I am BEYOND excited to welcome Amanda Brown to this little blog today! We’ve “met” through blogging and social media, and I’m a faithful subscriber to her free e-magazine, South Kakalaki Girl (SKGFun for short). Here is a little background info on Amanda:
Amanda Brown is a writer, graphic designer, blogger, and editor-in-chief of a self-published e-magazine, South Kakalaki Girl! She loves playing soccer, coming up with beautiful and innovative branding ideas, and reading. She has written one novel, If The Sky Fell, that you can read all about here.
We’ve got a super fun interview planned for today – and guess what? We decided to swap interviews today!! I am being featured over at the SKGFun blog today as well! The link to my interview is at the end of this article, because I really want you to read Amanda’s first. 😀 Without further ado, here is the amazing Amanda Brown answering my questions. 🙂
When + why did you start your blog?
Haha funny story . . . I started the e-magazine first when I was twelve. I’d send it to my “sizeable” list of 20 people (all family and friends) in a Word Document and that was about it. My dad is in the IT business (basically a computer superhero) and when he caught wind of what I was doing, he was all like: Amanda you need a website I will set it up for you. So he basically got me to start blogging! I started the blog in March of 2013, if I remember correctly.
Mmmkay so you + I are pretty much long-lost twins at heart . . . we both have a passion for graphic design, aesthetic branding, and writing. Where/when did your love for all things beautiful + marketable begin?
I KNOW RIGHT HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? *hugs you* A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . . my mom needed a branch design (yeah, like a literal tree branch). She found a tutorial but she didn’t have enough time to actually follow it, so she asked me if I would be willing to do it. The moment I started clicking around, I fell in love with graphic design, and that’s where everything really began for me. After that first tutorial, I WAS HOOKED. Through the years, I’ve realized just how much I love, as you said, “All things beautiful + marketable.” There’s just something riveting about a clean, catchy branding kit.
I am just now setting up my social media/blog marketing journey. What advice do you have for me and others in my boat – just beginning and not quite knowing WHERE to start?
I have to admit—social media is NOT my favorite thing in the world. Some people can spend hours on Twitter or Facebook and easily come up with witty, applicable things to say that will link back to their posts, whereas I’m sitting at my computer screen, staring at that foreboding empty box thinking WHAT. IN. THE. WORLD. AM. I. SUPPOSED. TO. SAY. However, it’s common knowledge that, if you want to grow, you have to become a Social Media Ninja. There are a few things to keep in mind.
- Discover your “personality.” I’m known for using all caps, bold, italics, and sassiness in my posts. Everyone says that I have a certain “conversational” style that is really unique, so implement this in your social media too! Are you funny? Post memes, jokes, and weird things you heard people say. Do you blog about advice? Post inspirational quotes (preferably designed by yourself) and testimonies of people around you who have used your advice and found it to work.
- Post at least once a day. I’M SO BAD ABOUT THIS. But FORCE yourself to post.
- Don’t go crazy with all the social media. At the least, you need one social media account. If you want to cover the basics, get yourself a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and *maybe* Pinterest.
- Follow people and comment! It’s kind of obvious sometimes when people are only following/commenting to make you follow them, but I’ve found I’m always more likely to follow someone if they follow me and continually comment on my pictures.
Okay, so your e-magazine is . . . like . . . freakin’ AMAZING. What is one major milestone you’ve had along the way in your magazine experience that really confirmed: “Wow. I love this.”?
Awwwww thanks!! *blushes* I’m SO HAPPY with where it is now. Five years ago, SKGfun was just a simple newsletter in Microsoft Office Word, but I always saw it in magazine format. Last year, I finally decided to give magazine layout a try. It takes. So. Long. But it is SOOOO WORTH IT! The writers love it; the readers love it; Great Scott, I love it!
