In this month’s Meet The Blogger interview I catch up with Helen-Jayne from Style Structure. We chat about her recent move back to the UK from Sydney, her 5 wardrobe essentials, dealing with social media pressure, tips on self-shooting streetstyle photography, shopping regrets, and avocado toast cravings!
Name: Helen-Jayne From: Cardiff Based: London/Cardiff/Sydney
Hi Helen-Jayne, thanks for joining us for a chat! Tell us how your blog Style Structure came about and why you got into blogging?
Style Structure first started in 2012. I was interning in a post production accounting firm in New York at the time and always made an effort with my workwear. The girls at work told me to start a blog to show my friends and followers my outfits. It first started as a Facebook group (how old school!) then branched to Tumblr. After that I started a WordPress account and assigned my mother as my photographer! Then I decided to turn my personal Instagram account into a space purely for fashion.
You recently quit your job to focus on your blog full-time, how easy/hard was it to reach that decision?
Mentally, it took me a really long time to pursue Style Structure full-time. I was working as a social media manager for a fashion brand in Sydney and LOVED my job – the people, the work environment and the team. But the last two years I really didn’t have any free time. Weekends were spent shooting, weeknights writing/editing/responding to emails. I couldn’t catch my breath. I figured if I don’t do this now, I will always wonder what if. My work required 3 months notice so it wasn’t a complete shock ending one job and pursuing my own venture. I also saved a lot of my income for a whole year before leaving so if I didn’t make as much money as I hoped there would be one less thing to worry about.
Your professional background is in social media strategy and brand consulting right? What are your top tips for bloggers on creating a lasting brand?
This is such a tough question! I would say value your work and don’t obsess about number of followers. This is easier said than done and all depends if you want to be respected as an influencer or creative. It has taken me 6 years to get to where I have, and so many newbie bloggers think that if they do what other bloggers are doing aesthetically they will instantly be successful. I once read that old Picasso was once sat in a cafe in Spain doodling on a napkin. When finished, he crumpled up the napkin and threw it away. A woman stopped him and asked if she could have the drawing. He said “sure, $20’000” and the woman replied “but it took you 2 minutes to draw” Picasso replied “No Ma’am, it took me over 60 years to draw this”. Know your worth and don’t be scared to voice it.
You’ve only just moved back to the UK from Australia after 4 years. That’s a long time! Are you missing anything particular about Australia so far?
I actually miss Australia, and it’s been very difficult settling back in. I miss my close friends, I miss decent avocado on toast and I actually miss the routine I complained about so much when I lived there!
Now that you’re back in Wales do you have plans to travel more in Europe this year?
I am actually heading to London this week with Revolve and Marrakech the end of next week with the agency I am signed with. I am really hoping to visit Portugal or Mallorca in June. Possibly Paris to recreate some of the shots I lost from a damaged hard drive.
You have an incredible wardrobe! How would you describe your style? What are your 5 wardrobe essentials?
I would say my style changes with my mood. I have always been a fan of relaxed tailoring and probably own more blazers than any banker on Wall Street. I like good denim and have grown an appreciation for natural fibres. I think Australia does that to you because of the climate. My five wardrobe essentials would have to be: blazer, denim, white t-shirts, a statement bag, leather shoes.
What trends will you be wearing this Summer?
I definitely think linen and anything with statement buttons. Also high waisted wide-leg pants with a cheeky midriff on show. I tend to stick to the rule of baggy down below, tight on top or vice versa.
Of all the brands you’ve worked with what has been your favourite collaboration? Who would you love to work with in future?
I would have to say I really enjoyed my Order of Style collaboration in Paris back in March. Purely because it was shot self-portrait and I really pushed the boundaries to shoot on Pont Alexandre III bridge which is super busy! I would love to collaborate with a high end retailer such as Net-A-porter or Farfetch.
We have to talk about your photos, they are stunning! What’s even more impressive is you self-shoot! What are the key things you consider when setting up a shot? For you, what’s the difference between a good photo and a great one?
The one thing shooting self-portrait has taught me is discipline and patience. There are many times a shoot just doesn’t go the way you hoped. I am a perfectionist which I am working on as we speak – sometimes it’s a terrible value to have because you believe your work just isn’t good enough or up to peoples expectations of you. The first thing I will do is see if the location will match my outfit. My recent Bicester Village collaboration is a great example of this. The brands I wore were a mix between high end and high end high street so I knew I wanted to shoot somewhere classic with an air of sophistication. I felt Bath was perfect for this. It was actually a tough shoot, because it took me three attempts to capture something I truly loved. Plus, you can’t control your environment at times which can throw you off focus. The difference between a good and great photo – one that I look at raw and smile at because I know I nailed it (light, angle, emotion). It’s those moments that keep me going.
You mix High Street and Designer pieces so well, do you have a favourite purchase? Is there anything you regret buying?!
I would have to say one of my favourite purchases were my Marni shoes. They have a cut out heel and pretty much go with everything in my wardrobe and they are so unique. I regret buying my red Off-White bag for February Fashion Weeks. I have no idea what I was thinking I don’t even wear loud colours. Currently selling if anyone is interested!
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I suffer with anxiety and I constantly try to battle it instead of accepting this is who I am now. I was always so confident and happy growing up but unfortunately being involved in an abusive relationship up until 18 months ago really affected me. People assume that I have everything together and I am so brave shooting myself. I feel the pressure from social media everyday and it’s so hard to not compare yourself to others and wonder if people will love you just the same as they do online. I’ve recently joined a gym with 5 yoga sessions a week so the plan is to get back into that, alongside eating well and surrounding myself with lovely people. I wish everyday I could go back to the version I was before it happened to me, but unfortunately I think I just need to accept it’s a part of me now and each day I am getting stronger.
What can we expect from you and your blog in 2018?
Honestly, I haven’t put the pressure on myself to plan that far ahead just yet. You will definitely see me documenting my travels, sharing more trends on my website, and hopefully attending all four International Fashion Weeks in September. I will also be featuring more of my new home on my pages and encouraging more creatives to take the plunge shooting self-portrait. I do have ideas how to expand my business in the next couple of years but that comes down to how much I can earn because it would be a big financial investment.