Penny started her fashion blog two years ago, and she admits 'when you're in a small town, it can be difficult to step outside of the box. People don't really expect it.' As such, her Facebook page, where she posts fashion tips, encouragement and help on everything from style to self confidence, started slowly. However, two years later, with over six thousand followers, Penny has more and more confidence in what she's doing, and more importantly, has been able to instil that same confidence in the people around her.
For Penny, her goal is simple. She explains, 'my aim is about people. I want to help people.’ This can come in several different forms, one of which is money saving tips. Penny insists, ‘You don’t have to spend a lot to look and feel great. You can spend five pounds on a piece of clothing, it’s about how you style it and having the confidence when you're wearing it.
‘It’s ok to go for a pricey thing if it’s right, but you can mix it up. It’s about confidence. I’m a confident woman and that’s as important as the fashion element.’
'I get messages from people which give me great encouragement to keep doing what i'm doing.'
The advice on offer isn’t always generated by Penny’s ideas. People often messaged the page, including husbands asking for advice. ‘People show me the dress they're going to buy, and ask if I know anywhere they might get it for cheaper.’
Even better is when people message after the page has helped them, often when facing difficult times. Penny says, 'I get messages where people are like "thank you for that, it got me through a rough period" and it's fantastic, it gives me great encouragement to keep doing what i'm doing.'
It's things like this that make Penny glad she started the page when she did. ‘Two years ago my friends said why don’t you start up something. It wasn't that easy, and you don't always get a lot of support with things like this straight away, but I've always believed that it's not about where you’re from, it’s about yourself, about your character and your drive. If you’re hungry for what you want to do, and know what you want to be, then you can do it.'
'People have lots of celebrities they can look to, but as an everyday women my page can offer something different. It’s an online journal, and I’m not afraid to show the real me. What you see is what you get.’
When we speak to Penny, her Mum is with her, and she supports everything her daughter is doing. She explains, ‘when she was starting up she was in the kitchen with me and she was nervous, and I said just let it happen organically.’ It's clear to see where Penny's confidence and sincerity comes from, and it's that which makes her page popular.
She says, 'People have lots of celebrities they can look to, but as an everyday women my page can offer something different. It’s an online journal, and I’m not afraid to show the real me. What you see is what you get.’
‘I’m a mum with two children. It's a normal life which I think a lot of people can identify with. For my children and the people who follow the page, I like to think I show you can always follow your passions.'
Beyond her Facebook page, Penny has also spoke at blogging events and has been involved with Primark and other shops. She explains, ‘It's great working with Primark because of the freedom that comes with it. They always said "don’t put anything in the blog that you don’t want to", so if I don’t like it, I won’t.'
Looking to the future, Penny says 'I'd like to get involved in personal styling, because I know I’ve a lot to offer there.’ She'd also like to have her own website eventually, but admits she wants to have a slightly larger following first. ‘It’s tough at first to get people following the page, but I remember when a local paper did a positive piece and that really helped. But big numbers aren’t the priority.'
For now, the page is doing it's job as being an outlet for Penny's interests and passions. As she says, 'it's what i've always had a passion for, and it's a source of creativity.' It's this, and the prospect of helping people, that means she looks forward to continuing with it. She says, 'when I see views coming in i'm delighted, and the more the better, but above all I’m always hoping I can just help at least one person.’