This is an interview with Corina Holden of Frump Fighters.
Hey, Corina. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I’m a wife and a stay-at-home mom of three precious boys (5 years and under). We live in the Pacific Northwest and just love it here.
I love Jesus and my passion is people—connecting, making an impact in their lives, and just helping make life beautiful. Spending time with my amazing husband and just enjoying our boys is what makes life sparkle!
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I always tried to dress presentably. I just lacked the knowledge and talent to avoid looking frumpy. I also didn’t have much courage to try anything remotely trendy!
When I became a stay-at-home mom in 2014 that plight became greater as I didn’t have a corporate job to dress for and most of my wardrobe was office attire. I loved clothes and shopping but was tired of how much of a struggle it was at the same time.
When did you start your fashion blog and how did you come up with the idea?
When I quit my job to stay home to my firstborn I was concentrating on finishing my Bachelor’s degree through Liberty University online.
As that wrapped up, I knew I wanted a new challenge and a way to make money from home to support our financial goals.
I started brainstorming about starting a blog late in 2015 and started writing content January 2016, all with a toddler in hand and morning sickness from a new pregnancy.
I initially was going broad with a lifestyle blog. But I started writing content and quickly felt spread too thin trying to write on so many topics. I couldn’t be excellent at all of them!
So as I brainstormed how to niche down I realized that my struggle with fashion as a new mom was probably shared by many moms. I also realized it would be a subject I could grow into as I had so much learning to do myself.
I had my topic and I was about to become a fashion blogger.
Read also: How to Start a Mommy Blog That Makes Money
What topics do you cover exactly and who’s your target audience?
My target audience at Frump Fighters is stay-at-home or work-at-home moms who need help with their wardrobes after kids.
As a fashion blogger, I specialize in providing steps to shaping a casual wardrobe that is both chic and comfortable for everyday life as a mom.
I do also have a capsule wardrobe for the office setting, but most of my content is focused on the kind of clothes you need when you’re with the kids. Think washing dishes, maternity, play dates, school drop off, PTO meetings, errands, etc.
How did you bring traffic to the blog in the first year?
I focused on writing extremely helpful posts that would attract my target audience and WOW them.
Since I was a beginner fashion blogger, my first posts were heavily researched and I was basically assembling a method I could use and share with other moms. I was basically answering the questions and struggles I had with a well-put-together blog post that broke everything down easily.
Over time I got better and better at fashion and I refined the method that I taught.
I joined several group boards on Pinterest to jump start my exposure.
Initially, I used Facebook sharing threads where you pin everyone else’s content and they pin yours. Within the first year, I realized it wasn’t worth my time anymore, so I dropped that.
I used Boardbooster for a while and then switched to Tailwind to schedule my pins.
My Pinterest traffic grew steadily in the first year and in the second and third year my Google traffic started to pick up.
How many page views do you currently get and from what sources?
I currently get 121,193 pageviews per month.
That’s 40,946 users with a 67% bounce rate, so I know that focusing on creating only incredible content has paid off in keeping people browsing a while on the site.
The largest percentage is now from Google, then “direct” and then Pinterest.
What’s your Pinterest strategy like?
I took the course Pinning Perfect by Blog Clarity to establish my current pinning strategy and one of my virtual assistants keeps it running.
It basically involves using a big spreadsheet to keep track of our different pin designs and posts/pages they lead to, when we last pinned them, what time of year to start pinning them again, etc.
We use Tailwind to schedule them out so that we have about 20 pins scheduled per day. We currently pin mostly our own content and mostly to our own specific/niche boards but we do pin to a few group boards that have proven themselves over the years.
We use Tailwind’s SmartLoop to schedule our best-performing pins evenly and consistently throughout the year.
With every piece of content (whether a landing page or blog post) we design 2-3 pins.
I had a MAJOR increase in how many clicks my pins got after taking Lena Gott’s Adventures in SEO course. Her module on Clickability is GOLD. It totally revolutionized the way I wrote my pin headlines and I saw instant results.
Occasionally when my Pinterest VA has extra time we’ll design new pins for our best fashion posts or for our struggling posts.
How did you step up your SEO game?
