Emilie Jacob is the mastermind behind Stella + the Stars, the 2017 winner of the Best International Interior Blog Award. Named and inspired by her daughter Stella, the blog is an explosion of beautiful design which certainly caught last year’s judges’ eyes. After twelve years living in London Emilie and her family packed up and moved to Dubai in 2016 which saw not only a family adventure but also new interiors projects. The IBA Blog catches up with Emilie on how the move has changed the way she blogs and what the IBA win meant for her…
What were you doing when you heard Stella + the Stars had won the Best International Interior Blog award?
I was sleeping! I live in Dubai so couldn’t attend this year’s ceremony tragically. We are four hours ahead of London so although I’d like your readers to think I am going to glam parties late on any given school night, I am usually in bed with Netflix by 10pm… Which means I missed all the excitement of the night and woke up the next day to all the congratulatory messages which was weird and wonderful at the same time!
Did your big move to Dubai change the way you blog? Has it added something new to Stella + the Stars?
Yes, it has actually slowed down the pace of the blog. I used to be able to post content several times a week but now I can barely manage three blog posts a month as it has opened up to so many other opportunities, it’s been hard to keep up. At the beginning I was terribly anxious about it but the truth is it hasn’t had too much impact on traffic so I am just going with the flow. And there is always Instagram! I think the tone of the blog has become more personal as I have documented the transition from London to my new life in the desert and been upfront about the impact it has had on my interior style. I initially suffered from mild design schizophrenia trying to adapt to our new minimalist space after years of living in a somewhat over the top, colourful, maximalist home…
What does winning an IBA mean to you and your blog?
I never started the blog to make the big bucks or for the prestige (if there was any!). Quite the opposite. The aim of the blog has always been to help people like me revamp their pad with quirky and colourful things without breaking the bank. That being said, I am a self-diagnosed ‘recognition junkie’ and suffer from regular bouts of the old ‘impostor syndrome’ so getting this kind of recognition and winning an IBA has given me the ego boost I needed to keep going (and considerably reduced the ‘what on earth am I doing?!” moments of self doubt). Especially when moving to a totally new city/country. Having people in the industry here in Dubai hearing about the award has given me some much-needed street cred when relaunching the blog to my new audience.
How do you stay motivated to maintain and nurture the blog?
That’s definitely been the challenge this year. The award has actually opened a lot of new doors for me and the blog has had to take a back seat at times. Which I know sounds a bit counterproductive but in the long term it will help the blog evolve. Well that’s what I hope anyways! Also, back in the UK, I used to have a lovely network of like-minded interiors aficionados that I could tap into when the going got tough and although social media helps staying in touch with my fellow UK bloggers, I miss the connections I used to have back home. It was quite hard to essentially start from scratch when I got here. Not only the blog, but with every single contact I had. So to stay motivated and keep the creative juices going, I started networking like there is no tomorrow and I now have my own little network of interiors bloggers here in Dubai – I try to meet them regularly to talk shop, swap war stories and generally help each other. It’s been a life saver.
What new things can we expect to see on Stella + the Stars in 2017?
Well, as I mentioned, getting the IBA nod for Stella + the Stars has opened a lot of new doors and I have been lucky to work on some really exciting home styling projects (including full room revamps) with a bunch of lovely clients, so I have a really good series of ‘before and afters’ coming up on the blog soon. I have also finally taken the plunge on colour for my own home and have literally just repainted most of the walls in my pad in Dubai in various shades of grey and pink so I’ll document my move to the dark side on the blog as soon as the paint is dry. I have also recently hosted my styling workshop in collaboration with a fabulous Dubai-based interiors brand. That’s something I have always wanted to do so I am beyond excited (despite being absolutely terrified the week before) as it was a total success and has already led to more coming up soon. It’s a lovely continuity to the blog and means I get to meet my followers in person and get their direct feedback which has been brilliant.