Popular blogger Reem Kanj is the founder of FiveFiveFabulous. Since launching the site in 2009, Reem has been out and about at the most stylish events in the region, and on the radar of top-notch brands. She’s got ambassadorial roles with Sunsilk and Puma and special relationships with affiliates like Net-a-Porter and Boutique1 – just what a fashion lover wants! But things weren’t always this easy. Reem remembers how her ‘average’ height was often an issue back in her modelling days. She’s come a long way since then, and we found out how…
What’s your background in fashion?
I graduated with a BA in Surface Textiles from the London College of Fashion in 2009. I founded my blog, FiveFiveFabulous.com, after graduating. Since then, I have also become a Special Lecturer for The University of the Arts, London (UAL) as well as freelancing as a fashion and media consultant.
What made you decide to start a fashion blog?
I wanted to have a place where I could express my thoughts and opinions on the industry without having to read about negativity and celebrity gossip. It’s a place for me to promote new talent and to push established designers as well as e-commerce websites.
How did you come up with the name?
FiveFiveFabulous was originally known as 5’5 Girl in a 5’10 World- an analogy for never being ‘good enough’ for the fashion industry because of my ‘average’ height. This was back when I was modelling. I decided that 5 ft 5in was fabulous and made a point of it by naming my blog after my experience.
How many people read your blog?
I receive over 250,000 page views, 950,000 hits and 27,000 visits per month.
Who is your reader?
My readers are predominantly women. They’re independent, work really hard, have a striving career, or are on the path to one, and definitely know what they want. They know that you don’t have to be fashion ‘able’ to be fashionable. I believe you can be fabulous in fashion without having to struggle to afford high-end outfits. They love the variety of posts, news and reviews that FiveFiveFabulous has to offer as well as our consistency and presence online via our Twitter and Facebook pages.
How has life changed since you set up this blog?
My life hasn’t changed per se. It’s just gotten a lot busier which means that there’s a little less time for family and friends. Luckily, I have a brilliant support system between my family and best friends. So it has made the changes I have been lucky enough to experience, so much better.
How long were you running the blog before you started getting invites to all the best parties in town?
I would say about six months. It took at least that long for my traffic to build up steadily and for people to start recognising FiveFiveFabulous as a noteworthy blog.
How difficult is it to keep your blog well fed with all the latest style info?
It’s very difficult, but my consistency is the key to my success. I love working on my blog so it doesn’t feel like a burden, I get excited when I draft something and then publish and promote it. Especially when the content is 100 per cent unique, for example talking about my ambassadorial roles with Sunsilk or Puma or posting features regarding my special lecturing at UAL.
What sort of response have you had from women in the Middle East?
The response has been amazing. So many women have approached me to ask questions, for advice and even to discuss the positive attitude towards Middle Eastern women having a place in the fashion industry.
Have you had any negative reactions to the blog?
I’ve never had any negative reactions that I’ve been made aware of. There have been negative aspects such as my content being lifted from my blog to be used on another. I won’t name names but that side of blogging is utterly frustrating. For someone to feel they have the right to copy and paste your work with not even a credit or link back is such a slap in the face, particularly when you work so hard to create content that your readers enjoy. Luckily, Wordpress got on to the issue straight away and took down the stolen content. So all was resolved!
What advice and tips would you give budding fashion bloggers in the Middle East?
If you’re going to start blogging, you have to know what you want to talk about, who you’re targeting and learn as much as you can about social media. Above all, remain consistent!
What are your top three fave websites?
I love Style.com, Vogue.com and Telegraph.co.uk/fashion.