Go-getter Anna Hart is the founder and proprietor of South Molton Street Style, a successful fashion blog and Pitch and Post, an online service that connects brands and bloggers seeking partnerships.
There aren’t many women who can say that they know the industry quite as good as Anna. Her style blog showcases fabulous fashion from across the board, from giants such as Net-A-Porter and Selfridges to popular High Street brands like Topshop, to independent and emerging designers like Laveer by Kate Ciepluch.
A London-based self-taught blogger, Anna is putting her knowledge to work not just for herself, but also for a huge swath of the blogging community as well as brands seeking to reach out and connect with bloggers. Drawing from her own experiences as the founder and manager of a fashion blog, she’s put together a unique resource that offers consultancy services, campaign management, social media help, and blog building guides.
Your Coffee Break sat down to talk to the talented industry professional.
Name: Anna Hart
Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon… and Espresso martinis in the evening. I’m never not high on caffeine.
Tough one. I’m a Londoner and do love the capital, but I’m a huge fan of places like Siena, Paris and New York.
Default clothing brand is Zara but I am trying to avoid the obvious and go for companies where quality has been more thought about. Sites like Young British Designers and London boutiques like Austique are great for finding a new name.
Where did you go to Uni?
What were you doing before Pitch and Post and South Molton Street Style?
Something entirely different – finding people jobs! I spent 5 years working in media and advertising recruitment, turned out to be extremely handy for my blog as I knew a lot of the right people in magazines and brands… A happy coincidence.
You mention a corporate nine-to-five, did you study business at Uni?
Not at all, I studied English Literature and Italian so spent most of the time sobbing over the number of books I had to read. In fact, I couldn’t read a book for 3 years afterwards as I’d spent too long looking for meanings and contexts and tangents – Elle magazine (and Heat, sorry) were my only literature until I was 25.
Have you always lived in London or did you move here to pursue your career?
I’m a Londoner born and bred, although as neither of my parents are from here – I’ve spent a lot of time in Pembrokeshire and Nottinghamshire with my family. I see myself ending up by the Welsh coast in a tiny former pirate village called Little Haven in Wales in my old age – it’s my second home.
Today you are working with luxe brands and department stores such as Selfridges, what was it that made your blog this big?
I didn’t start the blog with the intention of it being a career, just as a creative outlet. I guess being a London blog really helped as we had so many events going on (Jubilee, Olympics…) that put British style at the forefront in 2011 and 2012. I’m also not afraid to pick up the phone and introduce myself, which is what I did for a lot of the brands I work with.
You created and now manage two successful online ventures, what are your time-management secrets?
Haha, I still have to perfect this. I have to be super organized to balance not only my time but my natural talents for forgetfulness, stupidity and generally being a bit all over the place. I write a lot of lists, my Outlook calendar resembles a Paint By Number pictures – colour coding helps me sleep at night. Alice Temperley gave me one of her Filofaxs for Christmas and it’s a New Years resolutions to keep that in order.
How much time do you spend blogging during a normal day?
Not as much as you might think. In a normal week the post writing takes a couple hours now that I know how my blog platform works inside out, and I’ve sorted out my writing style (wouldn’t necessarily call it a style… more consistent ramblings). It’s the management and social media link ups that need to happen every day. Platforms like Momentum and Tweetdeck are my secret to sanity/success.
As a blogger, what is the biggest accomplishment in your career?
I’ve been nominated for a few awards and been in quite a lot of magazines for various things, but for me it’s still when I go to an event and meet somebody who already knows who I am from a company/magazine that I have mountains of respect for. That gets me every time.
Everything you feature on South Molton Street Style is so wearable and versatile, yet on-trend! Who’s your biggest fashion inspiration?
In truth probably my sister, Rhian. She’s way cooler than me but taught me the importance of quality and having a few decent pieces rather than a lot of stuff that you can wear once. Famous style icon wise – they’re all French. In fact the French Vogue girls wear everything I wish I had in my wardrobe.
You started “Pitch and Post” as a resource for both bloggers and brands, have you noticed one group using your services more than another? Or is usage pretty evenly divided?
It’s split pretty evenly actually which surprised me. Bloggers tends to work solo and so need more help as they don’t have a surrounding support team or finance. It has actually shocked me how many big brands need help – I expected them to be more knowledgeable or at least have better access to the information they need.
How and where did you do the research necessary to put together and fine tune your Blogger Outreach service for brands?
A lot of it is stuff I picked up from my own experiences as a blogger. I know what a blogger will respond to if a brand contacts them, how to make a site/blog more visible, what will drive traffic and what consumers will be interested in. To be honest, that’s 90% of what most people want to find out.
What advice would you offer to young women who are trying to find their own niche and start their own enterprise? Any tips for sussing out where the gaps in the market are?
Go with your gut – but after having asked around, and don’t just ask friends. Use online survey tools questioning aspects of your enterprise (Survey Monkey is good) and forward out to people to pass on to people you don’t know. Get 100 unbiased and listen to the feedback.
If it still looks good, just get your head down and go with it. If I had a £ for every time someone had said to me ‘I’m thinking of starting a luxury brand, the key selling point will be that the quality will be much better than the rest of the market’ … Has to be more unique – have a defined and rational USP (unique selling point).
You mentioned you had no previous experience before starting South Molton Street Style. Would you say that starting a blog is a good way to learn your way around website and social media management?
Definitely, but the beauty of it is that you don’t need to know much to get started. Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress are the best platforms to use and they have been built with the non-digital-savvy-person in mind.
What are your plans for the future for Pitch and Post and your style blog?
I’d like to build out the content of Pitch and Post more and get other bloggers and brands involved in writing about their own findings and experiences. I also plan to build a search tool to help the right people find each other properly – so brand partnerships can start making a little more sense. With South Molton St Style, I’m going to keep going as I am – I try to not worry about it too much. I’m looking forward to a couple of trips away with brands and London Fashion Week too…
One last questions, can we follow you on twitter? Of course, my twitter is @SMS_Style !
Natalie Rose lives and writes in London. She has an MA and BA in film and literature and a keen interest in travel, culture and fine things.View all Natalie Rose posts.