Fashionisto of the Month: Fashion Consultant & Entreprenuer, Colin T. McDonald

Photo Credit: Carrie Geiger

Our Fashionisto of the Month is a Stylist, Host, Writer, and Entrepreneur that goes by the name of Colin T. McDonald. From Upstate New York, he moved to NYC 5 years ago and began working towards his goal of creating an agency to help brands and designers gain exposure in a hard industry to be noticed in.

What does fashion mean to you? It’s a way for people to express themselves – an art form. I have a powerful fashion mantra that I use all of the time: image + confidence = style. Anyone can take an image or style and if they have the confidence to pull it off, they can inspire others and be a trendsetter.

What made you start your company & blog? Working in fashion 7 years (PR, styling, commentary, fashion editing, blogging, YouTube (Style TV), hosting Jennifer Hudson, Billy Baldwin) I wanted to create an agency to help brands and designers gain exposure in a hard industry to be noticed in. All those clients under the agency  use different mediums to get exposure and influence press which helps gets them out there even more.

Where do you get your inspiration? Magazines, art galleries, streets of NY (street style), internet (bloggers/social media).

Do you consider yourself an artist? Somewhat. I’m always looking to create things and help brands advance and grow.

What is your greatest accomplishment?  I’ve also interviewed Jennifer Hudson and Billy Baldwin – it’s very cool to have people share their personal stories with me. Most recently, I’d say starting my agency/blog a little over a year ago and being mentioned on Fox News, as well as my YouTube channel, Style TV. I give people the opportunity to have an all access look at the things they may not have the chance to see.

What are some of your goals? Short term: to grow my agency, gain more clients and brands, a bigger following for my blog/Style TV.  Long term: to take Style TV to national level (LA, NY, DC correspondents are already working). In a few years, I’d love to cover international fashion events as well as grow the blog, and have more features up – ultimately to be the premier fashion consulting agency in NY.

What are some of your biggest challenges? Being able to juggle everything. I have so many different hats to wear: styling, pitching a shoot to a client, coming up with blog posts, coordinating with Style TV, etc. Right now I’m a one man show, so maybe in the future I can hire someone to help me out with everything.

Who are your top three favorite designers? Tom Ford – I love him as a designer and trend setter. Christopher Bailey for Burberry – the distinguished, fresh, young look he brought to the collection is why it has been so successful. Most recently, Marisa Minicucci – the Grand Dame of Montreal fashion – who just expanded to the U.S. market and is getting lots of press features for her luxury, high-end jackets (MM: Minicucci x Marcanio).

What are some of your favorite fashion websites, magazines, or books? Harper’s Bazaar, In Style, GQ, (worked with him as DC style correspondent), The Glamourai,, and Business of Fashion.

Three words that describe your style: chameleon (rocker, conservative) enjoy mixing styles, classic with edgy, classy with modern. likes to put own touch on traditional styles (cuffing pants, studded loafers, rolled up sleeves).

Any future projects or pieces we should look out for? I’m covering an event tonight for Style TV and interviewing Chanel Iman. I’m also covering an event handing out style awards for visual style center. On the blog, I plan on incorporating more look pieces and possibly partnering with upcoming designers.

Advice for other bloggers or fashion business owners? Fashion is one of the toughest industries to break into – it is a very small, select circle and trying to tap into it is hard. With knowledge, passion, dedication, and following thru. You will see progress. Just understand that things don’t happen overnight, and that having the passion and hard work to see things through/get out there is what will take you far. The industry is changing (online, magazines, blog, etc) so knowing how to incorporate these different channels into your business is a must.

 Colin’s Haute List

green tea

gym (hour a day)

macbook (life takes it everywhere, can work from anywhere)

music (stress, can unwind and break away with pandora)

new york (inspiraton/meeting people luxury of the city)

boconi wallet (black alligator custom initial wallet)

calvin klein underwear

pierre hardy silver metallic high-tops

lanvin bermuda shorts

ray-ban aviators with green metallic finish

Get in touch with Colin:





If you would like to be considered for a Fashionista of the Month,   please email with the subject “Fashionista of the Month.”

5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Blog Ad Sales


Image Source: Info Carnivore

“How can I get more advertisers?” Most every blogger who’s chosen to monetize will ask themselves this question at some point in their career. IFB has a ton of amazing advice for bloggers who’ve opted to sell their own ad space, but what happens when you’ve got the basics down and are hitting a brick wall anyway? Is there anything you can do to jumpstart your ad sales and turn some of those potential advertisers into committed advertisers? Take a look at these 5 tips and then tell us your thoughts:

Follow Up!

