Meet Leah and Chelsea, the brains and bloggers behind newly launched blogging venture Life Love and Coffee Stains. We chatted with the ladies to learn more about the evolution and launch of the blog, and what it takes to run a successful and vibrant site!
Q: What are both of your backgrounds in blogging, PR and marketing, and what inspired you to launch Life Love and Coffee Stains?
Leah: As far as blogging, my first experience was as That Working Girl's Instagram Editor! I’d followed for years, and it was a great chance to take a peek into the blogging world before starting one of my own! I’m currently working in merchandise marketing at Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, GA, but my first love is advertising. Life, Love, and Coffee Stains is a chance for me to do all of the great social media promotion I miss in my job right now, and hopefully it will help open some doors some day as I expand into freelance work!
Chelsea: If Leah brings the PR and marketing, I bring the writing experience. I have been working with I'mperfect Magazine, a newly launched online magazine focused on health, beauty, and confidence. I have been loving that experience, so when Leah came to me with the idea for LL+CS, I was really excited! She is also a great teacher, so through the process, I have been learning more about social media and marketing. Our inspiration came from our own new experiences. Leah is in a new job, in a new city. I am sticking around our Alma Mater for grad school in the fall and getting used to a completely different lifestyle. There are challenges to both - some similar, some different. LL+CS gives us a chance to do what we love while sharing our experiences with others.
Q: What was the branding and launch process like prior to introducing the blog to readers, and what is it like working as a blogging team of two?
Chelsea: A lot of teamwork! Being in two different cities, a lot of our branding and planning happened via internet chats, texts, phone calls, and a thousand and one GoogleDocs. We decided that it would be a good idea to have a solid bank of post ideas and written material prior to launching. Luckily, enthusiasm is a great creative tool. As for working together...Leah and I were college roommates for two years so we have gotten very good at communication, even though we are no longer in the same place.
Leah: Basically what Chelsea said! We also worked on the executive board for the Wake Forest Rowing Club together, so we’re not strangers to the pressures of working together and being friends!
Q: What advice would you have for bloggers who are just starting out, but want to create a strong, recognizable brand?
Leah: Plan! Plan your site, your blog, your posts - everything. Chelsea and I have extra blog posts for when life gets busy. Also, connect. We've already been asked to do guest posts thanks to Twitter chats and online blog groups. Plus, having other blogs sharing your Twitter handle or Pinterest boards is a great way to gain followers, even before you launch.
Chelsea: Find what you love, and write about it. When Leah and I first started planning, we came up with topics first and added in a title and design later. Leah loves to craft. I love to cook. We both love coffee and talking about our lives. And thus, Life, Love, and Coffee Stains was born. Writing about something you are passionate about is easy. I think that’s where a lot of new bloggers get stuck - they try to write to a pre-set standard instead of finding their own voice.
Q: Where do you see Life Love and Coffee Stains a year from now?
Chelsea: We were actually just laughing about this the other day! We were texting about a Twitter chat that Leah was participating in, and celebrating our growing number of followers. Leah wrote back, “Someday hopefully we’ll laugh about how we were excited about such small numbers!” That’s where I want to be in a year. We have created a platform that can grow up with us (as corny as that sounds). We are writing about our lives, and any recent grad is going to be able to identify with 90% of our posts. Now we just have to find them!
Leah: I’m definitely the entrepreneur (thankfully, I have Chelsea to keep me grounded). I’m sitting at my computer emailing Chels ideas for merchandise, different offerings, and all sorts of crazy ideas for a blog that’s just launched. In a year, I’d like to see at least one of those crazy ideas working out!
Q: How has blogging helped you in your career and professional life?
Leah: I used blogging on my personal site as part of my job search post graduation, and it definitely helped! I’m also a Chloe and Isabel Merchandiser, so you might see some jewelry posts popping up in the future! As I’m settling into my job, I’m hoping to use blogging to keep in touch with social media and writing, while also growing my network. I’m happy where I am, but I’m hoping that LL+CS will bring me some great opportunities!
Chelsea: What professional life? Haha! I am starting an MA in English in the fall, so for me personally, LL+CS is a creative outlet to bolster my more academic writing and pursuits. I am not sure what the future holds yet - whether it is teaching, editing, writing, etc. - but I do know that the marketing, self promotion, and networking that blogging is teaching me will be helpful in whatever field I end up in.