Whitney Valverde

Fashion Blogger Remembers her Ticos

Welcome to Part 3 of my Interview with Fashion Blogger Whitney Valverde, author of Whitney’s Wonderland Blog.

Whitney won the Best Fashion Blogger Category of my Women are B.E.S.T awards earlier this year.   One of the prizes for each of the category winners was the opportunity to work with me.

Whitney and I have some great ideas on how we’re going to work together. But to launch our collaboration, I wanted you to meet Whitney and share her story.

In Part 1 of this interview we looked back at what it was like to grow up in the exotic environment of Costa Rica.  In Part 2 we looked at Whitney’s move to the UK and the launch of her career as a Fashion Blogger.  How she used her blog as a way of integrating herself into life in London.

In the final part of this series we’ll explore how a Fashion Blogger develops their blog from a hobby to a business and how marketing is key to the success of your blog.

Whitney Valverde

1. Some time ago you published an article about whether being hardcore is a good thing?   I’m interested to find out why you shared Michael Wolf’s piece – as a blogger did you have to develop resilience to rejection or criticism?

This was on my early blogging days, and I suppose it’s the title that has made this post one of the most popular in the history of Whitney’s Wonderland.

I shared it because I was opening myself to my readers.

It could be regarded as stubbornness, strength, or resilience, like you say, but I’m very loyal.

So if for any reason, someone who I consider a very close person to me, disappoints me, I tend to shut them down for good. I suppose it’s a defence mechanism or how I cope with the disappointment.

Regarding blogging, yes, you must develop a thick skin. I remember in Costa Rica there were a couple of nasty comments on my TV interviews saying that I was probably just a lazy girl who had nothing else to do, or not nice comments about how I looked or something I said.

Other times, I’ve had other fashion bloggers copying every single thing I do which can be annoying.

One girl would just post something extremely similar to whatever I posted.  She would even contact all the brands I work with to simply try to echo what I was doing.  In the end I decided to take it as a compliment!

This means what I’m doing is interesting, otherwise people wouldn’t talk or imitate, right?!

 2. How important is video content versus words and pictures? Will Vlogging take over from Blogging as a more popular media form or do they appeal to different demographics?

 Vlogging is very interesting and lots of fun, and I would love to get more into it. However, I love writing more than anything!

I do love making videos, but I’d rather not make them if they’re not done well.

I’m good with photos but not so great at editing videos…yet but I’m working on it! So for now I’d rather wait.

Photography feels so much more romantic, much more intimate.

I think they’re both for different audiences and for different reasons but they are converging. I’d love to mix both potentially. We’ll see!

Whitney Valverde

3. How important is the content of your blog posts versus promotion of your posts, particularly when starting out? 

The promotion of your blog posts is possibly even more important than the content.

Of course the content must be great quality but no one will see your amazing blog unless you promote it.

Social Media is such an important tool for promotion and is our saviour, as it’s such an amazing way of reaching such a wide audience.  It’s vital that any blogger uses the platforms where their audience ‘hang out’ to promote their content.

As a Fashion Blogger Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are the key channels.  But for some bloggers the platforms will be different.

What is vital is that you understand your audience and talk to them on the platforms they use.  If you write a blog about financial advice for example you are unlikely to find your audience hanging out on Instagram, but it’s very likely that they will be on Linked In.

 4. You work with some amazing brands, but what is the most exciting assignment you’ve worked on so far? 

 Oh wow that’s a good question and a hard one to answer. I’m so lucky and so blessed to work and have worked with so many brands I admire!

Some achievements may seem big or small to others but the ones that are dearest to me will always be because they remind me of when I used to work towards a goal or dream of having something I now have achieved.

Recently, I have been working with shoe designer Julian Hakes. I remember about 3 years ago I posted a picture on my facebook of the famous “mojito” shoes saying I hoped one day I could afford a pair

Well just yesterday my gifted pair arrived… To me that’s surreal! Even more amazingly I had a dress made especially for me by couture wearable fashion art brand Edward Roth New York –another wonderful and surreal moment!!

Regarding something big, being on live TV on the top Costa Rican show talking about my blog is still a “pinch me” moment!

5. You’re quite a celebrity in Costa Rica! You have been featured on Costa Rican Television and Radio, is this because the Costa Rican people are very proud of what you’ve achieved?

Oh no, I’m not a celebrity! It’s just so rewarding to be respected and recognized for doing something well that you also happen to love!

I think the attention I have got is due to a few things.

One is the fact that I’m the one of the first Costa Rican Fashion Bloggers.

I am also the first International Costa Rican fashion blogger.

I also think that it’s because I’ve worked very hard to grow and improve. I have never forgotten about where I come from and my “ticos” (Ticos – is a colloquial term for a native of Costa Rica)

I write in English and Spanish so that everyone can understand and follow along!

I think and hope they’re proud of what I’ve achieved as it is rewarding for all of us, especially as Costa Rica is such a small country!

Any milestone, I feel like it’s not only a reward for me but also for my readers!

 6. You have a fabulous figure and are very petite; does this give you any challenges when you are looking for clothes? 

 Well, that’s very kind of you to say but it doesn’t feel “fabulous” when you go to a shop and any dress, jeans, etc, are incredibly long that not even heels will seal the deal!

It makes you feel like they are trying to tell you that you are the wrong shape!

Yes, there are petite sizes in Topshop and that’s great, but I don’t want to have to end up buying my whole wardrobe in Topshop.

There are a lot of brands in the UK that provide petite ranges, but very few that have everyday, affordable luxury items.

There is also a problem that clothes which look amazing on models do not fit the same way on real people!  It’s very upsetting to try on something that you thought would look fantastic and it looks very different!

I would love to design a range of affordable luxury garments.

I want to provide women who are not the ‘normal’ shape with the confidence to buy and go out in clothes that will fit them as they should.

So for example a short dress will be finish at the right length and a long one won’t need platforms in the style of Lady Gaga. Wearable, flattering, fitted clothes!

Whitney Valverde

 7.  Having a career doing something that you love is amazing but how do you strike a balance between work and relaxation? 

To be perfectly honest, I’m still searching for that balance.

It is really hard to switch off, especially with social media and when you’re the one doing pretty much everything by yourself!

Weekends always help me disconnect a bit, but I’d appreciate any advice that you or your readers can give me!

Tweet me @whitswonderland on how to balance, HELP!

8.  Who’s your style icon? And does this style icon influence your own personal style (and your brand’s?)

I have so many style icons.

But when it comes to modelling my own look and deciding on my outfits I tend to look towards women who have a similar figure to my own.

For example the Olsen twins are petite and so stylish! I know that if something looks good on them it will probably look good on me!

For a more mature look, I adore Miroslava Duma’s bold style, she’s such a doll! I was so lucky to meet her at London Fashion Week.  In spite of her fame and fortune, she was such a sweetheart!  (Miroslava Duma is successful Russian writer and entrepreneur).

9. Where do you see yourself in 2 or 3 years time? 

I really have no idea!

I have dreams and ambitions but who knows?!  If someone had told me 4 years ago I’d be a Fashion Blogger and blogging for a living I would’ve laughed at their face!

I love blogging and hope to grow the blog to eventually become more than just a blog but for that I need time, resources, and a team… Hopefully one day soon!!

The goal has always been to one day start my own fashion brand with my own designs. I’m just happy there are so many people now joining me on the journey, let’s see where we’ll go..

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