Kate McKibbin is a professional online shopaholic, writer and fashion commentator. The creator and editor of leading online shopping site DropDeadGorgeousDaily.com (DDGD) Kate is the go-to-girl for what to buy, where, when and even why. Kate has also worked for leading women’s glossy titles including Shop Til You Drop, Grazia and New Woman.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Imaginative. Stubborn. Tall.
What is your life motto? The only things you ever regret are the things you DIDN’T do.
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? Even in high school I wanted to run my own fashion magazine, and pretty much everything I did from then was working towards starting DDGDaily.com, I just didn’t know it at the time. I did a Business and Media degree, worked in advertising for a while; worked at a web design agency and also in fashion magazines, which all came together to equal – DDGDaily.
How many hours did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? Nearly every waking one, apart from when I am indulging in my other passion, really bad reality TV.
Describe how difficult the business really is? It really depends on the day, and the month, but I would say the two hardest things are having an irregular income stream and also not being able to shut your brain off. I often wake in the middle of the night with an idea, or because I’ve remembered I need to call someone.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. I wasted a bit of money at the start on some different marketing avenues that promised crazy-good results (and of course didn’t deliver any).
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? Never stop being curious. And I haven’t. I think that to run your own business you need to be constantly learning, and evolving (especially when that business is an online one).
In your mind, is formal training essential? For this field, yes and no. I am very lucky that my brain just seems to understand computer nerdy stuff. And a lot of what I know now, I just picked up along the way with trial and error, or through my various jobs – but it has been a long, slow process. So perhaps with some formal training I would have gotten here a lot faster. But I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much.
Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? I actually have never had a mentor, but I do have a great support network of women who run their own sites and blogs and we are in almost constant contact. It means I have someone to bounce ideas off, to be a shoulder to cry on (or vent at), and we also share ideas and discoveries which is really helpful to everyone.
What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career? Whether you want to get into online, magazines of even just fashion the best thing to do is to start a blog, and to keep at it. Not only is it great writing practice, but it shows just how passionate you are and that is the most important thing.
What kept you going when you felt like giving up? I am very, very stubborn. And I have never really considered failing as an option (which is probably stupid, but it works for me). I also have a whole book shelf of autobiographies about people I admire, and if I really feel like chucking in the towel, I might just have another read of one of those, that usually helps to get the motivation going again.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? Maybe… about five percent of businesses/people get where they are through luck; but I think you can’t use that as an excuse and you really need to work hard and make your own luck.