It may sound obvious, but follow up is so important when it comes to closing the deal. Why? Because people are really, really busy. Most folks have more on their to-do list than they could possibly achieve in a given day, and the brands wanting to advertising with you are no different. Don’t let your e-mail get lost in someone’s inbox; be proactive by following up on interest. My personal rule is to wait until a week or so after my initial reply, and then send out a brief e-mail (usually just a few sentences long) that asks if the brand received my media kit and if they have any questions or would like to have a conversation about it. If you follow up a second time and still don’t get a response, it’s probably safe to assume the brand isn’t interested in advertising with you at this time. But you won’t know for sure if you don’t follow up.

Vary Your Ad Sizes.

Instead of making all your ads available in one size at one rate, play with offering different sizes and different rates. Can you sell 125×125 ads in addition to 300×250 ones? Can you make most of your ad space available to larger brands with larger budgets, but keep a few reserved ad spaces for independent brands with smaller budgets? Can you offer ad space in increments of weeks instead of months? There are lots of ways to implement this kind of strategy, but the most important thing is to give brands choices so they can purchase the ad that’s the best fit with their strategy and their budget. A variety of ad options gives you more opportunities to attract advertisers, and when you widen the net, you’re often more likely to catch what you want.

Offer Incentives.

Incentives are a great way to convert a potential client into a paying client. Some people automatically equate incentives with discounts, but an incentive can also mean giving away complimentary extras. For example, offering a client bonus ad time if they pay by a certain deadline (such as within 48 hours) is an incentive. So is throwing in a gift package of sponsored posts or sponsored social media updates if they take out a longer term contract. If a potential client seems hesitant about advertising with you, talk with them about what their concerns are and what they’re hoping to get from the advertising relationship. Then brainstorm ways to help make that happen.The key here is to be creative (but, of course, ethical) and to come up with ways you can both get brands to start advertising with you and keep advertising with you.

Be Selective.

Bloggers sometimes make the mistake of placing any and every ad they get on their site. While it may seem like a good idea to generate more revenue, placing ads that are actually relevant to your blog and readers is much more effective in the long run. Research your audience demographics and make sure that the ads you choose fit with that audience. If you’re on a fashion site and see an ad for fishing products, it might change the overall look and feel that you are trying to convey. Not only that, but it could also turn readers off from your site which is definitely not a good thing in the blogging world.

Hire a Media Rep

The advertising world just like blogging comes with its own set of rules – which if you are unfamiliar with them, may end up costing you money, readers, or both. Hiring a media rep helps make your transition into monetization easier. Because they are trained in sales, you are guaranteed to get ads that fit with your blog; they may also be able to get you a better deal with advertisers they may have used in the past and have formed a relationship with. For more information on hiring a Media Representative, email and one of our knowledgeable sales staff will get in contact with you.

Have any suggestions for bloggers to increase their ad sales? Comment below!



Things a [Fashion] Blogger Should Never Say

We saw this list on and couldn’t agree more with this article. Although this article was meant for bloggers, I think that these are some rules that apply to everyone.


“I already know everything about [blank].”

You wouldn’t believe how many times we at IFB have heard this from bloggers in our community. Obviously, no one likes a know-it-all, but more importantly, there’s far too much new information, technical advancement and change-over in this industry to really know it all. Not surprisingly, that’s why we continue to hold the IFB Conference every season. While it can feel stagnant at times, everything from photography style and monetization methods, to brand partnership trends are constantly in flux. Opening discussions and offering (and asking for) advice about the big and little changes in blogging will always be important.  Keep your mind (and your business) open to new information and possibilities for success.

“I don’t need to be a part of the community.”

The act of blogging can be a solitary activity. We sit alone at our desk, on the couch, in an office — writing, editing photos, promoting on social media. For the most part, we are indeed individual entrepreneurs creating businesses on our own. And that’s a fantastic thing.  We can create on our own, but we can’t grow without each other. Exchanging knowledge, providing support and inspiration, making friends — that’s what the blogging community is all about. And strengthening these connections is what the conference is all about.

“Working with brands & getting gifted products is how you become successful.”

Jennine wrote a poignant post yesterday about the ways that fashion blogging has changed over the past few years, especially the way that brands and publishers work together. ROI is more important than ever, which has some brands scaling back their PR efforts with fashion bloggers. The good news is that we don’t need endorsement deals or event appearance fees to sustain financial growth. More and more, bloggers are building their business from the inside, with affiliate networks, advertising and services they provide. In every niche, bloggers are making a living without the celebrity status.