I took Mike Pearson’s Stupid Simple SEO and Lena Gott’s Adventures in SEO course about a year ago and created a personalized SEO form/checklist that we use every time we write a new post or optimize an old one.
Both courses were extremely valuable, I would honestly take both if you can swing it. Mike’s is more technical with important background information about how Google works and Lena’s gets super practical and DOABLE, plus adds the whole Pinterest SEO side.
I used what I learned to clean up my site and set it up to be overall SEO optimized.
We write content based on what our audience wants the most and then use our SEO form/checklist to optimize the content to rank in Google and Pinterest.
This strategy has been successful in helping us rank on first page overnight in a few cases, and often on first page for average difficulty terms within a few months.
How did you earn your first $1000 as a fashion blogger?
The first few dollars I earned as a fashion blogger were through Google ads. It was so exciting to bring home $1-2 per day FROM MY OWN BLOG!
To pay for my hosting and a few other minor startup expenses I also worked as a VA for another blog writing blog posts and designing pins.
That brought in a few hundred dollars over a few months. I dropped that as soon as I could to free up my time and focus on content and product creation.
My first product (an outfit guide ebook) took me past the $1,000 mark by the end of my first year. I created it while recovering from the birth of my second son.
My husband and I were wide-eyed. I was making money selling my own book online! I was encouraged to keep putting in the hours because the results were starting to show up.
What are the top things you did that helped you reach 6 figures as a fashion blogger?
I’d say these three things were the most crucial to earning 6 figures as a fashion blogger:
- Treating my blog like my job and “going to work” every day for a set number of hours.
I knew I’d lose interest in my new hobby if I didn’t treat it like a serious job. Also, people don’t take you seriously when you say you’re “fashion blogging” versus “working.”
- Focusing on working on only the most important things.
The 90 Day Year program was instrumental for this. To dip your toes in the concept, read Michael Hyatt’s Free to Focus.
I make sure I know what I need to work on before sitting down to work. And if I don’t know and I’m feeling scattered, I spend the first few minutes planning my work session.
- Creating high-quality products (for me that was courses and eBooks) that met my audience’s needs.
This gets perfected over time, but just focus on making mind-blowing solutions with the resources you have. It will just keep getting better and better as your skills, knowledge of your avatar, and resources increase.
What it comes down to is: be STUBBORN about your success.
I told myself early on that I didn’t want to spend time on something that I’d drop in a few months. So I pledged to never quit on a bad day as a fashion blogger.
That meant that I’d never quit. And when those good days come, boy aren’t you GLAD you didn’t quit back then on that bad day.
Is there a formula to sure success?
Yes there is!
Be Constantly Learning + Plan Smart + Work HARD + Time = Inevitable Success
Oh, and a large dollop of STUBBORNNESS. You’ll get there ? Work your hiney off and don’t give up.
How much are you currently earning from your fashion blog?
I’m able to bring in between 8-15k passively per month. Usually somewhere in the middle. That’s through my product funnels or direct purchases from the Frump Fighters shop.
During launches or special promotions, the month’s earnings jump up of course.
About 86% of my income is through my products. I also make some affiliate and ads income.
How do you leverage Facebook ads to increase sales?
I have a couple of ads running… one is a leads ad with a video inviting moms to download my free capsule wardrobe plan PDF. That ad has done well and brings in 2-3x the ad spend.
After a mom signs up for the PDF, she is invited to upgrade to the full Outfit Guide package at a discount. It is a 15-minute offer so it serves as a trip-wire.
I then send a nurturing email sequence delivering her free PDF and one video a day helping her implement the capsule wardrobe in her closet. I present another time-sensitive offer to upgrade to the full outfit guide during this sequence as well.
I use Deadline Funnel to make each deadline unique to the subscriber.
This leads ad does an excellent job of building my email list quickly for free (and even at a profit!).
The other ad that does well is a retargeting ad for anyone who has signed up for the freebie but hasn’t purchased the outfit guide. It’s a carousal ad of video testimonials from my customers sharing what they love about the product.
It only costs about $3 a day to run but brings in sales consistently.
This retargeting ad is awesome for recapturing warm visitors and helping them feel the confidence they need to purchase the product.
