Black Blogger Month: Looking Fly on a Dime, The Savvy Shopper

From the unemployment line to online, Patrice J. Williams heads a thrifting blog that's positioned her as a TV personality and budgeting guru

Patrice J. Williams, founder of Looking Fly On a Dime (Image: Nasilele Holland)

When Patrice J. Williams began working at a popular fashion magazine in New York City, she quickly realized that image was everything. However, she refused to break the bank just to keep up with the latest trends. Eventually, the New Jersey native found a solution by diving head first into her passion for thrift shopping. She got so good at finding excellent deals and top-notch pieces at bargain prices that others began to take notice. But it wasn’t until getting laid off in 2009 that Williams founded Looking Fly On a Dime, where she shares her shopping tips and strategies for helping women look chic on a budget.

Like most blogs, most of Williams’ was in print form but eventually she began video blogging her thrifty adventures, which demonstrated how much of a pro she was and that her on-camera personality was relatable to the everyday woman. In fact, it was these elements that caught the attention of talk show host Nate Berkus, who has invited Williams on his eponymous show several times as his “thrifting guru,” and landed her a permanent spot on New York City’s WPIX 11 News as the Savvy Shopper. As part of Black Blogger Month, BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the princess of thrift shopping to chat about how she turned her passion for fashion into a TV friendly brand.

I started blogging because…

I wanted a creative outlet. I was laid off from my job at a magazine and I wanted to make sure I had a daily or at least weekly project that I was working on. It was actually a late night conversation with a friend that got my wheels turning. She told me I was great at finding awesome clothes at a cheap price and she suggested I start an online show, telling viewers how to find the best deals. I wasn’t really interested in doing a show, but I thought starting a blog would be a great outlet. I wanted to create a space that was all mine, something that I had total control over. It was only natural that I focus on affordable fashion. Working in the fashion industry meant I was constantly surrounded by well-dressed women. I didn’t have the budget to mimic their style but I created my own equally fly wardrobe by shopping at thrift stores.

Looking Fly On a Dime stands out because…

My primary focus is thrift shopping. Budget blogging is nothing new, especially since the economy tanked but my niche is thrifting. Since I have such a specialized focus, I’m the go-to girl for all things thrifty. Even though I’ve been thrifting for a decade, it’s chic all of a sudden so people want to know how to thrift and I help them along the way.

People trust my brand because…

I live my brand. I don’t blog about the joys of thrifting and then spend all my cash at Bergdorf. Also, when I’m putting together content for my readers or YouTube viewers, I talk to them the same way I chat with my girlfriends. I don’t have a phony blogging “personality,” this is just me and people who connect with my brand feel my authenticity. In a sea of style blogs, readers love finding those who are genuine.

The biggest mistake I ever made in business was…

I didn’t do my research before deciding upon a blog name. Initially my site was called Living Fly on a Dime. It wasn’t until a year in to blogging that I got a friendly email from a site with a similar name that told me I was infringing upon their trademark. I picked my site name without even thinking there could be future legal issues. Luckily, I was able to change my name to Looking Fly on a Dime, which was still similar to the former name and the change didn’t confuse readers or affect the brand.

What I learned from that was…

The importance of doing research—extensive research—before starting any major project. I was in such a rush to start my own site that I just decided upon a name without thinking of any legal issues. But now I know that I’d rather delay starting a project instead of staring and having a project delayed at the hands of others, just because I didn’t do the necessary work ahead of time.

Click here to continue reading and to watch Williams speak on her blog’s evolution…

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