Most Innovative Blog 2016: Cassiefairy shares her tips
Cassiefairy Oxfam Fashion blogger
17th Jun 2016
Cassie has been blogging with Oxfam Fashion for two years, an amazing commitment to both her blogging credentials and to promoting the benefits of upcycling and second-hand goods. Cassiefairy has been awarded "Most Innovative Blog" at the UK Blog Awards 2016, so we asked her for her hints and tips to being a successful blogger.
How did you get into blogging?
My first ever experience of blogging was all the way back in 2006 at university. I volunteered to take on the Fairtrade Challenge for Fairtrade Fortnight - living only on Fairtrade products for two weeks - and wrote a daily blog about the food I ate, the recipes I cooked and the problems I came across. In those days it was quite difficult to find Fairtrade produce other than rice and bananas but it was a worthwhile campaign and really fun to get stuck into. Plus, it kick-started my love of blogging and I've been publishing my own articles online ever since.
Cassie winning her award at the UK Blog Awards 2016
Tell us about the subject of your blog and why that's important to you.
Cassiefairy.com has developed over the years into a 'thrifty living' blog. The money-saving theme runs throughout every article I write, whether it's sew-your-own fashion, seasonal recipes, a furniture makeover or ideas for low-cost days out. I'm always asking myself 'do I need to buy that?' and 'can I make it myself for less?' and if the answer is 'yes' then it'll probably end up being a DIY project on the blog!
Thrifty living is so important to me for two reasons; Firstly, I hate waste and am sad when perfectly usable items end up in landfill - why throw something away if you can fix it, repurpose it or upcycle it? Secondly, I see how hard people work to earn their wages, only for most of it to disappear by the end of the month. I want to help people cut costs and change their shopping habits so that they can save money and can perhaps work less and live more instead.
What's the most surreal/enjoyable thing that's happened to you since starting your blog?
The most exciting part of blogging is the chance to work with some of the famous names that I really admire and collaborate on inspirational campaigns for charities. For example, I was asked to join in with Katie Piper's #MakeItHappen campaign, I fundraised with my month-long #Dryathlon and helped to share the #WomanKind message. I've been able to meet some heroes of mine including Cosmopolitan editor Louise Court and publisher of Mollie Makes and The Simple Things Katherine Raderecht. Of course, a huge highlight is joining the Oxfam Fashion team to
write DIY posts - I really enjoy creating each project and I love the sense of community amongst all the volunteer bloggers.
Of course, the most surreal moment in my blogging life was winning a UK Blog Award. I don't really remember it happening and I am still convinced that I went up onstage and collected someone else's award! Thankfully, the evening was caught on film and I've since heard my name called as the winner of the Most Innovative blog award so am starting to believe it now. I still catch myself checking to make sure it's on my mantelpiece and that it does actually have my name on it, ha-ha!
Here's Cassie - Winner of Most Innovative Blog Award
What would you recommend to people looking to set up their own blog? How should they get started?
If you have an idea and want to set up a blog, the most important thing is to actually do it! I'm always encouraging other people to share their passion online but they tend to find obstacles before they've even started. Just choosing a blog name and starting to write on your favourite topic is enough to get going and you'll learn as you go along. Trust me - my early blog posts were not great but the important thing is that they happened and got me started. Here's what you don't need in order to start a blog:
- You don't need to pay - most blogs start off using free platforms like Blogger and Wordpress and a free domain extension.
- You don't need design skills - there are plenty of free blog layouts out there and you can just pick your favourite colours to customise it.
- You don't need to have a degree in journalism - just open up that blog post draft and start writing as if it was an email to a friend.
- You don't need any special equipment such as high-res cameras or a Macbook Pro - all you need is a means of getting online, and even blogging from your phone is perfectly possible thanks to all the apps out there.
Best of luck if you go for it! And I want to hear about it so please tweet me the link to your new blog to @Cassiefairy.
Thanks so much to Cassie for her work towards ending poverty with Oxfam, and congratulations again on the incredible accolade!