This month I catch up with Australian blogger Ashleigh D’Mello. We chat bucket list collaborations, skincare secrets, how she used her professional skills to take her blog to the next level and the big reveal on the most expensive item in her wardrobe (thanks to pressure from her friend Kiara!).
Name: Ashleigh D’Mello Based: Perth, Australia Blog: www.ashleighdmello.com
Hi Ashleigh, thanks for joining us for a chat, we love your blog www.ashleighdmello.com! Tell us when did you start blogging and why?
Hey girl, my absolute pleasure! Loving this series you are putting together and I’m a huge fan of YOU!
Blogging came about pretty organically for me I think, and just grew over time with hard work. Before Instagram existed and blogging was even a “thing”, I was always reading blogs like The Blonde Salad, Something Navy and Gary Pepper Girl and from my love of their blogs, came the thought, why don’t I just do this myself! I started a very casual blog which was just (terrible) photos of my outfits in my backyard, posted once every few months – I wasn’t very committed to it but was slowly immersing myself into that world which itself, was only just becoming established. I then moved to New York and I would post something once a month or so, or whenever I had something to write about. Instagram became popular during my time in NYC so I started posting outfits and my daily life on that platform and people liked it so I thought okay, let’s see what we can do with this! Then when I moved back to Australia (about 2 years ago now), I completely rebranded my blog and Instagram, and started doing the whole thing a bit more professionally, thought out and as a business.
You work and blog part-time right? How do you juggle it all?! Do you bring your professional skills to blogging?
I do! These days though it’s more like work full time and blog full time, which can get a little crazy. I won’t lie, it’s a pretty full on workload and my brain doesn’t really ever turn off (which comes with the job, I guess!), but putting the time in just comes naturally when you love what you do I think!
For me it’s been all about getting into a routine and sticking to it! During the working week, my mornings are spent ensuring I’m across important emails and social media while getting my coffee fix, and then in the evenings I’m perched on the couch from about 6pm until 11pm replying to emails that have come through that day, organising collaborations, editing photos, planning my Instagram feed, brainstorming photoshoots and writing blog posts. Weekends have slowly lost their “weekend factor” for me (haha), as they are the busiest for blog work for me, so they are spent shooting all the content I need for the coming weeks, editing, creating moodboards and planning!
I definitely find I bring the skill set from both jobs across to each other. I have a background in Law and Marketing/PR which is what I use at my day job, which is most certainly transferable to my Blogging. I work at a startup so the environment is always changing and we are always doing things that are “disrupting” our industry – so I definitely think I bring things I’ve learnt from blogging to this role, and also from this role to blogging!
Ashleigh you have such beautiful style! Where do you get your fashion inspiration?
Oh you’re way too kind, thank you so much! I don’t think I have a specific place I get my inspiration from, but it’s definitely influenced by fashion trends, my blogging peers, endless Instagram scrolling, the multitude of imagery of Pinterest and then just what I’ve loved over the years. I’m not one to jump on big trend bandwagons and prefer to stick to classics and accessorise with new things, but I do like to incorporate trends I’m comfortable with that are appearing for the different seasons if I’m in love with them.
What are the three wardrobe essentials you just can’t live without?
A black silk slip dress, a pair of black ankle boots (I’m going through a major phase at the moment which is evident on my Instagram!) and an oversized black blazer. Guess my favourite colour?!
Recently there’s been growing demand among followers for candid videos and here-and-now fashion updates through You Tube, InstaStories and Snapchat. Have you felt pressure to do more vlogging? Do you think website blogs are still relevant to followers and brands?
Vlogging and producing video content is definitely something I’m gearing up to do more of (actually, thanks for the reminder, I still have Europe vlogs to put together!). While there is always pressure from the industry and followers to do certain things, I think most of the pressure comes from ourselves – wanting to try new things and continually build our ‘brand’. I personally love watching people’s vlogs and Insta-stories and I always think, if I’m enjoying this, then maybe someone will enjoy mine too.
The future of websites and blogs has been a topic of conversation for the last few years and I’m still of the belief that they are still really relevant, important, and certainly necessary if you want to be a “blogger” and not just an “Instagrammer”, if that makes any sense! We are seeing now more than ever that we don’t own our Instagram profiles – changes in algorithms mess with our work and it can be really disheartening. With a website, it’s your own content and you control that little slice of the Internet.
Of all the brands you’ve worked with what’s your favourite collaboration? Who would you love to work with in future?
Oh this one is tricky! I only ever work with brands I love so that means so many are my favourites, but if I had to choose, recently producing some content for a charity campaign in collaboration with DIOR was a little bucket-listy! I’ve also worked long term with Pandora jewellery and the briefs always enable some beautiful story-telling, which I really love too.
The list of brands I would love to work with is endless, so let’s just aim really high and say Chanel on some luxury content and Qantas on some travel!
You feature amazing street style photography on your blog and Instagram! Who takes your photos? What are your tips for taking a great shot?
My amazingly patient and wonderful Insta-boyfriend takes all my photos – I’ll be sure to pass along the compliment, he will be thrilled! Insta-boyfriend jokes aside, he’s been such an amazing asset to growing my Instagram and Blog. He’s always shooting for me at the crack of dawn on Sunday mornings, while we are travelling and basically at the drop of a hat for everything else, and to have him take the time to do this and learn how to do it well along the way has been amazing.
The most important things I look for when getting a shot is the location, the lighting (I usually shoot first thing in the morning around 8am or in the evening around 5pm) and playing around with angles. And movement! Get moving and sometimes the best shots are the candid ones. Editing is also super important, so find what you love and keep the editing consistent.
Tell us about the most expensive item in your closet!
A few months ago I was super naughty and invested in the Acne Studios Leather Jacket (after a ridiculous amount of deliberation and coercing from my girl Kiara from @lioninthewild!). So happy I pulled the trigger, it’s a work of art and I’m so in love!
What are your must-have beauty products?
I’ve always been about my skincare routine so my must-have beauty products at the moment are the entire Avene Eau Thermale line (seriously, this brand is amazing!), the La Mer Moisturising Soft Cream, and the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum.
My current favourite beauty products are the Charlotte Tilbury ‘Magic’ foundation (as the name suggests, it’s actually magic!), Charlotte Tilbury ‘Bar of Gold’, Tarte Shape Tape, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick and the Benefit Hoola Bronzer.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
People are usually most surprised by this one, but I’m half Indian and half Australian! My Dad was born in India and immigrated to Australia, and my Mum is Australian.
How would your friends describe you?
Okay I cheated and asked my friend Ash to answer this one for me! She came back with “Supportive, loyal, generous, fun, stylish and patient”. And I didn’t even have to bribe her, haha!
What can we expect from your fab blog in the next 12 months?
I think for me, the next 12 months will be evolving my brand a little more. As I mentioned earlier, I want to do some more video content which is a big project in itself, and I also want to evolve into more of a “lifestyle” blog with an increased focus on other areas like beauty, travel and just basically my everyday life! As for the rest, who knows. There’s always pipe dreams which you work towards, so they might take shape too. The best part about being a creative is that ideas pop up at the most random times, which is equally as exciting as mapping everything out. Keeps us on our toes!