Saturday, September 29, 2007

Down to Business: Kathryn Finney

If youre anything like me, trawling through rails of reduced clothing and bins upon bins of accessories can be daunting. Why cant great sale items be right there in front of you when you walk into a store? Never fear, Kathryn Finney aka The Budget Fashionista, has made a career out of shopping smart and more importantly shopping frugal. Why pay $2000 for that Marc Jacobs bag when you can get it for just $200? Her blog is filled with useful tidbits on fashion and beauty shopping. Kathryns eye for affordable fashion has made her the go-to shopping blogger for females nationwide. Shes also the women us female bloggers aspire to be. With television appearances on CNN and NBC and articles in Essence, USA Today and the New York Times, Kathryn shares with us the secrets of successful blogging.

1. Everyone and their dog has a blog it seems. When you launched The Budget Fashionista in 2003 how did you make it stand out?

Standing out was fairly easy because there really wasn't very many blogs, especially fashion related blogs in early 2003. There's definitely something to being one of the first. I was also very lucky to have the support of my family and friends.

2. You got your Masters in Epidemiology from Yale University (Congratulations!). What made you leap from science to fashion/shopping blogging and did your immediate family and friends think you were crazy?

I married someone who's frugal and he showed me the errors of my ways. I didn't make the leap until late 2004, when Random House purchased my first book, How to Be a Budget Fashionista. My family thought it was a bit crazy, but knew that I have this crazy work ethic. If I really, truly believe in something I will work twice hard as everyone else to make sure it succeeds. A lot of the key to success is just working harder and smarter than everyone else.

3. Your knowledge on smart shopping is unmatched. I read that you once found a Zac Posen cashmere blend coat for $108.50 reduced from $2,900! How much time do you spend researching & shopping compared to actual blogging? Do you ever have days when you have nothing to blog about?!

Hmmm. I spend about 50% of my time blogging, another 40% researching - shopping stores, visiting showrooms, etc, and solid 10% procrasinating.

4. How did you turn The Budget Fashionista franchise into more than just a site? You've appeared on numerous television and radio segments and had interviews placed in national publications. Did you actively pursue these features or did they come to you as the site grew?

They came even before the site grew. My first big press was an Associated Press article about 6 months after I started the blog.

5. How do you keep your name and site out there? Do you manage your own press and

I manage it myself. I've been very lucky to have amazing reporters contact me regarding the site and because the site is so popular it often comes up on top of google during a search.

Also, my mom is like my de facto publicist. She actually got me quite a bit of press, even though she's not in the media/entertainment field. She'll just pick up the phone and call folks on my behalf. No one can publicize you like your momma.

6. What is a typical day for you?

I walk about 4 miles around central park, read my feeds, check on The Budget Fashionista as well as our new sites- See Jack Shop and The Budget Bambino, take phones or meetings, prep for a TV segment and watch Oprah and Judge Mathis (I have a secret crush on) on DVR.

7. Last year you released the book "How to be a Budget Fashionista." How did that project come about and do you have any other books lined up in the future?

My agent, Nicholas Lewis, is a Yale alumni, who found out about the site and asked me if I had ever thought about writing a book. I was like... ummm sure... Random House loved the idea and the rest is history. I'm in the middle of writing my second book.

8. What advice would you give to budding bloggers like myself on how to promote their site and themselves?

Write about what you know and be unique. Also study Search Engine Optimization techniques and read as many of the tech blogs as you do the fashion blogs.

9. What has been your best bargain find to date?

A pair of Kate Spade sandals, $13.98 at the DSW Shoe Warehouse at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. I think I fainted when I found them.

10. Where do you see yourself and the site in 5 years?

Still preaching the gospel of being fabulous for less. Hopefully to an even bigger audience.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Kathryn Finney.


[Source: I Like Her Style!]