After Uni with InTheFrow’s Victoria Magrath
Materials World 18th November 2015
Hello everyone. We have a pretty exciting treat for you all today! It’s an ‘After Uni’ post with none other than Victoria Magrath, the creator of InTheFrow.
InTheFrow began as a blog and, in Victoria’s own words, ‘a hobby’. These days, with nearly 80,000 Twitter followers, 390,000 subscribers on YouTube, and 571,000 followers on Instagram, it has become a fashion and lifestyle brand. Through a huge amount of hard work, Victoria has forged an exciting and ever-evolving career which is going from strength to strength!
But before all of this, Victoria could be spotted in the classrooms and hallways here at the School of Materials. I first heard her name when looking through some old footage on the School website. A colleague tapped me on the shoulder and told me that Victoria was a blogger now, and was doing pretty well indeed. ‘You should get an interview with her’, they said. I thought that was pretty unrealistic at the time. But, a few months later, and with the help of a name that is becoming very familiar on this blog (Delia Vazquez), I sat down for a chat with one of our most recognisable alumni. And she has even been kind enough to let us include some of the fantastic work she does in the blog post – all photos are from her Instagram and you can find the videos used, and many more, on her YouTube.
Anyway, that’s enough from me. Let’s get down to the reason you’re here:
Hi Victoria. Thanks so much for chatting to us. Can we start by going back to your time in the School of Materials? Can you tell us a bit about the journey you went through here?
Yeah, okay. So I think it was 2007 when I started and I did the Design Management and Fashion Retailing course, which is just Fashion Retail now I think. It’s a bit of a branch between marketing and retailing. It was really, really good, and I really enjoyed the more kind of CAD (computer aided design) side of it, because I really enjoyed promotional design and graphic design. Yeah, so I did that for the three years.
And then the opportunity came up to do the PhD. It was kind of at a time when I was at a crossroads, thinking ‘do I stay in Manchester and get a job or do I go to London and get a job?’ And then Helen McCormick said ‘we’re looking for someone to do a PhD if anyone’s interested’. So I went and spoke with her and luckily I got the role. So I then did that for three years. Again it was amazing and I learnt loads. About marketing, consumer behaviours, and how people respond towards fashion, fashion apps, and fashion websites.
So after that I became a lecturer. I was a lecturer in Fashion Retail here for a year and a half. I generally taught more digital marketing and fashion marketing. I really, really enjoyed that, but then at the same time I had started my blog about halfway through the second year of my PhD. At the beginning it was quite slow and quite steady, but towards the third year of my PhD and onto my first year of lecturing it became a bit busy and started getting very hectic. I also signed to my management agency then, too. So things got a lot bigger than I ever expected them to.
So in the end I had to leave the lecturing. It was either the lecturing or the blog and I decided I wanted to see where the blog would take me.
Well as much as it was a shame for us to lose you, it looks like the blog has taken you to some pretty great places. But if you could pick a couple of favourite memories from your time here, what would they be?
Graduating from my PhD was obviously a fantastic memory. It was great having all the staff there to support me. It was almost like a send-off because it was just a few weeks before I left, so it was like a big goodbye kind of thing. Obviously graduating from my undergraduate was amazing too, with all my friends. That was a great experience.
Some of the trips that I did here, too. I went to Paris with some of the staff to get involved in a trade show called Premiere Vision. A couple of us went to that and it was really a great little weekend, a great experience.
And some good memories are just from teaching the students. Especially when I was helping in some of the CAD classes, you know. The graphic design. It was just a really nice moment when you saw a student completely get it finally, and sort of be like ‘I get this software now and I see what you’ve been teaching me’. And then they’re creating amazing work from it. That’s a brilliant moment.
Yeah, they’re all really amazing moments that I’ll always keep with me.
And how, in your own words, would you describe what you do today? Can you give us a brief outline of your current career?
Yeah, so I would describe myself as a fashion lifestyle blogger. I say blogger first and foremost, but I am also a YouTuber. But it’s the blog that I started with and I feel like that’s kind of the grounding of everything. I do the YouTube alongside that, rather than the blog alongside the YouTube. It’s been like three years that I’ve been writing the blog, so I’ve put a lot of time into that and a lot of hard work.
So yeah, I’d say I’m a fashion lifestyle blogger.
Great, thank you. This might not be easy for you as I’m sure each day is different, but can you give us an idea of what a typical day is like for you?
Of course, yeah. I’m actually about to do this in a lecture to your students!
