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The Perks Of Having A Killer Day Job


There are many perks to having a killer day job but a recent one was attending Free People’s first Blogger Retreat (Free People is part of Urban Outfitters, which is the parent brand of Anthropologie, Terrain, BHLDN). Last Friday, women and bloggers from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania traveled to Urban’s home offices to hear BLDG 25’s Editorial Manager, who worked for Refinery 29 prior to Free People, give tips, advice, and suggestions for blogging.

In addition to her morning and afternoon sessions, where she covered everything about blogging – how to improve writing, post frequency, etc. – speakers such as marketing directors and site optimization experts gave their tips on the less glamorous side of growing a blog.

A chord that was played over and over during the retreat was the word resource. Provide readers with a resource; make readers leave with something that didn’t have before. This was interesting because as a blogger, my resource is not tangible like the clothes Urban Outfitters sells. Not one of my readers can hold my resource, which could be knowledge via a pattern making tutorial or a laugh via a bad joke, in their hands. Also, my resource can’t be scanned or bar coded. That was an interesting, but not a new, way to view blogging. I walked out asking myself, like I do with every post I publish, what am I giving to my readers? What is my product to them? Gosh, whatever it is, I hope you buy it. I’m not one for sales or markdowns. That’s cheap.


  1. Reply

    Kat Sultanie

    What an awesome opportunity! I would love to go to something like that. Thanks for sharing the tip about providing a resource. I will keep that in mind from now on when drafting blog posts.

  2. Reply

    Bekuh Browning

    Sounds like a great workshop! I love getting to glean information from those who have gone before me, and who lived to tell the tale. I always leave meetings like that feeling inspired, refreshed, and as if I’m part of something broader and more beautiful than I first imagined. maybe next time we’ll get to go together πŸ˜‰

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      There’s another retreat in March and YOU ARE COMING!

  3. Reply


    extreeeeeeeemely jealous over here.

    i’d say peeps walk away with a metirc ton from your blog. your posts on pattern drafting, and all the knowledge shared on your years with seamstresses, is a goldmine.

  4. Reply


    Knowledge is a resource. I am learning to sew for myself and the fact that you have experience as a professional technical pattern maker is very valuable to me. I get so tired of people who blog about some technique they tried for the first time yesterday. I also don’t look favorably on blogs that are always trying to sell me something, although certainly if I see a tool or product I need, I will take note.

    • Reply


      Not to be overly critical of your employer, but consider this frank feedback: The Sundance show “Man Shops Globe” really began to irritate me after a while. The travels of the Buyer were fascinating, but he began to make Anthropologie seem like The Ugly American: We research other people’s lovely things, copy them, and charge them at a huge mark-up. It was quite telling that it was never revealed how much the original items cost. Anthropologie clothes don’t always fit me very well, which is one reason I don’t buy them, but I’m often struck by the idea that when I learn how to sew I could make the same things with much better material and techniques and they’d fit me better. A few years ago, Anthropologie also had some bad reports about racism towards customers in its stores. In any event, your blog is a recent discovery and I like it.

      • Reply

        Natasha Estrada

        Honestly that’s what fashion is all about your research and take the elements you like and make it into a marketable product. When it comes down to it the average shopper doesn’t want a truly original idea she wants a small piece of a trend. Just different enough to be an individual but similar enough to belong. That’s what fashion is about declaring which tribe you belong to.

        However remember fashion is what your offered and style is what you wear.

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          Anthropologie’s items are pricey and expensive but justifiable. When I worked in tech, I attended many meeting where the option to use polyester instead of silk was discussed (to save money). Both production, buying, and design agreed that the brand’s commitment was to quality and the customer, even if that meant a lower markup / target margin. As for the show “Man Shops Globe,” the fact that Anthropologie hires a person to find the most unique and the best items is a statement in itself. Most companies would find a unique product and knock it off using plastic and a cheap manufacturing method. Anthropologie sources that item, which in turn supports the independent designer.

          Phew! As you can see, I love the brand πŸ™‚

  5. Reply

    Maggie Smith

    I agree with everyone else, you give us great pattern and drafting techniques and an endless train of inspiration. This is all topped off with fantastic photos. I am curious, now that you have gone to this retreat, would you go again even though it wasn’t aimed directly at your type of blogging?

  6. Reply


    Of course knowledge is a tangible resource! If it wasn’t, education would not be the big business it is (just think of tuition fees alone!) And you supply knowledge that has a practical application, a very concrete product, in my opinion.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Aha! Education can be tangible. You’re right. I didn’t think of it in that light.

  7. Reply

    Laura Poehlman

    That’s truly a great goal for even casual bloggers to have while posting, but c’mon, you provide inspiration, a touchpoint, and distraction at the very least. Valuable distractions are an unnamed treasure.

  8. Reply

    Hannah @ The Braided Bandit

    This sounds like such an interesting and cool experience. I never thought about blogging in that way before! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚
    xo Hannah

  9. Reply

    Kate O'Hara

    love this idea..what a great tip. and such a cool event, i would love to attend something like this! i definitely think you’re providing a resource in terms of knowledge/tutorials!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I try, I try…

  10. Reply


    What a cool event and experience! Your resource might not be tangible but it’s just as valuable if not more – which I definitely think so. Tangible things can be lost, stolen, broken, misplaced. But, as my parents have told me time and time again, knowledge is the one thing that no one can take away from you. It is one of the most valuable things in life because it’s the foundation to anything and, with it, you can rebuild whatever was taken from you countless times. Knowledge might not be tangible but maybe that’s what makes it better than tangible things – you can conquer the world over and over again with it. Do not fool yourself, the knowledge that you are providing here is a great resource that most bloggers can’t offer and your professional background and experience makes it even more valuable.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      oh gosh, Anto, you’re right. Knowledge is better than any dress, skirt, or handbag πŸ™‚

  11. Reply


    How nice that you got to go to this blogging event. I would say although you don’t have anything tangible for sale the wealth of knowledge that you share is priceless!

  12. Reply


    What a great perk and opportunity from your job. It’s always great when you can learn new things that will benefit your career but your personal life too. It seems like you came away with a new insight on a matter that you already love, while meeting many new people! That’s a great day’s work!

  13. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    What a marvelous event! I am totally buying what you offer in every blog post – wisdom, wit, and wonderful personality πŸ™‚

  14. Reply

    Sarah Welsch

    Sounds like it was fun!



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