Meet Caitlin Lindquist, founder and creative director of Dash of Darling! This blogger truly embodies what it means to turn your creative passion into a career, as she started her blog as a creative outlet while in law school! In no time, her blog and social media presence took off, allowing her to start doing what she loves full-time. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Caitlin about her blog, social media and life in general, so keep reading for the full interview!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you passionate about?
My name is Caitlin Lindquist and I am the founder and creative director of Dash of Darling, a style, beauty, travel and lifestyle blog. I started my blog in late 2012 while in my last year of law school at the University of San Diego. Initially, my blog was simply a source of creativity and an outlet from the everyday rigors of law school. Fashion has always been a passion of mine, and I was hoping to utilize my blog as a means of opening some doors and making connections in the fashion law industry. However, my blog quickly grew and became what I never knew I always wanted to do…and I now work on the site full-time.
My husband, Ben, and I now live in Scottsdale, Arizona with our two fur-babies, Mini and Wookie. When I am not blogging, (and the desert weather permits), I am usually out for a run or a hike or trying to better my photography skills through classes or practice. We love to travel more than anything, whether it be locally to Sedona or Palm Springs, back to my hometown of Park City, Utah, or jetting off to far-off places, we try to get away as often as we can.
And lastly, at the moment my husband and I are undergoing our third round of IVF. We are hoping to add to our family soon and I have been sharing our struggles and journey on my blog in hopes of opening up a dialogue about infertility. It is so much more common than people think, and we needn’t feel ashamed or alone, so my hope is to break the stigma and hopefully help others going through the same or similar situation.
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Sometimes I take for granted that we live in the beautiful desert. It's so hot in the summers and sometimes we just get in our routines that we forget to stop and look around, literally. This last weekend Ben and I endured the heat as we caught the desert sun shining off the hot sand, and it was perfect. You can catch more from this shoot on Darling! #arizona #instagramaz #spelltravel
What inspired you to start Dash of Darling, and how were you able to find your niche as a blogger?
Finding my niche in the blogosphere took a little while. I played around with different types of posts–from workouts to collages and outfits–and I had to pay attention to what worked and what didn’t for me. Eventually I found my voice and what resonated best with my readers. The most important part of the whole process was to just learn and grow all while staying true to myself and my passions/interests. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just try…put yourself out there…and learn and grow as you go.
Take us through the journey to becoming a full-time blogger. How long did it take until you were able to make this your career?
Blogging was initially a creative outlet and what I had hoped would give me contacts and a means of entry into the fashion law industry. However, my blog took off quickly and I was working with big brands after only a month (big shout out to Lilly Pulitzer, the first brand I ever worked with). I made the top 60 bloggers within three months and that’s when I started to realize this was more than just a hobby. As soon as my husband and I finished law school, I decided to focus on my blog full-time. Why not ride the wave until it fizzles out? That was just a little over 6 months from when I initially started Dash of Darling. I am so fortunate that I get to do what I love every day while working from home!
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You know it's a must-have when you can't stop thinking about it. I literally had a dream about this purse after walking away from it haha. So pretty. I finally splurged for myself. The past month has been hard and I needed a major pick-me-up. Somehow, Chanel seemed like the perfect remedy. #pink #chanel
What would you say have been the best methods for driving traffic to your blog?
This is something that I continue to work on daily. A good business woman will never stop looking for ways to grow and expand. What has worked best for me is to always post quality content that is “pinnable.” Images that have interest and are vertical (or “portrait style”) perform best on the platform, so I try to cater my images to this. Pinterest remains a huge source of traffic for me, with over 90% of the visitors coming to my site from the platform are coming for the first time (new readers)! Facebook is a close second, with 84% of new visitors and Twitter in third, at 72%. Instagram has also been a great way for brands and new readers to find me, and with Instagram insights being released, I look forward to learning more about that. I also work hard on my SEO so that new readers can easily find me through Google. It’s important to stay on top of things and constantly look for new, organic ways to drive traffic.
You have gained quite the following on Instagram. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out and wants to grow their following?
For me, this was the same as driving traffic to my blog. I always tried to post quality content consistently. Watch your followers’ behavior and take note of what they respond well to. They may not be so interested in what you had for breakfast, but love to see what you’re wearing or the flowers you picked up at the market. Try to catch their attention in fresh new ways.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I like to wake up early in the morning with my husband and either go for a run outside (depending on how hot it is!) or go to the gym. After that, we usually go to Starbucks together and grab a coffee before he has to head off to work so we can spend a little time together. While drinking my coffee, I try to take a look at my emails and get caught up for the day. I then spend quite a bit of time each day going through photos and putting together content for blog posts. I usually have music on in the background or I will throw on a mindless show to fill the silence (thanks Tony Robbins for your inspiration today). If I have errands, I usually run them in the afternoon to take a break from my work. My husband is the cook in our family, so I usually wait for him to get home and then I see how I can help him out with dinner and then we usually put on a show or movie and try to relax for a while before bed. Sometimes we read aloud together (we like reading books together). If you can’t tell, we do a lot together–from law school to exercise to blogging (he’s my photographer) to cooking and reading!
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Today I'm working from home putting together a presentation that I'll be giving next week to the folks over at @starwoodbuzz / @spg. I haven't given one of these since law school haha. But as I go through old blog posts it's making me miss our vacation last summer to the BVI. Anyway, wish me luck! #dashofdarling #spglife
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro when I was 12 years old and held the record of the youngest girl to climb the mountain until just a few years ago. That was a pretty cool accomplishment for me and gave me a lot of confidence as a young girl that I could do anything I put my mind to. I think that confidence has certainly carried over into my business and willingness to take the leap from a career in law to the unknown blogging world.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the future?
I plan on continuing to develop my business and hopefully be able to take it in more directions that I am passionate about–including travel and decor. As we grow our family, I would also love to share that part of our lives with my readers as we evolve and grow personally. I just love being able to share my passions with others and inspire them. I hope to continue to be able to do that throughout the rest of my career.