We have a new wave of media stars coming through in the form of Digital Influencers. These influencers are not only reshaping the fashion and beauty industries, but the media landscape too.  In a world of Instagram, Snapchat, blogs and vlogs, advertisers are finding a whole new way to market their products and services. National brands have seen huge success partnering with bloggers like Lexington resident, Shelby Back.

Shelby runs the successful fashion blog, Glitter & Gingham, where readers can follow along as she goes through life one fabulous outfit at a time. With partners like Nordstrom, Target and Starbucks, Shelby is driven to deliver sales to her partners while keeping her audience engaged. Easy enough, right?

When Shelby started Glitter & Gingham in 2012, she had no idea it would become her full time career. At the time, she was in graduate school getting her Masters in Business. That degree has come in handy over the last few years. Shelby handles sales, marketing, contract negotiations, billing, content creation and everything else that comes along with running a successful blog. We sat down with her to find out what it takes to become a full-time blogger in the age of digital media.

TOPS: How did you get Glitter & Gingham started?

SB: Glitter & Gingham started as a hobby  and creative outlet in September of 2012! I was in grad school for my Masters in Business and desperately needed a creative outlet. Admittedly, I had no clue what I was doing, but after 5 years of trial  and error, I think I finally figured it out.

TOPS: Why do you think it has become so successful?

SB: I truly believe you get out of something what you put in it, and over that past few years I have put my heart  and soul into my corner of the internet. It allowed me to invest in my business and in turn, provided me the opportunity to do this whole blogging thing full time.

TOPS: What is the best part about being a full time blogger?

SB: Being my own boss. It can be the worst part about it at times too, but it has allowed me to follow my dreams and no one is there to stop me!

TOPS: What is the most challenging part?

SB: Finding a balance. Because I work from home and so much of my business revolves around social media, it is hard to find a balance where I can leave my work “at home” and step away from the social media world after my workday is over.

TOPS: Walk us through your typical work day.

SB: What people don’t see is the not so glamorous side of blogging. My typical day includes working from my home office, focusing on content creation, social media strategies, emails, contracts and the occasional conference call.

TOPS: Any tips you want to share for aspiring bloggers?

SB: Be YOU. Find a niche that seems true to you and your style, and give it all you’ve got. You will get out of it what you put in, so be consistent and have a passion for what you’re doing.

TOPS: What is your go-to look?

SB: A good pair of jeans, my favorite white t-shirt (or sweater for fall), my olive green utility jacket  and leopard clutch! The combo is so simple, but if I’m ever feeling like “I have nothing to wear” there’s a good chance that is what I end up wearing.

TOPS: How would you describe your style?

SB:  I have always struggled with answering this question! I think my style is fun and feminine with a southern edge. I love mixing prints and adding as many accessories as I can too!

TOPS: This is our Inspiration Issue. Tell us what inspires you!

SB: I am continuously inspired by those who follow their dreams. Specifically, strong women who follow their dreams. Lexington is full of them! It’s not easy task to follow your dreams. The unknown of “am I making the right decision?” is downright terrifying, but seeing these women rise up and not only follow their dreams, but have success in doing so is incredibly inspiring. I have been fortunate enough to work with – both as a blogger and in my personal life – so many amazing women who have done just that. Those experiences continue to fuel me to not only to go after my dreams, but to be a better person while doing so.