Secrets from a fashion ed: behind-the-scenes at CQ
Gemma Cartwright writes...
I sometimes joke that we should set up a webcam in our office and livestream life at Shiny Towers to the masses. Mode or Runway this is not. We do have funky flock wallpaper, a fashion cupboard, couriers delivering exciting things at regular intervals and Krispy Kremes on a Friday afternoon (sometimes), but that's where the similarities end...
When I first launched a site called Catwalk Queen in 2001, trying to get press info to use online was like trying to get blood out of a stone. In contrast, we're now being courted by everyone. The outdated notion that 'blogging is not journalism' isn't rammed in our faces every five minutes now that our monthly traffic rivals the circulation of most magazines (funny, that).
I always thought having that kind of reputation would make our job that much easier. The truth is, it's made it harder. No longer can we rely on the old "well, nobody would talk to us" excuse; not with our bosses and not with our readers. If we get scooped, we only have ourselves to blame and if we make an error, people line up to point it out to us. The pressure is on to perform. Half of my day is spent reading, forwarding, sending and checking emails in an attempt to keep the lines of communication going. The rest is spent looking at statistics, working out where our visitors are coming from and working out how we can tempt more of them to visit (and stay). I'm surprised I don't have a breakdown when big fashion news events happen over the weekend... two days is a long time in the world of fashion blogging!
Luckily, once the Google-friendly content is done, we get to go crazy. I'll never tire of the silly stuff we get to do to keep you lot entertained (and preserve our own sanity). Dressing Laura up in fetish leggings and taking stupid photos, visiting events like Graduate Fashion Week and sitting front row, queuing with the masses at Topshop for the Kate Moss launch, skiving off work early to get our hair done... it's all in a day's work for the CQ team, and I think it's that which differentiates us from the competition. I'm proud of the personal feel of the site, which is why I'm going to be spilling the beans in this column from now on.
This week looks set to be a good one. I've already received perfume and high-end skincare products to review. The fashion cupboard is jammed with the new styles from celeb fave Mina, ready for a video on Wednesday. On Thursday someone's coming in to demonstrate a funky new hairstyling product which means a free blow dry for moi, and I'm off to a screening of the new Matt Damon movie with the girls on Wednesday evening.
However, just to make you feel a teensy bit better, it's still work. All those gorgeous clothes, shoes and bags we get to review? They all have to go back (and they're always size 10 so they don't fit me anyway). The beauty products? They have to be reviewed. The office air conditioning unit is so far away from my desk that I've taken to making sarcastic comments about "the free office sauna". Summer holidays mean two of us are currently doing four people's jobs and we had to send the beautiful pink Mulberry Bayswater bag back on Friday before I got the chance to... ahem, test it out.
Woe is me, eh?!