How Carrie Bradshaw Lied Became One of The Internet’s Favorite Bloggers

So let’s be honest. When scrolling through your Instagram feed, you have the accounts you scroll straight past — and the accounts you can’t get enough of. For us (and for nearly 350,000 others), Kathleen Barnes’s @carriebradshawlied, the account which corresponds to her blog of the same name, is one of those we love to love. What began as a fashion lover’s creative outlet turned into one of the most well-loved blogs on the Internet, and Kathleen has since made an incredible career out of her love for sharing her words, thoughts, outfits, and ideas. Here, Kathleen tells us how her career trajectory took an unexpected turn, the advice she has for those hoping to break into professional blogging, and the secret behind her blog’s memorable name.

 

Name: Kathleen Barnes, blogger at Carrie Bradshaw Lied
Age: 30
Location: Orange County, California
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration with a Minor in Broadcast Journalism and Emphasis in Public Relations from The University of Mississippi

 

 

What was your first job, and how did you land it?

 

My first job was working in the marketing/PR department of Southern Living Magazine. I actually knew this was my dream job about halfway through college, so I curated my resume and internships around the goal. I landed the job, and in my first month, half of my floor (the Southern Accents team) was laid off when their magazine folded.

I thought… I might need a new dream job.

 

You were a blogger before blogging was as common as it is now. Did you ever think it would become so popular?

 

During that time of panicking about my magazine dream job not panning out how I had envisioned, I started my blog on the side. I thought it would allow me to be the editor-in-chief of my own little digital hobby. I blogged for YEARS without making a dime or even being aware it could be lucrative. I have always genuinely loved fashion and writing. I never envisioned it becoming a career. Never!

I think that is what makes some of the girls who have been around in the blogging world for a while so successful – that they truly started their sites out of love and passion and not necessarily for income. Not that starting a blog for income is bad by any means — it’s just two different angles.

 

You’ve said that the inspo for the name of your blog came after college, when you realized that post-grad life is not as glamorous as Carrie Bradshaw led you to believe it would be. What aspects did you feel were less glamorous than expected?

 

I thought I would be going out with new friends, dining at all the coolest restaurants and shopping on the weekends. With my entry job salary, I could only afford to eat OR shop (at Forever21 and H&M)—not both. I was like, “but Carrie Bradshaw had Manolos, her own apartment, AND was at every restaurant opening and she wrote a column for the New York Star!”

 

 

What skills and qualities do you think are necessary to succeed as a professional blogger?

 

Patience. Consistency. Passion.

I think it’s easy to look at other social media superstars and think, “that looks easy – I can do that!” And maybe you can! But it’s probably taken those girls you admire years to hone their skills and create a dedicated following. If you’re truly passionate about joining this industry, my advice is not to expect overnight results. You have to love it enough to continue putting in the time it while your audience builds.

That saying, “choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in a life”? I feel like it’s so true!

 

How do you hone these skills? How do you grow professionally?

 

By continuing to challenge yourself, educate yourself and putting in the time. I think sometimes bloggers (including myself) can be so focused on growth that we aren’t necessarily appreciating the audiences we DO have. I remind myself regularly that my readers are why I have a job.

I may be my own boss… but really, I work for my readers.

 

You know, I really believe in the power of the subconscious. I fully respect and admire other influencers, but I try to stay in my own lane. In any industry, mimickers or copycats are inevitable, so I do what I can to authentically be myself.

 

 

When were you able to turn your blog into a full-time job? Which facets of the business (if any) had to grow before that step could be taken?

 

I actually blogged on the side for about five years before taking my site full-time. I didn’t really take it seriously for the first three or so years, and once I started tracking it more accurately, I realized it might be able to stand on its own if I set short-term goals for myself.

My husband is still training in his medical residency, so I felt irresponsible leaving a great job with benefits unless I felt confident I could succeed on my own. He had actually been telling me to blog full-time for years, but I am so type A I was like, “boy you crazy!”

Once I matched my corporate income for three months, I knew I could confidently focus on it full-time. I kept an itemized spreadsheet of income, expenses, billing, etc. I hired my accountant cousin who is young and understands this “digital influencer” space to help me with areas that were over my head, and I just went for it.

 

Who takes your photos? Have they always been the one to take your photos?

 

A combination of my husband and a local photographer in Orange County. It was always my husband until I started blogging full-time and I promised him that once I had more time to focus on it, I would give him his weekends back.

He was 100% okay with releasing that responsibility. But he still gets roped into some projects. It’s his own fault because he’s quite talented!

 

How do you set your photos and your brand apart from those of other bloggers?

 

You know, I really believe in the power of the subconscious. I fully respect and admire other influencers, but I try to stay in my own lane. Sometimes this means not necessarily reading other blogs or scrolling Instagram all the time so I can focus on creating original content that stems from inspiration around me. In any industry, mimickers or copycats are inevitable, so I really try to do what I can to authentically be myself.

 

If you’re truly passionate about joining this industry, my advice is not to expect overnight results.

 

 

A lot of people wonder how sponsorships work for bloggers. Can you walk us through that process? Additionally, how has the process changed for you since you began your blog (and since you began monetizing your blog)?