I would say I wake up at about 8ish, get ready, and get myself some sort of latte to perk me up. And then I’ll start with emails, generally: any that I’ve missed from the night before, or if I was lazy the day before I’ll have to go through the piles.
And then as soon as I can I’ll start editing a blog post for the next day or the day after that. Or I’ll edit one of my videos, or some photographs. So it’s generally editing photos, editing videos, or writing the blogs, while dealing with intermittent emails and trying to get them all out. I like having a nice organised inbox!
Nowadays as well, I’ll probably go out to coffee meetings about three times a week. Because PRs like nothing more than a cup of coffee every day! So yeah, I have to kind of have meetings some days and have days when I’m just working in the flat. Otherwise, if it was up to the PR teams, I’d just be out for coffee all the time! So I’ll go for a coffee and a meeting and talk about some new ideas, then I’ll chat to my managers and see what else is going on. Then I’ll get back, carry on working, have tea, and generally carrying on working a bit more.
Up until recently I was working most of the night to be honest, up until eleven. But it can cause ruptures a bit between me and my boyfriend, so for the last few weeks I’ve been trying to stop at about 7/7.30 and just chill.
But then there’s also the social media on top of that, so I won’t just stop there with the blog. I’ll be able to sit down at 7.30 but then I’ll have to do an Instagram, or a tweet, or some retweeting.
Wow. That sounds like a long day and a lot of hard work. But also a lot of fun. So, what would you say are the three best things about your career at the moment?
I would say the best thing by far is the people I’ve met. I’ve made some really good friends through blogging, who are obviously very similar to me, with very similar interests; creative people, quite often with similar backgrounds to mine. That is really valuable. So the friends I’ve made are definitely the number one thing.
Second would be the opportunity it has given me to travel. This year I think I’ve done about fifteen trips and I’ve seen some incredible places that I never would have been able to see before. I think a lot of PR teams and marketing teams are now realising how well travel works as a blogging feature.
So for me, I can go away on a travelling trip and I can show outfits, I can show beauty products I’m using, I can show the food, the lifestyle. It sort of encompasses everything I do anyway, just in a beautiful setting. I definitely think that’s the second thing.
I think the third thing would be… I like having my own brand, I like being able to look after a thing that I’ve created from scratch, to kind of nurture it in a way. It’s really rewarding to see that – to work for myself and my own brand.
And why do you think your blog has taken off so well? How do you think it benefits the public and your followers?
I suppose the way the blogging started; it was just to offer extra information about products and services that the brands weren’t telling you. So bloggers were able to say ‘well this is what I think about the product, and this is what it compares to’, and it became this very natural and honest platform.
So I think that’s why blogging has become so big. So in a way I guess that’s one of the biggest benefits, it’s more honest and more genuine and from real people rather than a marketing team.
For my followers, I’d like to think it’s just entertainment value really. Like for me, I watch YouTube as just an escape, complete chill time. I’ll stick up a makeup tutorial, or a fashion video, or a vlog, and it’s just a few hours to sort of chill and not really think about anything. To just relax. I do have a lot of people comment and say they really enjoyed watching this, or they’d been looking forward to it all day, and it’s nice hearing that, hearing they’re looking forward to seeing what content I put out.
So I think they’re the main benefits I suppose; entertainment value and extra information.
Great stuff, thank you. So can we look back to your time at the School of Materials again? What did you learn here that helped you get to where you are today?
I guess I obviously gained a lot of confidence through my degree and my PhD and all the conferences I did and meeting all the people that I did. I gained a lot of confidence and that helped the blog. (Editor: if you want some tips on self confidence from Victoria, she recently posted a great blog piece on the topic.)
You probably wouldn’t believe how many bloggers have a lot of social anxiety; they almost have this larger than life persona on their blog, but in real life they’re quite shy. So in a way I think that’s helped me a lot, because I’ll go to the meetings that others might not want to, or I’ll go to events and travelling trips and meet lots of people. That is incredibly helpful.
Obviously, through my PhD, learning a lot about consumer behaviour has helped me to get to where I am today: just sort of understanding how to word things or display things so it might inspire people more. And obviously learning all about marketing and retailing and understanding all of that; like how PR teams and marketing teams work.
And also digital marketing. Straight away when I started my blog I was using digital marketing, constantly thinking about SEO, ways that I could use specific keywords. I was posting about five posts a day or something, just trying to get loads of content so people could find the blog, before I started reducing that down. So yeah, there are loads of things I learnt here that I’m still using today.
