1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
-My name is Ilene, 26 years old currently reside in South Carolina. Some random tid bits about me: I'm engaged to my best friend and cannot wait to be married to him! I love to snack all the time - especially popcorn, candy and PB Oreos (not all together of course!) And besides snacking, I cannot live without my cup of Joe. Love it - especially with tons of liquid creamy. Tons.
2. What got you interested in blogging, and how long have you been blogging for?
-I started blogging February of 2010. Lots of family and friends were moving away from Chicago, so I wanted to make sure that I was able to keep in touch with them. Most of them had blogs so I decided to join the bandwagon on this. Close to that time I had start my Etsy shop and so I paralleled my blog with it (note the name) and began to include shop updates but also gave my customers the chance to get to know the artist behind the shop. And besides my Etsy shop, blogging became a huge creative outlet for me that I needed during that season of my life.
3. Can you tell us about your style?
-Eclectic, I think is the best way I can describe it. I love experimenting new things - so I can go from the chic and urban look to the next day rocking the vintage-bohemian wear. I'm a huge fan of accessories and lots of color so lots of my outfits have that incorporated in the outfits too.
4. You started the very successful "Much Love illy" Etsy shop. What inspired you to open your shop, and what do you love most about owning your own handmade, small business?
-I have always been into art and anything creativity really. For the longest time, one of my best friends kept encouraging me to start an Etsy shop. She started one and was loving it! We often set up art dates; she would make her Etsy orders and I would paint or make cards. Finally, close to Thanksgiving weekend (when everyone was out of town), I had some extra time on my hands and just buckled down and opened up a shop. I mainly stocked the shop up with cards but then once the cards sold, I got kinda bored and decided to try a different product - poppy garland headbands! The shop has then expanded from headbands to jewelry to other types of hair accessories. It's been such an awesome experience!
What I love most about having my shop is being to dream and design and then actually create a product that you hope someone will love and wear proudly. I love getting twitpics or emailed photos of people loving my work. There is something exhilarating when someone you don't even know is wearing your stuff!
5. What are your favorite trends for spring?
-Ooooh I am loving soooo many trend right now. I'm obsessed with wide leg jeans, floral prints, big bags and chunky platforms. I especially all the bright, bold colors that everyone is rocking right now!
6. When you're not busy blogging, what can you be found doing?
-Spending time with my family and fiance. Grabbing coffee with girlfriends. Watching movies and reading books. Photography. At the Sonic Drive thru drinking strawberry limeages.
7. With regards to fashion, what do you draw inspiration from?
-Probably everywhere and everything. I have some of my favorite fashion blogs that I keep up with (ahem, Tea Talk - *wink*), and I look forward to my subscriptions to Instyle and Lucky coming every month. My mom has awesome fashion taste so I also bounce things off of her a lot.
8. If you had to pick one outfit to wear the rest of your life, what would it look like?
-Oh fun question! Right now with my obsession with wide leg jeans, I'd go with a pair of those with a bright floral tank and some chunky platforms!
9. I recently learned (from you) that your younger sister takes almost all of your daily outfit photos. How do you think that has affected your bond with your younger sister, and what's your personal outlook on outfit photos (because I know I see some pretty silly, and sweet photos often on your blog)?
-My sister.Ashley, and I are already super close (there are actually three of us total and we are super tight!), so we have lots of fun taking them together every day. I obviously already feeling comfortable with her, and she isn't afraid to tell me if I look awkward and need to shift a pose. And yes, the goofy photos definitely make it in there every day. Sometimes, Ashley will shout out something like "Do the dougie!" and I start dancing the dougie (or try to!) so she helps me a ton on making the photos fun and random.
As for my personal outlook on outfit photos, I love showing off my personality in them. I don't like being too serious 'cause I really don't take myself too seriously all the time so why should my photos? I guess like everything else I do in life, I just like being me - and this is me: goofy, silly and random!
10. Do you have any advice for aspiring small business owners? What about someone interested in giving color in their daily wardrobe a shot (something you are great at, might I add), but is a little weary to?
-First, advice for aspiring small business owners...I'd say: Don't be afraid of risks. Like any big dream, you can't hold back. Get yourself and your product out there. Present stellar photos and find yourself a mentor, someone you can trust and can give you honest feedback when you need it. Seriously, you won't know unless you try.
Second in regards to adding color to your daily outfit, start small if you are afraid to go with the big and bold. For example, if you don't feel like rocking the loud top or the colorful pants, start by adding colorful accessories! Accessories do lot to adding a pop of color to your outfit. The next time you go shopping or raiding your closet, find bright colored jewelry or rocking a pair of color popping shoes does a lot to a more neutral-toned outfit. Keep everything else toned down but then bring out some color with a touch of accessory. It really does make a difference!