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The Blogger Report: Sharon From FocusOnStyle
by Jesse Massari on August 27, 2012
With years of styling experience and fashion advice under her belt, we caught up Sharon Haver, the resident expert at FocusOnStyle.com for her thoughts on offering chic style tips, how social media isn’t for everyone and the accessibility of fashion today.
FASHIONOTES: Why did you start FocusOnStyle.com? How did you come up with the concept?
Sharon: FocusOnStyle evolved from my 15 years as a stylist to help the everyday woman make the most of what she’s got with expert can-do chic style tips. Back then, being a stylist wasn’t the buzz word job of the day and most women had no idea what went on behind the scenes at a photo shoot to create the final gorgeous image of a model or celebrity. I pitched a Q&A fashion advice column to the Scripps Howard News Service and managing editor Peter Copeland, or Big Cheese as I thought of him, and he agreed to “put candles on my catwalk” and Sharon Haver’s Focus On Style column was distributed to 400 weekly SHNS newspapers – pretty cool! When I was pregnant with my son I decided that I would take the column online and FocusOnStyle.com, the fashion web site, was launched in 1999. Here we are in 2012 and the site is still going strong.
FN: What inspires you to write to post? What decides the content or the material of FocusOnStyle.com?
S: Originally, my columns and the site were entirely reader driven. If they asked, I would tell [them] how to make it work with the why and how. People need to understand that there are no cookie-cutter rules to style and that it’s the unique sum of the parts that is flattering to each individual. Through the years, I’ve expanded FocusOnStyle.com with an all expert team of contributors who actually work at what they write about. We cover what is relevant to master ageless can-do chic either by inspiration or with a step by step [approach] – I believe that great content needs to add value to the reader and provide a takeaway tip – not just show a pretty picture but let the woman understand exactly why it works so she can adapt it to her style.
FN: How do you use social media to help you spread the work about FocusOnStyle.com?
S: We use it all with emphasis on Twitter, Facebook, and now Pinterest. Our readers aren’t kids glued to social media but women with busy lives who want to add the dimension of style and the confidence it brings as an added bonus to a full plate, so social media is a part of the whole. It’s funny, but honestly, I don’t think that any of my old friends had a Twitter account unless it’s to promote a business. We email, text, IM or call each other on a more one on one environment. I’m going to take FocusOnStyle.com to another level real soon as I’m developing exciting areas to actually get closer to our readers on a new level – if you join our newsletter, you will be the first to know.
FN: How do you think social media and bloggers have changed how people think about fashion?
S: I think that those who are eternally devoted to fashion can’t get enough and that’s great. While “older” women who come from a VIP red rope culture aren’t so eager to share their every thought with the world, [it] has all become noise to them. It really is more of where you stand on social sharing and your own personal privacy and who you trust to deliver information that matters to you. Sometimes mass isn’t best.
FN: How do you think the internet, with all it’s social media components, bloggers, apps and street style photos has made fashion more accessible? Why or why not?
S: I think it will implode! It’s all become so competitive, yet style is personal and subjective. There is such a crazy over saturation of the latest repetition of the same in [an] otherwise trendy culture, that soon, there will be a big, shiny new fad that we see now will go the way of the Walkman for the next distraction. I don’t really pay attention to personal style blogs because most have become obvious brand placement, boring self promotion, or trendy copycats – there a few good ones but the genre is saturated and rather young or self-serving.
As far as accessible goes, fashion at a certain price has always been accessible and luxury is either inspirational or accessible to someone who can afford it regardless of the medium. What is fantastic is that you can live anywhere, even in the most remote place, and be able to order anything your heart desires online, so the global accessibility is really brilliant. FocusOnStyle and I are about being a style mentor so the everyday woman can feel more confident about herself and therefore soar in other areas of her life. Of course, I love fashion but I don’t live exclusively for it. I get charge up about making someone feel and live better through style not because they have the latest “it” bag of the moment. You really don’t need to bys so much if you know what to buy. FocusOnStyle.com is your style mentor to master ageless can-do chic with actionable fashion stylist advice – that’s exciting to me!