Spotlight on Kimberley Duran of Swoonworthy Blog
Once again, the marrying of home and job, finds its way through in the spotlight, so you get to feast your eyes on this incredible home while hearing how Kimberley established herself as the blogger we all know and love and who now features on the judging panel on Amara Interior Blog awards! it’s an interesting business story, how you can monetise blogging, the first such post on my blog.
Go listen to how Kimberley transitioned from her job to freelancer and how it works for her.
I'm Kimberley Durran and I figure the most important thing you should know is that I’m obsessed with interiors. I am an unashamed maximalist. I love colour and pattern and interiors with personality. I describe my style as ‘Eclectic Boho Glam’: Gold luxe finishes, cheeky animal prints, touchable textural fabrics, bold pattern mixing, a touch of vintage and bohemian-style comfort. This all makes me weak in the knees. You’ll see a lot of that here on this tour.
You will also see a lot of accessible design ideas because I don’t have a “lottery-win” budget and I’m guessing that you don’t either. No matter. I believe that everyone has the right to a beautiful home, no matter what your budget. In fact, when your funds are limited, it makes you more creative and allows you to think outside the box (yes, there’s a plus side to not winning the lottery!). I believe you can achieve a high-end look without spending a huge amount of money. I believe in my heart of hearts that you are fully capable of making your home a reflection of you even if you are on a budget, as long as you’re willing to get a little dirty (that means a lot of DIY)
I’m a content and social media marketer, editor and freelance writer and have worked in digital media for around 10 years now. I started Swoon Worthy back in 2010 when we’d first moved into our Edwardian house to catalogue the design and décor changes as well as all the DIY we were doing to make it our own. I have been lucky enough to turn a hobby into a full-time career as a freelance interiors writer and blogger and a consultant for retail websites.
I’ve also been lucky enough to have been featured in a number of magazines both in the UK and abroad, on countless websites including Young House Love, Apartment Therapy and Houzz and my home has also been featured in two interior design books. I won the coveted Blogger’s Choice Award at the Amara Interior Blog Awards (2016) and I won the award for Most Creative Project at the Callwey Best of Interior Blog Awards (2015). I’ve been shortlisted (top 5) in the Best DIY Blog category in the Amara Interior Awards for three years running and Swoon Worthy was named one of the Top 10 Interior Design Blogs by The Daily Telegraph (2015).
I’m a Yank (originally from Pennsylvania) but have lived in the UK since 2001 which means my accent is sort of all over the place. I’ve thoroughly picked up the British vernacular however which makes both Brits and Americans laugh.
You can read Kimberley's blog here.
1. What was the reason behind you starting your business?
I started my blog back in 2010 after we’d moved into our Edwardian semi just outside of Manchester. I simply wanted to catalogue the changes we’d made and get involved in the blogger community. At the time, blogging as a ‘career’ wasn’t really something I’d even considered but as time went on, I realised that I could monetise it. I eventually went part time in my work as the Editor of AO.com’s lifestyle blog and then not long after, went totally freelance. I now write for a number of different retailer blogs as well as provide blog consultancy. And of course, I also have various revenue streams on my blog – from sponsored posts to display advertising and affiliate links.
2. How did you start up?, kitchen table? Mum’s garage, renting premises?
I started my blog from my dining room table! Lots of late nights and working weekends shooting and styling plus of course, all our DIYs took place over the weekends when my other half was home.
3. How did you fund your business?
I have had no need to raise outside finance of my business.
4. What was the most difficult part of starting up your business? Access to money, advice, finding people to buy, marketing etc?
In the first year before I quit my job, it was simply building up enough freelance work to be able to support myself. I needed to concentrate on my own blog as well to make sure I was growing my traffic and social media followings.
5. What went wrong in your first year? Few months if you haven’t been trading that long?
Thankfully nothing went really wrong.
6. What have you learnt?
I’ve learnt that I’m actually quite resilient. If no opportunities are knocking at my door, I have to make those opportunities happen. You can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen, you really have to just grab the bull by the horns and create those opportunities for yourself. For me, this means getting in touch with brands I want to work with and sending proposals on what I might be able to do for them. I’ve also recently created a collaboration page on my website so that brands can see at a glance what they’ll get if they work with me.
7. What is the most important piece of advice that you could give others thinking about starting a business?
That preparation is the most important thing. There will be a lot of late nights and sacrifices to make it happen. I had zero social life for around a year or so when I was still building up my freelance work on the side of my full-time job. When I finally made the transition to working freelance, things fell into place a lot easier because of all the preparation I had done in the year before.
8. And what do you enjoy the most?
I adore styling products for brands in my own home and taking on creative challenges. I also love the blogging community – I’ve made some amazing friendships. And of course, chatting to my readers – they’ve always got an encouraging word and are so amazing in their support of what I’m doing on my blog.
9. On a scale of 1-10 how hard do you find it to run your own business?
Probably a 7! For as much as I love what I do, the main issue I find is that I just never switch off. I’d love to work in a 2 week holiday a year at some point – I haven’t had one in ages!
Nicola says "I'm fascinated by the way in which blogging has become a much more mainstream activity and a way of making money. Not so long back, brands simply took our adverts on tv or in magazines, but the rise of social media and bloggers allows them to reach an audience that is very tailored to them, much more targeted and unique. It also allows those that might have had a mainstream advertising job flexibility in how they work and the ability to freelance. Not only that, though, it has allowed ordinary homeowners to get in on the act, the last 24 months seeing a massive rise in interiors influencers, which brands now use to get their products out there"
Thanks Kimberley for sharing your home and your story.
The Girl with The Green Sofa