March 31, 2009
You just might know Emily Schuman. Maybe you heard her name via the amazing fashion advice she gives in Glamour.com’s Smitten column. Or maybe you caught a glimpse of her “working” in the background of The Hills reruns. Or possibly you know her as I know her – as Cupcakes and Cashmere – her fashion blog, where she combines frugal finds mixed with high-end design.
I’ve been a fan of her site for a while now, and wanted to share a bit of it with you…so, here’s the Q&A with the Los Angeles chic lady herself – where we talk food, flea markets, and spotting fakes.
danapop (dp) What made you want to start a blog? When did you officially launch?
Cupcakes and Cashmere (c&c) I officially launched Cupcakes and Cashmere in April of 2008. I became enamored with the idea that everyday people could make an impact, so I decided to create my own blog with a focus on things that bring me joy.
dp How do you separate your web persona vs. Emily – or do you?
c&c I would say there’s not too much of a difference as to how I present myself on my blog versus how I am on a daily basis. Maybe I’m just a little more fashionable online since there are definitely those weekends when I slump around in mismatched sweats the whole time. I think what makes a successful blog, however, is when someone is able to insert part of themselves in their work, whether that be in their writing or the pictures they take.
dp Have you done PR or marketing of Cupcakes and Cashmere to broaden your readership?
c&c All of my traffic that I’ve garnered is all through word of mouth and different website features (on places like Who What Wear Daily and Glamour).
dp I love the name of your site, both words evoke such great imagery – how did you decide on the name of your site? Were there other close contenders?
c&c Thank you! The name of my site was something that was really important to me so I thought long and hard about things that I loved most. I decided to incorporate two of my favorite things (food and fashion) with an alliterative spin. Cashmere is the ultimate luxury and who doesn’t love cupcakes?
dp How did you land a job at Teen Vogue and Domino? What did you do there? Did The Hills really tape while you worked there?
c&c I interviewed throughout my entire senior year in college (which required me to take a train, a subway and a bus to arrive at Conde Nast) and was extremely persistent. Honestly I didn’t even have a back-up plan since I only wanted to work for Teen Vogue and Domino magazines, so I’m sure glad it worked out! I was a sales assistant so I helped bring in revenue dollars, but I always enjoyed seeing the behind-the-scenes work that was done on the editorial side of things. As for The Hills, I was on a few episodes during the first season of the show (I was usually under the huge Teen Vogue sign “working” at my desk). While it was a distraction having all the camera crew always running around the halls, it was fun to get dressed up and see myself on TV.
dp I’m a horrible shopper at flea markets or stores where a lot of sifting and sorting through bins or unorganized racks are involved…what can you recommend for someone like me to look for at flea markets?
c&c I would say that you should think about what it is you’re looking for prior to showing up to shop. For a newbie to vintage shopping, start with boots, belts and bags since figuring out your sizing with clothes takes a while. Also, when in doubt, find a stylish girl and keep an eye out for the booths that she visits and the things she scopes out.
dp What are key things to check out when shopping for vintage items?
c&c I’d say quality is the most important thing since no matter how cute something may be, if it falls apart a week later, you’re out of luck (I learned this the hard way with a vintage Gucci purse that turned out to be fake). Always check the soles of shoes, the straps and closures on bags and all parts on clothing to make sure there are no rips or stains.
dp What would you say your signature style is?
c&c I’d say my look is femininely eclectic. Most of the time you’ll catch me in either a dress or skirt, but I’ll toughen up the look with a studded belt and some deconstructed boots.
dp How does one balance working in budget items with higher end items to complete a look?
c&c I think that it’s all about how you combine things. I would never go as far to say as long as you have an $800 bag and designer shoes, you’ll be okay because it’s not that easy. In L.A., I frequently see girls with fancy logos splattered across their bags and they simply look cheap and desperate. It’s important to wear what flatters your body and once that’s taken care of, you’ll instantly look put together, regardless of the prices of your individual pieces. In fact, I admire women that can wear their designer shoes with a Forever 21 tunic and pull it off.
dp If you came across $500.00, what would you spend it on?
c&c Shoes. After I purchased three pairs of designer shoes recently at the Barneys Warehouse sale, I now know the importance of high quality footwear. I’d probably splurge on a pair of nude Jimmy Choo espadrilles for my upcoming trip to Maui.
dp If you had to pick one luxe item to save for, what would it be?
c&c A great bag. I feel instantly chic when I have a nice bag on my shoulder, but I’m quite particular when it comes to the designer. I don’t like things to be too cliché (like a Louis Vuitton) and I usually opt for slightly under-the-radar brands like Rebecca Minkoff, Foley + Corinna or Gryson.
dp What are some of the most profound ways you think Los Angeles influences the fashion industry?
c&c I think that L.A. girls have a certain Bohemian edge to them and are very open to trying new things. They’ll combine things from flea markets with pieces they’ve swiped up at higher end stores like Planet Blue or Madison and make it look fabulous. The low-key vibe of Southern California also provides leeway for people to experiment with different looks without feeling as though they’ll garner weird looks when they walk down the street.
dp Do you self edit your postings or do you have someone help you with the copy editing and grammatical aspects of your writing? How do you come up with topics?
c&c I’m extremely critical of people’s grammar so it’s no surprise that I take my writing very seriously. I tend to keep my posts short, to the point with creative titles. I’m also lucky to have a wonderful boyfriend who takes all of my pictures for my outfit posts (with the Nikon D40 he bought me for Christmas). A lot of times I’ll see one particular thing that will spark an interest (whether it’s a cool ring or a great pair of boots) and then I’ll go and track down other similar items. I like to present my findings in a coherent and appealing fashion so that my readers can go directly to the source for anything they might fancy.
dp How do you balance your website with your 9 to 5?
c&c I find writing to be therapeutic after a long day at work. It’s a nice creative outlet and something that I can just start and finish, which appeals to me since I have so many ongoing projects at work.
dp What are some of your favorite shopping websites? Other blogs you regularly read?
c&c My favorite fashion sites are pixie market, planet blue, urban outfitters and topshop. For other fashion blogs that I regularly read, I like the cherry blossom girl, stockholm street style and le blog de betty.
dp What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
c&c I definitely consider myself a foodie so I love to find new bakeries or sushi joints to scope out on the weekends. I also try to stay active, so I take advantage of all of the great hiking spots around L.A. There are also great concert venues here (my favorite being The Hotel Café) where I can go grab a drink and listen to up and coming singer/songwriters.
dp Where do you see yourself heading in the fashion industry? What’s next?
c&c If I could write/blog full-time, that would be my biggest fantasy. I love how accomplished I feel after posting an inspirational outfit or introducing a reader to a new line of clothing. There are a million different paths I could take; I’m just trying to figure out the best one for me.
dp Favorite cupcake flavor and favorite place to get one?
c&c My favorite cupcake flavor is Red Velvet, but I’m going to have to give you several answers as to my favorite places in L.A. Joan’s on Third for their chocolate peanut butter, Toast for their Red Velvet and La Provence for their vanilla with chocolate.
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