“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?
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.
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.