If we had a penny for every women who said “I have nothing to wear” today, we’d be buying every Chanel bag this season in multiple colors. Even with closets full of clothes, the struggle for getting dressed (baby or no baby), is real. Flashback to a few years ago, Karla Reed was facing some some serious motherhood challenges, feeling alone and looking for a creative outlet. She started posting her “outfits of the day” on Instagram to have something to look forward to and get herself inspired. Strangers started following her, and then more strangers started following her, soon thousands (109k!!) of women were looking to Karla for style tips, her supernatural thrifting skills, and her down to earth fashion sense. Before Instagram was what it is now, Karla was one of the first to start posting her #OOTD and has made it into a full-time career, one that hasn’t changed her bubbly, warm and undeniable charm.
When we first spoke to Karla, she shared her story with us and we knew pretty quickly we needed to work with this woman! We had a chance to ask Karla a few questions about motherhood, launching her social media career, and trying to stay sane. We’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy and be inspired by what she had to say.
Getting Back in the Groove: Karla Reed
I lost myself after I had my son. I was overwhelmed by the task of being a mother and it consumed me. I wore clothes that were comfortable and what I thought was appropriate…but I wasn’t happy with myself. I didn’t know how to be myself and be a mom at the same time. It all caught up to me when my son was diagnosed with autism and I was running him to a million different therapies and doctors appointments and I felt lost! Absolutely consumed! I realized I needed something that was mine and that reminded me who I was outside of being a mother to a special needs child…that who I am outside of that only makes me better at being his mom and doesn’t take away from it. I needed something that filled my creative tank so I could, in turn, have something to give. I started small by shopping my own closet for brand new combinations of outfits. For an entire month I posted my outfits on social media as a way to keep myself accountable to not shop and to think outside the box. It’s amazing how much better you feel about life when you get up and get dressed in something you’ve put some thought into! By the end of the month I was hooked. I’ve been posting my ootd ever since.
I needed something that filled my creative tank so I could, in turn, have something to give.
For me, without a doubt, it is time management. Because both the work I do and being a mother are both the kind of jobs that never end and there is always something more you can be doing! I struggle with having good boundaries and knowing when to stop working…and on the flip side I struggle with the inevitable mom guilt of not doing everything possible for my kids. It’s a struggle!
RULES TO LIVE BY
“Give thanks”…in all things. I try to stay focused on my blessings. I believe your attitude about life is directly affected by the way you choose to see things. We all have good and bad things in our lives. I choose to focus on the good.
Give thanks…in all things.
HOW TO MAKE #OOTD = CAREER??
Haha good question! When I started I had no idea the potential social media had at making my dreams of working in fashion come true! I just kept plugging away…putting things out there that inspired me. It took time and me being consistently true to myself and slowly but surely I built my “brand”. And now that I have a larger following and have the attention of certain brands it takes even more discipline to stay true to myself so I don’t lose my voice.
I just kept plugging away…putting things out there that inspired me
WHAT APPEALS TO YOUR FOLLOWERS ABOUT YOUR FEED?
Hopefully they can relate to me. I work hard to stay connected and relatable. The fact that I thrift a lot of my clothes and get things on sale makes my style attainable. I’m also pretty honest…or at least I strive to be. Not holding anything back or misrepresenting myself.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT INSTAGRAM?
I love that it can create community. That it helps us connect and feel less alone. It gives inspiration and spreads joy.
WHAT DON’T YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
If I’m not careful it can also cause discontentment. I see things I didn’t know existed or were possible. It can cause jealousy. I have to guard my heart and thoughts. I believe you have to have a sense of discipline to stay positive about your own life when you’re bombarded with edited images of someone else’s highlight reel.
DO YOU GET STRESSED OUT ABOUT HAVING TO POST ALL THE TIME?
I used to. I used to fear disappointing people…or that people would lose interest. I still do at times but it’s easier for me to remind myself that I don’t do this for anyone else. This is my feed about my real life. If it feels too forced then I start to lose sight of what my purpose is. I use IG as a creative outlet for myself and creativity comes from a place of abundance. If I don’t feel I have something to share then that means it’s time to step away and remind myself of what I’ve been given, spend time with my family, read a book, feed my soul…then the natural outflow of that is creativity, which I love to share. It’s absolutely a discipline to stay true to myself and to my creative process. It’s not easy to balance!
This is my feed about my real life. If it feels too forced then I start to lose sight of what my purpose is.
HAVE YOU EVER FELT PRESSURE TO PRESENT A CERTAIN IMAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Oh definitely. For me it’s especially hard when I see other people’s success and that they achieved it in a different way than me. It’s hard not to doubt my own journey and conviction. Especially those people who are more guarded and edited than I am. Some feeds are so clean! But it doesn’t take me long to realize that that is just not me. My feed is a true representation of who I am. It’s kind of a mess…it’s all over the place…I share a little too much at times…and I post exactly how I feel. I’ve come to realize my success has come because I’ve been myself and people can relate to that.
TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG…
I’ve had moments of thinking I need one. Not lately but a few years ago I was determined to start one and thought it was the only way I’d see success past a certain level. I tried quite a few times but always hit road blocks and setbacks. I actually own my own domain and everything! But it never came together. Now I’ve come to realize it’s not really necessary to accomplish my goals. I look at it as if I had a blog I would need additional content that I don’t offer on my Instagram feed…and I honestly don’t think I have it! I recently started a YouTube channel where I post tutorials and thrift hauls and it has been a great way to share more. At this point and the way social media is moving I just don’t see the need to have a blog anymore. I actually feel fortunate I never started one. I’m not sure it would’ve made me any more successful and it saved me a ton of time and energy! Running a blog is no joke.
Having a creative outlet saved me from drowning in motherhood. Losing yourself in the overwhelming task of being a mom is a reality…and not a healthy one. Find what you’re passionate about and don’t feel guilty pursuing it. Staying true to yourself and chasing your dreams will make you a better mom and will set a healthy example for your kids. And try your best to not judge other moms whose passions are different than yours.
Find what you’re passionate about and don’t feel guilty pursuing it.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I hope to continue to inspire people to take fashion into their own hands and to not be held back by life stages, finances or body image insecurities. Something I’ve always wanted to get into is closet consultation. I’d love to be a “closet counselor” of sorts. Empowering women to take control of their closets. I’ve done a few of these over the years and I’d love to do more and eventually have a website dedicated to it. It’s still a work in process.
TIPS FOR MAMAS WHO ARE LOOKING TO START A SIMILAR CAREER?
Work hard at being true to yourself. Figure out what you want to say and never shut up about it. It takes time and consistency to build a brand. Don’t rush it.
Figure out what you want to say and never shut up about it.