Clare McCarthy of Clare with the Hair is one of Ireland's most successful and relatable bloggers. We've had the privilege to chat to her about blogging life!
Clare taking her Deep Statement pearl necklace out
Martina: What gave you the initial inspiration to start a blog?
Clare: I loved the idea of creating a space that was more like a magazine than a blog, with inclusions such as daily deals, food, fashion and so on, I felt that while there were a ton of amazing blogs out there already - there was a gap maybe for my vision.
Martina: A Mother-Daughter blog is such an amazing idea. Do you think this was one of the keys to your success? Did your daughter join you straight away?
Clare: I think everything we do helps with the success of the blog, but everything we do - we do with our readers feedback, we know what they like and we know what they do not like, we listen, we accept if an idea does not work and we continue to evolve. Danielle, my 13 year old daughter, only joined the blog at the start of 2016, but this is a featurew e get a lot of views on! Now my other daughter, Ellen, contributes all the showbiz news to the site and these articles receive 10,000's of views each week, our readers love all the soap spoilers, concert news and so on.
Martina: That sounds so sweet. Did you worry about your daughters' cyber safety: anonymous commentators can be rather hurtful at times? How do you deal with negative feedback from your audience?
Clare: I am Cyber Aware; Danielle is a teen Angel with WiredSafety Ireland. We were part of the massive cyber bullying summit in 2014 and only this week we attended the cyber security congress in Croke Park, where Danielle spoke to our Global Tech Giants about the real dangers we are facing. I love the Internet, I love how easy it is to connect with people, but unfortunately, every now and then you will encounter someone who feels the need to be mean, and when I get this type of negativity, when it is just blatantly someone looking for an argument, I just delete, block and give it no more time or attention. On the other hand, if some disagrees with something I have said or I have done I will always engage and listen.
Martina: Who are some of your own favourite bloggers? Do you enjoy the Irish blogging scene? In what way is the Irish blogging scene different to others, such as the UK and US?
Clare: I love the Irish blogging community, it is incredibility supportive and I see it as a wonderful hobby for anyone to get involved in. I look at the So Sue Me's, The Make up Fairy and such like - and think: Wow, ladies - well done. When So Sue Me began -blogging was not even a thing. Now it is massive. I see the commercial side of blogging very differently in the USA, here it is almost expected that a blogger should be happy to work 90 hours a week for free, yes for so many it is just a hobby, but when your hobby reaches 100,000's of people each month and brands are asking for you to "work" for free to reach this audience then I feel a € value should be placed on this, in the USA they pay their bloggers $1,000's for their content.
Martina: You cover a wide variety of subjects. It comes across as an earnest reflection on whatever is going on in your life. Is there one specific area that you prefer blogging about?
Clare: I love all I blog about, I would not blog about it if I didn't love it! It is a reflection of what's going on, but also a reflection of readers feedback, they email me, they snap me and I pay attention to my analytics.
Clare loves Snapchat. Add her here
Martina: It seems that blogging is a big commitment. How do you balance your other commitments?
Clare: I have to admit this is an area I struggle with, in the last few years I did not know how to switch off, I was always creating blog content, managing my social channels and always ready to answer my emails, it is hard to walk away from it but I have had the odd evening out without technology, and just this summer I did not blog for the two weeks I was away. I love my blog and I love how it has grown and I want to develop it and continue to grow for as long as my readers will have me.
Martina: What is your favourite social media platform and why?
Clare: Right now for me it is Snapchat (username BloggerClareWTH) as I get to take my blog readers with me when I attend events, or as I create a recipe or while I am out shopping, it is a great platform to connect with your audience in a real, unedited way and I love that.
Martina: You feature a lot of brands from the entire spectrum. Do you tend to err on the side of trends or timeless quality?
Clare: As with my blog content, I love it all! I love timeless classic quality brands, but I love to mix it up with current trends.
Martina: Where do you see the blog evolving in the future? Did you ever think of starting your own designs or a line of beauty products?
Clare: My head spins with ideas everyday, and I have a few things coming down the line but in a nut shell yes, I would love to develop into a brand and create lots of fabulous things.