From corporate job to full-time blog, Gina Ciancio is living her best life. As founder of the award-winning styling and interiors platform, Style Curator, Gina splits her day between styling for clients, hosting workshops and writing articles. Did we mention she also has a new baby? Yeah, we know - seriously impressive.
Read on to hear about her home reno, her go-to cocktail and the number one tip she would give aspiring bloggers.
Photo credit: Shelley Mills
Hi Gina! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We absolute love Style Curator! Can you tell our readers how it all began?
I was working in a corporate job (as a Social Media Adviser) which I enjoyed but didn’t feel like it was fulfilling me enough…the creativity was lacking and so too was the ability for me to just make decisions and run with them.
I always knew I’d love to work for myself doing something creative – trouble is, I didn’t know what that would be. With a background in marketing/PR, I thought perhaps I should start my own practice or do events management but the passion to start this just wasn’t there.
Finally, one evening while looking around my living room, it became so obvious what my passion really is – the home! With interior magazines piled high, plans for our new home build on the coffee table and The Block on TV, all signs were showing me I should start something that revolved around interiors.
That evening I thought up the name and secured the domain for stylecurator.com.au and began working away. I wanted to create a space where we could support emerging artists and small businesses, share styling inspiration, renovation tips, DIYs and more.
Over the years, Style Curator has continued to evolve and now it is my full-time job. I love what I do and feel so blessed to have found my passion and be able to turn it into a career.
What’s a standard day like at Style Curator HQ?
The great thing is that there isn’t really a ‘standard’ day. Sometimes I’m styling products in my home or out on location styling for a client (either a private client or business). Other days I’m behind the computer writing or planning social media posts, other times I might be hosting workshops or dashing out to meetings with clients.
At the moment we’re also doing a renovation series at Bonnie’s house (ed note: Bonnie works for Style Curator) so I’m often working on that – either designing the new interior, helping her make selections or getting stuck into renos!
With so many blogs around these days, what is it about your platform that makes it so successful and stand out online?
Thank you. I think there’s plenty of room out there for all of us – you can never have too much interiors inspo!
For me, it’s always been important to stay authentic to my style and only share what I truly love. This has helped me create my own aesthetic that people can connect with and trust that I’m not simply sharing something because I’ve been approached – there’s a lot of paid opportunities I turn away that just aren’t the right fit.
I also think consistency is really important. It’s easy to start a blog but not so easy to keep it going. It requires so much time, effort and often money to set up a platform that looks good and keep it going.
I also love engaging with people and that’s something people seem to comment about a lot – we get so many people sharing their ideas and suggestions, and this has created a community around the blog and on our social channels. I love it!
It seems like an incredibly fun job! Are there any challenges?
Oh for sure! Time is my biggest challenge. Working for myself is also a learning curve. Because I love what I do so much, I can forget that it’s also a ‘job’ and I need to treat it like a business. And then there’s also the constantly evolving social media scene – like what on earth is Instagram doing lately?!
Your home makeover is impressive. Tell us about this process.
Thank you. We bought our original home around 10 years ago and did minor renos to make it liveable – new flooring, painting, lighting but not the big spaces like kitchen and bathroom.
When we came back from living overseas, we looked into doing those bigger jobs but were deterred by the high price and the fact that at the end we would still be living in a house that’s too small for a growing family and literally falling down around us.
Then one day my husband said, how about we knock down and rebuild? I was incredibly nervous about this, feeling like we were too young (and let’s be honest, poor) to take on such a big job. But by designing our new house to have a separate granny flat that we rent out, we were able to make it happen.
We engaged a local architect who came up with a design we loved and then began works. The build took about 12 months and for the past year, we’ve been settling in and making it a home.
What were your non-negotiables for your new house?
Good design was most important. I definitely wanted it to be designed by an architect who I knew would get the layout, window placement, passive design and all those aspects right.
And then of course along the way, I discovered all sorts of building materials and features I just had to have, like the white polished concrete in our living spaces.
Which is your favourite room and why?
It changes all the time. I really love our bedroom which has a view out to the treetops and feels like a retreat but lately I’ve been spending a lot more time in our kitchen which I think has become the new favourite.
What’s been the hardest part of creating your dream home?
During the build, I found making selections tricky. There are a million decisions that go into any one room from flooring, paint colours, lighting, electrical placement, window treatments and so much more. I knew I didn’t want the house to be all white but as soon as you make one choice, it kind of creates a style that others need to follow… just keeping a clear vision for the home and not getting side tracked by other beautiful images or products that didn’t fit this direction.
Now at the styling stage, my biggest challenge is trying to balance creating a home that’s beautiful and also baby proof! I have a little toddler running around who seems to think it’s his job to test the durability of everything.
Have you had an epic housewarming to celebrate?
We moved in just days before my birthday so we did have a birthday/housewarming party then. It wasn’t too long after that I had our first baby though so our partying days have been put on hold for a while ☺
What was on the menu?
I cheated and had it catered – fresh sushi, Turkish foods and a giant birthday cake.
Yum! What was on the playlist?
Hmmm I can’t recall (baby brain).
Do you have a party trick?
I don’t think so?? Maybe ask me again after a few drinks though (ed note: we're holding her to that).
Alright, last question. What’s your number one piece of advice for aspiring-bloggers?
Definitely to stay true to you – find your voice and stick with that. Don’t compare yourself to others because we all have to start at the beginning and all have different challenges and hurdles along the way. Also, keep with it. Blogging is a long game that takes time but can become an incredibly rewarding job if you want.
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