When you think about most successful personal style bloggers–the ones with tens of thousands of social media followers, big brand partnerships and their own clothing lines–they’re often the ones who jumped aboard the blogging train early, starting their sites in 2007 or 2008, before style blogs filled every corner of the internet. But every once in a while, a “newbie” comes along with an original, covetable sense of style that manages to stand out against the crowd. Example A: McKenna Bleu. Just two short years after going live (she started her site in July of 2012), the Boston-based blogger has more than 24,000 instagram followers (and growing every day), and has worked with brands like Banana Republic and Herbal Essences. She’s definitely one to watch.
What we love most about McKenna, though, is how genuinely sweet she is. The North Carolina native’s motto is “work hard, stay humble,” and she certainly does both. Here, she tells us about how her blog got its start, the secret behind her well-styled instagram feed, life as a military spouse, and more.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU START YOUR BLOG?
I started my blog while I was in a hotel room on a Military base. My husband was being deployed to Afghanistan for nine months, so needless to say, it was a great distraction while he was gone. I never imagined anyone would look at my blog other than my family. I am so grateful for what it has turned into today!
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH SO MANY OUTFITS? HOW OFTEN DO YOU SHOP?
Planning outfits is my favorite part of blogging. I try to take risks when styling each outfit whether it’s with bold color combos or mixing prints; I want each outfit to make a statement!
Shopping is a part of my everyday routine even if it’s just “window shopping” online. I have to be sure I’m not missing out on something!
HOW BIG IS YOUR CLOSET?
As far as my closet goes, that’s another issue!! Let’s just say with a 700 sq. foot apt, space is an ongoing problem! Thank goodness for a garage! I rotate by seasons.
IT SEEMS LIKE YOUR BLOG HAS REALLY TAKEN OFF THIS YEAR — YOU HAVE OVER 24K INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS AND YOU’VE WORKED WITH SOME REALLY COOL BRANDS! WHAT’S THAT BEEN LIKE?
Oh goodness, thank you! I try to stand by one of my favorite sayings: “work hard, stay humble.” That being said, I am so grateful for the success of what McKennaBleu.com has turned into today. Having the chance to work with so many big brands and also small businesses has been such an honor. I learned it’s important to celebrate each step along the way. Whether it’s hitting 100 or 10K Instagram followers, each step is something to celebrate!
SPEAKING OF INSTAGRAM, YOUR PHOTOS ARE AWESOME! WHAT’S THE SECRET TO A WELL-STYLED INSTAGRAM PHOTO?Oh, Instagram photos…I often get this question! I’m happy to share all my tricks and tools that help me achieve a bright and colorful feed. (1) It’s important you have a nice camera – I use my iPhone 5. (2) Natural light is a major factor when getting the perfect shot! (3) As far as my crisp white backdrops, it’s white foam board from the craft store!! (4) I use an app called AfterLight and I simply enhance the brightness and adjust the contrast! It’s just that easy!
DO YOU HAVE A DAY JOB? IF SO, HOW DO YOU BALANCE IT WITH BLOGGING?
Yes, I do in fact have a day job. I was/have been an Aveda hairstylist for almost 10 years. I also work as a nanny and a personal assistant, basically a bag of tricks I suppose. For me, cubicle life in an office is not an option so I find any way to put my creative talents to good work. Since I work a full work week, blogging is unfortunately a nighttime and weekend event. Some weeks are more challenging than others, but hopefully one day, I hope to have my full focus on just blogging.
Until then, it’s another day, another dollar!
HOW LONG DOES THE TYPICAL OUTFIT SHOOT TAKE? WHO TAKES THE PICTURES?
Photo shoots are actually pretty quick! My husband and my good girlfriend have become my go-to photographers. I have to say: they’ve become pretty good at it!
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST SURREAL MOMENT OF YOUR BLOGGING CAREER SO FAR?
I think the most surreal moment of my blogging career would have to be attending Coachella on behalf of Herbal Essences Body Wash this year. When standing in the crowd of millions of people watching Ellie Goulding rock it, I had to stop and just think, wow! To accept that my blog put me in that moment was unreal and will always be something to remember!
YOU TEND TO WEAR A LOT OF BRIGHT COLORS. ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE COLOR SHY?
You have that right! When it comes to color, the bolder the better in my book. The best advice I would give to someone who’s not quite as daring when choosing bold options would be to stay simple. If you love the shade of blue, try all different hues, pairing one bright color with a simple white denim is such a great outfit option. Feeling confident in what you are wearing is by far way more important than pushing outside of your comfort zone.
YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU’RE A MILITARY SPOUSE. WHAT’S THAT LIKE?
To me, being a military spouse is not for everyone. It’s the biggest act of selflessness that you can only commend and respect in my opinion. Fortunately for me, it’s just my husband and I…oh, and our cat of course! My heart goes out to the families who have children involved, it’s a tough situation. I consider myself to be an extremely independent lady so I keep myself busy when my husband is away. As we say: it’s “quality time over quantity” and it works for us!
HAVE YOU FOUND SUPPORT AT ALL THROUGH YOUR BLOG?
I have met quite a few fellow Military wives through blogging which has been so neat. It’s great to have support from those who know first-hand what it’s like to have a loved-one deployed.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A MARRIED LADY?
How do you narrow it down? I would say having your best friend to travel and experience the world together is one of the things I cherish the most.