Erica Davies is the blogging and social media sensation behind The Edited. But how did she get there? Seemingly destined for big things, Erica was only 24 years old when she became Fashion Editor of The Sun newspaper. She later moved on to become Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor at LOOK magazine and it was here that she decided to launch her hugely popular fashion and lifestyle blog while expecting her second child.
At our Office Gossip event at The Hoxton, Holborn, on Thursday 12th October, Erica – alongside fellow inspirational ladies, Freddie Harrel and Alex Stedman – will be sharing her top tips on going freelance and how to achieve that all-important work/life balance. In-case you don’t get the chance to attend the event, we caught up with her beforehand to discuss whether it really is possible to have it all.
What inspired you to start The Edited – tell us the story behind it?
I was about to go on maternity leave with my second child and had a bit of a light-bulb moment. I was a fashion editor and obsessed with interiors and really didn’t want to let my brain stop with those things while in the midst of baby massage classes and Sainsburys trips! Which are all very well and I enjoy them, I just wanted to have a little creative outlet for myself to write about clothes I loved and nursery décor pieces I had spotted. It evolved from there really.
What do you think is the secret to your success?
I have no idea! The million dollar question! I hope that I am relateable, the pieces I feature are affordable and that I offer inspiration – whether in terms of design or just a new way of putting things together. I always try and respond to people too – they don’t have to follow me, but they do and I am very grateful.
Are you a self-taught blogger?
Yes I am, but there is a lot of help out there, whether it be YouTube or chatting things through with friends doing a similar thing.
How has your blog evolved over time? Would you say it’s become more interiors focused?
Yes it definitely has – for a start it is now my full-time job and so I naturally have more time. Instagram is a major part of my work now, I’ve almost become a micro-blogger! Interiors have naturally stepped up a gear because we are renovating our home, but also because it’s always been my passion project and I love it.
Is this your dream job? Did you ever have a plan B?
I always felt very lucky working as a fashion editor and loved the time. This feels like a really exciting new chapter and I feel incredibly lucky that I get to work for myself as well as being around for my children. I ALWAYS have a plan B – and that would definitely involve writing books and learning more about photography.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
I’m generally woken up most mornings by the children, who want the iPads. I check emails and Instagram, have a quick shower, get dressed and then head downstairs for a cup of tea before calling the kids down for breakfast. My day really starts as soon as I get back from dropping them at school.
What does a typical work day look like for you? Do you have a strict work schedule you like to stick to?
It really varies; some days I can be based at my desk at home answering emails, writing posts or dealing with my agent about forthcoming collaboration opportunities. I tend to turn a lot down, because I want to make sure the fit really works for me. I’m very aware now that the people who follow me know my style and so some opportunities just wouldn’t be authentic. Other days I might be working on copywriting for brands, or coming for meetings in London. Some days are spent shooting – either myself or the house. It’s a real mix, but that’s what I love.
Is there anything you miss about office life?
Yes! I really miss the daily chats and the banter. I worked in a very male-dominated newspaper office for years and really miss that. But I wouldn’t swap what I’m doing now and I definitely feel you create your own community so I always have people I can chat to or pop out for coffee with.
What are the perks of being a freelance blogger?
The flexibility is amazing, the fact I am able to effectively edit my own publication, I get to interact with people and the opportunities that come my way are definitely not something I take for granted.
And the cons?
I never really switch off. And I am constantly worrying about the work/life balance.
How has having a family changed your working life?
In many ways, in the sense I can’t just nip here or there anymore, everything takes a lot more planning – which goes back to the point of me having to turn a lot of things down. But it’s given me balance and it’s given me back time with my children. I drop them off every day and pick them up 4 out of 5 days, so I am the constant. I couldn’t have done that if I still worked full-time in an office. I’m very grateful for that.
How do you balance work life and family life?
It’s hard and I don’t think I have the secret, but carving out time for us all without phones is key. We do a lot together at the weekend – and my husband and I share a digital diary so we don’t miss things!
Do you try and keep family and work/life separate? Do they ever overlap?
They don’t really overlap in the sense that I rarely feature my children and never feature my husband. It does overlap sometimes when the kids shout at me for being on my phone too much – when I’m trying to answer an important email or quickly write something. The guilt!
Do you make room in the diary for ‘couple’ and ‘me’ time?
Yes! We love going for dinner and I think it’s important to do that. We also have amazing parents who are happy to have the kids for a few days in half term so we get some down time. I try and get a bit of me time – but usually just the odd blow dry or manicure.
What are your top tips for balancing work life and family life?
Prioritise. What is important TODAY? Don’t stress with forward planning, just do a few days at a time. There is so much to remember for us all – I am constantly worrying about whether a paid for collaboration needs to be done versus have the kids got clean socks versus do we actually have any vegetables in the house?
Is it difficult to plan holidays when you are freelance? How often do you like to get away as a family?
We’ve started trying to get away for a week at Easter and two during the summer.
Has it become any easier as the children get older?
Yes it’s such good fun now – they are really joyful to hang out with!
What are your must-haves when working from home?
My phone, laptop, coffee, notebooks, pens and my diary – I have to write things down.
What do you think makes a successful freelance blogger?
Think about your office hours as you would if you worked from an office, schedule in time to take a break, but don’t force yourself. If you work best at night, do it then. Be consistent, develop your own tone of voice, take time to work on your photography and answer people when they send you a question.
What’s your home office set up like?
I either work at my desk in the office or at the kitchen table depending on my mood.
Do you think it’s important to have a dedicated working area at home if you are a freelance blogger?
I think it’s really subjective. I work best with a desk or table – I wouldn’t be able to work on the sofa or in bed, but if that works for you – great!
What’s the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
What advice would you give to someone considering going freelance?
Trust your instincts, if it feels right to you then go for it. Sometimes taking a risk and not worrying about things too much is the best decision.
Office Gossip Event
To hear more, join Alex Stedman, Erica Davies & Freddie Harrel as they share their top secrets to a successful career @ The Hoxton, London. Plus, enter our competiton to win £250!
Follow Erica on Instagram @erica_davies.
All images are courtesy of Erica Davies.
Shop Erica’s top office picks below…