My Blogging Story

In light of my last controversial post about starting a blog to make money, I wanted to tell my story about blogging and talk about the reasons why I continue to blog.  I think they're very different, my motivations for starting and the motivations I had for continuing it until now.  (It's kind of long, but the process has been kind of complex, so I wanted to explain it well.)

You see, I love business.  I love making money.  Not to have money necessarily, but I enjoy the strategy, the creativity, the achievement of bringing an idea to fruition and making it work for me.  My father and grandfather are both entrepreneurs, so I've been raised with sayings like, "If you can't find a job, make one for yourself," "Learn how to make money doing what you love to do anyway," "Want something? Work for it," and "Making money requires creativity."

I love this heritage I've received from my family members, and it has resulted in quite a few business endeavors throughout my life.  It began with a briefcase of handmade items I sold to unsuspecting kids at church (with a 10 cent up charge for personalization), moved to making hundreds of origami flowers to sell, to my pet business in my neighborhood (called "Wag, Walk, 'n' Wash"), doing yard work, selling duct tape accessories for charities, and doing simple alterations and running an Etsy shop as a college student.  Obviously.... I think business is fun.

So when I discovered the world of vintage as a freshman in college and decided to integrate vintage into my wardrobe, I realized I had two huge obstacles to reaching that dream: I had no knowledge and I had no money.

I began to research to learn about vintage styles to overcome that obstacle.  I discovered vintage blogs and pored over them, learning from others who have started this journey long before I did and benefitting from their experience.  Since I had never seen a vintage wearer in real life, I felt like I was discovering kindred spirits.  It was the ladies of the blogosphere that encouraged me to wear gloves and rock the large hats, even if everyone in my town stared at me.  Seeing that vintage was normal to a lot of other people made me feel a lot less abnormal, in the sense that my unique style was good, not just freakish.

The second obstacle was still very real, however.  I didn't have a lot of money, being a college student and all, to spend on clothes.  I didn't have time in my schedule to pick up a "real" job, but I new I could make money other ways.  I started an Etsy shop.  My father always told me the best way to earn money was to figure out a way to earn it without me having to be there, and an online shop available to people 24/7 was a way for my investment to work for me while I was in class, versus trying to create a pop up shop or go to craft fairs or something.  I took the plunge.  

I learned very quickly that selling on Etsy is hard.  An aunt of mine suggested starting a blog to go along with it, with the idea that people have a reason to keep coming to a blog (good content), while they don't necessarily have a reason to keep coming back to my Etsy shop (until I built a loyal following).  Seemed like a good idea to me!  After a hiccup where I realized I couldn't try to be someone else on my blog, I started Flashback Summer.

Soon I discovered... Hey, I actually like blogging... for blogging's sake!  I saw how it helped me develop my style and figure out what my "niche" is in life.  It helped me, again, feel normal in my uniqueness from the encouragement of others in comments.  I did conclude, also, that blogging is actually a terrible way to try to make money!  It's so slow going, especially nowadays, and hard work doesn't necessarily equate to more success.  At all.  Mostly it's just hard work.

But I kept blogging!  I like how it has helped me develop and I like the people I have met.  I enjoy writing and having motivation to practice it often.  I relish the chance to share the things I've learned with others.  This motivated me when it was difficult, when my numbers weren't growing, when I stressed about getting posts out, when I was jealous of others' success, when comments were less than encouraging.  It wasn't the chance of money that kept me putting one cyber foot in front of the other, it was blogging itself.  I actually put my Etsy shop on the back burner and eventually closed it because I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as blogging.

Then after a while of developing my readership and figuring out who the heck I am as a blogger, I figured maybe I can make a bit of pocket change off of this.  Why not?  I could at least offset my coffee bills while I write!  That family advice of, "If you love something, make money of off it" came to mind.  Nowadays I make a little bit of money off of sponsorships and such, but it pretty much is still just coffee money and money I put back into improving the blog.  And I'm great with that!  If opportunities come my way, I'll take advantage of them.  If they don't, I'm quite contented with the benefits blogging provides.  It's a success in and of itself.

So what's your blogging story? What do you feel is your greatest motivation to keep blogging?

If you aren't a blogger, what made you decide to take the vintage plunge?  What encouraged you to keep on keepin' on when it got difficult? 


  1. My husband actually was the one who suggested I start my blog. I was just getting into the vintage world and he suggested that I start a blog to share my thoughts with the world. And that was that.

  2. I think the advice you've been given by your family is great - if you can find a way to make money doing something you love then you absolutely should go for it!
    My very first blog was started in my teens after years of reading other blogs and sites like Lookbook and Chictopia and thinking "I can contribute to this", as well as a way to document my developing style and probably, as a poor student, with the hopes of getting some freebies if I'm honest!

    I stopped blogging after highschool due to starting a job and being unable to keep up with it, but I really missed the creative outlet so started up my current blog.
    I've always loved dressing up and researching fashions, but pretty much none of my friends are as interested (obsessed) as I am so being able to read about and talk to other like-minded people is definitely something that keeps me blogging.

    I really admire your determination and drive - I am so lazy with my blog and often feel guilty about going long periods without posting!

    1. Psh, I used to feel guilty about not posting, but then I figured... why? It's not like I'm sitting around eating bon-bons instead of writing. I'm living life! That's not a bad thing to run out of time to post. Now I try to be intentional, but I don't sweat it if I just can't get to it. I have a life outside the blogosphere, too!

