Today on the Mother Hub we're chatting to Erica Davies, creative extraordinaire and founder of fashion and lifestyle blog, The Edited. Erica started her career as a fashion assistant but quickly worked her way up to editor. In fact, when she was offered the role of Fashion Editor for The Sun newspaper at the tender age of twenty-four, she was, at the time, the youngest person to have held that position on Fleet Street. After spending fifteen years working on national newspapers and fashion magazines, today Erica works works full-time on The Edited, her own award-nominated fashion and lifestyle blog. Her inimitable style and fresh approach to fashion has gained her a loyal following, including everyone here at The Mother Hub! And, as is clear from the amazing interior design and style of her new home in Essex, it turns out her creative talents are not limited to fashion. Suffice to say that a rug by La Redoute that she featured on her blog last year gained such popularity that it now has its own Instagram account and has been nicknamed, 'The Erica Rug'! To find out more about Erica's amazing career journey, how fashion journalism has changed and what it feels like to set up on your own, then this interview is a must read!
Tell us a little bit about what you do and how you started your career?
I'm a fashion editor, with over 15 years experience on national newspapers and fashion magazines. Since having my children (Charlie, 6 and Lila, 4), I have gone full-time on my fashion and lifestyle blog The Edited and now get to do what I love from home AND pick the kids up from school!
I started off straight after university by doing every kind of work experience going. I worked on various morning tv shows as a fashion assistant before meeting the fashion director of The Mirror, who offered me a job.
I am a huge believer in having a can-do attitude, a desire to work hard and never being too much of a diva to make tea!
Fashion journalism is a tough industry to break into, especially with a real shift from print press to online content. What advice would you give someone trying to work their way up the ladder to a fashion editing role today?
Yes the whole landscape of the industry has changed from back in my day - which makes me sound so old, but in reality it's not that long ago. I would always have pushed work experience as the best route in, being prepared to work for very little and building up your role. Making yourself indispensable and making tea were two of my must-do's!
Now I think it's almost as important to use your social media channels as a showcase of your personal style, your eye and your writing skills.
Crafting a beautiful Instagram, for example, shows you have the vision and creative ideas.
Thinking outside the box too is important, creating a unique standpoint with your own ideas - not just a carbon copy of what other people are already doing.
You have done an incredible job of building your own personal brand around The Edited. After working with big print names for so long, how did it feel to set up your own blog as Erica Davies?
Thank you! That was one of the strangest things, after going from 'Erica at LOOK magazine' or 'Erica from The Sun,' suddenly I was just Erica! But there's also something incredibly liberating about doing it for yourself. I'm one of those weird people who almost needs a slightly uncomfortable situation to push myself! Touch wood, people are enjoying what I'm posting (fingers crossed!) and my fashion editor training is always asking 'what is this post offering people?' I'm really not after it being a vanity project - I want it to inspire people in whatever way works!
You launched The Edited as a way to keep your creative juices flowing whilst on maternity leave with your second child. How did it go from a part-time blog to a full-time business and award-nominated site with a wide and dedicated audience?
I was fashion and beauty director on LOOK magazine, my husband was head of news at The Sun and worked ridiculous hours. We had a nanny. I was constantly stressed. I was being offered more interesting projects on the blog which I was having to keep turning down because of my job.
Finally, a get-away weekend with my husband turned into one of those 'what if I resign and we try this?' The thinking was I could see how it goes with working for myself, while holding everything together at home and be around for the kids.
It all happened very slowly and organically. But the game changer was when I changed the name of the site from Modern Mum Must-Have to The Edited - the name I had originally wanted, but was talked out of by my former workmates who thought I needed the mum angle! Everything suddenly clicked.
As a busy mum of two, how do you juggle working, parenting, renovating your new home and all the bits in between? Any top tips?
I firmly believe that we are NOT super women. Yes, we are all bl**dy amazing, but it's absolutely necessary to have a big old cry every now and then. I have weeks when it all completely overwhelms me and I feel as though I'm being a bad mum, a bad friend and producing bad work. I'm not, I just need a break! So I go for a walk, change up the scenery and always write to do lists.
You started The Edited back in 2012. How does it now compare to the original vision you had for the blog five years ago? Could you tell us a bit about how it has evolved over time?
The name change was the biggest. The Edited was the name I played around with - I was an editor and my initials are ED.
But colleagues said I should keep the mum angle. I didn't feel comfortable with it, because it wasn't my vision for the work I wanted to produce - not that there is anything wrong with it obviously, it just didn't feel right to me. I wanted to write about interiors and fashion that worked with my current life as mum of two small people, rather than review buggies and nappies.
When I decided to go full-time with it, I was thrilled when my original domain was still available. It was a bit complicated changing it all over but so worth it. Since then I've refreshed the site a couple of times, the most recent really tying in with my Instagram account.
Instagram is the biggest growth channel for me and it's actually become a bit of a mini blog on its own.
What’s the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Always be yourself. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. There is space for everyone.
“If I hadn’t been a fashion editor I would have been a ....."
We couldn’t finish the interview without asking... If you had to pick one all-time favourite item of clothing and one interiors piece, what would they be and why?
All time favourite item of clothing would be an amazing coat. I love coats - they have the ability to transform the most simple of outfits into something special.
One Interiors piece would be a statement chair. I think quirky one offs always elevate the space.