasn't one really one specific point, but I did get this TRESemmé job, and they set this pay rate, and I had no idea that I was worth that much. At that point, I was just so shocked that they threw out that number.
What does it take to run your blog on a daily basis? What goes into making posts and distributing everything on social media?
I'm sure it's different for every blogger, but for me, even when I was in junior high and high school I would put together little photo shoots and make my sisters do them with me. We'd get all ready and braid our hair. I always loved getting ready -- I know that so silly -- but I love photography, and I love all that goes into a photo shoot. I've always loved Vogue editorials, and the sets, and everything. For outfit posts, it's fun for me to go location scouting, and pick out a location and then think of what I'm going to wear, and how I'm going to do my hair for that post. Now, it's is a little different, because I have my kids. Like, right now we're headed to the beach, and we have little dinosaur bones we're gonna have Atticus dig up. So, we just have activities that we go to do every day. David is a photographer, so we bring the camera and kind of just take pictures if something cool happens.
It's kind of hard to pinpoint because it's different for each thing right. Like for instance, we have a whole day planned to get outfit content. So, I'll put together outfits and we'll drive to Honolulu and just do outfit posts. Wednesday, we're going to shoot 8 different beauty posts -- I have homemade lip scrub and different things like that. We try to plan those out all at once, and then get the lifestyle content as it happens.
When you are doing a photoshoot on let's say, Wednesday, when would that blog post make it up on your site?
Sometimes it'll go up the next day. For instance, this week I put up a post of something I shot the day before because I was wearing a J. Crew new arrival and girls jump on those items. I would rather be one of the first to wear it, so I'm not behind. Sometimes there's strategy to when I post it, but there are also times where we'll sit on posts for like three months, and then I'll remember that I have this old tutorial, or whatever, that I can post. It's nice to have a bank of old posts for when you need them. We have a vacation planned for later this month, and so then I can just have posts ready and just enjoy the vacation a bit.
What would you say isyour favorite thing about being a blogger, and what would you say isthe most challenging thing?
The best thing is that I have the flexibility. I never did well working for someone and showing up at work and all that. I like being able to work for myself, and kind of on my own time, which can also be a bad thing because it's hard to work for yourself sometimes. But I get to be a stay-at-home mom, and be with my kids, and get work done when they're napping. It's nice to be with them throughout the day because that was always my main goal in life -- to be a mom. I like that I can do both, and I do feel really lucky that my husband and I can both be with the kids, and support our family. For the downside, not that I don't value privacy, but I've always liked to share things. But I just don't like how negative people can be about everything. People will say lots of things, like if we don't post it, and they don't see it they assume it didn't happen. For example, I'll post a picture of us at the beach, and people will ask why the kids aren't wearing sunscreen or something. Just because the caption didn't specifically say that I put sunscreen on the kids, they assume I didn't. So, it's little things like that, the things that are really nitpicky. I get nitpicked the most about being a mom, and mom things.
I think the other hard part is that there have been so many articles posted, and bloggers who have come out and said that they were actually miserable the whole time they were blogging, and they were putting up this front and pretending to be happy. I think people relate that to all bloggers. They think that we're all just miserable inside, and posting only the happy moments, so we do post about the crazy moments on the blog when we can. But people do like to assume that we're secretly dying inside while putting up a front. People are quick to assume and put a label on everyone that's in the public eye.
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