Victoria Jackson at Apartment Number 4
Today, I'm interviewing Victoria Jackson, multi award winning blogger, who has just launched her own online styling package alongside her own magazine. Victoria started blogging many years ago and so has a wealth of experience and advice, for those of us who are novices to the blogging world. Read on to hear her journey.
Victoria Jackson is the founder of multi-award winning interior design blog, Apartment Number 4. Established in 2009, Apartment Number 4 is designed to help you create a beautiful home on a budget, editing the inspirational and showcasing the affordable.
Facebook: Apartment Number 4
Winner of the Best Use of Pinterest - Northern Blog Awards 2017 // Winner of Best Home Interiors Blog - Bloggers Blog Awards 2017 // Highly Commended for Next Big Thing - 30 Plus Awards 2017 // Winner of the Best Fashion Inspired Blog - Amara Interior Blog Awards 2015 // Shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2014 - Best Lifestyle Blog
1. You've have an amazing award-winning blog so I'm interested in what got you started with Blogging and on Social Media? what drives you to write a blog?
Truth be told, I was pushed into blogging by my university lecturer nearly 10 years ago. I studied journalism and fashion advertising combined, and most of the students in class were clueless as to what the word “blog” meant. If I’d have known then what I know now, I think I’d have put a lot more time and effort into it – I’d have also chosen a better name than I Heart Fashion, which was what my blog was originally called up until 2014.
2. Do you mix your blogging and social with other jobs, what time is spent on each?
I took the jump to become a full-time content creator in March of this year and since then I’ve launched my own digital interiors magazine; 4 (you can subscribe for free here) where every product featured is directly shoppable, I manage the social media platforms and blog for an amazing garden subscription company, and I recently launched my £99 Online Interior Design Service. The blog, however, will always be my number one priority as it forms the basis for all the other avenues I work on.
3. What made you start your interior design business?
Interior design shouldn’t feel unattainable – but it does. The ethos behind Apartment Number 4 is creating a beautiful home, whether that be a rental or your forever home, on a modest budget. With the £99 Online Interior Design Service, I work with clients to create a mood board, floor plan, styling tips and a dedicated shopping list, all for, you guessed it, £99 per room. So far, I’ve created two living rooms, a hallway entrance, a rental apartment master bedroom and a children’s bedroom. It’s been amazing! Discover more here.
4. How do you juggle it all?
Up until March I was running my blog alongside a full-time job as the editor of a menswear magazine, so when I decided to work solely on Apartment Number 4, I realised I needed to be strategic in what I spent my time doing – i.e. cut down on the trips to the fridge throughout the day. I work in hourly blocks from 7.30am to 3.30pm. If I know that for one hour I’m writing a blog post, I don’t have to worry about anything else until the next hour. Blocking time like this really helps me to stop procrastinating and jumping from one task to the next.
5. Do you have any advice on growing a blog readership or Instagram following, what specifically should people look to do?
I think more than anything the most important thing is authenticity. People know when you’re creating something you don’t feel passionate about, and readers start to realise when you’re writing solely for the pay cheque. Like every other full-time content creator, I have to pay my bills from this, but authenticity is so key to growing a loyal audience. Plus, when you’re writing about something you truly love, the numbers stop mattering as much. Just be yourself.
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 worked with some amazing brands over the years – Anthropologie, Christy’s, House of Fraser, Sainsbury’s and Vera Wang for Wedgwood to name a few. I didn’t seek to make money from my blog straight away, but as the years passed and I grew my audience, brands would approach me to collaborate. As I became more business savvy, I started to pitch Apartment Number 4 to companies I loved and here I am creating my future.
7. If someone was looking to make money this way, without giving away all your trade secrets, do you have any advice for them?
The biggest thing I learned was the create a really strong media kit. Shout about your successes. Make a list of all the brands you’ve worked with, add in examples of your photography and more importantly, go out there and pitch yourself. Don’t wait for opportunities to come knocking and become the Queen or King of self-promotion. My friends will tell you, I’m not ashamed to shout about my successes. If something great has happened in my career, I won’t keep it a secret.
8. What do you find the hardest and the most rewarding?
The hardest thing is being able to switch off. Because this job is more of a passion, I find even on holiday I want to check my emails and go on social media. The most rewarding thing is hearing readers say I’ve inspired them in some way with their décor choices. Over everything else, showing people you don’t need thousands of pounds to make an impact design wise is my main priority.
9. Have you done anything different or new in the last year to increase your social/blog following?
I’ve allowed my own personality to enter my writing a lot more and it’s helped shape the future of the business. I love reading blogs and social media accounts where people are unashamedly themselves, yet I was still writing in a very structured business style of editorial. Once I let that go and started to be more “me” I saw an increase in organic growth.
10. What has been your biggest or favourite milestone?
This is a hard one to answer as there’s been so many amazing moments over the last 9 years. I’d say winning my first award at the Amara Interior Blog Awards back in 2015 was really special. I’ve been lucky enough to go on to win three more awards since then which have all felt amazing, but that first time they called my name out as the winner was such a WOW moment! It came after 6 years of continual blogging, alongside a very stressful job, and there were times when I just wanted to give up as I thought no-one read or knew about Apartment Number 4, so that award gave me the confidence I needed to carry on.
The Girl with The Green Sofa