Cataloging all things that inspire her, from people and pieces to places and projects, Grace Atwood brings the perfect mix of crafty DIY content and chicness to her blog, The Stripe. With five years (and counting) in the blogging biz, the New Englander tells The Daily how she made it to where she is today.
Why did you think the world needed The Stripe?
Let’s be honest: When I started my blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I certainly wasn’t thinking about what the world needed. Had I been doing that, some of my earliest posts probably wouldn’t exist! I was working in a corporate job in the beauty industry and had this nightmare boss, which is practically a right of passage in beauty and fashion. There was a lot of yelling and arts and crafts, but not the fun kind. I still have nightmares about being in the office at 10 p.m. Velcro-ing bottles of nail polish to the wall by color—you’d be amazed at how many different varieties of pale pink exist. I was drained and uninspired. I wanted something for me—a little escape and place to catalog the things that inspire me. I didn’t expect anyone to actually read it!
How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging for five and a half years, which feels crazy! I started my career in Boston, where I worked as an assistant buyer for women’s fragrances. I moved to New York in 2006 to work in beauty marketing and did that for a little over five years. Eventually, the blog led me to BaubleBar where I ran social media and their influencer outreach for four years. That was my favorite day job. I had a lot of freedom and always felt like I was making a difference and adding value to the brand. I tried to balance both as long as I could, but eventually it was too much. Burnout is real! I left in June and now my full focus is on my site and a handful of consulting projects.
What have been some of your favorite projects so far?
My favorite projects are always the DIYs, especially my designer DIY series. I’ve always loved crafts and making jewelry. As a child I would tell everyone I wanted to be a jewelry designer when I grew up. It’s been really incredible to craft with some of my favorite designers, like Lisa Salzer of Lulu Frost and Natalie Holst of HOLST + LEE. I also love beauty stories. I’m a massive product junkie. I joke that I pretty much always have a face mask on when I’m home, and you should see my bathroom. I’m certain I’ve scared potential suitors away by the number of products in there. Oops…anything for the blog, right? Lastly, cocktails and entertaining! I’ve been having a lot of fun coming up with these posts. Taste-testing is a major perk.
What are some of your favorite spots around NYC?
There are so many! I try not to go to the same place twice but I love Almond in Flatiron—it’s close to my apartment and it’s always delicious. In the colder months, I love The Marlton for drinks—I suggest getting there early to sit by the fire. Other favorite right now are Claudette, Santina, and Vics. I just went to Seamore’s and had the greatest fish tacos. For shopping, Otte and Bird, and Mociun for jewelry.
When did you start noticing you were gaining a big following?
It was when I was doing DIY projects. I would see pretty things that I couldn’t afford and I’d attempt to recreate them myself, and they were a huge hit with my readers. Besides that, there were a few other things that helped me build my audience. I made it on a few different lists of the best fashion and DIY blogs. Pinterest also helped—my projects would get pinned and re-pinned. And I would contribute to bigger sites, like The Glitter Guide and The Zoe Report. They’d link back to me or feature me on their Instagram. I will say that it was a lot easier three or four years ago. I was very lucky to start my blog early on. The market is so over-saturated now, and people don’t follow new blogs or Instagram accounts the way they used to!
Tell us about your personal style.
It’s pretty classic. I’m a little bit basic, but I’m cool with it. I love an A-line dress, a great striped tee, or a cozy tunic with leggings, but I like to add something interesting, whether it’s an amazing piece of statement jewelry or an accessory that’s a little different. As I’ve gotten older I’ve started throwing out and selling anything that’s uncomfortable. I still wear heels but only my comfortable ones (my Saint Laurent Tributes and Manolo Blahnik BB pumps both fall into that category) and I rarely wear super tight clothing, save for leggings.
What are your fave fall activities?
Does drinking in front of a fireplace count? Just kidding. Sort of. This time of year I try to be outside as much as possible. I go to the park a lot, and I just went up to the Hudson Valley, which is so beautiful. It’s a two-hour train ride and the perfect fall escape. All of the leaves had changed and we had the nicest time shopping, wine tasting, and eating some of the best farm to table food I’ve had in ages. I also just really like to stay in and read young adult books. You don’t have to print that if you don’t want to, but reading under a blanket is definitely my favorite fall activity.
My friend and I are going as fashion victims. It’s going to be gruesome. We’re going to a party hosted by the Queen of Halloween, Ali Galgano, founder of Charm & Chain. She is the most inspired costume person I’ve ever known and has the best personal style. I can’t wait to see what she wears!
What could you see yourself doing next?
That’s so hard to say. My career has been pretty fluid. As I said earlier, I started as an assistant buyer for a department store, worked in branding for years, and then social media, and now I’m running my own site and consulting. The only two things that I am 100 percent certain about are that I would ideally like to stay my own boss and I never want to feel stagnant or bored. I love blogging and hope that I will always be doing that in some shape or form. Outside of that, I really want to write a memoir someday. I have so many crazy stories from living, working, and dating in New York! And I have a handful of really awesome, kickass girlfriends. We always talk about world domination and starting our own company, but that’s in the very early stages.
PLUS! Grace’s Five Tips for Aspiring Bloggers
- Stay super current on what’s going on in the industry. Four years ago, there was no Instagram, Pinterest, or Snapchat. What’s going to be next? It’s important to read up on Mashable, TechCrunch, and watch the market.
- Don’t get greedy or sell out. There are going to be so many opportunities to work with brands as your own grows. Only work with those that align with your personal style and vision. A brand might want to pay you a lot of money to feature something, but if it’s crappy quality or it doesn’t work, you are going to lose your readers’ trust.
- Be original. The market is so oversaturated right now. Unless you’re doing something different from what’s already out there, it will be hard to be successful. It could be your style of writing or your photography, but it needs to stand out.
- Work hard and be nice to people. This is such simple advice but it is everything, and my number-one rule for work and life.
- As your following goes, always remember to put your readers first. It’s easy to get swept up in everything else, but your readers are the reason you are successful. I always take the time to respond to emails and comments. It’s the most important part of blogging—don’t forget it!