Today marks eight years since the day that I thought ‘hey, I’m going to make a real go at posting regularly on that blog I started in October 2009’. Eight years (and then some) of Daisybutter as you know it today. I’m a blogging veteran and yet in many ways, I’m exactly where I started, a hobbyist blogger wanting to find a place of her own in the industry.
In previous years, I’ve written lengthy ‘thank you’ notes and talked about what I hope to achieve in the next year of blogging, but this year I wanted to reintroduce myself on here, as inspired by Chloe. It struck me a few weeks ago that there is much content to sift through on these online pages and a readership that’s joined me at all different chapters of it. So here is a little A-Z of who I am, my intentions here and where my blog has taken me thus far.
Hello! My name is Michelle and I’m 26 years old. I’ll be 27 on the 2nd March and that makes me the most Pisces Pisces you’ll ever meet. I’m a vegetarian of a year-and-a-half. I don’t feel fully dressed without painted nails. I’m a dreamer at heart, a total romantic and creatively driven, something that I’ve been told rings true with everything I touch, ever since the age of 10. I found peace in words where I couldn’t in the playground or with the friends I simply didn’t have.
I used to write short stories in novel form, diary form, biographical form and more from my bedroom on a PC that was a big ol’ chunk and that often smelt like smoke. I also had few friends to hang out with and would spend many an hour playing Sims (and writing) until one day, my beloved hand-me-down PC blew up.
I am quite literally fuelled by coffee and drink several cups of the good stuff every day. It usually takes me about three cups to get through my morning emails – business and blog – and I don’t mind. Aside from coffee, I really love clothes, my beautiful dog, spending time alone, with my boyfriend and with my family, travelling, writing, capturing life’s minute joys and, well, writing. I decided sometime between the ages of 16 and 18 that I’d like to work in the fashion industry, a bit of an eff-you to my school bullies, and that I’d like to write. And at the age of 18, I was off to study BA (Hons) Writing Fashion and Culture at Southampton Solent University, from which I’d eventually graduate with a bursting book of contacts, the knowledge of how to formulate my own business, several summers and winters-worth of internship experience, a pretty packed portfolio and a First Class degree with honours.
At the age of 21, I’d been writing Daisybutter for almost three years and I was already beginning to feel jaded. Jaded by the magazine industry who treated me like dirt off their shoe (I once interned for a publication who’d ‘allow’ me a lunch break at 4pm for 10 minutes and to collect coffees, whilst the other two – white – interns could sit at a desk and organise mail) and by a work culture that allowed little to no room for creativity, I began to pour my efforts into my blog, allowing me opportunities I could only have dreamed of whilst sitting on the floor of a fashion cupboard.
Daisybutter led me to my first London Fashion Week experience, front-rowing at Bora Aksu, writing runway notes for Temperley London and Eudon Choi, interviewing designers. It led to me being shortlisted for the second-ever Cosmopolitan Blog Awards and the Marie Claire Blog Awards in their Established Fashion Blog categories, and ultimately, has been the single-most rewarding thing I’ve ever put time into.
Since starting this blog, I’ve worked with brands ranging from Mulberry to Harrods, Evian to Nintendo, ghd to Bose. I’ve been lucky enough to make a small income from these pages, and, I’ve seen the industry blossom from blogs-only to include Twitter as a platform from which to find 5 other bloggers, to include YouTube and then to Instagram. It’s been an incredible eight years.
Back in my real life, I’d found my feet working for fashion retail companies in their online departments. I worked in roles pertaining to marketing, copywriting and social media, a natural move, I suppose, given my blogging background, and had a whale of a time commuting to London everyday. My days were filled with fun but busy working hours, dinner with blogging friends and hanging out at blog events, before returning home and doing it all over again the next day. Over time, I began to lose my fire though and ultimately ended up working at a more locally based company (my F&F days!) for a year before…
Moving to Hong Kong! I think my international move was one of the most pivotal moments of my life. From enduring a break-up moments before my flight to enduring nights wondering what the hell I’d done, I had the best time ever in Hong Kong. I worked at Lane Crawford’s head office and met some of my best friends, explored many islands and learned how to adult.
It was here that I felt a little exasperated at the blogging world and how South East Asia travel was so aspirational when written about by white bloggers and so ‘I don’t care’ when written about by Asian bloggers. No shade, just the honest truth. The eight-hour time difference was so tough and I often felt as though I’d made a huge mistake, blog-wise, with the move. However, right after flying home and using my five-days’ annual leave to spend time with my family for Christmas, my Granny passed away and I unceremoniously tipped my flat into suitcases and flew home. For good.
In 2016, I ticked 8 travel destinations off my list, became a puppy Mama and gained my best friend. (Patience!) I’ve been home for almost two years now and they’ve been SO great. I took the plunge and took my freelance business full-time (first and foremost, this was because I made a snap decision to come home and hadn’t thought twice about anything but my family), I travelled lots, I ‘met’ my now-boyfriend whilst travelling in Japan in fact. Harvey is my favourite thing in the world. (Except for my dog. My little white pupper is seriously my biggest blessing and transformed my mental health.) I met him almost ten years ago when we were 17 and I count my blessings every day that our paths crossed, stars aligned and that I get to do and see everything with him as my best friend and boyfriend. One day, I may tell you our story in full…
Oh, and my blog and business has gone from strength to strength. I spend my days in constant bliss and turmoil, working for clients that I wholeheartedly adore but panicked at the lack of secure money, hanging out with my adorable pupper, having the free time to work on my blog, and making sure I’m spending enough time with my family. In my late twenties’, I’m finding courage in doing what I live and doing it well, regardless of what society may tell me.