Who is Barbara?
I’ll say I am fun. *laughs*. I’m stylish, I’m quite ambitious and I’m incredibly driven. So, whilst most people don’t know who they are, I know absolutely 100% who I am and most of the time a bit too much. So, I’m not easily swayed.
When did you start blogging?
I started blogging probably two years ago, however, in between I had a break. When I started, it was my sister who was helping me out with my photography and stuff like that, but life got in the way and to be honest I wasn’t taking it as serious at that time.
How did you come about blogging?
I was literally up one night, and I was like ‘I love fashion!’ There was no doubt in my mind about that and I thought of how I could use my love of fashion and just tell the world about what I am most passionate about. I looked at WordPress, and initially started with outofbarbsbox.wordpress.com. It was so cringe. I decided to put pen to paper and start talking about what I absolutely enjoy doing. I stayed up that night till about 6am in the morning building a WordPress blog and I did it all by myself. I was super proud, and I think I published my first article the next day just because I was so excited, and I told everyone about it.
How did the name out of Barbara’s box come about?
I think initially I started off with ‘as far as my feet will take me’ because as far as my feet will take me was something that has been precedent in my life. I’m absolutely certain that as far as my feet will take me; my feet is going to take me places, but it just seemed too long a name to have. ‘Out of Barbara’s box’ popped in my head because if you think about a woman’s closet, it’s very personal to her but my concept is I like to think out of the box. I put a spin on things a tiny bit so it just made sense to tie in my wardrobe with my personality or put stamp on my styling and so the name out of Barbara’s box was born.
Are you a fulltime blogger or part time?
I’m so incredibly envious of the many people who are full time bloggers cos I think that it’s a wonderful thing to be able to do. I am a part time blogger. I have a very busy and demanding full time job that takes a lot of my time, energy, creativity and everything else.
What will you say is your profession?
I’m a social media manager. I started of my career as a secretary and then a PA. One of my bosses saw my talents and skills for social media and my creativity, so they sent me on several courses and trained me. That was how I got into social media management and I’ve moved between several industries. I started off in hospitality and then went into finance and now I’m in networking.
How has the journey been for you so far?
As with all journeys, it’s never easy. You go through busts of challenges, times where it’s a wave; it’s highs and lows. However, there is one thing; I have been incredibly lucky to have had immense support from friends, family and everyone so far. That support shows through my journey. With my sister starting off helping me with photography, to a very kind work colleague who’s now a good friend helping me out. Its been a wave but I think it’s been enjoyable. It’s been a learning curve. There’s so much I picked up along the way. So much I have come to know and learn. It’s been a beautiful journey that I have been on.
Tips for upcoming influencers struggling with outreach
I would say my top tip would be to carve a niche for yourself. There’s no good thinking you are going to be a blogger and it’s good enough to just wear jeans, a t-shirt and take a photo. Find what you’re good at, carve a niche for yourself and be consistent with it. Constantly do it and do it properly.
You have a very interactive audience; more interactive than people with more following than yours on social media. What contributes to having not just an audience but audience that are involved in what you do? How can that be achieved?
In terms of engagement on social media, I am of the belief that what you give is what you get. The more you interact and engage in other people’s posts – not just engaging because you must, but genuinely showing a love for what they’re doing; eventually it drives people to your page, they notice what you’re doing as well, and you form a friendship. So, give as much as you can, and you will see people return almost a lot back. Engage, interact. Remember it’s social media, so you’re supposed to be social.
You have this very bold and confident style and charisma. Do you ever second guess yourself or your style?
In terms of my personal style, I’ll say yes, I’m confident. However, sometimes I constantly second guess myself. I might put a look together, have it photographed and not like the way it turned out. However, It turns out that 9 out of 10 times people like it. Though I might not be 100 percent happy with the way it’s turned out, no one has ever said I look crap, so I think I might kind of be doing something quite right. *laughs*. My style is confident too and speaks volumes on who I am. There are somethings you will never catch me wearing just because it is not my personality. Whatever you’re wearing, you have to be confident wearing it otherwise you shouldn’t.
Have you ever received backlashes from peers, strangers and loved ones about your personal style, choices, life and career? How have you managed such situations?
