From posting updates to occupy time on maternity leave to fielding calls from global brands, Katy Wheeler meets the Wearside mum who turned social media into a thriving career.
Choose Facebook. Choose Twitter. Choose Instagram – social media has become as much a part of daily life as brushing your teeth.
But for some it’s about more than uploading a photo or constructing a witty status: it’s actually become a career.
In the space of a year, a Wearside mum has gone from chronicling her fashion finds to racking up a million likes for a single Instagram image.
Dominique Davis, 30, now has more than 109,000 followers, and counting, on her ‘All That Is She’ Instagram feed who religiously follow her daily posts about family life with her two daughters, her interior inspiration at her Chester-le-Street home and her capsule wardrobe of 30 items a season - even pet rabbits Bugs and Velma get in on the action.
Her carefully-curated feed, which she updates once a day, has become something of a modern art form. Photos are beautifully lit, loaded with charm, and taken with a professional Nikon camera by Dominique (or her elusive partner Dominic, 30, an image re-touch artist who rarely appears in the feed) and wouldn’t look out of a place on the front of a magazine or a gallery wall.
Major brands Samsung, Boden, Monsoon, Johnson’s and Well Kids, have cottoned on to the Instagram influencer and have all commissioned her to use their brands in photos.
Traditional media has also snapped up her snaps, which have been featured on The Today Show in America, in the Daily Mail and in publications in the Netherlands and the Far East as well as podcasts in Australia.
The social media phenomenon has given the mum-of-two the chance to ditch her job in a call centre to focus solely on her blog, which gets 85,000 views a month, and her other online platforms.
Where once models would be employed to fit a brand’s mould, bloggers have reversed the trend with brands buying into their lifestyle.
Being her own boss means Dominique has the luxury of only agreeing to promote brands she would use in everyday life, and she’s conscious not to make it too commercial, with only an average of one in ten posts being sponsored.
“People like that this is our real life,” she said. “I don’t pretend we have a perfect life, bringing up children is difficult sometimes and though we love them, they can drive you mad, which I’m open about, and people can relate to someone going through the same thing.”
Speaking about what sparked the blog, she said: “I’d always enjoyed writing at school and followed bloggers on Instagram myself. I started doing it as a hobby whilst I was on maternity leave and then went back to my job, which I really didn’t enjoy.
“I knew that other people were making a living from their blog so I decided to give it a try. The first month was really slow but once I hit 7,000 followers it really started to snowball.”
At the current rate, Dominique, who is originally from Hetton, racks up 2,000 new followers a day and even more when she appears in press or is chosen by Instagram itself as one of its featured images. An image of Bugs and Velma racked up a 1.4 million likes alone when it was featured by the social media giant. (For those who are wondering, she had to turn her notifications off a long time ago.)
Though Allthatisshe started as a fashion blog, in which Dominique showed how you could last a fashion season with just 30 items of clothes, she soon started to incorporate daughters Amelia, ten, who attends Lumley Junior School, and Penny, three, who attends Lumley Nursery School, into the feed using the hashtag allthatisthree.
The shots of them, whether it be wearing matching dresses, eating toasted marshmallows or blowing balloons, have really struck a social media chord and have given the mum a family album like no other.
“We set the photos up with the girls beforehand so all the lighting is right and then ask them to be in the shots,” said the former Hetton Comprehensive pupil. “We only get five minutes with them as Penny, in particular, gets bored. I think five minutes on a Sunday morning is enough for them. They really look forward to them. Penny calls them her ‘funny photos’ and it means I have a weekly picture of them growing up.”
Despite having a global audience that’s booming, not everyone is as convinced by Dominique’s social media success.
“Sometimes people ask when I’m going to get a proper job, I don’t think they realise that I can make a good living from this, “ she said. “I think people underestimate how much work goes into it. My day is spent answering emails, writing blog posts and thinking of image ideas.
“But it does mean I get flexibility with the girls, I can be there to take them to school and pick them up and I don’t have to miss things like sports days and Christmas plays.
“I usually post at around 9pm each night, once the girls have gone to bed, as that’s a good time to reach the UK and US audience and then spend a couple of hours replying to people who comment and again in the morning.”
Dominique has used her social media savviness to go beyond blogging. She’s created a range of Instagram Photoshop filters which people can buy and download to achieve photos with a similar look to hers, and she’s also selling E-learning courses about capsule wardrobes and making it big in the ‘blogosphere.’
Tomorrow: the world wide web.