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how frassy came to be

Saturday, September 17, 2016

it began because i was bored

Never would I have predicted that this website would one day become my full-time employment ; I haphazardly started blogging out of boredom ; my University was located in a dull, sleepy town and back then , I craved a less academic, more cosmopolitan environment. My dream was a job at Harper’s or Vogue, where I relentlessly sent internship applications; every week I’d hop over to the post office and blast the same letter off to Conde Nast in hopes that maybe my psychotic enthusiasm would get me at least an interview. It never happened but to this day, I still congratulate myself on my unwavering persistence. It takes a lot to keep trying, but to not try takes a lot more. I hope you remember that. After graduation, I was accepted onto the fashion journalism MA at Central Saint Martins; ‘the best fashion school in the world’, I yelled down the phone to my dad on a bench near Liverpool street after my successful interview. Another over-enthusiastic tactic of mine in hopes he would front the bill for another academic escapade in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I was set to go, finally I’d be in London, finally I’d be writing about clothes and not Chaucer and finally, I’d have the credentials to land my magazine job. But  I opted out of the whole thing ; in the space of 2 summer months, I decided to move to Paris and pursue Frassy full time.

goodbye london, farewell ma, bonjour paris

Blogging wasn’t an industry at this time.  Frassy was turning the tiny profit of about 100 euros a week. Not exactly enough cash to call it a career. But I had a hunch and atop that hunch, I had my Dad, generously supporting me the best he could.  I’ve been criticized incessantly for being candid about the financial aid I had when starting Frassy full-time, this surprises me because I’ve always admitted it modestly. I certainly wasn’t at Chanel on rue Cambon every week or jetting down to St Tropez for the weekends. For two years, my parents made sure I was fed and had a roof over my head. Everything else was down to me. I’m not justifying or humbling my privilege, I am simply telling you how it is. Should people have a problem with this truth, there are plenty of vaguely yet insanely rich, far more beautiful women to follow online.  This is simply my story. As from those first two years in Paris,  I took on the position of intern in my own little business. I worked with brands like Jimmy Choo or Moschino for free.  I hired a photographer with the little money I made and I did all I could to soak up her skills like a sponge. I emailed brands incessantly, asking for nothing but the opportunity to wear their clothes. Most of them said no. I met a girl called Haleigh, now one of my best friends, I meticulously paid attention to her creative processes. She taught me more than she would ever know. I scoured bargain bins at the overlooked vintage shops and sold my treasures via Frassy; back then, brands weren’t paying bloggers so in a need for cash, I started my own. I’m sure a lot of you remember it ; Frassy Rags.  I spent endless hours watching youtube photoshop tutorials. I somehow swindled meetings in Paris with PRs to then have them confused as to why they’d want me to wear their brand.  I remember stepping foot into the Elie Saab offices in the swanky 16th of Paris, feeling absolutely out of place knowing that my invitation was fueled mostly by my zealous nagging via email. I wasn’t sophisticated enough to wear their dresses. I’m still not but to this day, I’m glad I got to see their incredible showroom. I’d hobble to fashion shows in extravagant outfits I wasn’t invited to. I remember one season I wore a blue and yellow ensemble that was photographed by everyone, it was all over the internet but not because I was all over fashion week. I went and there I stood, looking like a fool but I didn’t care because I needed the exposure. I was broke all of the time and living in a neighborhood filled with Lanvin legged women drinking the 7 euro cafe cremes I couldn’t afford. And yet those first Frassy Paris years were some of the best of my life. Then it came time to move, I was no longer supported by my parents so found a room to rent in Pigalle. There were bars on the window and it was always damp, even in August. By this point I was making a modest but livable income. I was spending a great deal of  it on ubers to my then boyfriend’s apartment on the other side of the city because I couldn’t bare my roommates. We ate a lot of weird frozen foods together and looked at Tumblr. It was a sad time in my life. But, work was good, the industry was snowballing into what it is now ; it was beginning to prove beneficial that I was an already established blogger. But I was spending all my money maintaining my life, which wasn’t lavish at all but Paris is lavishly expensive. I wanted to save. I grew sick of spending 1000 euros a month on a tiny ground floor bedroom. My love life was scattered but continuously broken. The friends I love more than anyone began to leave for opportunities elsewhere. I resisted but eventually, I left too. The city was momentarily tarnished and I was tired.

 moving back home with a head hung low

Back home I moved and there I stayed for an entire year, bouncing between Paris and Barcelona for work. Uninhibited by rent and bills, I traveled extensively while still managing to stockpile money into savings. To be honest,  I kept the fact I had moved home quiet in fear it would hurt my reputation. Travelling and constantly being between cities made it easy to conceal. I should have been honest, but at the time it felt like I had back-tracked and that brought me such quiet shame. However, that year at home, working in my Mom’s office and sleeping where I had slept as a kid was the most formative, most productive and most profitable time of my life – and it really catapulted me to where I am now. I had no expenses and no social life,  my family live in the mountains, I don’t have a driver’s license ; so between working and running, there wasn’t much else to do. It set my focus sharp. The industry had evolved tenfold – for both super bloggers and the smaller ones like myself. Finally, there was and there is great money in this outlet I have loved and love more than anything.

with a focus set sharp, i stumble onwards

It’s been just over a year since my official move to Barcelona, and while I can’t sing this city’s praises, I can say I’m on the path I visualized long ago. Money is good. I have a home. I save most of my income but still spend when I can afford to. Blogging has proved to be the profitable endeavor I predicted it could and one day would be. But the way I see it? I did my time. I hustled for free for longer than any intern. I paid my dues. I’m not rich. My parents pay for nothing except perhaps a dinner or three when they come to see me. Here I stand on my own two feet and I have this website to thank for that incredible independence. I’ve learnt how to be a writer, a photographer, an entrepreneur and an online marketer. Few careers offer the acquisition of such a diverse skill set.  It’s been a journey, an education, a creative exploration and so many other beautiful things, too many to list. I wouldn’t change any of my professional decisions in the slightest. I’m proud to be a blogger, and I’m proud of the perseverance that brought me to where I am today. That’s not to say, ‘I’ve made it’ , no – not at all, the road ahead is long and I continue to stumble in grand ways. But, possibility is always before us, which means we must keep trying and not self-congratulate ourselves too much. And so that is my story ; this is how Frassy came to be. This website means an incredible amount to me, in many ways; it is everything. As for the road ahead? Frassy is certainly my  launching pad for the projects I have set for the near future. But above all? After a near decade, the internet is my realm ; between a wifi connection,  ‘www’ and a ‘.com’ is where I professionally exist.  And so, I suppose I’m thankful , not only for you but also, for my first ever laptop, the bulky black brick that set me off into the internet ; I adore the stories that can reach so many so simply via a screen. I’m hooked, so here I’ll stay.


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