By: STRANDED NYC
Author of several e-books and one amazing hair book ‘Braids, Buns and Twists’ Christina Butcher is the boss lady of three successful blogs – Hair Romance, Nail Romance and Mr & Mrs Romance – based in Sydney, Australia but boasting global success.
Swapping 9-5 for super early mornings and very late nights, she is dedicated to running ship, staying organised and keeping a routine. An inspiration to all aspiring writers and bloggers, we snuck in some talk time with this talented Aussie, uncovering exactly what brought her here and what keeps her here.
Stranded: Talk us through the early days, how did you decide what to post, who to talk to and how to manage blogging with your 9-5?
Christina: When I started, I brainstormed 50 post ideas and created a to-do list. I wanted to make sure I would have enough content to write just about hair. I would blog at every opportunity but usually it was into the early hours of the mornings. I would shoot on the weekends with natural light, then write and edit in the evenings during the week. It was hard to balance work and blogging, but I was so passionate I didn’t mind. And that original brainstorm list? I still refer back to it as I’ve not yet written all of those posts. The more you get into a subject, the more there is to write about.
Stranded: What are the most important lessons you’ve learned looking back at the past 4 years as a blogger?
Christina: Be consistent – even if you only have time to blog once a week, make sure you post at the same time and on the same day. Reach out to other bloggers – the community is one of the best parts of blogging and collaboration is key to growing your readership and influence. Be useful – always think of your readers first and ask yourself on every post “what’s in it for the reader?” What will they get from your post and what do you want them to do next?
Stranded: What was the biggest learning curve?
Christina: You need to be disciplined to be a full time blogger. When you run your own schedule, it’s so easy to be distracted. Be aware of how you work and how you can be the most productive. I’ve realised that I need routine to be more creative. I work well to deadlines so I set myself lots of short goals during the week.
Stranded: Talk us through a normal day for Hair Romance. How have things changed over the past four years in terms of workload, work space and day-to-day structure?
Christina: One of the things I love now is that no two days are the same. I try to batch different tasks so that I’m more efficient. For example, I shoot a lot of tutorials on one day each week. I’ll get up early to wash and style my hair and do my makeup and then shoot anywhere from 3-8 tutorials. Other days I meet with brands and PRs or go to a beauty product launch. Most days end with email. So many emails!
Now I run three blogs (Hair Romance, Nail Romance and Mr & Mrs Romance) there’s always something to do so my husband and I have weekly meetings to keep ourselves on track. I write mainly at home or head out with my laptop when I need some space. In the last four years it has changed so much and I can feel overwhelmed with all the things I want/need to do. Every morning I choose three main tasks from my to-do list and if at the end of the day they’re done, I feel a sense of achievement.
Stranded: You’ve said before that some of your more simple content is what proves the most popular amongst readers – does that speak to the modern working woman in terms of being time poor but also valuing presentation? Is this who you see as your core demographic?
Christina: Don’t we all want more time in our days? My blog has always focused on quick and easy tips because it’s such a universal topic. People often assume I spend hours getting ready or I’m obsessed with beauty because I blog about it. In reality I get ready in minutes and only on special occasions do I go all out. That’s the practical kind of beauty I love to write about and I hope it resonates with women who need to make a great first impression.
Stranded: How did ‘Braids, Buns and Twists’ come to be? Was it a natural transition for you from blogging to e-books to hardcover or was this a demand from your audience?
Christina: I love writing e-books for the immediacy and control over the medium. My readers love having a quick reference hair guide on their smartphone. It’s a bit like having me in your pocket when you get ready in the morning. I hadn’t really considered print until I was approached by a publisher. It was such a natural progression and although there was a quick deadline it was really fun to work on. It’s exciting to see my work in print, and my mum finally understands what I do now!
Stranded: Have you ever received any strange content requests or particularly interesting or memorable ones?
Christina: I get lots of fantastic reader questions and they inspire a lot of content on the blog. The hardest emails are from people who’ve had an awful hair experience and are really depressed. Hair can be a very emotional topic! A dye job or haircut gone wrong can be a disaster. I also had a weird request from someone who wanted to use my image on the cover of their romance novel. I said no.
Stranded: What is currently your favourite style? Do you have a go-to for when you’re stuck for time?
Christina: I love wearing my high braided crown. It doesn’t take me long to do now and it’s a fab way to hide messy hair. If I only have a moment to get ready, I love a messy top knot. Add an accessory and everyone will think you went to a lot of effort.
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Stranded: Who is your current hair-spiration? Are you more influenced by celebrity or pro stylists?
Christina: I find inspiration everywhere. I love playing with the geometry of braids to create new hairstyles. Fashion weeks are also a huge source of inspiration for me. I like to translate the styles for real girls to wear, now. As far as celebrities, I’ve always loved Gwen Stefani’s hair and I have a bit of a hair crush on Blake Lively. I also think Diane Kruger is the poster girl for those with fine hair. She always looks amazing.