Shannae and I have been friends for over 10 years. I remember when Shannae was one of the first people in Toronto to organise events specifically targeted to women. Back then, Shannae was also one of the O.G.’s of the blogging game in the city and I always really liked her hustle and her vibe.
Fast forward to now, Shannae is now a wife, a mum to a beautiful daughter as well as holding a full-time job and having a side hustle as a fashion blogger with her newish blog Toronto Shay. I was super curious to know what inspired her to get back in the blogging game years later as well as to find out how she juggles it all.
Shannae is a real one. One of my biggest supporters from day 1 (A1 from Day 1) and so am I of her. Meet my super smart, gorgeous, astrology and Real Housewives reality tv obsessed friend, Shannae. I think you’ll love her as much as I do.
What do you do, and what inspired you to pursue this side hustle?
I’m currently on mat leave but when I return to work it will be in a media sales role at Rogers Communications. Essentially, companies come to me with an advertising budget and I present a proposal advising how they can spend their advertising dollars across all of the media properties that Rogers owns. Depending on the client, the budget and the ask, I can recommend anything from a few pages in a magazine paired with a few digital ads to an extensive multiplatform recommendation that includes use of our on air talent, product placement in our television shows and custom content that can run in print, digital and broadcast. During my mat leave, I decided to start my blog (Torontoshay.com) that celebrates my love for fashion and also documents my role as a new mom (as fashionably as possible, obviously, lol).
As a new entrepreneur who’s also a mum and has a full-time gig, how are you juggling everything with the rising success of your blog?
Team no sleep! I sacrifice sleep and I get a lot of work done after my husband and daughter go to bed. I also try to delegate as much as I can. I’m a firm believer in hiring out your weakness. For example, when I started blogging again, it had been a few years since I had written creatively on a regular basis, so I used the app UpWork to hire an editor to help finesse some of my blog posts. It was literally a god send and saved me hours of work. I obsess over things so writing a simple blog post could take me several hours and I just don’t have time like that anymore. With this editor, I could just write from my heart, not worrying too much about grammar and composition (saving me tonnes of time) and she edited things to perfection. I don’t have to use her anymore because I’m back into the swing of things and write creatively on a daily basis but I would recommend it to anyone who is starting out and or obsesses over things the way that I do.
Your numbers have increased exponentially over the last 6 months, how were you able to grow your audience organically?
This is where being obsessive sort of works to my advantage. I researched hashtags for all of the different categories that I post about (fashion, motherhood, babies etc.) and shared those under every post that I put up. This helps lots of new people find me and my posts daily. I also go through my favourite hashtags and like and comment on the content in those hashtags on a regular basis. I gain new and exciting followers that way all the time. I also treat every online interaction like a real life interaction. If someone leaves me a comment, I reply. If someone sends me a message, I respond. Regardless of who it is or how many messages there are. When you do that, people really appreciate it and they stick around because of it. I also pay close attention to brands that repost photos of their customers and I only bought or wore product from those brands and I tagged them in my photos. Tagging brands and getting the attention of instagram pages that repost bloggers has helped me grow my following tremendously. Since starting my blog, I‘ve been featured in Instyle magazine and on Instyle.com, I’ve also been reposted (multiple times) by some really cool brands and accounts that have millions of followers (Aldo Shoes, Fashionbomb Daily, Madewell, Liketoknow.it etc).
The social media sphere is so curated. People present a highlight reel of their lives. How do you stay authentic to yourself and to your audience?
Although the vast majority of my Instagram and blog photos are curated, I try to keep it real in my captions, comment replies and my Instagram stories as often as possible. I truly believe that people like to see beautiful content and I also think that they get that my Instagram photos are snaps of me looking my absolute best. I try to balance things by engaging in authentically with all of the people that I cross paths with online and I try to show the real ‘everyday’ me in my insta stories.
In your opinion, has digitisation helped you connect/disconnect? According to you, has technology changed the world for the better or for the worse?
Digitisation has definitely helped me connect. But I think that’s because I’m the random person who will slide up into your DMs and will ask you if you want to go for coffee sometime. I try to move my URL interactions into IRL interactions as often as possible, even if it’s just a FaceTime conversation. Another cool thing that I’ve been doing lately is responding to DMs with a video message. People don’t expect it but they greatly appreciate it. If I didn’t do stuff like that, I could see myself starting to feel more disconnected. And to answer the second question; technology has definitely changed the world for the BETTER.
photo crédit: Jess Baumung
What are the three fave apps you can’t live without, and why?
Planoly – I use it every day to curate my feed. It sure is a life saver!
Texture – I get all of my magazines sent directly to my phone with this app – this is a huge source of inspo and it saves me lots of money. LOOOOVE it!