Born and bred New Yorker Helena Glazer is the ultra-chic blonde behind the blog Brooklyn Blonde. From growing up in the Big Apple to her go-to spots to her interest in astrology, Helena tells us her story.
What made you start Brooklyn Blonde?
I started my blog about five years ago without ever thinking it would be more than just a creative outlet. The conversation actually happened when Keith—my now husband, then boyfriend—and I were sitting on the couch and he casually asked, ‘What would you consider your hobby?’ That kind of made me scratch my head because aside from selling stuff on eBay I didn’t have a real hobby. At the same time, Keith started dabbling in photography and ended up purchasing a fancy new camera, so after a few conversations, both with him and in my own head, I decided to start documenting my outfits. I worked in the industry and already got dressed up every single day, so I figured, why the hell not? I was at my job for a long time, was getting that seven year itch, and really wanted to challenge myself.
What were you doing before you went full time?
I worked in the fashion industry right out of college, with many internships before that, and right before I left the traditional workplace, I was at a large accessory for many years. I was on the sales side, which meant meeting with the design and production teams to execute what our buyers were asking for. Aside from merchandising the showrooms, my favorite part of the job was analyzing sales and figuring out why something was or wasn’t selling. Even today, there are days where I really miss the office dynamic. I got to work with many incredible females, who I now realize helped me learn so much that carried over into my current blogging industry. Having worked ‘on the other side’ tremendously helped me grow my blogging business.
As a real-life “Brooklyn blonde,” what are some of your favorite activities to do there?
I’ve lived in Brooklyn for over 15 years and before that, I was in Queens. My favorite activities…Does eating count? There are so many amazing restaurants…to be quite honest, we rarely come into the city on the weekends!
Has growing up in New York shaped your interest in fashion?
Without meaning to sound corny, growing up in New York City has shaped me into the person I am today. My parents immigrated here from Russia in the early ’80s and I grew up in an area that was a melting pot of so many different cultures and types of people. It was also during the rise of hip hop culture, so I was surrounded by a mix of Russian immigrants wearing fur coats to hearing Run DMC on every street corner. Also, New York in the ’80s and ’90s was a completely different place. I grew up in what was considered to be a relatively bad neighborhood—Far Rockaway, so different than the Rockaways we know today—but I look back and feel like I had the best childhood. For one, it made me incredibly street smart in so many different ways, and growing up in such an urban community has given me an appreciation for different types of music, cultures, and just the city itself.
Your personal style is…
Classic with a bit of edge and glamour. I love a dramatic coat, a high heel, and a bold red lip, but I always like to tone down those elements with something worn in, like my distressed denim or a piece of leather.
What are you go-to coffee spots?
I love a good coffee shop more than most things, and my favorites are the Aussie spots in the city: Little Collins, Two Hands, and Blue Stone Lane. I went to Melbourne last year, and hands down they had the best coffee I’ve ever tasted! Being able to get a piece of that in New York is a real treat, and I usually get a Flat White.
We’ve heard you’re into astrology…Is this true?
Yes, very much so! I can’t say that I know a lot about every single sign, but I always say that I’m a true blue Libra!
What have been some of your proudest blogger moments?
From a business standpoint, it’s been working with brands that I’ve loved since my teenage years, like Tiffany & Co. and David Yurman. From a personal standpoint, it’s when I get to meet readers who share their stories. The other day I was at an event and a woman came up to me and thanked me for inspiring her to get out of her sweats after leaving her job and having a new baby. Moments like that make my life!
PLUS! Helena’s five tips for aspiring bloggers…
1. Don’t try to be like anyone else. Yes, there might be a blogger that you love, but don’t try to mimic their aesthetic. While it’s perfectly acceptable to draw inspiration from someone, always do it in your own way.
2. Invest in a great camera, and as your blog continues to grow invest in only the best—the best camera, the best lens, the best editing program. This stuff certainly doesn’t come cheap, but the photography bar has been set so high, so it’s the only way.
3. Take classes and continue to learn. When I first started, I didn’t know a thing about Photoshop, so I took a few classes to get the basic skills down. To this day, I still Google and use YouTube for the functions I’m not 100 percent sure about. To be honest, I’m due for another class myself! There’s so much to learn and I could use a few tips on some of the more intermediate and advanced functions.
4. Pay attention to your readers! I listen and watch what they’re responding to, what they’re pinning, and what posts they’re the most engaged with, and I use that information for my future content. My readers will always come first because without them, there would be no blog.
5. Be a nice person! When I hear stories about certain people being rude or unprofessional, my eyes bug out of my head. I don’t get the point. It’s such a small industry, so word gets around.