While we certainly admire Hallie Wilson’s style–her fashionable blog, corals + cognacs, is one of our favorites–what we love about her even more is her fearless, take-charge approach to life. In the last couple of years, she’s moved from Chicago to New York City, quit her corporate job in advertising, and pursued a new career not just as a full-time blogger, but as a Soul Cycle instructor at the cult-followed spin studio. Oh, and in a few days, she’s moving back to Chicago to teach at Soul Cycle’s newest studio in the Loop!
We recently got a chance to catch up with Hallie about how she became the blogger she is, quitting her job, her big moves, and more.
WE LOVE YOUR BLOG! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT HOW IT STARTED?
I started corals + cognacs five years ago when I was working at a numbers-oriented market research agency. I went to school for journalism, needed a creative outlet and I love to write — plus, I thought it’d be a great way to meet other like-minded people.
WHAT WAS THE PREMISE BEHIND YOUR BLOG WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED IT? HAS THAT CHANGED AT ALL?
It has, yes. What started as a hobby has grown into a community and a conversation (and a source of inspiration, I’d hope). From making the decision to leave New York to quitting my full-time job and changing my entire career path, I’ve really evolved as a person. My blog has too, as a result.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE BEFORE YOU HAD REGULAR READERS?
Six months or so — and it began as being mostly other bloggers. We’d comment back-and-forth on each others’ posts.
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE YOUR BLOG AS A VIABLE POTENTIAL BUSINESS, AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT TURNING IT INTO ONE?
About two years after I started blogging, when people were starting to submit post ideas and ask me where I’d bought certain things. As you can probably relate, having an influence comes with the responsibility to stay genuinely authentic — especially when it comes to brand partners. I never want my site to seem advertorial.
LAST YEAR, AFTER MOVING TO NEW YORK FROM CHICAGO FOR YOUR JOB IN ADVERTISING, YOU LEFT YOUR FULL-TIME JOB TO PURSUE YOUR BLOG. WHAT LEAD YOU TO THAT DECISION?
I knew I wanted to become a SoulCycle instructor. The training process is a full-time job and I knew I needed to commit myself 100% — emotionally, mentally and physically.
IN ADDITION TO YOUR BLOG, YOU ALSO RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THAT YOU WERE BECOMING A SOUL CYCLE INSTRUCTOR! WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE A JOB THERE?
Just like blogging, SoulCycle is a platform for me to inspire, motivate and share a story. Truly, the Soul community changed my life — I am so happy I have the chance to afford that same opportunity to others. You can read more about my journey here.
HOW’S IT GOING SO FAR? Really amazing! I come from the rider background (I’ve been a Soul rider for three years), so I like to teach the type of class I’d want to take. (You can learn more and sign up for my classes here.)
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BLOGGING? ABOUT TEACHING SPIN?
The people I’ve met!
HAVE THERE BEEN ANY STRUGGLES IN RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE WHEN YOU WORKED IN THE CORPORATE WORLD? HOW DO YOU HANDLE THEM?
Yes — finding a work/life balance is really challenging, but after awhile, you just realize you can’t do it all. Also, insurance. Being on a corporate insurance policy is nice.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Comparison is the thief of joy. Put your blinders on and run your own race!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR WOMEN WHO MAY WANT TO START A BLOG BUT ARE SCARED, OR THOSE WHO WANT TO LEAVE THE CORPORATE WORLD BEHIND TO PURSUE A DREAM? There will never be a “right moment.” Just follow your heart, be willing to put in the work and know that your journey is panning out the way it’s supposed to. We’re all on different paths — you will get to where you’re going eventually. Enjoy the ride!