The defining moment was definitely when I first looked at SKGfun in its new magazine format. I scrolled through it and was just like WOW. WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW THIS IS SO COOL! IT LOOKS LEGIT! And then I showed it to my mom and she was flabbergasted. And my best friend texted me and was like AMANDA YOU OUTDID YOURSELF IT’S GORGEOUS! That’s when I knew that, even though it took an extra few DAYS to format, it was totally worth it.
I’m totally gonna be sidetracking here, but the SKGfun magazine has its own photographer, Leah Bufallino! Like whoooaaa! How did that come about?
I. HATE. STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY. And yet, because I am a creature of laziness (okay, okay, it’s called school haha) I was not willing to take pictures for the e-mag. However, I’ve known Leah for a while. I met her last summer at an art camp and oh my word I never felt so untalented in my life. All the people there blew my mind with how amazing their art was, Leah in particular. She won, like, THREE CONTESTS. And not one of them was even photography. I followed her on Instagram and saw that her photography was AMAZING and thought . . . hey. Why not ask? So ask I did. When she wrote back saying yes, she’d LOVE to do our photography, I did a happy dance. Everyone agrees that the e-magazine looks EVEN BETTER now with her gorgeous photography. And I mean . . . IT’S SO FREAKIN’ LEGIT TO HAVE AN ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPHER ON STAFF!! *squeals*
(the amazing work of Leah Bufallino)
What kinds of crazy/amazing things have come out of your blogging journey (i.e. relationships, business meet ups…etc.)?
I basically found MY BESTEST FRIEND EVER because of blogging. In addition to that, as if it weren’t cool enough, I WAS ABLE TO ACTUALLY COLLABORATE WITH TWO HUUUUUUGGGGGGGGEEEEEE COMPANIES!! It was beyond cool. One of them was LipSmackers (Like whaaaat??? They’re in WAL-MART) and Little MissMatched (they have their own store at Disney World). Whenever I contacted a company, I sent the email off with lots of prayer. I can’t tell you how many times I would get an email back saying YES to a collab and I’d be like Thanks, God! Someday I want to personally meet up with all the company owners I worked with. We’ll see! (see SKGFun review videos here)
Because I’m a camera nerd and it’s just unquenchable…what camera do you use?? And what is your typical editing process (i.e. what programs, etc.?) (*facepalm at the geekiness*)
Hahahaha I’m right with you, sista. #GeeksUnite I use my mom’s Canon Rebel T2i for videos and photography. Sometimes I’ll use my iPhone, and people say that the quality is just as good as a camera but . . . NAW. Such lies. There’s nothing like the crystal clear quality of my mom’s camera! For editing, it depends. For review videos I go onto my mom’s computer and use her Photoshop because she purchased these AMAZING actions that make the photos look so professional. For blog posts, I’ll use Photoshop just to up the brightness, vibrance, and contrast.
I’ve asked this question of two other bloggers, Sare and Ju, and again I’ll ask it of you: how do you balance blogging and life?
Ack. This one is hard, lol. Writing to me is life, which means that blogging is second to life. 😉 If I ever have a question, or a really deep philosophical musing, I write it down on my phone so I can expand it later. It is quite a struggle to find the time to write that post, but hey . . . you make time for what you love, right? Doing guest posts like this helps too, haha.
Last one – where do you see SKGfun going in the future? Any closing thoughts for us?
College is looming on the horizon for me; come fall, I’ll be a legit college student. I’ve had to grapple with whether I can continue SKGfun or not and . . . I haven’t come to a conclusion yet. There are a few possibilities: do it on the weekends, or in between class; change it from bimonthly to quarterly; or just give up on it altogether. The last option would be a final resort because it’s the absolute last thing I want to do. The blog may have to die for a few years before I can get its heart pumping again, but school always has to come first. Whatever the case, SKGfun will always live on in spirit. I’ll keep encouraging girls to read and write, and keep writing on my own and making videos. Because really? SKGfun is essentially me in an object. It’s reading, writing, design, connecting, learning, sharing. And that isn’t something that comes around every day!
Wow, Amanda, thanks so much!! *cheers* Share the love and comment below with some encouragement or questions for Amanda!