Poppy Dinsey: Fashion blogger
In 2010 Poppy Dinsey set up a fashion blog called What I Wore Today, where she posted a photo of what she wore every day. By the end of the year, the site had become a word-of-mouth hit, with fashion lovers all over the world posting their outfits on a daily basis – and it is now Poppy's main source of income. She tells IdeasMag how she did it...
What was the impetus behind the blog?
It was a New Year’s resolution; it wasn’t a serious thing at all. I had a full-time job and What I Wore Today was just going to be something to occupy my mind for two minutes a day. It wasn’t intended to be my sole purpose like it seems to have become now. It was definitely a happy accident; there was no business idea behind it or anything like that.
When did you start to get a feeling that it had potential beyond just a New Year’s resolution?
The thing that really surprised me was just how many people were clicking through and how many people were feeding back saying “This is amazing. It’s going to get really addictive.” I realised the potential of the idea very quickly when I’d started it but it wasn’t until May that I quit all full-time work and thought, I’m actually going to work on this full-time as a business.
Did you start to think about ways you could monetise it at that point?
I knew early on if I could get other people involved uploading their outfits it could get quite big. I started covering other fashion news and turning it into a bigger blog with reviews and events but I needed other users. I wanted to develop the blog in a really organic way because people have followed it for so long. It meant doing everything much slower. I knew what I was trying to do in May of last year but it wasn’t until September of this year that the social network version and an iPhone app were launched.
What skills did you learn when building the website?
I’ve never worked in the fashion industry so that’s been a big learning curve. A lot of people ask me if my background is fashion but they forget that it is essentially a tech product, it’s a website. It’s not easy to monetise online content unless you know what you’re doing from the start and are always doing things from a business angle rather than a “this looks nice” or “this is fun”. There really has to have purpose behind everything.
What are your ambitions for the site?
I want it to become part of people’s daily routine. In the same way that you would check Facebook and Twitter for updates, you’d be logging on to WIWT to see what your friends are wearing. I want it to be a really zeitgeisty thing for what brands are trending, what people are wearing in different cities.
What advice would you give a younger you?
Try and work a bit less and try and see all the negative experiences as positive. I’ve probably worked too hard the last few years and could’ve been a bit easier on myself. Some people are so determined but can lose sight of, “If you’re not going to be happy at the end of it, there’s not much point.” I think patience is the big thing a lot of young people don’t seem to have. It can take years to get to the end of something and it requires a lot of being really brave and holding on.
Visit What I Wore Today.
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