  3. You come off as a very well-rounded young person, with many interests. You also are very obviously not afraid of working towards goals, whatever they may be, and that's inspiring. Keep it up!

  4. Like yourself, I started many small businesses as a child and teen and have always had a passion for entrepreneurial endeavors and carving out your own career, which all the more reason that I feel blessed to have been able to turn my undying passion for vintage into just that though my Etsy shop and blog in recent years. Not only does this play well to my passion for being my own boss, but it's also just about the only sort of job I can do due to my severe chronic health problems, which truly make a standard 9-5 or even just working outside the house most days at all a true impossibility. The web is such a godsend to those like me, and many others (SAHMs, retirees looking to supplement their incomes, those wanting a second job, etc) for this reason and not a day goes by that I don't count it amongst my blessings.

    ♥ Jessica

  5. I can completely understand the financial motivations underpinning why you started blogging, even if I've never had an Etsy shop! I like the idea of starting something to see where I could take it, how big it could get and yes, if one day it could even make me some pennies. And I'm under no illusion that it will, indeed, be pennies! It's very hard to make it big in the blogging world these days and these ideas people have that you can make a 6-figure salary from it completely baffle me! If I get a free dress once in a blue moon I consider that I've made it... heh. I've dropped by from Jessica's interview with you, by the way - hoping to follow your posts more closely in future :)

    CC x

  6. I read your interesting interview over at Jessica's and followed the link here. Your style is very beautiful. The Thirties and Forties have fabulous femininity in fashion.

    I applaud your point in this post that we blog for different reasons. Blogging, as you note, is hard work so we need to focus on why we're doing it.

  7. I just read your lovely interview on Jessica's blog and came here to see your blog. I also love the 10's and 20's decades, as well as the 30's and 40's. You have a lovely blog. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

  8. I love this follow up!

    I completely get you too regarding selling on Etsy - it IS hard! I did it with vintage clothing for sometime, but realized I didn't enjoy it all that much, not to mention my inventory took up too much room in our small apartment! But I did enjoy listing sewing patterns! And was glad to stick with that!

    Regarding my blogging many bloggers share their story, and I will often feel inclined to share mine but it's long and convoluted... And regarding what keeps me blogging, I enjoy it. It's nice to share, communicate and connect. I've made so many friendships over the years and it's so delightful!


  9. Thanks for sharing your blogging story :)

    I feel like I've always had the entrepreneurial spark too, but it wasn't something I saw in action in my life, so it took me a long time to have the confidence to start, and I lacked the know-how to begin with too. But I was full of ideas all the time!

    I first blogged with my sister about various crafts we were doing, then I also had a blog for sharing my teaching resources and experiences, and then started the blog for my millinery business once I returned to that passion. What I find the most interesting is the way that I have come to enjoy it too, especially from the perspective of finding and connecting to a group of lovely friendly people with some common interests. It's also just great to learn something new, and blogging keeps me doing that too!

  10. My motivation to blog for awareness (when I write about environmental things), connecting with others, and sharing my knowledge. And I would love to make some money from it.

    I have a chronic illness that would make having a "normal" job a bit tough, plus my husband and I love having me at home. So if I can bring in some extra money with blogging, that's great.

  11. I started my current main blog in March 2011, a few months after the devastating, unexpected loss of my old Angelfire site. I'd had that website for almost 10 years, and had it yanked from under me because one of my posts offended a mentally unbalanced blogger and her sycophantic friends. I thankfully managed to recover perhaps 1,000 files or so from cache and archive searches, but many other pieces were lost. I learnt my lesson, and almost never discuss anything potentially political, polarizing, or controversial at my writing-centric blog.

    It's been a great way to network with other writers, even though most of the writers I've met in the blogosphere aren't fellow historical writers. Now that I've taken the plunge into indie publishing instead of pursing the agent rat race, it helps to have connections with bloggers who can promote me and feature me for guest posts.

  12. I think it's great that you are honest about wanting to make money blogging, I also think it is weird how taboo the topic is! I started blogging for many reasons, but hoping to turn it into my "real job", where I could make a small living doing it, was definitely one of those reasons! I finished my degree in fashion design, realized getting a job was going to be a struggle and had to pour my creative energy into something; so I finally started The Closet Historian. I had been reading blogs for years and had tried to start my own a few times before, but I lacked the vision and commitment to really go for it. Once I had nothing to do, staring at the terrifying void of being unemployed after college, I had to dive into a project of some kind to stay sane! I agree with your family "If you can't find a job, make one for yourself" While I continue to search for a "real job" I am trying my best to turn blogging onto just that!

    I also really am enjoying becoming a part of the vintage community here online, as I don't know anyone who loves/wears vintage in my offline daily life. I have been lucky to meet some incredibly kind people within the vintage community!

    In the end, it never bothers me to see adds on a blog and I don't mind the occasional relevant sponsored post. I never see it as "selling out" or anything like that, because I know just how much work is involved in creating consistently great content!

  13. It has been really interesting to read your posts on blogging and to find out more about your blogging journey. Nothing wrong with wanting to find out if it can make you a bit of money, after all, it is your blog and you should do what you want to with it. Reading everyone else's comments has been fascinating too. I really enjoy this interaction with others in the vintage world and that is one of the highlights of blogging for me. I started mine because I wanted to reclaim some space for myself after having a breakdown and having to give up my career. It has been one of the best things to come out of that mess!