“I just want recognition for what I’m doing.”

Of course, we all want to have our hard work acknowledged, and it can be frustrating to feel like you’re working your a** off only to be wading in obscurity, wondering why you aren’t getting the traffic or social media traction that you want. The thing of it is, recognition, while often deserved, has to be earned. Asking for it (or worse, demanding it) is never the way you want to receive attention. Instead, keep your nose to the grindstone and your heart full of positivity and hope. Work hard, create brilliant content and keep putting it out there. The recognition you receive organically may take time – but patience is a key component to success as well.

“I’ll never be as successful or popular as BryanBoy or Cupcakes & Cashmere.”

The first and biggest problem with this statement is comparison. While assessing the competition is healthy, constantly comparing yourself (and your site) to others is not. If you look at the top 1% of successful fashion and style blogs, their commonality is actually the diversity of their content. Each stands alone in their niche. It might help to think about the fashion blogging community like the acting industry. You’ve got your unwavering Hollywood stars: your Julia Roberts’ and your George Clooney’s. Just because they’re in the business – making money and maintaining notoriety – doesn’t mean a bright young thing can’t burst on the scene out of relative obscurity, like Jennifer Lawerence or Jessica Chastain – and blow everyone away. There’s room at the top for each of us, as long as we’re ready to do what it takes to hold our place. One great role (read: post) might turn the spotlight on you for a moment, but sustained talent is what will keep you in business and earn you a career that lasts.

Source: IFB January 2013

Fashionista of the Month: Joann from Love Fashion | Live Life


Haute Visual’s February Fashionista of the Month is Joann Doan, also known as Jo, from her blog, Love Fashion | Live Life. She is a coffee addicted, shoe obsessed, Marketing Expert by day and Fashion Blogger by night. For those of you who know her, she has a comfortable, casual, and chic style with a fun smile and personality. She has a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and is currently getting her MBA in Marketing Management. We love to see beautiful women with a strong education and keen sense of style, all while helping the community at the same time.

What does fashion mean to you?
I believe that fashion and style are different but go hand in hand together. Fashion is what designers provide you at every fashion show every season. What you do with their amazing designs represents your personal style. Fashion is a creative outlet that gives people the opportunity to express themselves as individuals. Fashion gives people the chance to stand out from the crowd. Fashion for me is my passion and my personality. As I go through different phases of my life, my fashion and style change accordingly to match that. It’s an ever changing and evolving process.

What made you start your blog?
I named my blog Love Fashion | Live Life because it’s a pretty accurate description of me and my life. I love fashion and I like to live my life to the fullest. I started my blog when I was going through a career change and finally had the time to invest in something that expressed my likes/dislikes in fashion. I wanted to create a personal fashion diary that not only shared my personal style but also showcased my life adventures. I also felt that I have a practical, yet trendy sense of style and fashion tips that I wanted to share with others. And so, the blogging began.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspirations come from a lot of different places. Some very typical inspirations are celebrity trends and fashion magazines. Other inspirations come from the things or people that are in my life. Travel, art, books, movies, and even strangers – they’re all part of what inspires me on the daily. Oh and for sure, Perez Hilton. He’s a fabulous woman.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
I have a couple. 1. I met THE Christian Louboutin and he signed my heels “To Princess Joann” AMAZING moment in my life. 2. I got to style for Senhoa which is a great organization that fights modern day human trafficking. (Watch here: Senhoa Video Shoot)

What are some of your biggest challenges?
Honestly, balancing corporate life with blogging life. To have great material, photos and locations for a fashion blog takes a huge time commitment while juggling a full time Marketing career. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

What do you do when you’re not blogging or working?
Go on life adventures, kiss my bf, try being a foodie then think about joining a gym.

-Advice for other bloggers or fashion business owners?
Other fashion bloggers: keep doing what you love. The market isn’t saturated. Anyone can blog but it takes a little something special to incorporate their personality and love into it.

Favorite Fashion Magazines: People Style Watch, W, Harper’s Bazaar + my 2 guilty pleasures – In Touch, Life & Style

Fave fashion websites: Refinery29, Polyvore,

What’s your favorite item in your closet?
My faux fur coat from Lush Clothing.

Favorite beauty product?
Too Faced Bronzer in Sun Bunny.

