I discovered Roxy and her gorgeous blog, CityGirlSearching, in 2013. I was already following the blogs of other Durbanites (Lauren Setterberg and Nadia van der Mescht), and they had linked to Roxy’s blog.
While I worked as an admin assistant at the local university in 2014, I used to read her blog during the day. I definitely should not be admitting that on the Internet, but her beautiful blog and charming photos cheered me up during what was a rather rough season of my life.
For a long time, I had wanted to teach English overseas, and reading about her life in South Korea and her travels was so inspiring. I even completed a TEFL certification course, just in case teaching overseas ever became a possibility for my life.
I continued to follow Roxy’s blog and her Instagram account and love her style. When I saw that the Huttons decided to settle back in South Africa after their years in South Korea, I was so interested to see what Roxy would be getting up to. After I started my business, I saw that Roxy was setting up a business of her own. So when I thought of women to interview for this series, her name quickly came to mind.
I am so thrilled for her because her style is refined, delicate, feminine and her service is definitely necessary. I know this because I have such difficulty finding images to fit my brand, and it takes ages to search for stock images that may not completely fit my desired aesthetic.
Here’s the pastel-pink loving Roxy Hutton.
Q: I know you have been blogging for a number of years. Briefly tell us about your blogging journey.
A: I first started blogging back in 2010 when I started living in South Korea as an English Teacher. I started “FarmboyandCityGirlHitAsia” as a way to document my travels with my boyfriend at the time, who later became my husband. After a few weeks of writing journal-based posts, I realised quite quickly that I wanted my blog to be a reference guide for others, and to offer helpful information on travel and life in South Korea. After a year in Korea, we got back to South Africa and I knew I couldn’t keep writing under the “FarmboyandCityGirlHitAsia” name, and so “CityGirlSearching” was born.
CityGirlSearching became my pretty escape, a place for me to share my love of all things pink and feminine, from makeup reviews to restaurant guides, to DIY posts and recipes. I also continued to share travel guides for our trips to places like India, Vietnam and Bali, and still love writing these guides and including the places we stayed at and our in-depth itineraries.
Q: How did you discover your passion for photography?
A: From the beginning of my blogging journey, I soon realised that the blogs that really stood out for me were the ones with beautiful imagery. I only had a small point-and-shoot camera from the start, and used that until I was given an old DSLR to play around with. My hubby taught me the basics, and I just practiced re-creating pretty images I found online until I developed my own sense of style. I’ve photographed everything from newborns, to families, pets to food and most things in-between. But what I loved photographing the most has always been styled images that I make up from nothing, using props and flowers and bits of stationery. This is why I love Instagram so much, as it was how I first learned about ‘flatlays’, the term for the sort of photography I loved doing the most.
Q: What made you want to start your own business?
A: This love for styled imagery has been at the core of my business. I love creating beautiful images for my own blog and Instagram, and I’ve realised that this is a skill not everyone has. And so, my business is about creating these kinds of images for other business owners, so they can focus on doing what they love rather than wasting time trying to source stock photos that fit their brand. CityGirlSearching, the blog, has become CGScreative the business, while still keeping the heart of the CGS brand alive.
Q: What was the process you followed when starting to set up your brand?
A: My brand has evolved over my entire 6 year blogging journey. Here is a little look at how my logo and branding has changed over the years, to be where it is today: I started the CGS brand using colours that I love, soft pastel shades of pink and peach, and these have stayed with me on my journey. I DIYed my brand right up until recently, finally hiring a wonderful designer to re-brand CGS, taking all the elements of my blog and turning them into a professional package I am proud to have for my new business.
Q: How do you manage your branding and make sure everything you do (from business cards, to packaging, to info packs) keeps in line with your brand?
A: This is the easy part for me, because my brand is a huge part of who I am. The CGS brand is Roxy, and I am the CityGirl behind the brand. This is why it has been easy for me to keep my branding cohesive from the beginning. My recent re-brand was done by Lorin from Freckled Design Studio, and so I have to credit her for my logo and overall updated brand aesthetic. But because I DIYed everything myself up until CGScreative was born, I am able to adapt what she has given me and make sure that everything else I do online is on brand and aligned with what CGS is today. Everything from my new website, to landing pages, my Instagram photos and all the other social media graphics I create, are all cohesive with one another and CGS.
Q: How do you manage your social media commitments?
A: I don’t always do this successfully, as I must admit to spending far too much time on social media. I do know that most of my clients find me via social media, and so I do need to spend a lot of time online. And I enjoy interacting with my readers and followers, and so it doesn’t ever feel like work for me. I find I alternate between the different accounts, spending more time on one than the other. This helps to keep all my accounts growing at different times, and ensures I don’t get bored. Instagram is my favourite platform, followed by Facebook & Pinterest, with Twitter coming in last.
I sometimes use Buffer to schedule posts when I know I’m not going to be able to post very often.
Q: How do you motivate yourself to keep going when your inner critic’s voice gets a bit too loud?
A: I make sure to take time off from the online world, and do things that make me happy and bring out my creativity. Things like reading a good sci-fi book (I know, who would have thought this city girl would enjoy reading about aliens and other planets), taking a cup of tea out into the garden and heading out with camera in hand to photograph a new cafe or a market are a few of the things that leave me feeling refreshed. I also have a few friends in business who are always a wonderful source of inspiration. I highly recommend connecting in real life with people. A coffee or even a Skype date to moan and vent about business-related frustrations is therapeutic.
Q: What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned since you started your business?
A: Not to compare your beginning to anyone else’s ending.
It’s so easy to get caught up comparing your blog or business with everyone else’s and feeling as though your work is insignificant. This is far from the truth, as there is place for all of us and all of our gifts in this world.
I also have to learn to be patient when it comes to business, as things take time. Very few people are overnight successes, and so much goes on behind the scenes of all those launches and success stories that populate Pinterest.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.