From Blogger to Entrepreneur: Alicia Quan
We think it’s fair to say that bloggers, the mega successful ones that is, are practically celebrities in their own right. You would be hard-pressed to find an in-the-know fashionista who hasn’t heard of The Man Repeller, Cherry Blossom Girl, Fashion Toast or Garance Dore. Bloggers are more influential than ever, in the realms of fashion, home décor, food, and art, and we are starting to see a huge influx of bloggers using their exposure and network to take the leap and start their own businesses.
One fabulous local example of such a blogger is Alicia Quan of Alicia Fashionista. Alicia started her blog in 2008, and three years later left her nine to five to focus on her more creative endeavours, most notably Capital Q Creative, her boutique social media company specializing in building online communities, blogs, and campaigns and events. Since their launch they’ve acquired several notable clients, including Subway, Easter Seals Drop Zone, Bombay Brow Bar, and Semperviva Yoga. We recently had the opportunity to pick Alicia’s brain about her thoughts on blogging and business, and how it all came together for her.
Stylust (S): What inspired you to start Alicia Fashionista and subsequently your business, Capital Q Creative?
Alicia (A): Like so many, my blog started as a personal creative outlet and gradually grew into its own brand. With my networking and blog successes came a yearning for more freedoms beyond my nine to five, which is how the slowly unraveling idea to start Capital Q Creative came about.
S: Was it hard to leave behind your traditional job to blog and run Capital Q full time?
A: Oh, absolutely! I’d never quit a job before, so that was terrifying in itself, let alone the fact that I was leaving to start my own business. From the beginning though, I was certain there was no option for me to start it up on the side. I knew that I had to give it all or nothing. This was easy enough to do on a whim because my start-up costs were incredibly low and I was lucky enough to snag two clients right off the bat. It was tough to start though because I have a deep-rooted fear of failure. Which, if anything, probably just made me even more determined to succeed.
S: What do you think sets your blog apart from others?
A: It’s tough to think of a ‘unique selling point’ when it’s your own personal blog. One thing I always want the blog to convey is a sense of being genuine. It’s important to me that readers feel that they can relate to what I’m wearing, coveting, or telling a long-winded tale about.
S: What sort of advice do you have for up and coming bloggers and/or independent businesswomen?
A: I think both blogging and being a female entrepreneur are so wonderful; I encourage anyone who has been thinking of starting to just bite the bullet and go for it. A big piece of advice I always give is to network both online and in person. And by network, I don’t mean handing out business cards and generic emails. It’s all about real connections and making new friends. As women, we should all be encouraging and empowering each other.
S: Did your background in fashion marketing inspire you to start Capital Q Creative?
A: My background in fashion marketing is definitely part of what led me to my love of marketing and social media. It’s what helped me get my job in the Vancouver fashion industry and gain tons of great experience.
S: What’s the next step you for Capital Q Creative? Where would you ideally like to see it go?
A: I’m working very hard to grow the business as much as I can now. There are so many small businesses out there who need social media guidance and I really want to help them out. I’ve brought on a new account manager/events coordinator and we’ve got lots of exciting things in the works.
S: Do you prefer to stay within the realm of fashion with Capital Q? Who would be your dream client to work with?
A: I enjoy working with clients from fashion, food, and lifestyle brands but as much as I veer away, I always seem to go back to fashion. It would definitely be ideal to leverage more of my retail experience and help out local boutiques. I already work with such amazing clients, that I feel like anyone who I can bond with and really embrace and love their company culture is already a dream come true.
S: You do a lot of travelling, would you say that having your own business allows you the freedom to do the things you love or is it harder to tear yourself away sometimes?
A: This is a bit of a funny question for me, because one of the luxuries of my business is that I can work abroad. I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of travelling this year, but the other side of it is that I can never really disconnect and actually be on vacation. My business requires me to be connected 24/7 and includes lots of unexpected time sensitive situations and deadlines. Honestly though, I love every second of it. I’d much rather be tweeting from London than my living room. Which, I just so happen to be doing right now!bloggers, fashion, vancouver style, women in business