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At the beginning of each month, I will share a recap of the previous month. I donate a portion of each month's profits to a charity; since you are the reason I can make the donation I ask for your vote a week in advance and share the results in this recap. I also share the top-selling items from the blog and a summary of the month's business/behind the scenes.
Charity of the Month
In the Weekend Reads two weeks ago, I shared five charities that could receive the donation. Each month I pick five charities that are close to my heart, are charities run by readers or suggested by readers, or are appropriate to what is going on in our world right now.
It was clear the winner for September was Everytown for Gun Safety; I'm so happy to support such an important organization and sent my donation this week. Thank you to all who voted!
Top Selling Items for October
I always love seeing the top selling items each month; it gives a good gauge for me as to what you want to see more of. I love when other bloggers share this, I have to say it is often the catalyst for making a purchase of something that has been hanging out in my online shopping cart!
- Soma Full Coverage Wireless Unlined Bra – This was because of this blog post. I had an Instagram campaign with Soma and they sent me three bras for it. Two I already owned and loved, the third was new to me and completely blew me away. I wrote a review of this bra because I was so impressed. And yes, I am wearing it right now while I type this!
- Halogen Long Sleeve Wrap Midi Dress – This dress was featured in my Trunk Club review and it is a great dress. Most recently, I wore it with black heeled knee-high boots to my daughter's piano recital. It seems to work for so many different situations! My exact print is sold out but I linked to other prints; here is the link for the same dress in plus sizes. And if you want something more dressy, this looks like the same exact dress in a stretchy velvet!
- Treasure&Bond Turtleneck Sweater – This sweater was featured in my post about burgundy pieces for fall and I guess appealed to many of you! It looks pretty fantastic, I'd love to hear how it has worked out for you as I myself don't own it!
- Stitch Witchery – I don't exactly know which blog post caused so many to buy Stich Witchery this month. I rave about this product all the time, not sure why October was THE month to sell a ton of Stitch Witchery. Could it be for Halloween costumes? If you bought Stitch Witchery this month based off my blog, do let me know what post inspired it!
- Universal Standard ‘Leeron' Moto Jacket – I was expecting this to be on the list based off all the emails, comments, and DMs I got about this leather jacket (featured in this blog post). However, I didn't watch my analytics this month too closely and had no idea how many of you bought it! And this doesn't take into account the weekend after I posted it when the links were broken and a bunch of you emailed me to let me know you bought it without my affiliate link. Dang, I think we should start up a Universal Standard Moto Jacket Girl Gang! For the record, at least a dozen of you have written me to let me know you received the jacket and love it. I'm so glad; it's scary to make such a big purchase and I'm glad it was a good one for you!
- TaoTronics Earbuds – I shared these in a Weekend Reads that they are my low-budget alternative to AirPods. I still love them except when I'm at the gym and on the incline bench doing sit-ups because they always fall out. And also when I try to wiggle them back in and accidentally hit them in a certain place and they think I'm trying to use voice activation. But they've been very good to me otherwise and a very good price.
- Talbots Open Sweater Blazer – I shared this a few times when Talbots had sales because I think it's pretty perfect. Retailers like J. Crew and Madewell have been carrying such sweater blazers for a couple of years, but Talbots offers more cheerful of colors, a far better size range, customer reviews, and they also had a buy one sweater get the second 50% off promo last month. I think this is a great weekend cardigan with a t-shirt and jeans, at the office with a nice blouse and trousers, belted over pants or a skirt, and much more. Now I feel as though I need to get one!
- Kut from the Kloth ‘Diana' Corduroy Skinny Pants – This is another piece I shared in my Burgundy post that I haven't bought myself but loved the look of them. Kut from the Kloth makes amazing jeans, some of my favorites and the Diana fit is awesome. These cords come in 11 colors and get rave reviews from over 1,000 customers. Did you get these? Let me know what you think of them!
- Gap Cowl Neck Sweatshirt Dress – Another piece I shared in Weekend Reads for a Sale Alert. I don't own this dress but it looks amazing, gets good customer reviews, comes in Regular, Tall, and Petite in three colors up to XXL. If you bought this, let me know what you think of it!
- LOFT Wide-Leg Pull On Pants in Ponte – Dang, month #2 with these pants being in the Top 10! They were originally featured in this blog post. I do wear them alllll the time. I recently wore them with my Universal Standard Foundation turtleneck in black, my black La Canadienne lace-up boots, and a denim jacket. I do wish they had pockets but they're otherwise fantastic (and right now on sale!)
October Blogging Behind the Scenes
Whew, was October a whirlwind of a month!
