Kara Silvers freely admits to being a fashionista. “It all started with my first Barbie doll,” she said. “I bought different outfits and loved dressing her up for all kinds of occasions.”
When she got older, Kara tried applying the same sense of style to her own wardrobe. “In high school, I wore every piece of trendy clothing I could find,” she said. “I loved clothes so much that I majored in fashion merchandising at Auburn.”
She also received a masters in education and, after graduation, settled in Birmingham to teach home economics.
She returned to Anniston when her father, Dr. Morgan Silvers, asked for help running his medical office. When he retired, she went back to Auburn to teach medical billing and coding at the university — but she never lost her love for fashion.
Today she subscribes to 10 fashion magazines. “I live, breathe and eat it,” she said. “I love clothes, shoes, handbags, you name it.”
Kara puts time and thought into her wardrobe selections and, after receiving continual compliments on her choices, toyed with the idea of starting her own website to showcase her style. “Maybe I could inspire other people with what they can mix and match,” she said.
But she didn’t have the confidence to see it through. “I was just scared,” she admitted. “I let things hold me back.”
Several years passed and then, last spring, while at a party, she received yet another compliment on her outfit. It was at that moment when something clicked. “I guess it was just the right time,” she said, and that’s when she decided to get down to business and launch a fashion website and blog.
While conducting preliminary research, she discovered there were not very many such sites for women over 40. If she wanted hers to be successful and get noticed, she was advised to enroll in a class.
The Elite Blog Academy had the best reviews, so it was the one she went with. “Their course is only offered once a year,” she said. “It was not cheap, but it was thorough.”
After hiring a photographer, she launched her website: “The Stylin Educator, a blog to inspire women over 40 with fashion and beauty tips from a teacher with style.”
Kara attached the site to social media platforms and her exposure began to grow. “I have followers from all over,” she said. “They mainly follow me on Instagram.”
With Kara’s online presence growing, a few companies are now asking her to promote their products. A purse company even designed a handbag just for her in exchange for such promotions.
After focusing solely on fashion, she decided to expand into cosmetics. “I’m a beauty product junkie,” she said. “When I see new products in the stores, I want to try them all.” As a result, cosmetic companies are now sending her free samples. “It’s like Christmas some weeks,” she joked.
Even with thousands of followers, Kara considers her online presence to still be on the small side, especially in comparison to other more established fashion blogs.
“The biggest mistake I made was thinking people would come to me,” she said. “I’ve had to learn to put myself out there with both companies and followers.” She was excited to learn that some of her posts are now being published on major retailers’ websites, such as Target and Kohl’s.
She is also pleased, of course, when her blog receives glowing reviews from followers. They compliment her talent to feature not just high-end items, but lower- or medium-priced pieces that are more affordable.
Others are happy that Kara showcases what they call “normal size” and not, as one reviewer wrote, “stick-skinny-unrealistic.”
You can visit Kara’s website at thestylineducator.com.
Donna Barton’s column appears every Sunday. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.