Meet Ellie Hughes, the down-to-earth minimalist behind Selflessly Styled. In addition to curating a thoughtful blog on ethical fashion, Ellie runs marketing for Sseko Designs, a leading brand in social good. In this interview, she shares her story crafting a purposeful career and provides us with practical tips on leveraging minimalism to improve focus and productivity.
What inspired you to start Selflessly Styled?
When I watched The True Cost documentary on Netflix a couple years ago, I instantly knew I needed to change the way I shopped. It took me months and months to figure out how and where to shop ethically
. As I became more aware of the ethical fashion movement, I wanted to share everything I was learning. I already had a lifestyle blog, so I decided to narrow my focus and create a resource dedicated to minimalism and ethical fashion.
What strategy has played the largest role in growing your audience?
As soon as I made the switch from a lifestyle blog to a blog with a specific niche of ethical fashion
, I noticed a huge jump in the number of readers. I think people get a lot of value behind focused content and can sense when a site has passion behind it. On a more practical note, I would say the collaborating with other bloggers and brands has been huge for expanding my audience. Every collaboration brings a whole new group of readers to the site.
What criteria do you have for brand collaborations?
As an ethical style blogger and minimalist, I'm very picky about what comes into my closet. When a brand wants to work with me, I take several things into consideration. Are they truly ethical through every step of their supply chain? Is their product reasonably priced considering the amount of work and quality of the material? Will the design hold up as a classic piece instead of a passing trend? You'd think that my high criteria would make it hard to find clothes, but there are a surprising number of amazing brands
popping up that do all of these things so well.
What's the most rewarding part of your work as an ethical style influencer?
It makes my day when I open my laptop or phone and read a message from someone who has decided to try to shop ethically. I love getting to interact with women all over the country who are learning how to break out of the fast fashion cycle in their own lives and develop a healthier relationship with their clothing. Additionally, Selflessly Styled has opened doors to so many relationships with like-minded women. I love that aspect of blogging. Whenever I get to meet up with another ethical blogger or business owner in person, it gives me so much energy to keep going!
You have a full-time job and a blog. We have to know, what productivity tips do you have for us?
I have found it so beneficial to take some time to set my goals and intentions for the day instead of jumping right into work. Typically, I jot down goals in my giant planner and break them up by category: blogging, social life, day job, etc. It helps me stay balanced when I have a visual on the different aspects of my life. Also, one thing I adore about living in Portland is how many great coffee shops there are to work from! I find that I'm much more productive and focused when I get out of the house and switch up my environment. A phrase that I've been thinking about a lot with productivity lately is "slow down, but don't stop." I tend to be an all-or-nothing person which has contributed to burnout in the past. Building a side business is way more of a marathon than a sprint. When I get overwhelmed, I'm learning to slow down while still moving forward.
"Slow down, but don't stop."
What books, blogs and/or podcasts inspire you?
What tools and/or apps are essential to your work?
Asana! I can't imagine life without it. (Well, I can and it's very chaotic.) I use Asana to manage my personal life, day job, tasks for the blog, travel plans. As someone who adores to-do lists, it's basically heaven in an app. Other than that, I keep it really simple. I used to download every new app that was suggested to me, but having too many apps to simplify your life can actually make it more complicated! I really like Slack for the workplace, but I don't use it much for Selflessly Styled. It's great if you're working on a team though. For pumping out great photos and graphics, I use VSCO to edit and Canva or Over when I need to add words or design to something.
What's your favorite quote/saying?
That changes all the time! I'll pick two for now:
“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
"Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly..."
- Micah 6:8