Jo’s Haute List:


1. Manolo Blanik Hangisi Jeweled Pump – classic must have
2. Schutz Akshya Sandal – purchasing as we speak
3. Valentino Rock Stud Pump – saving for these beauties
4. Balenciaga by Nicolas Bhesquiere Gold Rings – a ring party to die for
5. Celine – must have luggage bag
6. Jeffrey Campbell Soiree – clear shoes without being a stripper
7. Chloe perfume – my signature scent
8. Clear Clutch – my next DIY project
9. Luna Boutique Eye of the Tiger Sweater – for an extra RAWR to my outfits (not picture)
10. Beetlejuice Pants – who doesn’t want beetlejuice pants?! They’re happeningggg!

Check out Jo’s Blog:
Instagram: @joanndoan

If you are interested in being featured as a Fashionista or Fashionisto of the Month, please email with “Fashionista of the Month” in the subject line for more information!

Fashionista of the Month: Lillian from Studs and Sapphires


Haute Visual’s January Fashionista of the Month is Lillian Babaian, also known as LIL on her blog, Studs and Sapphires. She is an LA fashion and style blogger trying to take over the world one blog post at a time. For those of you who know her, she has beautiful long ombre hair and a fun rocker chic style. She went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising majoring in both both Merchandise Product Development and Business Management. When she’s not blogging you can find her traveling, shopping, photography, and spending time with her friends and family.

We had the pleasure to interview her and got the dish on her current haute list!

Where are you from?
I grew up in Los Angeles, which has always spoiled me with breathtaking weather. From art walks to Hollywood to many nights filled with sunsets on the coast, sunny L.A is where my heart will always be.

What made you start your blog?
I have always loved everything about fashion and working in the industry gave me the opportunity to be exposed to many blogs that would inspire my daily. Researching new trends and being inspired every day led to me needing a creative outlet, which is when Studs and Sapphires was born. I decided to start a blog hoping to share my love for fashion with others and inspire daily. I am truly blessed and thankful for the loyal readers and new followers that visit my site every day.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Since my style is so versatile, anything from music, culture, to art and architecture inspires me daily. Besides trends in the fashion industry, street style is also a great part of the inspiration behind my personal style.

What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion. One word with a variety of meanings. It has to reflect who you are and what you feel at the moment. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the current trend or the hot new item, it just has to be loud, bright, and most importantly YOU.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Being Armenian and moving to L.A during my pre-teen years was a difficult yet life-changing move. My greatest accomplishment would have to be mastering the English language and believing that anything is possible once setting your mind to it. Starting my blog was also a big accomplishment. Dreaming about inspiring others, I finally decided to act on it, which led to

What are some of your goals?
My main goal for 2013 is to revamp Studs and Sapphires. I will be focusing more on current trends and also posting various inspirations daily through my many social media sites. Although I am still learning about all of the aspects of blogging, it has changed my life and can’t wait to see where this personal fashion journey takes me!

What are some of your biggest challenges?
My main challenge would have to be juggling the blogging world vs. real life. Working full time in the fashion industry is the most rewarding experience but also a big challenge and time consuming since I am also a full time blogger. However, I have mastered the art of being nocturnal and love what I do, which in this case I plan to overcome this challenge as well.

Who are your top three favorite designers?
This is always a difficult question for me. Chanel, Marchesa, and Balmain are the classic designers I love! Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant, and Marc Jacobs are also some of my favorites. Although designer pieces are always phenomenal, I love to create outfits together that offer both vintage pieces mixed with designer for a fun yet different outtake on style.

Advice for other bloggers or fashion business owners?
Hard work and being positive is my daily mantra. Blogs have greatly impacted our world today and will continue to change and affect our future in fashion. Although there are many out there, a true authentic voice will always find its way to stand out. Stay true to your style and self, you’ll see endless opportunities come your way!

Favorite beauty product?
I don’t leave my house without my Lancôme Hypnose mascara and Cargo blush.

Favorite Magazines: Vogue, Bazaar, Nylon, In Style, Glamour

Favorite Fashion Websites:,,,, and many more.

Lillian’s Haute List:

1. Combat Boots
2. Mac Diva Lipstick
3. Gel Nail Polish
4. Colorful Beanies
5. Anything ZARA
6. Starbucks Zen Green Tea
7. Leopard ankle booties
8. Everything on the Cheesecake Factory menu
9. YSL Arty rings
10. Obsessed with New York

Check out Lillian’s Blog:

If you are interested in being featured as a Fashionista or Fashionisto of the Month, please email with “Fashionista of the Month” in the subject line for more information!

