Dedicated to representing petite 40-somethings, Small Town Threads is a fashion blog for the stylish mama. After feeling inspired by other bloggers she was reading, Bean decided to embrace her love for fashion and start blogging about the style she loved - and her blog quickly became inspiration itself.
We spoke to Bean to find out about what inspired her, who's style she's loving at the moment and whether her two boys have inherited her love for fashion.
Tell us about how you started - how did you get to where you are now?
About a year and a half ago, I stumbled upon some fashion blogs when I was looking-up a pair of boots I'd seen in a magazine at the GP's surgery (The Fashion Lift, Susie So So & My Fashionable 40s in the main) and I was hooked! Not just hooked, but inspired to finally start something I had planned to do about 12 years ago but fear of 'being online' had always stopped me. Now, well into my 40s, I guess I figured what the hell! I'm so pleased I started my blog, focussing primarily on petites, which is my niche given I'm diddy... my husband told me I'd have to join social media to get readers to my blog and I was horrified! I had never been on Facebook or anything... however, little did I know how addictive, welcoming and supportive the Instagram community would be. I love it!
I still consider myself a 'fledgling' blogger, with a 'petite' 2K following which has grown organically - slowly, but steadily. I don't play the "like" game enough (where you like random stuff & comment in the hope of a follow-back) but I'm content with my lot and my engagement and the insta-friends and meet-ups which have resulted in the past 18 months.
I've worked pretty hard on my blog and try and post twice weekly: mid-week is usually a review about stuff I've bought or perhaps something I've done (like an event I've been to) plus, since February, I've started a weekly Sunday 7 feature of 7 things which have taken my fancy during that week (i.e. things I'm lusting after) which has gone down really well.
Who's style are you currently loving?
Is it cliche to say Olivia Palermo? She literally has everything going on. I'm probably a bit fashion schizophrenic (like most women are I think) so I also love Leandra Medine of Man Repeller and can't help but envy Kristen Stewart's youth & grungy vibe.
Who were your fashion heroes when you were a kid?
My mama was my first hero of course... we were a family of 6 in the 70s with not much money but I remember my mum buying vogue patterns and sewing herself matching tunic and bell bottom trousers and thinking she looked the biz! I've always been drawn to the more masculine / androgynous fashions of Katherine Hepburn as well as good old Audrey Hepburn in her beatnik days. But as I was born in the 70s, I'd have to include all of the original Charlie's Angels: Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith & Kate Jackson who epitomised glamour, brains (or so I thought), fab hair flicks, fab cheekbones and just all round kick-ass-fablulousness- to me as a child!
Do you have kids?
Yup - I'm apparently a "MOB": as in, a "Mother of Boys", one is 8 (and 3/4) the other has just turned 5. There's no mistaking they are brothers: they are cut from the same cloth, just one's been cut from the waft and the other from the weft!
Have your kids followed in your fashion footsteps? What's fashionable to them?
My boys are incredibly observant and do not miss a single one of my new items, regardless of how hard I may try to 'sneak' the new things into my wardrobe! They always compliment me which is so lovely and yes... they have a fixed idea of what clothing they want to wear. They love their Converse (because of Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Lyrics "Got Chucks on...") but they also love (real, logo'd, proper) crocs as well - kids! Dino / Croc / Skateboard emblazoned tee's are big right now too.
Who are you loving on instagram at the moment?
I have a great many favourites - all of whom I have a rapport with, but as with real life friends, all of the relationships are a little different. I was stunned at being able to become 'friends' with my blogging icons (see first question) and even got to meet up with a couple of them in real life! But others are Tracey (@asnapshotofme) Terri (@thestylecoop) because they take great pics and they're pretty funny and just so lovely and relatable too. I had the pleasure of meeting Donna from @Sulkydollstyling in Autumn last year and have met up with her a few times... love her support of other women, brands big and small and her all round positivity: watching her star rise has been lovely!
What music do you listen to? Have your kids inherited your music taste?
When I was a kid my mum used to record the Top 40 countdown on a Sunday from the radio onto Cassette. She would then try and edit out the DJ's chatter and transfer in onto a long play reel to reel (if you are under 40 years old - look that up on google!) so it meant I grew up listening to anything from the Beatles to Abba, to Dean Martin to Bowie, to Cher... all alongside one another. So I suppose I love 'pop' although there's no such genre nowadays, right?!
However, a lot of what I grew up with is now considered 'classic' and so my husband has created short 5 song playlists of these classics for the kids and calls it 'school of rock' to educate the boys on the morning school runs... one week they're listening to "old blue eyes" and the following week it might be Bowie, or Fleetwood Mac. I love that the boys might ask us to play Coldplay or Bowie one day and then out of the blue, they ask for a 1D or Take That song!
Party out or party at home - Discuss!
Staying in is the new going out for sure. I miss going #outout but on the rare occasion I do go out, I'm always so pleased to get home.
What's next for you?
All the cliches! I'd love to grow my instagram following a little, and in turn my blog readership...and I suppose it would be nice to see if I could make a living out of it somehow though that often means collaborations and right now, I can't see that happening for someone like me because... well... I just can't! I look at myself as "too niche" on a great many levels I guess... my confidence needs work! On a personal level, I'm really enjoying the photography side of things and getting a little creative for my instagram... I'll never be a photographer, but I'm certainly having fun with it & trying my best! That's all any of us can do, right: try our best?
You can follow Bean and Small Town Threads at the following links: