I had the greatest pleasure to sit down and chat with one of my favorite bloggers: Anastasia Souris! She is from Cleveland and writes a fashion and lifestyle blog called Savo + June. I was so excited that I got the chance to meet her, and she is genuinely radiant with beauty and style, humble, and an overall positive young woman. It's always nice to have someone to chat with who understands the world of blogging and all the little factors that come with it, along with the fashion industry itself.
We met in Downtown Hudson at Heartwood Roasters (which is one of the cutest coffee shops I have ever visited, just something I had to throw out there). We had a great conversation filled with questions and inspiring answers, it was one of the best conversations I've had with anyone in a while! I feel as if I've gained more wisdom about blogging and fashion because her advice was so helpful. I was impressed with everything that she knew. She has big dreams and I know she is going to go far in life to accomplish them. Her courage inspires me to drive towards my dreams as well. I hope reading this conversation that we had will give you inspiration in some way as well, which I'm sure it will!
Your blog is named Savo + June, what was the inspiration behind that?
AS: I am 100% Greek. Saturday is my favorite day of the week and June is my birthday month. In Greek, Saturday is "Savvato", so I shortened it to "Savo" and combined it with June to make one title.
What were the steps you took to make your blog a brand?
AS: I was nervous to start it at first because I wasn't sure what people we're going to say about it. I was a little self-conscious, but not to the point where I didn't want to do it. I started off with picking out outfits and putting them together because I love coming up with outfit ideas in my head, I do it when I'm bored. I also gave guidelines for my readers on what kind of styles are trending because sometimes it can be hard to create outfits. I got my first collaboration with a photo printing company. It wasn't fashion-related, but I was still excited because it was big deal at the time! Later on, I started tagging brands that I would wear and reach out to smaller brands because the bigger brands are harder to receive feedback from. I did a few collaborations with some cool brands and since then it's kind of taken off. I had to look at the small picture before the big picture. That's the fun part because you're exploring what you want to do.
How do you plan out your posts before writing and publishing them?
AS: I look at Pinterest to see what's trending, such as affordable fall and back to school outfits which I'm currently getting ready to blog about. I do my research on some outfit ideas beforehand and then imagine how I would style it if I wore it. Researching helps me decide what I'm going to write about so that I can make it sound interesting for my readers. I also have Grammarly on my laptop which helps check my grammar before I post.
What's the most difficult part about blogging?
AS: Right now blogging is more like a hobby and not exactly a full-time job yet, so it's not super hard. I make some money off of it while doing collaborations, but I'm not at the point where it's stressing me out. The hardest part I would say was actually creating the blog in the first place. Even though I was nervous about what people might say, I had to let those worries go because I knew blogging about what I love would make me happy. Of course there's still a little negativity that comes along with it, but what matters more is that most of my followers are more positive and supportive. There's always a way to block out the haters.
One of my favorite posts of yours is about the power of acceptance. I think accepting yourself is the most important thing everyone should learn, especially when putting themselves out there and pursuing dreams. What advice do you have for anyone who might be going through that situation at this moment?
AS: I loved writing that post. Learning to accept your flaws is a really hard thing to do, and I still catch myself being self-conscious and self-critical every once in a while. I just keep reminding myself, "You know what, you only have so much time. Just enjoy and be the best that you can be." I felt really good about posting it and I do want to post more stuff relating to that topic. No matter how lame it sounds, it's important to keep your eye on the prize and to know what you want in life. There should be no reason for you to not do your absolute worst when you get there. You just have to be confident in your own skin and believe in yourself. If someone has done it, then you can obviously do it, too. I think that's what is pushing me harder to work hard, even though I'm not close to where I want to be right now. Taking time to appreciate the opportunities I'm being given now and enjoying each step of the way really makes the progress better and more enjoyable.
While social media can be a great place for creativity and communication, it can also have its downfalls. Many people tend to compare themselves to others based on what they post. How do you view social media based on that?
AS: I agree with you 100% and what's helped me a lot to change my point of view on social media was unfollowing people. There's a lot of people who seem to have this perfect image and you just ask yourself, "How is that real?" And it's probably not real. Looking at pictures like that on Instagram would just stress me out, so unfollowing them allowed me to put my focus on inspiring people who are the best they can be and accept themselves for who they are. They have m0re than just the images, they have a voice. Their creativity inspires me rather than makes me jealous. I use them as motivation to tell myself, "This is the girl that I want to be."
You have such a great taste in fashion! When it's a casual day that's not too busy, what is your go-to outfit?
AS: I wish I could say loungewear, but I've never been that kind of girl. Not that I don't wear it, sometimes you might catch me in sweatpants with my hair in bun and no makeup. I am very simple when it comes to dressing casual. I usually go for my black leather jacket, a white tank, a pair of boyfriend jeans, and maybe flip flops. I've never have always been like that though. As I've gotten older, I started to pick outfits that looked nice and didn't look that expensive. I'm trying not to fool people, I don't shop at Saks Fifth Avenue. I just love simple, basic outfits because they look so timeless and classic.
Do you have any tips on how to spend wisely when it comes to shopping for clothes?
AS: I've learned my lesson. I would spend entire paychecks on clothes when I was in high school and college because I didn't care, I just did it. Now it's a little different as an adult and having to pay bills, rent, and car payments. I go for fashion pieces that aren't exactly the cheapest but will last me years. I bought a pair of sturdy denim jeans for $49.99 from H&M and I've had them for a few years now and they're still great. Quality is what matters the most when it comes to buying clothes. The outfit will look ten times better and more expensive if it looks good on you and fits you well. Sometimes you just have to be a little picky when shopping.
