Erika Fox of Retro Flame knows how to blend business with style, so here are the top 12 tips she shared today:

Fashion, business and blogging were the hot topics this International Women’s Day when Erika Fox of Retro Flame visited Donegal.

The hugely influential Irish blogger delivered a keynote talk at Century Complex Letterkenny as part of Local Enterprise Week. The high demand for places at the ‘Stitch in Time’ talk was unprecedented, with fans booking tickets long in advance so they could meet and connect with their favourite blogger and her equally-stylish sister Kaelin.

Erika and Kaelin Fox

Erika, from Co. Kerry, has been living and working in New York City for the past number of years – leading an enviable life of style, beauty and travel. 

The 26-year-old has so far achieved 100,000 Instagram followers, 50,000 YouTube subscribers and 30,000 Facebook fans, while working with some of the world’s most high-end fashion brands.

Her polished content is not without effort though, and she was keen to share an insight into her work with the creative people of Donegal. ‘How I did it, and how you can do it too’ was the theme of Erika’s talk, with many stand-out points that were both motivational and informative:

“Even though I knew I wasn’t the best, I didn’t give up” – Erika looked back on her earlier blog photos from six years ago, and while she admitted that her flatlays and outfits left a lot to be desired, she said she always aimed to improve.

“Never underestimate where you learn things” – Studying Fashion at GTI was one of the best courses that set Erika on her path to blogging success, she said. As a college student, she always knew that fashion was her passion, so she took a year from her Commerce studies to learn about Fashion, Marketing and PR, which ultimately led her to discover the blogging world.

“It was the internships that taught me everything I know and made me who I am.” – From an internship in Monaghan with Natalie B Coleman to networking her way to New York, Erika is a strong advocate of working hard at trainee levels to learn about the industry.

“Do what you have to do, until you can do what you want to do” – Erika used this Oprah quote to illustrate how her blog did not grow overnight, she worked hard in the US and at home in Ireland while she built her own brand. It was just two years ago that Erika turned her ‘side-hustle’ into her full-time job, and now she and her sister Kaelin work on content for Retro Flame together.

“Whatever you do on social media, be yourself” – Erika’s advice for people in marketing and blogging was focused on authenticity. Her followership started to grow in earnest when she began snapchatting and sharing her personality online, she said.

“Unless you have consistency, you won’t grow” – The Retro Flame team consistently plan their content to reach weekly targets. They take stock of analytics to determine the posts that work and those that don’t. Erika advised everyone to ensure their branding is well-thought out and consistent in order to stand out. She also advised everyone in the social media industry to start vlogging now – as video content is the way forward for bloggers.

“Everything you do, add value” – Erika said that influencers must give their followers something that is regular, informative or entertaining, or else they will quickly unfollow.

“If you are a new blogger coming into the industry, you have to make sure you are different” – the online world is a saturated and competitive place, but Erika gave everyone a motivational boost for local bloggers to strive for individuality to stand out from the crowd. 

“Work with the right people” – with her background in PR, Erika has an insight into both sides of the industry. She advised brands to be careful about which bloggers they work with in order to get the best return. Rather than focusing on follower numbers, collaborating with smaller bloggers who have niche audiences may result in the best engagement for a brand, she said.

Erika’s talk ended with three inspirational quotes for all Creative Coast entrepreneurs in Donegal:

‘Start before you’re ready’

‘Know when to say no’

‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’

Check out the gallery below for more photos from the event:

Nicola McLaughlin, Erika Fox and Aisling Cunningham

Marie Shields, Eve-Anne McCarron and Sue Glackin

Erika Fox with LYIT Fashion students at Century Cinemas Letterkenny

Local fashion makers displayed their creations at the ‘A Stitch in Time’ Talk

LYIT Fashion with Promotion students