- The month started with a quick trip up to NYC to be on The Today Show! It was an exciting experience, I share my experience being on The Today Show in this post.
- The following week, I attended a workshop with influencer guru Brittany Hennessy. She's the author of the book Influencer, a must-read for anyone in this profession. Her workshop was amazing, a great use of time and money that has kept me inspired since.
- The next week, I was a guest when the Bad on Paper Podcast came to DC. The podcast is by Grace Atwood from the blog The Stripe and Becca Freeman. They had a live show at City Winery where me, Svetlana Legetic the founder of Brightest Young Things and Alisha Ramos from Girls Night In joined in. It was a super fun time and great to finally meet Grace in person after all these years!
- The next morning bright and early I hopped on a plane to Los Angeles. I had a project with the clothing company cabi. I can't share details yet, but once I can I'll let you know allll about it! Needless to say, it was fun and something I have never done before!
- I had two paid campaigns launch at the end of the month – an Instagram-based one for Soma and a blog and social one for Nordstrom. Both are brands I adore, have shopped for over a decade, and am proud to promote. They both felt like really good fits for the blog and Instagram too, and both gave me a lot of freedom to write and photograph in the manner I wished.
- I regularly pitch ideas to brands I love but rarely do they bite. In October, I pitched for maybe the 500th time to a brand for an idea and they agreed to it! I think it's such a good fit for this blog, if I didn't say it was sponsored you would have no idea because I'd likely do it anyway. So I am psyched and you'll see it here this month.
- I also received a couple of other paid opportunities that will be on the blog in the future based off the content I already published. It's exciting to have major brands show up in my inbox saying they want to work with me based upon the content I choose to create for Wardrobe Oxygen.
It's the month for holiday content, I have had a few of you DM and email me about it, wondering why influencers already have their trees up and are pushing gift guides the day after Halloween. Why are they doing this? For you. We look at Google and Pinterest trends and see that many begin searching for gift, outfit, and decor ideas for Christmas as early as October. Also, when you create holiday content early, Google can get ahold of it and get it into their search results. Let's say tomorrow I write a post, “50 ways to paint your cat's toenails.” If the next day you're looking for tips on painting your cat's toenails you won't find my blog post in your search results; it will take a week or even a month for it to show up on Google. So us bloggers putting up our trees in October, wearing blanket scarves in 80-degree weather, and sharing gift guides on November 1st is smart business. I personally feel like an ass doing that so I have been more subtle with my style guides like the one for burgundy and the one for sweaters. I can't go full-on Christmas when I still have Halloween decorations sitting on my dining table to be put back in the attic and my daughter's pumpkin for candy is still 75% full. But do know it is coming on the blog, and it's not because we influencers have Christmas on the brain, but because we want you to think of us and find us when Christmas is on your brain!
Financially, October was a very good month. I made a decent amount more than October last year. In October last year, I was paid for five different sponsored campaigns while this year only two. I now make more per sponsored post, and I am also bringing in more for affiliate and ad revenue. This makes me really happy. I prefer doing fewer but better sponsored posts. Sponsored content takes me far more time than content I choose to create. The emails and calls, the drafts, the push for good engagement to show that it's worth a brand's money to work with me, the post-campaign reports on results and analytics. I get it, if I paid someone I'd want the same things but if I have a lot of sponsored content I hardly have any creative juices left for what I want to write about. Also, I know you all get weary of too much sponsored content. Being able to make the same or more money on my terms with ad and affiliate revenue means I can be super picky with my sponsored content. I can pick brands that are a good fit, products I love and know you will find interesting, and put my all into the posts so they are just as authentic and interesting as my regular content.
I love being busy at work. I thrive off the rush of it, but I can get so juiced on it I hardly sleep or leave my computer. I'm trying really hard to have balance. I said I'd do a no-work Sunday but this past Sunday I got on the computer for a few hours so I could have more free time Monday. I try to have balance, but for this month and next, I think I'm going to let balance fly out the window and just enjoy the grind. It reminds me of my years working retail management. Holiday time was so intense, I'd work 80-hour weeks, living off Mountain Dew and Frappucinnos. When my shift ended I didn't even want to leave, I saw so much potential. I'd fold sweaters and process shipment and organize my office until my staff would force me out of the door. It's fun when you have a job that has clear goals for hard work. In that way, blogging is a lot like retail. Work hard, be organized, care about your customer/audience, listen, and have fun while doing it and you can succeed. Thanks for joining me on this wacky journey, and hold on for a wild ride until NYE!
Bridget Wall says
I’m glad October has been a good month for you!