I think so far, I have been very lucky, and I am hoping to carry on being lucky. Everyone has been incredibly supportive – Family, friends, partners. They are very happy to see me doing what I’m doing because they see that I enjoy it and I think that’s what’s key. People believe in your goal if you believe in it. I think the crucial thing here is they can see how passionate I am, they can see how much I enjoy doing it, so they themselves are as excited and passionate about my blog as I am about it.
What is personal style to you?
Personal style should be about your personality. It should be about your budget which is so key. It’s incredible to see that people aspire to designer gear and I’m like designers would not make you look fashionable. So personal style should enhance what you’ve already got as opposed to detract from it. It should be about what you love. Personal style should be about your personality, it should be about your pocket – it should be friendly to your pocket, it should always try never to be in trend but to set trends.
Sometimes brands send pitch emails to bloggers and never get a response from them. Does this normally indicate that the bloggers are not interested or is it something else?
It could be the blogger isn’t interested in their product, or the blogger has other work that takes priority and it could be it doesn’t align with their ethics. I know bloggers who are vegan for instance and they would not touch a product that isn’t vegan.
Who are the women that inspire you?
There are series of women that inspire me but there are not celebrities. In fact, I’m of the mind that, some celebrities have worked incredibly hard for where they are but there are some that just made it to where they are because quite frankly they sold their souls to the devil. *laugh*
Women that inspire me; I see them completely going for what they want, doing it and achieving it against all odds, skin colour, background, class, everything. These women are doing great things.
Can you explain how bloggers are able to monetize their blog brands?
First, you need to have a brand, you need to have something that people can relate to. You need to have a personality, a voice, an identity and you need to be different. Once you have those qualities, there’s so much information now as to how you can make money from blogging and from Instagram. Do your research. Educate yourself as much as possible, apply those tools that you find online into making some money. The market is big enough for everyone there’s no reason you shouldn’t be tapping into it. Educate yourself, research, research, research!
What’s your personal philosophy that you live by?
Be the best person that you can every single time. You just don’t know who you’re going to meet. When people don’t have a good attitude, personality or are just full of themselves…you just don’t know. A lot of friendships I’ve made and people I know, is because when we met it was just natural, easy and I’ve been very receptive as well. Don’t force anything, there’s no point and it comes across as quite fake.
Do you identify as a feminist?
I am not at all a feminist. In fact, power to all the feminist out there. I’m a woman at the same time, I understand that there are somethings I need help with. The other day, my light bulb went off and I was like, ‘hmm won’t it be rather lovely to have a man fix this right now’.
Your body is so fit!! Do you work out or are you one of those who were just gifted with toned bodies?
I’m very lucky; my mom and dad blessed me with great genetics. However, I do enjoy doing Pilates, yoga and from time to time I run when I’m not extremely tired from work. I don’t really do a lot to be honest. I could eat better but I don’t. I love food. Uh!! I love food! Food and fashion, you can have me any day. I would say its about 60 percent luck, 40 percent work.
A lot of women are unhappy with their body especially in the fashion industry. Any advice for women struggling to embrace their body?
Obviously, the media is projecting certain ways a woman should look and it’s what’s bombarded in our faces day to day. You see this woman with the biggest butts, the tiniest waist, the biggest tits, the perfect hair and everything is chiselled. Look, I always say, none of this is real, if its real, good for her. However, bear in mind the media shows you what they want you to see. So, if you’re feeding on all of that, accepting it and feel that’s what you should be like, it’s so sad and I feel great empathy for these ladies. Remember it’s not real, it might be real, but it’s taken a lot of work so if you can’t commit yourself to that amount of work don’t expect you’re going to look like that, it’s just not going to happen. You just have to embrace and love what you’ve been given and love it a 100 percent.
Where do you see yourself as a person and brand in the next few years?
I’m planning over the next few years to run my own social media consultancy where I can advise on how to grow, manage brand online social presence, with the target audience being bloggers and small businesses.
What is your advice to the woman struggling with her personal style, fear, identity and purpose?
I would say try so much to open your mind; open yourself to trying things that you’ve never thought of. The things that you think are not good about you is what somebody else appreciates about you. Break out of that mould, that rust of ‘oh I only wear suits and that’s it’. Just break off the mould. Nothing good ever comes in a comfort zone. Get out of your comfort zone and be awesome.