So do you have any tips for anyone who wants to follow a similar path?
Well in terms of blogging, I think the good thing about it is that anyone can do it. If they have a voice and they have something they want to talk about, anything at all that they’re interested in, then they can do it. Which is why it’s so nice.
But I think the ones that stand the test of time and become more popular are those that have a USP and something about them that is memorable. They just have their own selling point, really. So whether that’s the tone of voice they write in, or maybe they write in a really entertaining style, or maybe the imagery they use is really high resolution and well shot, or it might be that their clothing style or fashion style is really unique and really inspiring so more people are drawn to their blog. Or maybe it’s that they do go travelling everywhere and their pictures are amazing and that they’re really an inspiring person.
Or it could be their hair colour. I know I gained a lot of my fans and followers via the fact that I had purple hair. People followed me because they liked my hair.
So I hadn’t planned this question, but why the change of hair colour?
I finally got bored, I had purple hair for three years and I loved it. I said I would never change. But then one week I was just really bored, so I went for grey because I thought it would be a bit different.
Well, it looks great! I was reading through your blog yesterday actually, and I came across your brilliant post about dealing with online hate. I wondered if there was anything you’d like to say about that to our budding bloggers in the School?
Pretty much what I said in that post, I guess. There will always be trolls, and they’ll always be people that are jealous and spiteful and want to bring you down to their level because they’re having a bad day.
It’s easier to say it than do it, but you just have to try and brush it off and realise that that one person’s opinion isn’t going to impact your life at all unless you let it. So you just have to completely ignore what they say, just delete and block any comments or people who want to be negative so that they can’t come back. And just realise that the reason they’re probably there and saying these things is because they’re extremely jealous about something. Whether it’s your lifestyle, how you look, your clothing, or something you own that they want, it’ll just be completely jealousy focused.
So in a way, if you are getting a lot of hate, it’s probably because you have something really great that they want!
Great advice. There were some other posts that really caught my attention, and I couldn’t help noticing the pictures with Rita Ora? Could you tell us a bit about what was happening there?
Oh yeah! That was for the UNICEF Halloween ball. I got invited along to be on the red carpet and chat to some of the stars that came along. I was invited by UNICEF to help with donations and promotion, so I was just going to do a blog post and I had my photographer with me to take my photos.
Rita Ora was kind of the main person who was going. It was funny actually, because she was wearing the jacket that I really wanted to wear that night and I asked the PR team about it but they’d given it to her. In a way I was glad because we would have been matching, but we weren’t. It was fine.
She was really nice actually. She was late because she’d been at Wembley doing something else, so everyone else had come in and we’d got photos with Poppy Delevigne and a few others – Hugh Grant was there in a lion onesie which was quite cool! So yeah; she arrived late and I made sure to get a selfie with her.
And is that pretty standard for you now? Do you go to a lot of these events?
Yeah, quite often. Like last year I worked with Capital FM for their Jingle Bell Ball which they’re just about to do again. And again I just did red carpet reporting, and pretty much everyone that came down I could get a selfie with. So like Jessie J and The Vamps. It was quite cool; it was the first time I’d ever done anything like that.
And that’s all come through the blog. It’s just brands that generally go to my management and say they’d like me to be on the red carpet and talk to the stars about what they’re wearing. So it’s bringing me in to talk about fashion with the celebrities, which is quite nice really.
Sounds very exciting. And on that note, if we can end with a slightly difficult question, what would you say has been the single most exciting thing about your career so far?
Wow. That’s a hard one.
It’d probably be something around travel, I’d say.
Although obviously the milestones I’ve met, like when I reached 300,000 people on YouTube that was amazing. I never thought I’d have that many people following me. Obviously those things are incredible.
But in terms of experiences that are just unbelievable, it would probably be to do with travel. So like this year with Japan, Florida, The Maldives – they were just all amazing. The kind of places – I mean, I never even dreamt of going to Japan and then I got to go and it was amazing, and the Maldives was just paradise!
So I’d say they’re up there in the things I never dreamed I’d be able to do, and the blog has allowed me to do that. So yeah, I’d say those!
Wow – thanks so much for that, Victoria. And an even bigger thank you for allowing us to use your wonderful content. As a blogger myself I have nothing but admiration for all the hard work you’ve put in, and for any readers who haven’t read InTheFrow yet – what are you doing? Get over there!
And please, readers, let us know what you think in the comments. Is anyone else feeling as inspired as I am?