Speaking of holiday content—I’ve been looking for ideas on how to get dressed up for holiday events when it’s freezing/snowing/slushy outside. Shoes, outerwear, fancy layers, hats, hair that doesn’t get mussed wearing a hat–any ideas?
Just got the Soma wireless bra that I ordered from this column. Very comfortable so far. I’m leaving it on! I enjoy your blog a lot, and I’m almost eighty.
Nihongo Dame Desu says
Just scored the loft ponte pants in burgundy for less than $40!
Alison Gary says
Melissa Stamos says
Stitch Witch for homemade Halloween costumes.
Alison Gary says
I think you’re right!
So glad to see all the support for Everytown for Gun Safety! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your $ with good causes. ❤️
Alison Gary says
Thank you Laurel!
Jean M Gaffey says
Been a fan for awhile now. We are about the same size; you are a little taller, & I am a lot older. 65 soon. So it’s great to see a blogger show clothes the way they would look on me. Since I have retired & gone silver haired., I need a good example of looking great. Thanks for inspiring me.
Alison Gary says
I’m so glad to be a helpful resource, Jean!
I’ll comment on a couple of the bestsellers you mentioned:
I bought #3), the Treasure & Bond turtleneck sweater – in all 3 colors! But when I tried them on, I realized a) that I really don’t like them on – they look very sack-like on my body, the shoulder seams are way low on the arms, and the curved hemline goes so far up on the hips that I feel like my skin will show; and b) that I’d already bought this exact sweater maybe a year ago and returned it for the exact same reasons… So no dice for me; they all went back.
I also have #8), Kut from the Kloth corduroy pants, in the dark olive, and I LOVE them. They fit great and the color is absolutely gorgeous. They were part of my first Trunk club delivery, so you should have received your referral bonus : )
Alison Gary says
Thank you for this feedback! I recently ordered a similar concept sweater from BP. It’s not as heavy, but it’s longer on the sides and because it’s lighterweight it shows my shape and isn’t as sack-like. It’s machine wash but dry flat; I haven’t washed it yet and am a bit nervous on how it turns out but you may want to check it out if you want a turtleneck tunic sweater? http://bit.ly/33no19O
BTW the Soma wireless bra is perfect for travel. I wore it yesterday through multiple airports and flights, without being poked by wires but still feeling supported.
Take some time off and your work will be so much better!
Also, I bought my first thing, directly influenced by you. Not though a link as I’m in the UK but I did buy the stripy jumper from Gap (and got it on sale!).
Alison Gary says
Oh I hope you love the sweater!
Proud member of the Moto Jacket Gang here! Seriously, the hashtag #AlisonMadeMeDoIt should be a thing. And because of the 20% off promo that Universal Standard and Wardrobe Oxygen had, I got those beautiful wide leg pants as well (for something like $20). So I hope you are getting credit when we used that code as well.
Even in Florida, I rocked that jacket (and the pants) this past weekend for my son’s musical performance. It’s always cold in the theatre and that jacket was perfect. And even though I know I shouldn’t give a rat’s rear, I had a look that measured up.
The Burgundy post had some great ideas to add a pop to my jeans and a t-shirt uniform. I’m loving a quick swipe of burgundy liner to amp up a low key look.
Keep doing you, girl!
Alison Gary says
You’re the best Krista <3 I'm glad to be in the same girl gang as you!
Linda B says
I am so happy for you to have all this success–not only financially, but I love to read how you are growing not only your business, but your life wisdom. Your honest sharing (about products, and process!) is a gift to your readers. Well done, Alison!
Alison Gary says
Thank you Linda!
I’m sorry the Wider Circle didn’t make the vote, my husband volunteers there and we think it’s a good organization.
We’ve been involved with families they’re helping to get back on their feet. They stage their warehouse so the families can “go shopping” and he came home talking about donations being in “dignity” condition. I’m not sure it had ever occured to him that before you donate something you need to step back and make sure it’s worth donating. By the time a family gets to the point they’re being helped by the Wider Circle they’ve been through a lot, and donating gently worn, not worn out, items helps them to readjust their images of themselves, and keep going through what is sometimes not an easy transition.
Anyway, I’m happy with the winner – Gun Safety is important as well!
If a person doesn’t have some Stitch Withery in their laundry area, they should! It’s a great thing to buy online if you aren’t regularly trolling around Joanne’s Fabrics. Now I’m off to give that Gap Sweatshirt dress a second look. If I order a Tall it’ll be a decent length for an old lady like myself 🙂
Alison Gary says
A Winder Circle is such a phenomenal organization; they have been a charity that Wardrobe Oxygen has supported in the past (and our family) and will be included again in the future!