It’s easy to think January Hart Rizzo set out with the intent to gain online followers.
After all, the Prairieville-based style and beauty blogger is found on just about every online platform and counts close to 40,000 followers on Instagram alone.
But Hart really started the journey that led to her eponymously named blog just wanting to connect with other like-minded women.
“I’ve always had this passion for fashion, and one day I just found this group of ladies (on Instagram), and we would just share our outfits every day and cheer each other on,” says Hart, who uses her maiden name professionally.
Eventually, Hart’s new friends encouraged her to start a blog, one that not only detailed her fashion sense but also included other resources for followers—like where to shop.
It was an opportunity this LSU grad in apparel design decided to embrace. She was familiar with the world of online marketing—she had already turned her sewing skills, which included a brief stint as a children’s fashion designer, and her love of photography into an Etsy business. The blog seemed the perfect opportunity to marry her interests.
“My intention was to style some of the pieces that I had designed and sewn in my Etsy shop,” she says.
That was back in 2014. As her social media popularity grew, and she began posting more styles that pulled in other fashion products and labels, Hart decided to take a break from Etsy.
“By the time you put together looks, schedule photo shoots, edit photos and put content out there, it can be very time-consuming,” she says, adding that as a stay-at-home mom, she often was up late to finish everything.
To help her stay on top of two rapidly changing industries (fashion and social media), Hart researches and networks constantly. She keeps up with the women she met on social media years ago. They attend conventions together, and several, including Hart, have already committed to go to New York Fashion Week this fall.
In exchange for monetary compensation, Hart publishes sponsored content when she feels there is an authentic, organic fit for her audience, she says.
Recently, she was invited to curate a line from the local SoSis Boutique. She has also partnered with Dry Bar Baton Rouge, which offered a discount for those who read Hart’s post about the blow-dry salon.
“It’s so rewarding to work with people who have the same interests as I do,” she says. “I’ve found my tribe.”
Hart plans to expand her blog, to which she’s already added some lifestyle posts, recommended reading and fashion and beauty tips. She wants to incorporate interior design ideas, capitalizing on her move to a new home this year.
But Hart’s biggest goal? Going after that dream of designing and producing her own fashion line for women.
“I’m always creating. It’s just what I do,” she says. januaryhart.com
This article was originally published in the February 2017 issue of 225 Magazine.