What are your favorite retailers to shop at?
AS: H&M, Zara, American Eagle, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Bloomingdale's, BCBG, and lots of boutiques such as VICI. I'm also currently obsessed with Abrecombie & Fitch at the moment. I recently did some collaborations with them. Remember when it was the cool thing back in the fourth and fifth grade? It's changed a lot since then, they've totally revamped their stuff! I just got a bunch of pieces from them and I've worn them almost every day. I'm obsessed, it's basic and they lower the prices which is always nice.
Did you go to school to study fashion?
AS: I went to Ohio University and studied fashion merchandising. My current job at JOANN Fabrics & Crafts has nothing to do with that major, but I did a good amount of very fashion-focused internships which progressed. I'm very glad that I majored in fashion merchandising, despite how tough the fashion industry can be to get into. But if you keep telling yourself you'll get there, you will.
There's always competition in the fashion industry, and the best way to stand out is to be bold. In your opinion, what makes someone bold?
AS: I used to think it was the clothes that made people stand out, but now I think it's how they use their clothes to represent their uniqueness. I follow a lot of people who are very minimal and simple with their fashion, no pops of anything. But I just found them so intriguing, and I think the main point overall is to know your own style. When you show off what you're wearing, people will automatically recognize it right away. Standing out is not about how much your Gucci bag cost, it's about how you present yourself. The motivation I have to work hard for what I love is what has helped me reach to the success I have made so far.
Do you have any other interests or passions besides fashion?
AS: I LOVE cooking. I love health and learning about what foods are good for you as well as what you should be putting in your body. I think I literally cook almost every single day. It's definitely another passion of mine for sure.
Whereabout in Cleveland is your favorite spot to take pictures for your blog?
AS: Anywhere, there's no specific location. If I'm downtown, I just find a space that inspires me in some way. It literally can be anywhere, you might be even shocked at some of the places where I've taken pictures at!
Do you have any favorite Ohio memories if you grew up here?
AS: To be honest, I hated Cleveland growing up. It wasn't what it is today, there's so many trendy little places to go and things to do now. When I was growing up here, my family and I couldn't really enjoy it as much. Downtown at that time was pretty rundown, and we only went a few times to meet my dad for lunch when he worked there. It was kind of shattered in, that's how I remember Cleveland growing up. In high school, you want to be able to enjoy it but not old enough to do it yet. It wasn't until I moved to New York City for an internship shortly after I graduated from college. I moved back to Cleveland not too long after because I was starting to feel depressed and asking myself, "What the hell am I going to do?" The fact that Cleveland is not very fashionable is what inspired me to start my blog, I wanted my own little outlet rather than work in retail. I absolutely love Cleveland now. It has so much heart and I love being a part of something that's trending!
I saw that you attended Create & Cultivate in NYC not so long ago, which is an event I want to go to someday when I get the chance. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience and how it influenced you?
AS: It was an amazing weekend. Tickets are very expensive, but the event was so awesome. I feel like you should go when you have something to go with. My blog is pretty small when you compare it to other popular blogs, but I at least knew I wanted to grow it and bring more fashion to Cleveland in any way I can. I came in with an idea and I just soaked everything in. They had amazing speakers, vendors, and so much more. It was literally a fashion dream! It was also a long ass day, it went on for ten hours and you're pretty much on your feet for the majority of the day, not to mention that they barely fed you. But it was so awesome and I would love to go again.
Do have any favorite quotes that inspire and motivate you?
AS: I love quotes, but I'm more of a visual person. I have a secret board on Pinterest with pictures of things that I want to have or want to accomplish. It's literally full of random sh** that I look at every day to motivate myself. For instance, if I want to go to San Francisco, I'll look at a picture of the city and tell myself that I'm going to go there. Or if there's a camera that I want, I'll have that picture so I can remember it when I get a new camera. I just look at all the pictures of things I want as a reminder, and I'll cross them off if I get one of them accomplished. It's positive and keeps me above water, even when I feel like I'm falling into a dark hole at times. I also have a vision board in my home with a lot of those same pictures from Pinterest as well. It really helps, I know it's going to get me to where I want to go!
What does an ideal perfect day look like for you?
AS: I can't say sleeping in because I barely sleep in. If I could make a perfect day, it would involve making myself a cup of coffee in the morning and sitting outside in the nice weather. While doing that, I would plan out my schedule and prepare for everything that's going on that week, such as blog posts and other things as well. Later on, my boyfriend and I would go downtown and eat out, I enjoy doing stuff like that.
If someone we're to come to visit Cleveland for the first time, what would you suggest that they do for fun?
AS: I would take them to the Flats. It's such a blast down there, especially in the summer. It has a beautiful view, along with great food and drinks. There's also the Punch Bowl Social where you can go bowling and sit at a really cool bar. The Flats is one of those places where I like to roam around, there's a lot to do. Some days I've gone and I've spent almost the entire day there!
I want to give a big thank you and S/O to Anastasia for making the time to meet me and give me inspiration when it comes to chasing after dreams, especially when it involves making it big as a fashion and lifestyle blogger. Make sure you go subscribe to Anastasia's blog Savo + June to keep up with her posts!