For most people, blogs are a small creative window read by family and friends. Dynamic Business profiles five women whose home hobby became big business. This time, meet Lucy Feagins of the Design Files.
Lucy Feagins has been writing The Design Files for three years, profiling original local designers, photographing real people’s homes and celebrating all things design. “I think it’s the first thing that has made people take me seriously,” she muses. “I worked in the film industry for six years, and you’re constantly trying to convince people that you deserve work.” With 178,000 visitors per month, Feagins no longer feels like she needs to prove herself. “It kind of speaks for itself!”
Advertising enquiries started coming in after 18 months. “I decided to give that a burl and I just made it up as I went along!” Feagins got her first bit of press about the same time, and after that, her popularity snowballed. “The blog community is really encouraging, people link, it’s quite reciprocal.”
As her blog grows, her personal profile has grown too. “I was a bit uncomfortable with that at first. I only had my first name on there and I didn’t have an ‘about’ page or a photo or anything. But I’ve realised that my voice is quite an important part of it, people like to feel like they know who’s writing to them.”
She didn’t give up her day job as a set-dresser “until I was so insanely busy that I was tearing my hair out.” When working on a feature film had her blogging at 2am, it was time to give up the day job. “This year for the first time, I’m trying to do it in business hours and treat it like a business.” Working from home, she says switching off is hard. “I’m always thinking about it and even if I go to an event or a shop I’m always in blog mode, thinking ‘Would this make a good story?’”
For the future, Feagins says she needs to hire some help. “But I’m also a bit of a control freak. You want someone to do it just the way you would. So wearing all the hats is a challenge!” She says The Design Files has a lot of growing to do, particularly in the business sense. “Just trying to make it more professional, not something that’s done from my dining room table, like it is now.”