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When Perfect 10 SF's Caroline Curran first sat down to speak with Racked about life as a newly-minted blogger, her focus was traffic, revenue, and partnerships. But life has a way of altering priorities. Just a month later, Caroline learned that she was expecting her first child. "It was quite a shock. One of my initial thoughts was, "How am I going to tell my parents?" Then she began to wonder what impending parenthood would mean for her blog.
The answers to both questions have been positive. Her parents are understandably delighted that Caroline and her husband are starting a family, and Caroline's readers love her quirky pregnancy updates and style. "Everyone's so supportive and excited. I think that goes back to the type of readers that I have. People see something in me that they've seen or experienced in themselves or in others."
With a blog to tend to and a baby in the picture, Caroline decided that it was time for another major life change— so she quit her job. She was already planning to leave at the end of 2014 to focus on grad school and blogging, but the tiny human on the way accelerated her plan. On November 1st, she became a full-time blogger and student— a move that has paid off for both traffic and revenue. November 2014 was Perfect 10's strongest month yet, and her suddenly-free daytime hours meant that she had opportunities to take meetings that were never an option in the past. "It's like this double-edged sword. If you want to do it and make money, you have to blog full-time, but you can't take that leap. I have that mental cushion that my main goal is grad school and this is my side thing," she reasons. "It's been fun. I've had some cool things happen. I met Rebecca Minkoff...That was on a Wednesday, and I wouldn't have been able to do that if I was working."
Though Caroline looks forward to sharing her pregnancy style and working with maternity brands, she remains refreshingly realistic about maternity dressing. The first hiccup in bump styling? She's not showing very much. At 19 weeks, she found herself puffing her bump out for photos just to look as if she had more of a bump. But the bigger issue is more practical. "There are some bloggers who are true, true fashion bloggers, who do the style the bump hashtag, and they're literally wearing all designer clothes and they look like they have a pillow under their shirt. That's not going to be me. I get 'dressed' three days a week. I think there should be a golden rule for pregnant women: You only have to get dressed three days a week. Pick your three days."
Getting dolled up only three days a week sounds like a career killer for a fashion blogger, but Caroline has pivoted from fashion into the broader lifestyle category over the last ten months. "I think when I started, the first blogs I was introduced to were fashion blogs; I didn't know about blogs like Cupcakes and Cashmere. I looked at her stuff and I appreciated the depth she brings to her blog. That's more of an inspiration. I'd be complimented if someone likened me to what she does. Once I saw that, I realized [my blog] could be more than just 'this is what I'm wearing.'"
That realization helped her refine her point of view. "I've always shared what my experience has been at any given point. When I started, I started with shoes and my size 10 foot and my city. Then I started talking about psychology and my grad school experience. I've always been true to what Caroline Curran is feeling today," she explains.
Other than embracing a carpe diem approach to blogging, Caroline says that 2015 will be a year of trying new things. On the affiliate link front —the way most bloggers make money— she's working with ShopSense, though she jokes that she still pesters affiliate giant RewardStyle about her application. "Now I apply in jest… I'm waiting for [co-founder] Amber Venz to call and say, 'Leave us alone.' I just think that would be very funny." On a more productive front, Caroline is exploring different channels for connecting with readers. "I did a few podcasts on Soundcloud. I've just done a few videos. A highlight of the year has been working with Glam.com; I did two videos with them."
Caroline still thinks of herself as a business woman, and dreams of Perfect 10 products —shoes and footwear accessories — and Perfect 10 website franchises throughout the U.S. She's even working on a nail polish collab which should be available in March. But, for now, most of those projects are on hold as Caroline preps for the biggest launch of the year: her daughter's arrival. Her due date falls six weeks after her first baby, Perfect 10 SF, turns one. As she practices patience waiting for both, Caroline has set a new goal for herself beyond the clicks and cents that determine most bloggers' value. "There are San Francisco-based bloggers, but I'd like to be the San Francisco blogger. I'm not sure what that means, but I'd like to be associated with this city."