Interview By: Meg McAlarney
Fashion week in New York City is underway, so it's only appropriate that we keep with that theme and interview the writer of one of my favorite fashion blogs, Dana Mannarino.
It was back in 2012 when I started following Hobbyist Dana's journey as a Fashion Blogger. She started a blog called, Pink Champagne Problems and over the last four years I've watched her site evolve and I've seen how hard she has worked to gain the success in a very competitive niche. In 2016, with new blogs popping up each day, it is very hard to find success and stay relevant, two things that Dana has managed to accomplished. What keeps me and so many other readers coming back to Pink Champagne Problems is that it always remains true to its roots while staying fresh with new content and beautiful fashion.
So, it was a no brainer that Dana was on our list of must interview Hobbyists. She evokes exactly what we at The Hobbyist Life celebrate, the hard working woman, with a go-getter attitude, that finds their way in this often hectic world.
Dana is a native New Yorker, who studied Communication and Fashion Merchandising at Marymount University. She currently works as an Associate Merchandiser for the timeless menswear brand, Perry Ellis. Dana will give us the inside scoop on what it takes to be a successful Fashion Blogger and the motivation we need to start a dream of our own.
When you are done reading this interview be sure to pop over to Pink Champagne Problems and I must warn you...be prepared to get hooked.
When did you first get the idea to start blogging? Why? Pink Champagne Problems actually became a “thing” because my Admissions Office was looking for student bloggers to showcase what life as a student is like -- and then I turned it into a fashion blog.
Can you give us a little history behind the name Pink Champagne Problems? It all started at Shake Shack...I’m serious! I was with my friends and I said something totally ridiculous, which prompted my guy friend to respond, “Well that’s a champagne problem.” The rest is history… (and I added “pink” because I love me some rosé)
When did you begin to see real success with Pink Champagne Problems? Hmm. I began to seriously focus on turning my blog into more than a creative outlet when I graduated from college. I put more time and effort into creating engaging content, a new blog design, and focusing on building relationships with brands. Overall, in 2016, I think it’s going to be my most successful year out of the 4 years I’ve been blogging. I’ve reached 12,000+ followers on Instagram, gave Pink Champagne Problems a facelift, and have partnered with new brands!
In a world filled with fashion blogs, how do you keep Pink Champagne Problems fresh and authentic? Where do you find inspiration and what separates Pink Champagne Problems from others? To be honest, it is HARD. It’s hard to not constantly compare yourself to the bloggers who make six-figures and do it full-time. In order to stay true to myself, I try to engage with my followers and other bloggers - whether it’s following them back on Instagram, commenting on their blogs religiously, or attending an event they're hosting, I try to support my fellow #GirlBosses all while running Pink Champagne Problems and it’s really nice to see them all supporting my brand back.
Where do you find inspiration for content? Other blogs? Magazines? TV? To be honest, bloggers give me the biggest inspiration. I love looking at my Bloglovin’ feed and seeing trends pop up, that gives me inspiration to shop and then create my own content on Pink Champagne Problems.
You also work at Perry Ellis, how do find the balance running a successful blog while managing a full time job? I wrote this post almost a year ago that basically explains WHY and HOW I run (what feels like a full-time) blog while having a career.
How has being a Merchandiser in the fashion industry helped you gain insider knowledge in fashion world? It’s pretty cool working beside some of the most creative people I’ve ever met. Although I work in menswear, I find a lot of inspiration for Pink Champagne Problems at work. As a Merchandiser, I also work closely with our Marketing team, so it’s cool to see how New York Fashion Week presentations go on both sides of the spectrum (from corporate to blogger). It’s also cool to know the general trends (which sometimes don’t overlap in men and womenswear) almost a year in advance thanks to the fashion calendar!
You were also a successful runner, how has that helped you as a blogger? Oh boy, the good ole’ days! The biggest thing I’ve taken away from running is time management. On weekdays, I used to go to school then head right to practice every day; on weekends, it would be 12-hour meets one day and a 10 mile run another and still manage to have a social life.
Balancing the full-time job and blogging takes A LOT of time management. It’s really easy to get side tracked, but thankfully, my planner helps keep me sane.
If someone was looking for one piece of advice about starting a fashion blog, what would you tell them? You need to be 100% in it to win it for yourself. You shouldn’t start a blog so that you can make a ton of money or to become famous. (But hey, if those things happened, then YAAAAAAAAAAAAS.)
What has been the best advice you’ve been given about blogging from another blogger? Know your worth. I recently went to a bloggers’ conference this summer and a big topic was knowing your worth as an influencer. I’ve been asked to do A TON of work for $20. Sometimes that’s really hurtful. My time, effort, style and knowledge is worth a whole lot more than $20 and it took me a while to realize that!
Where do you see Pink Champagne Problems in the next five years? I’d eventually like to create my own business and push for Pink Champagne Problems to be an LLC. I still see myself creating style content, but I’d REALLY love to incorporate more travel as part of everyday posts!
What’s your best piece of fashion advice? Own your personal style. If you see a trend that’s out of your comfort zone, try it anyway and rock it with your own personal flair!
Besides blogging and having a successful career at Perry Ellis, what else are you passionate about? Many people may not know this about me, but I am a HUGE sports’ fan, especially hockey. I’m literally counting down the days till the season starts (30 days!) Like I’m definitely one of those crazy people at bars/games. Oops! I also REALLY love SoulCycle with Mantas (he’s amazing), it’s the best workout that also gets you mentally stronger! You can read all about my SoulCycle journey in these posts!
The Hobbyist Ten
- Who is your biggest role model? My sister; I followed her footsteps into the fashion industry (although we work in different fields), and to this day, I admire her hard work and success!
- What word would your picture be next to in the dictionary? Ambitious.
- What’s the number one thing on your Bucket List? Definitely taking my mom to South Bend to see Notre Dame play at home. It’s more of a thing on her bucket list but now it’s on mine.
- Quote you live by? “Ambitions only matter if you fight to make them happen.”
- Favorite Book? To Kill A Mockingbird
- What’s your morning routine? To be honest, nothing special. I wake up, get ready, check emails, and make sure my post is up and running. I also make sure I have all my social media is scheduled for the day - which is a huge help! Once I get to my office, I head to Starbucks for a Grande Vanilla Iced Coffee in a Venti cup. Then, my work as a Merchandiser begins.
- What’s one thing you have to make that day great? My coffee. (That’s probably everyone’s answer, right?)
- What are you most proud of besides being a successful blogger? Myself. I’ve overcome a lot personally since I graduated from college, and I think I’m definitely going in the right direction in terms of my career and my personal life!
- What’s your biggest fear? Clowns. Seriously. Those things suck.
- What is a purchase you made most recently that you are really excited about? A beeeeeeautiful Zimmermann dress. And now I have my eye on these Miu Miu flats.