Maxine Brady of We Love Home Blog
Today I am featuring Interior Stylist, Styling Coach and Lifestyle Blogger - Maxine Brady of We Love Home blog - to fill us in on her styling career, and why she has chosen to recently branch out into interiors blogging. Maxine used to work in London as a Style Editor for numerous Interior Magazines, before taking a career break to go travelling around the world.
On her return, Maxine bought her first house which was a ‘wreck’ and she started We Love Home blog to talk about her makeover projects, as well as share her styling tips and decorating advice, and showcase her chic interior style. She most recently launched a range of interior styling workshops - The Secret Styling Club - which she hosts around the country.
Recently listed in the top 50 trending blogs, Maxine is definitely one to follow and you can see a list of her social sites below.
1. You've have an amazing blog so I'm interested in what got you started with Blogging and on Social Media? What drives you to write a blog?
Awh, thank you. I work really hard on my blog so that is lovely to hear.
For my day job I’m an Interior Stylist. I had been living in flat for 10 years and was desperate to buy a house. Brighton – where I am from and where I live and work – is super expensive. I saved up for five years and even ended up renting out my flat and couch-surfing for six months to be able to afford my first home.
The only house I could afford was a ‘project’ – well, actually it was a total dump. It had been empty for seven years and had nothing done to it.
Everything needed renovating. It had a leaking bathroom, a dilapidated kitchen, an overgrown garden and parts of the roof and all the windows and doors needed replacing.
When I started to look on-line for ideas for my home, I couldn’t find anything that reflected my own home style. This gave me the idea to start an interiors blog using my interior styling know-how.
When I started I knew nothing about blogging or social media. In the past three years, I feel I have done a MA in social media and website design!
Social media is part and parcel of running a blog, as I discovered. You have to shout out about everything you do to drive traffic to your blog.
2. Do you mix your blogging and social with other jobs, what time is spent on each?
I work full time as an interior stylist – and I do my blogging in the evenings and at the weekend. I do blog about my job with "behind the scenes of photo shoots" or showcasing my latest projects. I also blog about how to become an interior stylist. I try to share my know-how as much as I can. I mix that in with posts about my own home DIY projects and more practical reviews (my post on underfloor heating in my kitchen is one of my post popular!)
I’m starting to branch out into my other passions – like bits of fashion and travel.
3. What, in your opinion, makes a good blog?
Ooh- that is hard one!
I think being very true to who you are. I love to discover a blog where I can get a sense of the person behind the blog and their sense of homestyle. My favorites are all so different Swoon Worthy, Kate La Vie, Melanie Lissack Interiors to name a few…. but they each have a distinct style and offer something interesting and different to me. That is why I feature lots of posts with me in them – as I have found photos of me in my home do the best on my social media.
4. How do you juggle it all?
I don’t! I spend most of my life either running around Brighton picking up props, writing posts until 1am then up again at 6am to drive to London. Plus Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter….
I struggle with a work/life balance. This is something I’m trying to get better at (I have actually written a post on it).
5. Do you have any advice on growing a blog readership or Instagram following, what specifically should people look to do?
I’m a big believer in taking your own photos for Instagram – and don’t use a filter. Make them as ‘you’ as possible – and treat the captions like mini blog posts.
I also an getting into Pinterest to growing traffic to my blog and am trying to focus more energy into that. Also, try to build communities on all your social media platforms – chat to other instagramers, connect with people – be proactive.
I’ve started two hashtags #secretstylingclub for the styling workshops I run – and #BrightBlogGang – the community of Brighton Bloggers that I have gather together. #Brightbloggang has a private facebook page and insta pod – and I arrange meet ups so we can all get together to build a community and support each other. (Any Brighton lifestyle bloggers reading this – get in touch).
6. What Brands have you worked with? Did you seek to monetise your blog or has it been serendipitous? or are you just not interested in that side of things and why?
I’ve been lucky to work with lots of great brands from Laura Ashely, Pib-Home, Gemini Tiles, Dowsing & Renyolds, Happy Beds, Benson For Beds, Little Greene Paint Company, Farrow & Ball, EDF, British Gas….
My blog is another avenue of my income – mostly through collaborative content and sponsored posts. I will write a post for product that I want in my home - so I’m personally endorsing it and saying this is what I would have in my space. I’m very picky about who I work with – and I turn down more paid content than I take.
My blog has slowly grown to make some money but by no means mega bucks - and it has taken 3 years of hard work to get there. I would say for the amount of hours I put in, it doesn’t really pay that well! But I love it, and I’m very proud of what I have achieved in such a short space of time.
7. If someone was looking to make money this way, without giving away all your trade secrets, do you have any advice for them?
Never start a blog to make money! That is not the reason you blog. You need to blog because you love it. Otherwise, readers will tell you are churning our sponsored content and it will suck. For every paid-for post, I do about 3-4 posts unpaid.
8. What do you find the hardest and the most rewarding?
The learning curve is huge. The new GDPR rules are an utter headache. Then there is learning Word Press. Then studying the best practices for all the social media platforms – and the ever-changing rules. It’s enough to make you cry sometimes.
I’m dyslexic so writing is a struggle – it is one of the reasons I put off blogging for so long. But actually, I make mistakes sometimes but as long as what I’m putting out there is good content I hope that my readers will forgive the odd typo. The biggest complement most people give me is that they love my writing style – my friend and my frienda' mums read my blog – and they say that my posts sounds like they are talking directly to me.
The best bit is the other people I have met through blogging. I have so many virtual close friends. And I have a gaggle of amazing women around me in Brighton. And I have laughed and cried on my socials, and everyone has been so lovely and supportive.
9. Have you done anything different or new in the last year to increase your social/blog following?
I’ve had a brand new blog re-design and new look that I’m so proud of. It was six months in the making and cost a lot of money too! But it shows off so much more of my content and really gives a great impression of what I’m about and what I do.
I’ve been shortlisted for a lots of awards this year – including Social Media Influencer of 2018 – and picked by Real Homes as their ‘No1 Inspiring Instagrammer’ – and I’m also going to appear in Your Home, Good Homes – as well as in German magazines, on Houzz; as blogger of the month, Apartmentherapy, French online magazine. This has all been a great boost.
10. How do you grow your blog readership and most importantly keep people coming back?
I’ve really had to work out what my readers want from my blog – and write posts for them not me. They love me to give solutions for their home – so I have made posts more relevant to them.
Readers also want to know more about my job – and I launched a range of Interior styling workshops with a stylist friend, Laurie Davidson (@lifeofaninteriorstylist) and we host The Secret Styling Club – where we take our ideas on the road.
11. What has been your biggest or favourite milestone?
Humm.. that’s a toughy. Being featured on Apartmentherapy had to be a biggie. Being shortlisted for Social Media Influencer of The Year.
But maybe the biggest is improving my photography. I take all the images for my blog -and videos. I have had to learn how to work a camera – and take a selfie using my smart phone. I’m so proud of how my images look – they truly reflect me. I’m also doing more video content – and love doing Stories on Instagram.
The new blog design too makes me smile inside.
Oh – finally – it has to be (almost) finishing my house. That is a huge achievement! Anyone who follows my Insta Stories would have seen the amount of love/tears/painting I have put into my garden makeover – and that is going to appear in Good Homes magazine in August. Woop!
The Girl withThe Green Sofa