This is only one of countless opportunities that have come my way since I dyed my hair pink, making me instantly recognisable as the founder of my interiors blog and brand, The Pink House.
“You’re Emily from The Pink House, right? My girlfriend recognised you. She’s too shy to come over but says you’ve been a massive inspiration to her. You’re the reason our entire hallway is covered in that rainbow wallpaper!”
I was trying on trainers in Selfridges yesterday when a man approached me.
After chatting for a short while, and learning a bit more about what I do (fun, fabulous interiors), he told me his day job running a successful comedy club meant he’d neglected the huge warehouse apartment he owned in Hackney, and was I interested in redesigning it and taking a share of the rental profits?
I launched The Pink House blog, and its equally-successful Instagram account @pinkhouseliving three years ago on 29 February 2016, but at first my hair stayed the same highlighted blonde it had been since I first discovered bleach aged 17. Also at first, I barely showed my face on social media. Instead, I posted professional photos of my recently renovated home, and watched the likes start to rack up, and the potential clients I’d tagged in these beautiful images start paying me to write about their products. Conversations with other interiors bloggers led me to believe that publishing pictures of yourself was doomed to failure; the wisdom went that your followers didn’t want to see YOU – they were simply there to ogle your choices of sofa, sideboard and storage solution. So I stayed in the shadows.
On International Women’s Day 2017, I sat next to entrepreneur Steph Douglas at a networking breakfast. I recognised her instantly, as she posted regular images of herself on Instagram, alongside news of her super-successful start-up, Don’t Buy Her Flowers. I told her how much I admired her business and, in return, she asked what I did for a living.
On discovering I was behind the @pinkhouseliving account, she exclaimed, “Oh, I follow you too – I just didn’t know what you looked like; you never post any pictures of yourself!” Steph’s words got me thinking, Carrie Bradshaw-style: was I missing out on opportunities because people couldn’t connect me to my brand?
My blog’s success to that point was mainly due to my professionalism. A former magazine journalist and editor, I knew how to create content that was both entertaining and useful. I’d also identified a gap in the blogging market that tallied with my own passion for interiors – I could see that while the fashion and beauty blogging worlds were saturated, the interiors genre lagged far behind, with very few bloggers creating high quality blog or social media posts. I identified my target audience – people who were, like me, cheating on fashion with furniture as they acquired their first property and became obsessed with making it look fabulous.
But in my professional approach, I hadn’t considered this brave new digital world’s desire for the personal. People want to know the person behind the blog, the business, even if it does primarily concern itself with cushions. Add to this the speed at which everyone scrolls through social media and I realised if I wanted my business to reach its potential I had to make myself instantly connectable with The Pink House. I had to brand myself.
Upon receiving my first blogging award in October 2016, I’d made the decision to wear a bright pink t-shirt declaring ‘Pink as F**k’ on the back, as I knew it would be a smart PR move. Now it was time to take things a step further to something pink, prominent – and permanent – I could keep about my person.
I’d noticed – and admired – the increasing prevalence of pink hair (starting with the pink wig worn by Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation), and had heard its exponential growth in popularity was partly thanks to Olaplex, a new wonder treatment that helped chemically bond the hair during bleaching so it didn’t snap so easily.
So I went for it. I won’t pretend I got it right first time – I had a lot to learn about shades of pink and how long you should wait between top-up bleaches (no more than 6 weeks). But after a while I settled into a routine of visiting Josh Wood Atelier (who coloured and cut my hair for free in exchange for social media exposure) and requesting a faded blush pink hue, which I topped up at home with Bleach London’s Rose Shampoo and Conditioner.
I credit my hair colour for helping take my business next-level. Since I went pink and started showing my face (and hair!) on social, I’ve launched a limited-edition collection of (pink) armchairs and cushions in association with a large sofa retailer; I’ve won more awards; and I’ve been featured in countless press articles and appeared on national TV and radio promoting my brand; I’m now in demand as a public speaker. Most importantly, I’ve been well paid by many prestigious, high-profile brands to style, write and shout about their wares on The Pink House’s channels.
Finally, and to my great excitement, I’ve just ticked off a major career bucket list item by writing a book, Pink House Living, a practical, beautiful guide to decorating with pink, which launches on 19 March. You could say I’m living a rose-tinted life, and that’s partly thanks to my pink hair!