We love a candid talk here at YHM and Charlotte Groeneveld of the popular travel and style blog, The Fashion Guitar, opens up about her ever budding business and the “real-factor” of being a social influencer. Since 2010, Groeneveld has digitally captured her lifestyle and her 485k+ social followers have taken a personal ride with the blogger turned fashion designer and so much more. Her Donsje Amsterdam and Fab. By Fabienne fashion collections are just two of the many highlights Groeneveld has shared with us all. She admits the design world was not for her, but doesn’t rule it out completely. What’s her dream collaboration? “I’m living my dream right now!”
YHM Magazine: You’re originally from The Netherlands, but you lived in other major fashion areas. What are some of the fashion differences of living in New York City and London versus back home?
Charlotte Groeneveld: Biggest difference is that in London and New York fashion actually lives. People do dress in the latest collections, and there are more fashionable women out there than I would ever imagine seeing in Holland. I’m not saying Holland doesn’t have fashionable girls, but it’s on another level, and on a smaller scale. Moreover, Dutch people are more casual in the way they dress, hence you see less of the latest designer collections in daily life.
YHM: You’ve collaborated with some top designer brands like Giorgio Armani Beauty, Jimmy Choo, and Rebecca Taylor. What goes through your mind when they contact you?
CG: I have been working with Jimmy Choo from quite early on, and I must admit that I still love to work with them, because they are a great brand with an amazing team behind it. Maison Valentino recently flew me to Rome for their couture show, those are moments that I tell myself to “pinch me”. I always dreamed of those things, but would not have ever thought they would happen.
YHM: You mentioned before starting your blog you found that some blogs were missing a real-factor. What are three “real-factors” that make a blog unique?
CG: What I wear on my blog is what I would wear in real life. And by saying “would” I mean that I’m not owning everything I wear on my blog. I work with a lot of my favorite brands, and they are always keeping my wardrobe up to date, or they let me borrow pieces straight of the runway. This way I can do what I intent to do, and that is to inspire my audience with the latest fashion.
Another real factor is that I don’t Photoshop myself, unless I have really dark circles under my eyes, those I am allowed to retouch, I’m a mom of two and that can be very tiring or I just wear sunglasses. But other than a retouched bruise on my leg, I’m not touching up anything me. Lastly, as much as brand sometimes offer, I will only collaborate if I love the brand or collection. This can be designer or high-street. And with this I’m touching on my first one, I wear what I love, and I love what I wear. 100%.
YHM: How has your blog change over the years?
CG: It has become a full time job, and that can be challenging with two little kids, and lots of traveling, but you become an expert in planning over time, and you learn and learn, and build, and grow. And of course, I try to enjoy everything to the fullest!
YHM: When did you realize it became a business?
CG: It’s business when you build relationships, and ultimately if you start earning. In the beginning I spend more than I made. Now I make money with what I love, it is very profitable, and I can support my family and expand my business. As for everyone who starts his or hers own business, that feels very good and rewarding!
YHM: So much of your life experiences become a part of your blog, such as getting married, having a baby and traveling. How do you decide what in your personal life is okay to share? Are you ever nervous about it?
CG: I think to stay real you need to share what is going on in your life. People relate to it. My audience grew up with me. Five years ago I didn’t have kids, but when I became pregnant of James, my readers maybe also entered that phase, or when I got cancer, maybe some of my readers went through something similar at that time, or knew someone with cancer.
It’s important to know that behind the amazing “glamour”, the gifts and the smile, there is just Charlotte, who is a wife and a mother, who loves to work her ass off when she loves something, and earns because those first years of investing are paying off. It doesn’t make me nervous, because I feel my readers love to get to know me, and they are so kind and loyal, it’s amazing!
By Yegide Matthews / Photos by Jeff Thibodeau