Girl Behind the Blog: Maddie Flanigan
Occupation: Technical Design for Anthropologie (but soon-to-be blogger for Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie’s parent company. Read more about my career change below).
Where are you from, and where do you currently reside?
I am from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and currently reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
How did you decide to start blogging? What gave you the courage to go for it?
I stumbled into the blogging world my freshman year of college at the suggestion of my dad, Brain (he calls me Pinki and I call him Brain). It was my first year away from home and my mom had recently died of breast cancer. I think it was his way of checking up on me.
What can people expect when they visit your blog?
My readers can expect to be informed and inspired when visiting my blog. By reading my tutorials, lessons, and how-to’s on all things sewing, pattern makers, sewers, or anyone crafty (both novice and experienced) can learn something new about the hobby. My readers will also learn about anything art-related, because Madalynne is also an all-encompassing art blog, covering fashion, painting, cars, movies, muses, interior design, etc.
Most importantly, my readers will be inspired for two reasons when visiting my blog. First, there is a connotation that sewing and pattern making is a hobby only for grannies. This isn’t true! Sewing and pattern making can be fun and easy! The pattern for one of my favorite dresses, a black and white polka dot dress, was a box. Come on, how hard is it to draw and sew a box (with straps)? By showing my readers that sewing and pattern making is not as hard as it seems, I inspire them to get out their sewing machines, dream up their most wanted creations, and make them!
My readers will also be inspired because I believe that they have an emotional connection to my blog. Over the last year, sales of the company I work for, Anthropologie, were down. The product wasn’t up to par, there were too many sales, we were attracting the wrong customer, and we were losing our customer - the Anthro girl. Despite all the negatives, we found that our customer still had an emotional connection to our store and brand. I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I tell someone I work for Anthropologie, their immediate response is, “OMG! I love that store!” Our customer really loves us, and you can see it when she is in our stores.
I personally know many of my readers. My goal is that my readers have the same response as an Anthropologie customer when visiting my blog. When a reader leaves a comment, I usually respond with a personal email, as opposed to responding in the comment section (the number of comments I receive is less important than establishing a relationship with my readers). I hope that when I say to someone that I am the blogger behind Madalynne, their immediate response is,“OMG! I love that blog!”
What are your favorite blog posts you’ve ever written?
My favorite blog posts (it was a series) were something I was so close to not writing. The series was a how-to on drafting a sloper, and I thought that only a geek like me would be interested in such a topic. I was stunned to see how many comments the post received. To this day, it is the number one reason people email me. I have even drafted and mailed a few slopers to people who had trouble drafting their own (hi Sohini!).
What kind of camera do you use?
My camera is an Olympus Pen EPL1. The camera is halfway between a Point-and-Shoot and a DSLR. It uses very cool technology called Micro Four Thirds, which means it doesn’t have a mirror or a viewfinder.
What influences and inspires you in your blogging?
Reading emails from readers who have successfully tried my pattern making and sewing tutorials inspires me to blog. I believe that any woman of any size and any height can and should look amazing. It’s all about fit, styling, and organizing a wardrobe that works for you.
You're currently a technical designer but will soon be a professional blogger (how exciting!). How did you land that position, and can you give some advice to girls who want to get into this line of work?
I currently work in technical design for Anthropologie. I started 2 years ago as an intern, and when my internship was coming to an end, I said, “No! I won’t go!” I told them I wasn’t leaving, even if that meant I had to clean the fish tanks every day (they have a koi pond in the building). Luckily, they hired me full time. Thank God, because finding an outfit for cleaning fish tanks would have been a hard feat (heels or flats?).
Starting in July, I will be the blogger for Urban’s new Intranet blog. Urban took notice of my blog and asked if I would be interested in switching departments. “Hell, yes!” was my immediate answer. I’m excited and nervous about my new adventure.
As for advice to girls who want to get into this line of work, well, the next question answers this.
Any other words of wisdom for Everygirls out there?
Is it cliché for me to say to do what you love? Okay, maybe it is, but it’s true. A lot of people disagree with me on this statement, but I think in this industry love for what you do is more important than a degree (I never graduated. Gasp!) My blog would not be where it is today if I didn’t love sewing, pattern making, and blogging. I wouldn’t wake up at 4:30 in the morning to read emails, I wouldn’t work through weekends, and I wouldn’t sew on a Saturday night if I didn’t have a love for it.