Think quitting your job to become a full-time blogger babe is a big risk? Meet Emma Sousa, blogger behind A Vintage Vice, and who is taking that risk as you read this. A small town girl from Tennessee and president of her sorority Alpha Delta Pi, Emma knew she wanted to take the fashion route and she went for it full force. She’s done her rounds of internships, and started in New York City with an internship in the Fashion Closet at Lucky Magazine. Since then, she’s been a sponge in the industry, and has kept her career going. Keep reading to learn how this 24-year-old is taking all of this on!
Tell us about your education & internships before you graduated college:
I majored in marketing and international business with a minor in retail and consumer science at the University of Tennessee. I originally went into marketing because it seemed like the most general spot for me to be in while I was figuring out what I wanted to do. I got really interested in fashion after visiting London for the first time. Everyone has his/her own sense of style there, and the fashion is inspiring!
Also, I ended up taking a first year studies class in college based on fashion. One of our speakers had been the head designer at Rebecca Taylor for a while, and so I decided to meet with her outside of the classroom. I had no idea that some girl from Tennessee could really break into the fashion industry, but she herself had been a marketing major at Appalachian State in North Carolina! She helped me with where to find internship listings as well as perfecting my resume and cover letter. Little did I know this was the beginning of everything! With her guidance, I got my first summer internship with Joe’s Jeans at Hotline Showroom, and then got my second internship at Lucky Magazine through my contacts at Joe’s. The rest is history.
What was your experience like at Lucky? What did you learn that was translatable to your position at ShopBop?
I started freelancing at Lucky literally 2 weeks post graduation. I learned a ton during my internship there, so going back was an easy transition. Working in the fashion closet at Lucky really taught me a lot about the pace and expectations of the industry, especially in concerns of both internal and external communication. I learned SO much about the editorial world and the vast amount of positions and paths you could take career wise. Most importantly, it introduced me to styling which I instantly knew would be the direction I would want to go. I assisted the head stylist there, Elle Strauss, on her last shoot. I was so nervous but busted my butt and it didn’t go unnoticed. My move to ShopBop occurred soon after Elle took the Fashion and Style Director position there. THIS was really the beginning. She has been huge mentor for me ever since. Just being around her I always feel like I am learning.
When did you start A Vintage Vice?
I started A Vintage Vice in March 2014. I had dabbled in blogging since college but it was never consistent. When I finally moved to NYC, I knew I wanted to focus more on it, but my new position at Shopbop was very demanding and I wanted to fully focus on perfecting my position there. Once I had a good hold on my role, I decided to take down my smaller blogs and start fresh. Vintage has been a huge part of my wardrobe since college. It was the perfect place to find quality and stylish clothes without breaking the bank. I would scour my mom’s and grandmother’s closet to find the most amazing pieces (for free I might add ☺) and I started sifting through places like Goodwill and various thrift stores. New York really opened me up to the breadth of vintage. From $5 cutoffs to $1200 gowns, the possibilities are endless. A true Vintage Vice for me.
How do you maintain a schedule?
My schedule currently consists of working, shooting, blogging, sleeping. Ha! Blogging is definitely a full time job (of course as many do it full time) but it’s especially difficult to manage while also working a high stress job in the NYC fashion industry. If my schedule was 9 am – 5 pm, things would be a lot different! I really learn so much through both my career and blogging though, so I would never complain! Blogging is so fun for me and a great second creative outlet where I can get across the message I want to be sharing! I am about to start freelancing, so I’m excited to hopefully have a bit more time to invest in the blog!
How have you grown your social following?
Some of the biggest drivers for me personally are OOTD (outfit of the day) magazine, hashtags, and regrams! If other people with huge followings are supporting my style and people dig it, the growth happens!
How have you approached your blog as a business?
The most important thing for me about my blog as a business is differentiation. The blogging world is so saturated and really has become static in style. My two main points of differentiation that I like to focus on are my love for vintage/the historical influences behind today’s trends and to approach my writing in an instructional way. In the past as I became more in tune with fashion and style, I always found people saying, “I could never pull that off” or “how did you think of that”. So I love to teach people how to put things together and my thought process/influences behind the looks I create. Another area I’ve recently developed a specific style for is a more editorial-quality to my photographs for my blog. Everyone posts street-style type photos, so I like to utilize my photographers that have a unique eye.
Where do you see you and A Vintage Vice in 5 years? 10 Years?
My current goal is to split my time between being a stylist and blogger. My main career goal is to style. I love doing the blog for fun, but would love for it to develop into something more so I can share the time somewhat equally.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your blog thus far?
Meeting people! It’s really inspiring and encouraging to meet other people in the industry, whether they are photographers, editors, public relations or brand ambassadors. I love hearing about different people’s paths in the industry and learning from it! I always like to be growing, so connecting with people that are just as passionate about fashion as I am is amazing.
Who do you look to for mentor/inspiration?
As I mentioned earlier, Elle Strauss has been a huge mentor for me. My close friends in the industry are great mentors – they get it. They get what you’re going through and everyone has a unique viewpoint that I am always inspired by. Lastly, other editors and bloggers in the industry with something unique about them always catches my eye.
Having a full time job and maintaining a blog and staying social is exhausting! How do you balance it all? Does it ever get overwhelming?
I will not lie– it is exhausting and it does get overwhelming! A lot of the time, I’m like—I just wanna go home, order seamless, and watch sex and the city for hours on end! I’ve learned how to balance though. To power through when I need to and to give myself some down time, too.
What advice would you have given yourself before you graduated college and/or right when you moved into a big city?
To push myself to be more social. It is very difficult meeting people and making friends in such a huge city and I tend to be a bit shy. I’ve been here for two and half years and I’m just now getting comfortable with really putting myself out there!
Make sure to follow Emma through her blog and Instagram as she continues to make her own career path of her passions. It is very rare that you find someone who is willing to give up the little things to make their dreams come true, and Emma’s hard work is definitely paying off for her.
Bottoms up to a fabulous weekend,