What role do Facebook groups play in your blogging business?
I started a free Facebook group in the second year of being a fashion blogger. I set it up to just help moms connect on the topic of fashion after kids.
For the last two years it’s been running the same scheduled posts each week:
- Outfit Challenge Monday – A list of outfit ideas to try together each week (features my main product by offering a portion of it for free)
- Frump Fighter Frustrations Wednesday – A “permission to vent” post where moms share what’s making it hard for them to feel put together.
- Mom Moment Friday – A thread where we get to share the funny, embarrassing or cute mom moments we’ve experienced recently.
- Look What I Found Saturday – A thread to share your finds and deals on clothes that week!
Moms also post anytime when they want feedback on their outfit or need suggestions for where to find something.
The group has offered three amazing benefits that I didn’t even foresee when I started it:
- It created a true community. Frump Fighters meet each other here and realize it’s not just a fashion blog. It’s a worldwide community of moms who are supporting each other!
- It provides social proof for my products. Moms are sharing the outfits they put together using my outfit guide books. Newbies get to see my products in action!
- A rich source of information. I can’t answer everyone’s questions and don’t have endless experience. In this group, thousands of moms are able to lend their experience when someone asks a question. It’s amazing.
How are you growing your email list?
The Facebook leads ad brings in about 50% of my leads each day, but I also have optin forms everywhere on my website.
Several blog posts feature specific printables, and a few pins lead directly to landing pages for optins.
How did you find time to blog as a busy mom?
I made a commitment early on to only work while the kids were sleeping. Not only am I very unproductive trying to work with my attention split, it would be very frustrating for my children. I didn’t want them to learn to hate my job!
To achieve this and become a successful fashion blogger, I have learned to become an early riser! I wake up at 5:30 and work about two hours before the kids are up in the morning.
Currently, I also get 1-2 hours in the afternoon while the two little ones nap and the older one is at preschool.
Occasionally I get a few extra hours strung together in other ways:
- My friend and I swap babysitting giving the kids a playdate with her kids every other week for four hours. I go work at a coffee shop during that time. Then I take her kids the next week.
- My amazing hubby hangs out with the kids in the morning on the weekend and I work away in the office. The kids love it and daddy gets to spend extra time with them so it’s a win-win!
- Once a month the kids sleep over at grandma’s house so I get most of the day to work.
I take Sundays off but currently work at least a couple of hours Monday-Saturday. For now it works well and I love it!
I’ve actually learned to appreciate the restraints on my work time as a fashion blogger. If I had 8 hours a day to dedicate to blogging I wouldn’t love it nearly as much. I think I’d get bored of it or burn out.
Getting half that time keeps me focused on the important things (including what’s important about life aside from blogging!) and makes it exciting to get to my work sessions each day!
How did blogging turn from a hobby into a real business?
I had started fashion blogging as a way to challenge myself and earn money. But I definitely didn’t think of it as a business at first.
That changed when I took Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year program. I could barely afford the cheapest program level but it propelled my work to a new level of focus and gave me a mature perspective of my blog: it was a business! I came to realize the blog was just a piece of the business.
What’s next for you and Frump Fighters?
I’m excited to continue refining my products and serving my audience with a few more pillar blog posts that they’ve been asking for.
I don’t plan to put out as much new content out but rather focus on a few key pieces to complete the “basics of mom fashion” available on the blog.
I also want to focus more on networking and just getting the word out about my Outfit Guides for Moms and other products.
I was so afraid to waste time chatting online or waste money going to conferences that I put my head down and just worked hard the first three years… now I need to put some energy into networking!
I hope to attend one or two blogger events and just work on meeting other bloggers online through “intentional browsing” on Instagram and Facebook.
I’m so, so excited for what the next year holds and just utterly grateful for how God has blessed Frump Fighters.
What started as a blog became a business. But I feel like in 2019 that business has transformed into a calling. I just love getting to serve moms and make their lives better through simple fashion!
I hope this blog post encouraged you to see that my success isn’t due to luck. It’s totally reproducible if you’re willing to work hard and be stubborn about your own success!
I wish you all the best! Come chat over on Instagram or the blog!
Stock Photo by LightField Studios @Shutterstock