Oh, Julia Ann: SLU alum blogs with style

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Cain, founder of Oh, Julia Ann, the popular St. Louis fashion and lifestyle blog. Julia Cain attended Saint Louis University her junior and senior year. We talked about fashion, career choices, life and of course, a quick Vogue style Q & A to close our conversation.

Q: How did you get started in fashion? How long ago was it?

A: I’ve always been interested in fashion. I enjoy finding [clothing, accessories] for my friends or myself, but my interest in fashion professionally peaked my first year at Southwestern Illinois College in journalism class. I was able to shadow a Belleville News-Democrat reporter to Saint Louis Fashion Week, and I was given the opportunity to write a guest editorial they published in the Sunday paper. The entire experience really opened my eyes to fashion writing.

Q: Who is your biggest fashion inspiration? A: I can’t really pin down a ‘who’ as much as I can pinpoint different vibes that inspire me. Time periods such as: ‘70s rock ‘n’ roll, silly characters like Minnie Mouse and Barbie, ‘90s grunge, ‘60s retro and so many more.

Q: Is Oh, Julia Ann your profession or more of a hobby?

A: It is one of my jobs, but it is not my main source of employment. I work in marketing full time. I’m also a freelance reporter, often for Ladue News.

Q: What are your main focuses right now regarding your career?

A: Right now, I’m working 40-plus hours outside of the blog, so I normally set smaller goals, such as to reach any level of followers or post amount of times per week until it becomes habit. I’m constantly brainstorming ways to create new content with potential collaborations. I pay close attention to maintaining the quality of product, whether I have the whole day to work on a post or a few hours after work. My biggest goal is to keep the quality the same throughout.

Q: What is your fiveyear goal for you blog?

A: Expand the amount of posts and start working with videos. My husband helps with photography – he’s been very supportive of Oh, Julia Ann – and he’s better at helping me set specific, defined goals to work toward over time.

Q: On your blog you have sections for fashion, beauty, DIY and home. What’s your favorite section to write about?

A: I love when we photograph fashion features around our neighborhood. Writing-wise, I would say do-it-yourself content. I love writing about DIY projects.

Q: How do you motivate yourself to keep your blog up and running?

A: I go a little nuts with too much free time, so I like to have something going on. I’ll do a couple hours on the site after work and on the weekends [the blog] tends to fill that free time. I’m a huge multitasker, so if I’m watching TV, I’ll also be editing photos, or if I’m listening to a podcast, I’m also contacting new brands. While I don’t ever get sick of writing, there have been times I’ve felt unmotivated to maintain the site. In the past, whenever I’ve thought “this isn’t fun” or “it isn’t going anywhere,” I’ve found out about a new collaboration that is above and beyond. For example, this time last year I had just started planning my wedding, bought our first house, had a new job and was ready to give up Oh, Julia Ann. Then, Intel reached out to me asking for a blog post about how I’d use their products. I thought to myself, ‘A brand of this caliber wants me, so I must be doing something right…’ and that sort of kept me going. The next time things felt stale, I heard from AT&T. While it isn’t a good reason to run a site in the first place, the reassurance from brands can remind you it is working business-wise. However, the main motivation is that I love writing and I enjoy the topics I cover.

Q: Tell me about your proudest achievement.

A: The article about my wedding dress going viral was rewarding. My grandma and mom wore the same wedding dress, and I wrote about it on my blog – the recreation process and the final product. The dress made it on Good Morning America, Inside Edition, The Today Show, in the Huff- ington Post and traveled to Australia, Ireland, Norway, and just all these incredible things. But that was more luck than an achievement. I would say being awarded Best-Written Blog in St. Louis for three consecutive years is my greatest achievement to-date. I smile just thinking about it.

Q: With how accessible blogging has become, what would you say to young people who want their blog to take off?

A: Outside of working with brands, you need to like what you’re doing. You have to be a blog that doesn’t read like it was created just to get free products. Be something your readers want to see — something authentic — and the chance to work with companies may come on its own in time. With that being said, if you are a blogger and you feel like you are ready for that next step, reach out. I’d say half of my brand relationships are started by me. Maybe 20 percent of the emails I send get replied to, and plenty of them just say no. But that’s the worst thing they can say – no. You just have to learn to take that first step – over and over – until you build the brand relationships you want.

Q: Last but not least, let’s do a rapid fire Q&A. High heels or flats? Flats. Lipstick or lip gloss? Lipstick. Sweet or salty? Salty. Jeans or a dress? Jeans. Red or pink? Red. Makeup or clothes? Clothes. Oscar de la Renta or Gucci? Oscar de la Renta. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds.