Getting To Know You: Melissa of Melissa's Wardrobe
Blogger, stylist, and interior designer, for 25 year old Melissa Holdbrook-Akposoe, the entrepreneurial world holds no bounds. After studying criminology at university, Melissa decided to pursue more fashion-related career choices. Now she’s busy juggling celebrity styling sessions, work trips to LA and shoots for her own website. I caught up with this new-age, working woman to find more about her journey into the the blogging and fashion world.
I came across Melissa’s site about 2 years ago. I had just started blogging and a colleague informed me of this “stylish girl” that her son knew. Within five minutes on her blog, I was hooked! Mel’s fashion is effortlessly fierce and I found myself checking her site several times a week, trying to source inspiration for more fashuuun looks. There have literally been days where she’ll post a dress online and I’ll head straight out to buy that same dress! Influencer or what?
Fast forward a year, I met Melissa at an event and was floored by this 5’11, Ghanaian beauty, who is not only drop-dead funny but also extremely down to earth. For someone with such a rapidly, growing following, I wasn’t expecting her to be so open and relatable but that’s exactly why she attracts so much attention. It's her honesty - from beauty reviews, to her battle with anxiety, to general women’s issues - girls connect with her because she feels like a friend! I was keen to find out more about her story, career choices and advice to others.
Her blogging journey…
I started blogging in the summer of 2010. People were always asking about my outfits and I grew tired of repeating myself, so I googled fashion blogger and was surprised to find people sharing photos of their outfits online. I didn’t realise this was a thing! With some more research, I created my own blog. All my pictures were taken on an iPhone, in my university living room, by my friends. Looking back at those outfits - they were wild! I used to wear a lot of colour back then but now I’m more toned down. After a while, I moved from Blogspot to having my own domain, with the help of my brother, who’s a web designer. Luckily all those old photos are now hidden in the matrix!
Blogging allows me to create cool content and share parts of me and my life e.g. my religion or health related issues. I have endometriosis and by sharing my story online, others got checked for similar symptoms and about 10 were diagnosed with it as well. It’s so good to have a voice and positive impact. A lot of bloggers portray this picture-perfect life and I’ve always been someone who is very vocal about the shit that is happening in mine. I hope that others can relate; that when you’re reading my posts or watching my videos, you'll feel that we’re the same. It should always be that way because nothing makes you better than anyone else. Yes, you may have 100,000 followers but who are you?
I’m literally Melissa from the ends and a couple of different outfits will never change that.
However, it can be challenging. Seeing other people get work when you know that you’re just as good, that’s quite hard. You just feel like maybe you’re undervalued and don’t know what you’re doing wrong. It’s like we’re all in one big work place but everything is so hush hush, so you don’t know what to do. I’ve started to notice that the less I focus on all that, the more good things happen to me.
Her target audience…
In terms of aspirational purposes, somebody younger than me or somebody who aspires to be where I am now. I want them to know that if you work hard, you can make it! In terms of analytics, I do have older women following me as well, probably because my style is a bit more mature.
The future of blogging …
I think blogging is making a merge into more influencing and people don’t necessarily need blogs these days. However, the good thing about blogging is that you can tailor it to your own specific requirements. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat - they can decide to make whatever changes they want and you can’t do anything about it. But with your website, that’s your own ground! It can directly reflect what you want it to. I also think a lot of bloggers will become brand consultants.
Brands want the kind of information we have because we are the middle man! We know exactly what our following wants. We know how to market ourselves. Therefore, we know how to market brands.
Advice to bloggers…
Don’t focus on the numbers at the beginning stages because you’ll run yourself down trying to get 50k in a month. I’ve been blogging for 6 years now. It takes a while. Also, don’t copy what everyone else is doing because you’ll find that the most original content gets more attention. There’s really no secret, just keep it consistent e.g. good pictures, good writing, don’t be boring!
Journey to styling…
I always wanted to be a stylist and I started my blog to show that I had style. After university, I was working at Waitrose and shadowing a stylist, plus enrolling into fashion internships. But it didn’t work because nobody knew who I was. Even though I was blogging, I wasn’t very big. I’d get something like 2 page views a month, which was probably just me checking my own page! So I decided to solely focus on growing my blog. As it grew, people started contacting me for personal shopping. I originally wanted to get into editorial styling and work with magazines, etc… But when I tried personal shopping, I enjoyed it more because you’re working on a real-life person who needs real-life outfits. I was contributing to my clients’ brands. Now, I’ve turned into more of a wardrobe stylist. I always knew that I had style but it took a little time to get there, which I’m glad about because I think my life would have gone down a different route.
Her own style …
It’s classic with a twist. I love a lot of power dressing, like pencil skirts and shirts but then I’ll throw in a cool belt or a solid bag. Though I dress quite casual most days, like biker jacket, t-shirt, jeans, trainers (or heels if I’m meeting a client). Today I’m wearing a tracksuit and I’m feeling it! It just depends on my mood for that day. I’ll think, do I wanna be a boss today? Or an entrepreneur? Then I’ll build from that. I also go on Tumblr for inspiration. I actually sold a whole bunch of outfits on Depop because I looked at my wardrobe and thought this isn’t who I want to be, I need to start again.
I always attribute my clothes to who I want to be.
Battles with anxiety…
I think everybody has a little bit of anxiety. Mine was just becoming wild because I didn’t trust myself or know that I could deal with challenges. I was just letting things get on top of me. With anxiety, you have this burning intense feeling that everything needs to be done now otherwise my life is going to crash. I’d be at my desk trying to do 3 different jobs, all the while crying. To be honest, I realised that I’ve always been a bit anxious. When I was younger, I used to worry about what people thought of me. Then it developed into needing everyone to know that I’m doing a good job. It has intensified over the years and this new version has been so crazy but the more work I do that gets commended, it gets a bit easier. I’ll remind myself, "you can do this, just as you’ve done it before". I still have shaky days but there's been more and more good ones lately. I’m trying to manage it and take my time with things; make sure I get enough sleep, eat well, drink lots of water - the little things.
I think equality continues to be a big issue. In this modern age, it's crazy that women are getting paid less to do the same job. As a woman, you already do so much. You’re a mum. You're a home maker. We’re expected to maintain everything without complaining but really it’s an impossible task and we’re not getting the right support.
Women feel like we have to do it all: be go getters, break glass ceilings, all the while looking after children and competing against men who don’t have the same challenges as we do.
Understanding the struggle of being a woman is so important. Just having period pains whilst at work and trying to cope with that, it’s a lot. The world needs more consideration and empathy for women’s issues! Even the pressure on females to find a suitor. I used to be so obsessed with getting married. The friends I used to be around only cared about having an OK job, getting married and having kids. I wanted more! Now that I’m actually achieving my dreams, I need to focus but it seems that my drive and work ethic scares guys off. Sometimes, I think you can’t win. I’d rather make my money, be a boss and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’ll have IVF, lol!
When this question is asked, you think that the answer you give has to be another stage of life. I believe in bettering what I already have. So, creating firmer foundations with my clients and growing my interior company. Generally, just monetising all the skills that I already have. And enjoying life!
Fashion Pieces...Pencil skirts with thigh high boots underneath. You also need to have a solid coat. I always turn the collars up on my coats - it makes you look like a boss.
Styling Tips... Keep it classic. People try and delve into trends that are far from their personality and it can look so obvious. Don’t always buy into fast fashion because a black coat is forever stylish.
Bloggers... One issue with bloggers is that I’m not really seeing any motivating style or people that are doing original things. So, I don’t read too many blogs anymore. Saying that, I really like Hannah Crosskey from A Fashion Fix. Her style is so dope and fresh. In terms style inspiration, I absolutely love Christine Centenera!
London Restaurants... Sticks and Sushi is one of my favourite restaurants. Tsunami has the best tempura sushi ever and for good prices too. Then Hakkasan is always a winner. My plan is to get my future husband to propose to me there!