By: Sandy Nene
A Linea Fashion Design Academy Alumni, Brett Robson is one of the few South African bloggers who have changed the game. She started her fashion blog after quitting a job she hated back in 2010 and has since shown massive growth within the industry, bagging deals with big brands such as Garnier, LEGiT, Kiehl’s and appeared in print media & TV various times. Brett Robson – not just a blogger, founder of ShopBrettRobson.com. Read the interview with our cover girl below as she shares her entrepreneurial journey and gives some blogging tips.
When did you first know you wanted to be an entrepreneur and what was the point that really made you go for it? Turning 25 was tricky for me. I felt like I hadn’t achieved anything & that pushed me. I don’t think it was a matter of wanting to be an entrepreneur. It was rather my passion for fashion that lead me in that direction. Once I was clear on the path I wanted to take regarding my brand, then it all fell into place & I started my clothing brand & ecommerce platform. Getting older plays tricks on your mind, but I am grateful for the push I needed.
What is the inspiration behind ShopBrettRobson.com? The inspiration behind my Brett Robson clothing brand has always been to make women feel good in the clothing we create. Our customer is a trendy, confident female, & that’s who inspires us.
What’s the best and what’s the hardest part about having your own online store? The best part about our platform is that we are a part of the move in getting more South Africans comfortable with online shopping. We get so many first time online shoppers; not just on our site, but online shopping in general, & it really makes us feel so good when we are able to put someone at ease about shopping online & essentially trusting us with their hard earned money. The hardest part has been managing my growth expectations. Our growth has been slow & steady, and that hasn’t always been easy for someone like me who loves to move at a fast pace.
What was your favorite class in tertiary, or the one that has helps you the most with your business? In all honesty, I don’t use the skills I learnt while studying very much. I used to love pattern making & sewing, but haven’t sewed anything in years sadly. We have much more skilled ladies that make up our samples & patterns.
Do you have a mentor? My business partner is my mentor. I learn from him every day. So often, as younger people we don’t want to hear what others think. I am guilty of that, but have learnt that there is so much to gain by listening to people with experience. As a mentor, he took a chance & invested in me, & for that I am very grateful.
I’m sure every day is different, but is there one thing you do that helps you maintain a routine? Coffee in the morning LOL. My day to day routine is mostly kept in check with my evening gym session. It really relaxes me & keeps me balanced.
If you were to go back to the beginning would you do anything different? No, I really wouldn’t. I have learnt so much through out the years.
Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging? Managing my time has been a strength. With everything I have going on, it’s easy to take on too much, but I manage myself well enough that I am able to do everything I need to do; & that I don’t take on any projects that I will not be able to give my time to.
What type of networking do you think is better to enhance your traffic to the blog? I think networking with your peers & people with a similar audience is the best way to go.
What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to their readers? It’s important for your reader to leave your blog feeling like they have learnt something, or have been inspired in some way. When I write a beauty review, I always keep the reader in mind, “What does she want to know?”; “What can she learn?”. That is always a good approach to have.
How do you manage time to run your blog, 9-5 and business? It’s very hard, but scheduling is very important. If it’s not in my calendar – I don’t do it. I have come to realize that I can’t do everything, & I manage myself with that in mind. I am also fortunate to be able to pick the projects I work on for my blog. I don’t say yes to everything that comes my way. Mostly because I don’t want to be everything to everybody, but also because of my schedule.
How do you want to improve yourself this year? The dynamics of blogging are ever changing, & I am trying to keep up. So, I am constantly thinking of how I can improve. There isn’t one thing I want to improve on, there is a list!
What has been your greatest failure and what did you learn from that? I honestly don’t feel like I have failed as a blogger at any time. I have learnt so much over the years, it has been a great journey for me. Are there certain things I could’ve done differently, or better? Yes. But everything has been a learning experience for me.
Tell me about your proudest achievement? For me, the fact that I have been able to turn the blog I started in 2010 into a business has been my greatest achievement. And that I have brands wanting to work with me time & time again is amazing.
Who has impacted you most in blogging and how? Chiara Ferragni first inspired me when she became one of the first bloggers to turn her blog into a business. It was amazing to watch. I read the case study Harvard wrote on The Blonde Salad in awe of what they created.
What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging? Starting my clothing brand, the online shop & most recently launching our Shop Brett Robson APP have been great achievements for me.