Abby Sterling

As fellow content curators, we couldn’t help but want Abby’s job as a full-time gig of our own. As creator of affordable fashion blog, The Fabulous Life of a Natural Disaster; leading operations at our blog crush Glitter Guide; and working in social media for Cinta, we’re all kinds of amazed by this triple-threat’s full plate. But, what we love most about Abby isn’t her amazing job(s), it’s her comfort with being perfectly imperfect.

“I don’t have a set look,” she says on her blog. “I don’t have perfectly coiffed hair, my nail polish is almost always chipped and it’s safe to say I never get things ‘quite right’, but I’m learning that’s really and truly the fun of fashion and personal style – and that in itself is absolutely fabulous.”

Read on to find out how a plan to work at a Gap store turned into a career path, how Abby organizes her stuffed days and how she shuts down in a job that’s always ‘on’.  

People who are authentic and who stay true to themselves, who are really invested, and who don’t try to copy other people, will succeed!

We’d love to hear more about your career path. How did you go from college graduate to blogger and operations at Glitter Guide?

When I graduated college, I felt a little bit lost. I had majored in theatre, but at the end of the day I knew I wasn’t cut out to try to make it in the acting world in New York City. I had always been interested in fashion and style and thought that maybe I could find something I would be good at in that industry. Graduating with no money, I decided to move home to the suburbs in Boston and start my career in retail at my local Gap. I only worked at the Gap for a summer before I took a job at a higher-end boutique in Boston. I felt like I was slowly moving up and learning more about the industry.

After a few years at the boutique with little opportunity in sight due in little part to the terrible economy, my career took an unexpected detour when a friend of a friend needed to replace herself as an executive assistant to the CEO of a technology startup. While I wasn’t 100% sure about this shift in my career, I was intrigued by the idea of working for a young company with a motivated team where I would have the opportunity to learn about the tech industry and hopefully acquire some new skills. The job was truly a blessing in disguise. I loved working for a motivated company, and I was inspired by a lot of the entrepreneurs I was surrounded by on a weekly basis. That being said, the majority of the time I worked remotely from my small apartment in Cambridge and after a year or so, I felt like something was missing.

At this time I started finding out about “bloggers” from some of the outfits and photos I was pinning and was completely enamored with starting my own style blog where I’d feature my outfits (that would also encourage me to get out of the sweatpant rut I was perpetually in) and affordable fashion finds. It took me over a year to start my blog, and when I did, I started it with just my iPad 2 and BlackBerry. I would sit on my stoop and use this self-timer iPad app. Eventually I graduated to a point-and-shoot and tripod, but the fact I take my own pictures for my blog is something that I’m very proud of.

In 2011, my boyfriend and I decided to quit our job and follow our dreams of moving to California. His parents who had recently moved out there graciously hosted us while we searched for jobs. They encouraged to go for our dream jobs. I was determined to break into the fashion industry.

After a few months of disappointing leads I came across an ad for an internship at Glitter Guide – a site I’d been reading since the beginning. I applied and ended up getting the social media internship. While I will maintain to this day, that I’m no social media “expert” – I knew my way around the basic platforms because of my personal blog. I also learned a lot about reporting and analytics from my previous job, but above all I was and always will be, a very hard worker.

I think at the end of the day, no matter what job you have or what industry you are in, hard work and dedication will always set you apart. I ended up working so well with Caitlin Kruse and Taylor Sterling that they decided to take me on as their social media director. I feel so lucky to be able to work with Taylor and Caitlin who are always asking me what I want to do, how I want to contribute and what I’m inspired by. I loved my time working as a social media director but knew that working on the day-to-day operations while still having the opportunities to be creative and write my own posts might be the ideal position for me. Working at Glitter Guide constantly inspires me and I know that I am so lucky to work with such an amazing team, while still getting to do my personal blog at the same time!

What does a day in your life entail? How do you organize your day around blogging and working at The Glitter Guide?

In truth I feel like I should be better about organizing my day-to-day schedule. Typically I get up around 6:30 a.m. PST and get right to work as our content at Glitter Guide goes live on East Coast time. I then block out a few hours where I focus on getting through emails, helping to coordinate posts and then work on any upcoming posts I have scheduled on Glitter Guide.

Around lunch, I’ll switch gears and check my own site, maybe write for an hour before I check in with social media for Cinta! My afternoons are the most varied as sometimes I’ll have shoots or I’ll have a more detailed project that I need to work on for Glitter Guide. I try to get out for some exercise around 5 p.m., have dinner and finish up any loose ends before 7:30 p.m, although it’s rare when that happens. These questions have inspired me to be better about my schedule!

What inspired you to start The Fabulous Life of a Natural Disaster?

Working at a tech company, primarily from home, I needed to find a creative outlet and a place where I could share my love for fashion and style. In many ways having a fashion blog seemed like the most natural way to do this!

How do you shut down when so much of your life is online?

This is really hard for me to do, although I constantly try to be better about it. For me, it’s about creating a cut-off time at night and shutting down my laptop. I’ve also tried to make a rule not to check emails, Instagram or Twitter from bed!

What challenges keep you awake at night?

I’m a very conscious person, so I stay awake at night obsessing over if I didn’t do something right or if I was doing the best I could do, or I would go over what I could be doing better. Right now I have even more responsibility so I just worry about serving the team the best I can.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in breaking through the clutter as a fashion blogger?

Oh man, that’s a good question! I think some of it is luck. One featured photo could inspire a string of success, but most of it is hard work and dedication. At the end of the day, I think the people who are authentic and who stay true to themselves, who are really invested and who don’t try to copy other people succeed!

When it comes to social media, what makes different profiles stand out to you?  

For me, a profile that stands out doesn’t necessarily have the most followers or a lot of likes. I really like profiles that aren’t concerned with the perfect picture or post, because to me, that gets a bit boring. I like people who take risks with their style and who do their own thing. I still like to be inspired when I’m on social media.

What are some of the rules you live by?

Just do the best you can do, be nice, be a team player, know your worth, be okay with making mistakes and never stop trying to learn.

What’s next for The Fab Life?

I’m not sure! I’ll keep writing my blog and taking pictures as long as I enjoy it – and as long as I’m inspired. I hope I have a long, fun road ahead of me!