h1Brands have an amazing opportunity to tell their stories from the perspective of a real person, not a spokesperson.
Erin Hiemstra, Apartment 34
Erin Hiemstra is the creator of the beautiful lifestyle site Apartment 34. Chronicling her engagement, her wedding, her honeymoon - and more recently her move from a 2,500 square-foot suburban home in Seattle to an ultra-modern 900 square-foot urban loft in San Francisco, Apartment 34 is a favorite destination for stylish women all over the country.
We checked in with Erin to find out what's on her must-have list for fashion, design, home décor and more. A branding, digital marketing and events specialist, Erin also has some sage advice for aspiring lifestyle bloggers.
You have an incredibly beautifully curated home and life! What are your influences and who are your muses? I find influence for my style from so many sources. Magazines, decor and fashion books and other blogs are standard go-to's, but I also have evolved my style over time. I think living abroad and most recently traveling in the Netherlands and Italy really influenced my aesthetic. It reminded me that less is more and quality is worth the price tag. I have a clean, almost slightly masculine style. I would say icons like Katherine Hepburn and Jane Birkin are muses along with a few modern day women such as Kate Blanchet.
What was your breakout post or series of posts that put you and your site on the map? It's a bit hard to pinpoint when Apartment 34 really grabbed a toe-hold. Getting married two years ago was a big moment as I shared my design process with my readers. I also started a variety of series from the popular I Have A Crush and Monday Work Wear to the chronicling of our relocation to San Francisco in The Loft Life. Episodic posts seem to resonate really well!
What are some of your favorite fashion finds of the moment? Everyone knows I have a particular weakness for shoes and a purchase from Aldo of all places is my most recent score. They designed a capsule collection with JW Anderson called Aldo Rise and the stiletto sandal looks like designer shoe without the sticker shock!
Any home décor favorites right now? While I lean toward more modern and clean design, I've just become enamored with the kilim trend. I am officially on the hunt for vintage pillows to line the backs of our dining chairs.
How about your favorite food and wedding finds? I'm excited to see the wedding world start trending toward a more sophisticated aesehetic. I like elements that feel artisanal without being overly vintage. For example, I'm in love with a recent tablescape that featured air plants and kumquats for a pop of color. It was simple, clean and elegant without feeling stuffy or boring.
You're also a branding, digital marketing and events specialist – what's your best advice for how brands can work successfully with site creators like you? The buzz words in marketing today are content creation and curation. Luckily, that is exactly what bloggers do best! Brands have an amazing opportunity to harness this talent to tell their stories from the perspective of a real person, not a spokesperson. Brands need to embrace the collaborative process and realize that they can go outside themselves a bit and will in fact grab the attention of highly targeted audiences by doing so!
What's your advice for other creators on managing a personal brand? Building a brand doesn't happen by accident. It takes time, intention and consistent discipline. Investing in the exercise of defining your brand will help you stand out from the crowd.
What other bloggers are your soulmates in style? My list of blogs I love is exceptionally long but I always keep Wit+Delight, Sacramento Street,CamilleStyles, Destined to Design and 9 to 5 Chic on heavy rotation.
What's your favorite way to network with other creators and stylefinders? While connecting online is a great way to reach people - I'm particularly partial to the ease and efficiency of Twitter - I've loved living in San Francisco because of the personal connections I've made. You can never underestimate the power of face time!
The blog, your styling and branding business… what's next? After having worked for PR agencies for the last five years and writing Apartment 34 as my "night shift", finally having the freedom to invest in Apartment 34 and to use my digital media skills to help small businesses, other bloggers and creatives grow is thrilling. I'm dabbling in styling, producing both photoshoots and video as well as collaborative projects. I call it the place of YES!
Apartment 34 is a SAY Media partner. Follow Erin on Twitter @apartment_34.
[photo: Jasmine Gregory, Refinery 29]