What’s better than having your own blog? Creating one with a close friend. In celebration of the International Day of Friendship on the 30th July, we caught up with our favourite blogging duo, Alex (below left) and Natasha from Wear & Where, to talk all things blogging and friendship.
1. Where did you meet?
Alex: Over 14 years ago, when we worked together at InStyle. The magazine had just launched, we were in beautiful offices on The Strand and there were lots of film screenings, press events and lovely fashiony things to do. Fun times!
Natasha: Surely we’re not that grown-up?! We bonded over celebrity-wrangling and covering parties and premieres. We went out a lot in those days…
2. How was the idea for Wear & Where sparked?
Natasha: We’d been journalists for years (by this point Alex was a seasoned travel and lifestyle journalist, and I was deputy editor at Glamour), and we’d both become mothers. We’d been talking for ages about what we wanted to read. Yes, we adored our children and being parents, but we weren’t solely defined by it; we were still obsessed with style, interiors, and gorgeous new hotels, brilliant books we’d discovered… There was nothing out there that ticked every box and it suddenly occurred to us: we could do it. We had the experience, the contacts, the enthusiasm. Also, we wanted something that was ‘ours’.
Alex: To be honest, the exact origins are a bit of a blur! (Four children and lack of sleep will do that to you.) Although, I do remember us talking in length about how we wanted to write about the things we really wanted to write about that were relevant to us and our lives. We didn’t solely want to focus on just one thing as we – and I think most of women – have so many different interests. We’re not just ‘fashion’ or ‘interiors’ people, we want to read about almost everything from family issues to great hotels, amazing clothes, beautiful interiors, books, holidays, other people’s lives, health trends, recipes etc. And while I can’t remember what exactly sparked the idea, I do remember exactly where we were when we dreamed up the name! We were sat around Natasha’s kitchen table talking about the website and how we wanted to include fashion and travel, when Natasha’s lovely husband said, ‘Why don’t you call it Wear & Where?’ We both looked at each other and the lightbulb turned on. The rest, as they say, is history…
3. What are your favourite topics to blog about?
Alex: It’s very varied and completely depends on my mood and what is going on in the world. While I do love our fashion stories and travel features, I also like the more in-depth articles such as the How I Make It Work interview slot in which a fab working woman talks us through her life juggling act or Style Around The World, which is a great feature focusing on British ex-pats in other countries, comparing the often surprisingly different attitudes to style, health and beauty. However, my current favourite topic is interiors. We are both nosy parkers and absolutely love seeing inside other people’s beautiful houses. Our home tours are so much fun to compile and leave us with complete interiors envy.
Natasha: I love that peek into other women’s lives: their wardrobe essentials in My Uniform with super-stylish women like Laura Fantacci – Wearing It Today/Wardrobe Icons, Donna Ida, Erica Davis – The Edited and Jools Oliver; their epic homes, how they manage the parenting/work/life insanity (5 Things I’ve Learned About Parenting never fails to inspire).
4. What do you enjoy most about working with each other?
Alex: Just chatting to Natasha, really. It’s given us an excuse to spend more time talking to each other as we now have this Wear & Where connection. I definitely think it’s made us stronger friends. And before I moved to Sussex, we always had an excuse to meet up on a Thursday morning for coffee and a Gail’s cinnamon bun.
Natasha: It’s a joy. I love having someone to bounce ideas off – will this work (yes); how about that (err, not so much…) – and spark inspiration. And it keeps you motivated: we’ve seen each other through maternity leaves, we have complementary skills (I hope!), and working with someone you both admire and care about keeps you on top of your game.
5. Are there any downsides to working with a close friend?
Alex: Not that I can think of. I imagine perhaps if you worked in an office every day together and socialised together it might get a bit much, but we both work from home.
6. How has your friendship developed since creating Wear & Where?
Alex: I think it has deepened immensely and we are much closer since doing it. Part of this is probably to do with us both having children at the same time, but I do think that having this – our work ‘baby’ – has strengthened our friendship. I admire Natasha immensely and seeing her in work mode is incredibly inspiring.
Natasha: I genuinely have no idea how Alex does it: Wear & Where, four children, career… As a mother and a writer, she is an inspiration. It’s a privilege to be her friend.
7. How do your styles differ from each other?
Alex: Natasha always looks very chic and put together. She has the most fantastic array of jackets and loves a stripe. If I had to label her style, I’d call it Parisian Preppy. I on the other hand, am a bit more slapdash! I’m definitely not as chic and put-together, and I do tend to favour quite loose-fitting clothes.
Natasha: Alex is much better at pulling off more dramatic (cooler) looks such as tassel earrings, harem trousers, pom-pom sandals – just for starters… I love the way she adds an effortless, unexpected twist to her outfits – she has innate style.
8. Do you have any tips for budding bloggers who would like to start a blog with a friend?
Alex: Go for it! Although do make sure you are both on the same page. If one of you wants to create a music blog aimed at twentysomethings, but the other one is interested in parenting, it’s probably not going to work. It’s also important to blog regularly so readers keep coming back and know there’s going to be a post waiting for them. Really engage in social media, as platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are incredibly powerful. Finally, don’t be scared to ‘rebrand’, several incredibly successful blogs have changed the design and even names of their blogs over the years, so as to reflect their new or evolved interests. It really works.
Natasha: Also, make sure you are both committed at the same level. If one of you is super-keen to turn it into your career, but the other is more of a dabbler, it’s a recipe for tension. Do your homework. Get to grips with social media and the technical side of blogging: it’s not so pretty, but it’s so necessary. Produce original content.
9. What’s next for Wear & Where?
Alex: More of the same, but better. We’ve just undergone a beautiful redesign which has really refreshed the site. We’re planning more great articles and looking at ways to expand the brand. We want to run more competitions and engage with our readers better. We are also thinking about setting up our own shop featuring a curated edit of things we love. Watch this space!
Natasha: All of the above! We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our lovely readers – and gaining more, of course. I’m obsessed with building our Instagram account (@wearandwhere) – I just love the medium and the Instagram community.
10. Finally, if you were going to spend the day together what would be your favourite thing to do?
Alex: Ooh – I’d DEMAND that we return to our old stomping ground of Chiswick High Road and head straight to Gail’s for coffee and cinnamon buns. If kids were in tow, then off to the park. If not, then stay at Gail’s in the evening, I’d probably INSIST that we head to the high road and meet for cocktails and a Croque Madame at High Road House. Having left London a year ago, the high road is one of the places I miss most, so reliving our old meet-ups would be heavenly.
Natasha: I’d love a Wear & Where day trip. Alex knows all the best hotels (bonus of being a travel editor for years) and I’d love to head deep into the countryside. Please can we stay at a beautiful boutique hotel with Insta-worthy interiors, a little spa (and a pool would be nice…), and glorious food and drink?
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