 

I don’t think there is really one answer for this. Everyone’s business model is a little different and therefore each person generates income in different ways. This might be unlike the majority, but because I had a full-time job and managed CBL on the side/weekends for so long, I just blogged about whatever I wanted to until brands started reaching out. I was like, “whoa! You want to send me a scarf? I guess I’m Beyoncé now.” Ha!

For every yes I give a collaboration proposal, I probably give about 10 nos. It’s really important that I’m genuinely sharing products I love and use. Once my readers can’t trust me, that’s it. There are thousands of blogs they could read instead of mine so I really value their trust and respect.

 

 

We love how personal you are on Instagram stories. How do you utilize Instagram and Instagram stories to connect with your audience? What do you find works for you best?

 

It sounds so cliché, but be YOU. I’ve always had this loud, sassy, outspoken personality. I have actually wanted to start a YouTube channel for years but haven’t had the bandwidth as a team of one, so when Snapchat/Insta stories came out I was like, jackpot!!

What you see is what you get. I don’t film things 4x until they’re perfect. I film it once and if I walk into a door or cut myself off… I post it. I want the real-ness! Instagram started out that way and now it’s essentially a Pinterest feed so I want to keep the video aspect fun and less staged.

BUT, everyone has a different skillset. Maybe you’re more reserved and the thought of posting a video without makeup on terrifies you. That’s ok! It’s about knowing your strengths and finding the ways to best utilize them.

 

How has your content changed since you began your blog?

 

Back in the day I would just throw anything up, see if it stuck, and move on. I put so much less pressure on myself and I think the bar across the board just wasn’t as high. As I’ve been doing this longer, I’ve tried to expand to more home décor, travel and personal content that isn’t just fashion-centered.

The blog started with a focus on fashion and I think that will always be a pillar, but I want to continue to grow other verticals because let’s be real… sometimes not being the subject of a photograph is freeing!

 

You’ve been very vocal about the problems you’ve encountered with your site over the past year. What have you learned from this experience?

 

Oh my – this year has been a tech doozy. I essentially redesigned my website from scratch and it ended up costing me about double what I had budgeted. Still worth it though and I would do it again. You don’t own your social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter owns that. They could all shut down or close your account and you’d be left with zilch.

You own your website. So when it comes down to it, a well-designed website that doesn’t crash once a month was worth every penny to me.

That being said… I’m glad it’s behind me. I was utilizing the left side of my brain for so long that I felt creatively zapped!

 

What you see is what you get. I don’t film things 4x until they’re perfect. I film it once and if I walk into a door or cut myself off… I post it. I want the real-ness! Instagram started out that way and now it’s essentially a Pinterest feed so I want to keep the video aspect fun and less staged.

 

 

What has been one of the most exciting moments since creating your blog?

 

I was recently featured in a style segment on The Today Show (my favorite news show EVER, since forever) and I watched it on a plane while en route to a work trip. I think Kathie Lee said my outfit was “so cute” and I nearly fainted. Dear Kathie Lee, I’ll drink wine with you any day, any time.

 

What has blogging given you that no other career could?

 

The creative freedom to be my own boss with extremely low overhead. My grandmother was one of the hardest working women I’ve ever met. She owned a ladies clothing store and was so happy that I could also work in women’s fashion but without the overhead she had – employees to pay, working during the holidays, going to market, etc.

I’ll never take that for granted. Thank you, Internet!!

 

Ultimately every job has sacrifices, and being connected nearly 24/7 is one of mine.

 

 

How has blogging impacted your relationship? (i.e. does your husband ever help with the blog or get annoyed with how connected you have to be?)

 

I feel really fortunate that we each have careers we are passionate about. Truthfully, it’s always been that way. The difference is that Christian is an integral part of my business and has helped me since the beginning when we were dating. It was his idea to take my photos and he offered to do it in the mornings before I would go to work. He would drive over to my house!

He has always believed in me even when I wasn’t so sure I believed in myself.

That being said, he only gets around four days off a month so I try to spend those days doing what he wants and try to keep my phone and “work brain” stowed away. Ultimately every job has sacrifices, and being connected nearly 24/7 is one of mine. He has a hospital pager that could go off at any minute of the day for 25+ days a month and that’s one of his sacrifices. It is what it is and we just try to focus on the positive things that come from it.

 

Kathleen Barnes is the Everygirl…

What’s one trend you wish would go away forever?
Crocs or Birkenstocks (y’all don’t hate me now)

Is there a blog/site/account that YOU gain inspiration from (or just admire and enjoy following)?
Oh my goodness so many! How Sweet Eats, Brooklyn Blonde, The Everygirl (duh), Sazan Hendrix…

Last item you splurged on?
Chanel ballet flats. Classic! Although I didn’t tell Christian how much they cost. A birthday gift… to myself. Cheers!

What’s one thing you wish you were better at?
Turning it off. I feel like my mind is on work 24/7.

If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
Oprah. She’s my queen! I have loved Oprah since I was in elementary school and her wisdom and gift of words continue to inspire me.

Show Comments +