BRND House Series: Fashfoodies
Elana and Monica are sisters who love traveling, having fun and eating great food. These bi-coastal babes (Elana in NYC and Monica in SF) created their blog, Fashfoodies, to share their favorite dishes, memories and stories from all of their travels and adventures. We got to sit down with Elana and pick her brain about Fashfoodies and life as a blogger. Keep reading to learn more about the blog and to hear her tips and tricks for life as a blogger! Follow along with the duo @fashfoodies on Instagram.
How did you get started in the blogging / social media world? What was your inspiration for Fashfoodies?
I started Fashfoodies to keep a food diary of the places I dined and loved in New York. I didn’t expect to turn it into a blog, it was actually all pretty organic.
You two are bicoastal sisters who love traveling, having fun and food. How do you balance your time with the blog and your personal life?
It’s actually more challenging than anyone can understand. You find very little time for yourself because you’re constantly networking and working on content. It helps to have friends and a significant other who is understanding and will join you during events and shoots.
What rules do you follow when curating your posts? What tricks do you use to stand out to your followers?
Still working on standing out, but I think having a clear voice and visual story helps. It’s challenging to figure that out, but once it’s in place, stick with it. Too many people try to change the direction of their blog or incorporate something new and they’ll see an immediate difference in engagement. If you’re looking to change direction, it’s good to know that this is bound to happen in the beginning until your followers are adjusted to the new content and story. As far as curating posts, I like using the app Preview to give myself a visual outline of what my page will look like when editing and planning in advance.
Tell us about the early days of FF? What were the obstacles? How did you build a following?
In the beginning, I didn’t really think about taking nice photos with a goal to grow the account. I knew social media would take off and become a prominent source of media outreach for business but never followed my own advice. Therefore, the challenge was finally listening to myself and investing in a camera and working on curating my posts to have a clear message to stand out. Building a strong network of like-minded individuals is the best way to grow content and have the support of peers to help push and motivate you.
Tell us about your first experience working with a restaurant client. How did you start reaching out to restaurants?
Fortunately for me, I work in the food and beverage industry— doing consulting, marketing, social media and PR myself - so I had access to restaurants from the start. When I started to build (the blog), some restaurants would reach out to me. Otherwise, I would attend events, go to brunches or dinners with other bloggers or just pay for my meal. I love food, so dining out and discovering new places is something I enjoy regardless of my blog.
How has that approach changed today? How do you find new clients? Or do they find you?
My approach is basically the same. I don’t aggressively reach out to restaurants. I would say the main difference is my network has grown and I have blogger friends with similar interests and needs. When we’re low on photos, we typically book a couple of places on the same day and organize a food crawl to get content and just have a fun, delicious day together. I love those days.
Tell us about your favorites! Favorite FF memory? Favorite restaurant to work with? Favorite dish?
I think it’s such a testament to the industry, and the growth of social media as a whole when you can travel to another country and be welcomed to a spectacular meal and experience. The two that stand out, was most recently at a restaurant called Oltre in Bologna. The owner was so progressive with his ideas and dish presentations compared to the traditional restaurants throughout the region—and personally explained each item as it was brought to the table. The particular dish that stood out to me there was his inside-out tortellini. Wow. I would love to go back again.
Additionally, the team at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and in Amsterdam. They were beyond helpful with suggestions and assisting me on my trip.
Now for the scary stories. Any disaster moments?
There are no crazy disaster moments, but I would say that sometimes there’s been a lack of communication between the person organizing the meal and the restaurant. It’s pretty awkward to explain to someone that your meal was supposed to be complimentary and in exchange for photos.
Instagram has undergone a lot of changes over the last few years - new algorithms, advertising, etc. Has this had an impact on your work? If so, how have you evolved with the changes?
Yea, I don’t really like it! I think it makes more sense to show all posts in chronological order. I think it’s impacted everyone’s work. Sometimes no one sees my stories and other times it’s the opposite, so it’s really hard to predict and a little scary when you’re working with a campaign or brand partner. I think posting videos or doing something different than your usual content helps, but I haven’t really done that yet!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given and how has that shaped Fashfoodies?
My best social advice came from Mr. Jeremy Jacobowitz of Brunchboys. He really gets this industry and knows how to adapt and grow. When I was struggling, he pointed out that the market was saturated with food bloggers and a plate of spaghetti will look the same when scrolling from one account to the next. That’s when I started to incorporate photos of myself and my sister Monica. We like to share the experience of eating by showcasing the ambiance of the restaurant and enjoying our meal. I still post photos of beautiful dishes as well, but I like to alternate between food, travel, ambiance and us.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own blog?
Know your message, goals and vision from the beginning and what makes you stand out from the rest. Also, I would get a lot of content and photos on your own and plan them in advance so you know what your overall page will look like once they’re posted.
In your opinion, what are the vital skills needed to be a successful blogger?
A good eye for photos (whether it’s still-life, fashion, food or travel), ability to network and a strong desire to continue pushing forward through the ups-and-downs.
What is the next step for Fashfoodies?
We’re planning to move into more videos! We already posted a couple of stunning drone shots thanks to my sister’s boyfriend in SF. But would love to do more IGTV in New York with some interesting guides and fun food experiences. Still working on it, so you’ll need to stay tuned!