Jen Pinkston is the founder of The Effortless Chic, a lifestyle blog featuring a lovely assortment of interior design inspiration, travel tips, recipes, and chic + laidback style. Prior to blogging, Jen was a wardrobe stylist in L.A. where she worked for The Ellen Show, as well as styling for a myriad of top celebs. She has contributed to Camille Styles blog, Martha Stewart, and more! Needless to say, Jen has an impressive resume that is only continuing to grow. Read on to find out how she got her start in blogging, stays organized and productive, collaboration tips, and more!
I'm from Austin, TX, but moved to Los Angeles right after school. I started wardrobe styling within the first year and fell in love with it! I spent four years styling on The Ellen DeGeneres Show before beginning to freelance on my own. Every job was different—red carpet events with celebrities, Hollywood Reporter covers, cell phone commercials, and shoe print ads—just to name a few! What was the same with every job, though, was coming up with a wardrobe vision that I could share with the client. I wanted to archive all of these mood and inspiration boards, and suddenly, a blog was born!
I spent a lot of time driving around LA from store to store and showroom to showroom for my job. This was when The Sartorialist and Street Style were hitting their stride. There was this big focus on what real people were wearing, and everyone was asking the question, "How would you describe your style?". One day my boss and I were in the car asking each other the same question and I decided that the most succinct way I would summarize my style would be effortless chic. I'm sure I don't hit that mark every day, but that's the style that I gravitate towards most—real, authentic, pulled together, but not contrived or fussy style. I believe strongly that style should be relatable and approachable.
The term average day is hard because every day is so different. Every day starts with my two girls—8 months and four years—and my husband if he isn't traveling, which he does a lot. We either make breakfast or walk to get tacos at Taco Deli. As far as a typical work week, it will include everything from prop shopping for shoots, planning shoots, thinking through our editorial calendars for the blog and Instagram, shooting, writing content, or putting together new concepts for potential clients. Most of our team is based here in Austin now, but my management team is still in LA. Here in Austin, we create the concepts and content, and back in LA they organize everything with our brand sponsors and keep the business side of things on track. It's been a great partnership, and I can't recommend having a manager enough in this business.
I try to make the most of my time, whether it's working or with my kids. I want to show up fully for both. If I spend time mindlessly scrolling social media when I should be either working or with my kids, it feels like a total waste. I live by my to-do list that I keep in a Gmail draft and Google calendar. The last thing I do before shutting my computer each night is to triage my to-do list for the following day—what MUST get done, what SHOULD get done, and what I can work ahead on if I get the time. I also say no to a lot more opportunities than I did pre-kids. It's easy to feel guilty about it or bad for not pleasing everyone, but there are only so many hours in a day, you know? I would rather do three things well today than a whole bunch of things that my heart isn't really in. I think what works best for me is being laser focused on what needs to happen throughout the day. While I'm doing one thing, I already know the next three things that need to happen.
I feel like there is a lot that has been said on this topic so I'll skip this stuff you probably already know. Ultimately, look for ways to create sponsored content that you are so excited to be creating and that you would have wanted to create whether or not it was sponsored. Make sure the content you're publishing offers something of value to your readers and doesn't only serve the advertiser. Also, don't undervalue yourself. Be realistic about the time it's going to take. When you can, hop on a phone call before content creation to make sure you understand the marketing goals of the brand and that they understand what you will be creating for them. Make sure all of the deliverables for both parties are in writing, preferably in the form of a contract.
People generally have a pretty good radar for when someone isn't being authentic. Be yourself and be relatable to people. Engage with your audience as much as you can! I think people want to see authenticity at least as much as they want to see a pretty photo if not more.