Can you believe it I finally restart my favourite segment? Blogger Crush is here with one of my favourite bloggers lately featuring Austen Tosone.
Austen is not only a blogger but also a pretty established freelance writer. Lately, she is also dive into the startup world and become beauty content director at the Jumprope app.
One of the most obvious reasons that I like Austone is that she is such an energic person. As one of her closest followers, she is always up to something. Photo shooting, video editing, a freelance content project for the big name in the industry. Her energy always seems at the top.
I also love her friendliness to all people who are asking something about content creation, career advice for young girls who want to make it in NY. Even as 32 years old myself learn from her. Her energy boosts my energy. We should all follow someone like her when e=we feel the most dreadful about our work, our side hustle etc.
Ladies and gentlemen, I represent you Austen Tosone.
Betül K. Yıldız: First of all, welcome to our Blogger Crush section. We love your work so much. You are not a typical blogger/influencer because of your background. Do you want to tell more about yourself, and how did you decided to start what you do right now?
Austen Tosone: Thank you for having me! My mom was a magazine editor, and I grew up in a house filled with magazines. We’d go to Barnes & Noble together, and I’d spend way too long looking at the new issues and trying to decide which ones I wanted to take home. I interned at magazines throughout college, and when I graduated, I got hired at Nylon Magazine as an assistant editor. It was absolutely my dream job until the magazine folded. After that, I went to Interview but that also folded about eight months after I got there. I wasn’t sure what my next move was so while I was trying to figure out if I wanted to get another magazine job (which felt unlikely) I started freelancing to make some money while I was figuring things out.
I was writing for all the publications I’d always dreamed of like Refinery29, Fashionista, The Zoe Report, HuffPost, etc. I started my blog, Keep Calm and Chiffon, in 2012 and had done a few sponsored posts but really ramped up pitching brands and securing paid collaborations that year as well and have now been paid by brands like Glossier, The New York Times, Revlon, and more to create posts for them. I was full-time freelance for about a year and a half before landing at Jumprope in my role as a beauty content director. Jumprope is an app for creating and sharing how-to videos, and I oversee all of our beauty content creators on the app.
BKY: It’s so important to have a niche right now in blogging or in the influencer industry. What is your niche? How do you differentiate yourself from the crowd?
AT: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this as I’m planning my content for 2020 and I think the big thing for me can show the behind-the-scenes of what it means to be a content creator. I want to create exceptional examples of fashion and beauty content and then show people how I made them. Sometimes people assume that you have to have an expensive camera to take photos or you have to have a pretty background to do well on YouTube, but it’s really all about making the most of what you have. If you have a phone with a camera and a great eye, you can create content. I also often share about my previous experience working at magazines when I get approached about collaborations with brands and I tell them that the planning that goes into those posts is very close to the methods I would have used when putting together a shoot for a magazine, so they know there is a level of professionalism behind what I’m doing.
BKY: Why did you quote Roy Lichtenstein in your about? Very curious!!
AT: Not many people know this, but I completed the art history major in college. I was very interested in contemporary art and ended up writing my thesis on minimalism. I just loved this quote, and I feel like in the context of Lichtenstein’s work it made it even more interesting.
BKY: I always keep thinking your blog name is the same as yours but then I always “right, her blog name is Keep Calm and Chiffon“. What is the story behind your blog’s name?
AT: Haha, I do this too! I knew I wanted my blog to be something fashion-related, and I thought it would be fun to incorporate a fabric name into my blog. The one I really wanted was Tulle Shed, but the domain was already taken (and in retrospect, I’m so glad it was!). So this was in 2012 when I felt like there was a resurgence of the keep calm and carry on posters being used for different things online and that’s pretty much how I landed on Keep Calm and Chiffon. I’m pleased that over seven years in that I still like the name.
BKY: Please walk us through in your typical day. What is your die-hard habit?
AT: I think my two die-hard habits are coffee and skincare! I have been trying to wake up around 6:30 am so I can get some blog work done before I head into the office, which is generally 10 am-6 pm for me, unless I have a meeting before work or an event after work. I’m also a big fan of listening to business podcasts on my commute to make the most of every minute of the day I have. When I get home from work, I’ll usually try to fit in a gym session and then cook dinner with my boyfriend. After dinner, if I still have more work to do, I’ll use that time to edit videos, write blog posts, or reply, do DM’s on Instagram. Then I do my evening skincare and try to get to bed by 11 pm. On the weekend sometimes I batch film videos for my YouTube channel or use that time to take photos or write content for one of my two newsletters. I like being productive on a weekend morning and then being able to relax, meet up with friends, and hang out in the afternoon/evening. It’s important for me to schedule in unwind time as well.
BKY: This question is about bloggers like me. As you know, English is not my first language. And I am 100% sure I am making mistakes when I write my blog posts. How do you feel when you read a blog post with grammar errors as an editor? (Btw feel free to edit my questions :))
AT: It definitely bothers the editor in me a little bit, but I try to be understanding! I feel like if blogging is your job, you should take the time to proofread posts, try to use the correct grammar, and avoid misspelling words and fragments as much as you can. Mistakes can happen, even to me, so I always keep that in mind and if there’s one small typo it won’t bother me. We’re all trying our best!
BKY: You are already pretty successful blogger/freelancer, but where does your brand/ passion go? What is your dream job? Or are you already there?
AT: I ultimately want to be a resource for other creators to help them create better. I think that withholding information doesn’t help anyone. So I’m more than happy to answer questions about how I get brand sponsorships, how I transitioned from full-time to freelance (and back to full-time!), and how to stay consistent online. As far as a dream job, I think my perspective of dream jobs has changed since getting laid off. I never pictured working at a tech startup, but I’m happy that I landed at Jumprope. I’m able to reach out to our creators and hear about their long-term goals as content creators and share insights about how to create good content on the app, whether that’s having the perfect lighting setup or using the in-app editing tools to make their content more engaging. Since I’m able to pursue my blog and YouTube channel on the side while working at Jumprope, it’s really the best of both worlds for me right now, and I’m fortunate to be able to do both.
BKY: Since my blog also talks about technology, I am curious about new technologies, do you have I can’t live without technology?
AT: Definitely, Jumprope, especially now that I am working full-time again because it allows me to create and edit videos way faster than on a traditional video editor. I recently got both Later and Asana to help me schedule and automate my content, and I really like both so far! Also, I got this Bluetooth shower speaker recently from ban.do, and my shower routine is much more fun now!
No one has it all figured out!
BKY: Ok, finally we are in quick round questions. These are the question you can answer with a single word. Are you ready?
BKY: Who is your idol?
AT: Jenna Kutcher
BKY: Favourite fashion brand, beauty brand? (I think we already know the beauty brand you love the most we want to be sure :))
AT: Zara, Glossier
BKY: All-time favourite book?
AT: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
BKY: Best art movie you have ever watched? (We want to see different answers rather than classic movies that everybody kind of knows)
AT: I have such a mainstream taste, so this is a hard one for me. But I liked Coco Before Chanel, which is a fictional film about Chanel and her life.
BKY: Dream city to live?
AT: New York, of course!
BKY: Would like to tell us a secret?
No one has it all figured out!