All hail the Queen - Michelle that is! Co-founder of renowned blog 'Kingdom of Style' Michelle Haswell, aka Queen Michelle, is a creative force to be reckoned with. Since launching the blog with Queen Marie back in 2006.
Kingdom of Style has been listed in the Telegraph's Top 10 Blogs in the world and recognised by Vogue as the the second most influential blog in the U.K. Michelle's glam yet grungy style has also earned her a spot in The Guardians top 10 Internet Icons as well as number 28 in the Independent’s top 100 Most Influence People in Online Fashion, so it's no wonder she influenced a long line of Scottish Fashion Bloggers in her path (including yours truly!). Yes, this is a day in the life of a personal inspiration, let's hear it for Queen Michelle.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I'm a self employed graphic designer. I've been a designer for over 20 years and for the last 11 years I've been splitting my time between being a designer and writing my blog, Kingdom of Style. I started Kingdom of Style way back in 2006. It was the first ever Scottish fashion blog and it grew into a bit of a beast so it's pretty much a second job now!
How did you get into this business?
In terms of being a designer - I knew from when I was about 8 years old that I was going to do this for a living and so planned my whole life around achieving that goal. I was very single-minded! It's a hugely competitive industry but I've been lucky enough to have worked in some brilliant agencies before starting up on my own in 2014.
With regards to blogging, I was an avid reader of the Fashion Spot, which was a fashion forum. That's where I first heard the term 'blog', which was very much in it's infancy. There were lots of Live Journals around but very, very few blogs. But I had been reading one called The Purse Blog, which started in 2005, and in 2006 I decided to wanted to start one too. So I pitched the idea to my best friend, Marie, and KoS was born.
If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing?
I might have been a musician. My dad was a drummer and I have been around music my whole life, so I think maybe I would have pursued music if I hadn't pursued art and design. I used be a DJ so music has always been a parallel passion for me.
Do you have a life motto / mantra?
If you're in, your IN. Which means don't do anything in half measures. If you're going to do something, give it your all.
Take us through a typical day. What time do you get up at?
I start my day at 7.30am with checking emails and my Instagram accounts. I write my editorial calendar for the blog at the weekend, so I usually have draft posts all timed to go throughout the week. I'll be sitting at my computer by 8am and I split my time between researching for the blog and doing design work. Often I'll have a meeting with one of my clients or my developer to catch up on the status of projects.
Instagram isn't a huge focus for me, so I just squeeze in writing and photographing content for my accounts whenever I can.
I take a wee break mid afternoon to do household stuff like shopping and chores, then back to work.
I finish around 5.30pm and start getting tea ready for my partner who comes home about 6.30pm. On the nights I don't have ballet classes, I just chill out in front of the TV and or have a nice relaxing bath with a Lush bath bomb. I go to bed around 10.30pm because I'm old!
How do you keep yourself organised?
I'm naturally pretty organised to be honest. I rarely write anything down, it all just gets stored in my head.
How do you keep yourself going through a humpday?
Tea! Loud music and lots and lots of tea.
Biggest misconception about the job you do?
That's it's all cool all the time. It's really not. When I've designed my umpteenth banner ad the last thing I think is how cool my job is!
How do you wind down?
Ballet class. Ballet allows me to escape the stresses of the day.
What's your favourite thing about what you do?
As a designer there is nothing better than creating something for a client that they really love. I pour so much of myself into my work and it's incredibly rewarding when the client completely shares my vision.
Blogging for me is best when a reader tells me they've been inspired to wear something they would have previously discounted as not being for them. I like to push boundaries as much as possible so it's amazing when I can convince my readers to do the same.
Any advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Don't let anyone tell you can't do or be anything you want. Fuck that shit.
My design tutor told me my design work was too weird to be successful, yet here I am running my own design business after working many years in the biggest design agencies in Scotland. I was told I was too old to start ballet and dance en pointe, yet I have a ballet bag filled with well worn pointe shoes and bunch of ballet certificates under my belt. If you want it, go for it. Don't let anyone tell you you can't.
Do you have an idol?
Not really. There are people in music and design that I have massive respect for but I can't say I have any idols as such.