Fashion’s New Establishment: Once a stepping stone to print, blogs are now a destination unto themselves

NEW YORK ( In 2009, Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana made news by filling its front row—typically the sole provenance of A-list actresses and Anna Wintour—with fashion bloggers, even equipping them with laptops. Among those bloggers was Scott Schuman, creator of street style site The Sartorialist, who, in a recent profile in GQ, made no effort to hide his indignation over that show. “[Dolce & Gabbana] got a humongous amount of press. … ‘Look, we brought the bloggers in and gave them the front row. Look at the dancing-monkey bloggers!’ ” He then added, “I could barely bring myself to sit down.” But since then, style blogs like The Man Repeller, Into the Gloss, Style Rookie and Bryanboy, aka Bryan Grey Yambao (look for him judging the next season of America’s Next Top Model), have become assigned reading among the fashion set—and you’d be hard-pressed to find them missing a single Fashion Week. In just a few short years, fashion blogging has evolved from something of a novelty into a legitimate career, and one that might even be preferable to writing for a big-name glossy.

Just ask Nick Axelrod, a former news editor at Elle. Last month, he announced that he was leaving to become the editorial director of Into the Gloss, a beauty blog started by Emily Weiss, a friend and former fellow assistant at Fairchild Fashion Group. “Almost two years ago, when Emily launched the blog, I remember saying, ‘Oh really, another blog?’ and giving her a skeptical eye,” Axelrod recalled. But after realizing the site’s potential for growth, he said, he was converted.

Other print vets embracing the digital-only fashion world are Derek Blasberg, an editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar, who’s built a personal brand outside the magazine with his Mr. Blasberg blog; and Lucy Yeomans, who quit last March after 12 years as the editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar UK to edit Net-A-Porter’s online magazine.

(The company’s men’s site, Mr Porter, boasts former Esquire UK editor in chief Jeremy Langmead at its editorial helm. He left the magazine in 2010 to make the jump to digital.)

Leandra Medine, creator of the tongue-in-cheek blog, The Man Repeller, was studying journalism in college when she started the site in 2010 as a side project. “I definitely didn’t think [blogging] was a sustainable career, and I think that’s why I did so many brand partnerships and interviews,” she said. “I thought, ‘I’m going to get everything out of this that I can because who knows how long this is going to last?’” But that publicity—which led to collaborations with hip designers like Gryphon and Dannijo—made her a household name among young fashion addicts and led to a book deal.

Still, for every Sartorialist, there are hundreds more bloggers whose hobby will remain just that. “I think there are a very, very select few bloggers that can make this a lasting career,” said John Jannuzzi, a contributing digital editor at Lucky who runs the magazine’s Style Collective, a blogger network. “Everyone out there has some kind of expiration date. What happens when a personal-style blogger wakes up and she’s 35 and not the cute 20-year-old girl in Brooklyn anymore?”

That’s where expansion comes in—namely, building a site to include new writers without losing the voice of its creator. (For a recent successful example of this, see teen blogger Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie Mag, a popular online site for young women that grew out of a personal blog, Style Rookie.) Axelrod is in the early stages of hiring contributing writers for Into the Gloss, while Medine is auditioning new talent and “parlaying Man Repeller the blog into Man Repeller the website,” which she describes as a cross between Vogue and Jezebel.

As they expand and become a more integral part of the fashion community, bloggers are also getting greater support from advertisers. “As brands are seeing the blogs’ reach and their influence grow, they’re getting better and better access and becoming more visible as a whole,” said Amy Odell, writer for Buzzfeed Shift and formerly of New York magazine’s fashion blog, The Cut. “If you can deliver the impressions, you can play the game,” said Jannuzzi. “Leandra has a ton of traffic. There’s no reason why she can’t have great advertisers, and she does. Scott [Schuman] has Net-A-Porter, a big campaign with Tiffany’s. They’re proof that you can get to that point.”

Three years after Schuman’s Dolce & Gabbana experience, it’s hard to imagine any top blogger feeling out of place at a fashion show. “I remember at a couple of shows last season, I would be seated front row center, and across from me would be big editors that I’ve admired for years sitting second, third row,” said Medine. “I felt a little like, ‘Who am I to be sitting in this seat?’ But the more I think about it, I realize we as bloggers have these super independent voices, and it’s important for us to be out streaming whatever is going on to our Instagrams and Tumblrs. I don’t want to say that it’s normal and I deserve to be front row … but I guess I do.”

Source: ADWEEK July 10, 2012