Sunday, 29 March 2009

Erica Bartle: The Girl With a Satchel

Erica Bartle is a blogger extraordinaire who keeps us informed and entertained at the same time with her super blog, Girl With a Satchel (GWAS). I stumbled across her delicious blog by chance when I moved to Blogger two years ago and I have been addicted ever since. GWAS basically delves into the world of glossy magazines and pop culture and gives you the heads up on what is hot and what is not. 2009 is shaping up very well for Erica with advertisers coming on board and winning a Bloggie for Best Australian Blog. I caught up with the Brisbane based blogger to get an insight into the goings on at GWAS towers.

What made you start blogging?
A serious case of narcissism. No seriously, I jumped on the blogging bandwagon as I needed a new creative outlet and going online seemed like a good idea at the time. As I was unable to speak HTML and had limited funds (I was deputy editor of a teen mag at the time), so Blogger provided the perfect platform for getting started. My first posts, in January 2007, were about a stationery store, body image, style icons, Jane magazine and Frankie magazine – I've retained pretty much the same content lineup since.

Describe the concept behind GWAS
The tagline is "A daily blog with a girlie slant - pop culture, magazines & pretty things", which pretty much sums up my key interest areas. I like to think GWAS is tapped into the feminine zeitgeist. Glossy magazine reviews and media news are the core of the blog, which gives me the platform to discuss what's happening on a wider socio-cultural spectrum from a female perspective.

How do you think bloggers have made an impact on the media?
Is there anyone in media who isn't aware of Perez Hilton? Blogger who have found a niche area and unique voice have been most successful in terms of competing with traditional media, while some blogs are now first sources for information for traditional media journalists. Despised by some for their lack of credibility, professionalism and guiding principles, they've undoubtedly become an integral part of the global media community and an important means for democratic discussion (and, unfortunately, also anonymous bitchiness!)

You have had a great career as a journalist can you tell us who you have worked for?
I wouldn't say it's been great, but my career has been nice to me. I've worked in advertising and PR, but got my publishing start working on a kids' magazine. Since then I've worked as a beauty editor and deputy editor on a teen magazine - Girlfriend - and freelanced for titles including Australian Marie Claire, Cleo and Cosmopolitan. I also pen pieces for various websites and media publications.

Describe a typical day in the life of Erica Bartle.
I usually wake around 6am, then spend an hour in prayer/journaling (my faith is super-important to me, though some days it's also a struggle), then it's breakfast at my laptop as I check my emails, Twitter and formulate something to post about. After my first blog post for the day, I either do some research or interviews for any freelance stories I'm working on or start working on a new blog post (reading magazines for review, hunting down information on the 'net, sending off interview questions...). There's usually a coffee run sometime mid-morning and more writing/blogging/researching from after lunch till around 6pm, when I force myself to log off. Most nights I cook dinner for my husband and I, then plonk on the couch in front of the TV if we've nowhere to be

We all know you are a total mag freak but can you name your five fav mags?
You know, most of all I actually relish the free newspaper glossy supplements we get here in Oz - Good Weekend, Sunday, Sunday Life - the features are truly excellent, the bitsy front-of-book pages are always a treat, the columnists are consistently funny and informed, and they provide just the right amount of style and/or beauty inspiration and celebrity. I could easily let my glossy subscriptions lapse and let these publications fill the void (and I've no doubt I'd be a less neurotic woman for it!).

However, if I have to choose my favourite glossies, I'd choose the publication below:

UK Vogue - I think Alexandra Shulman and team do a fantastic job.
Australian Vogue - the features are consistently good.
Frankie - an Aussie young women's mag with a decidedly un-Cosmo slant.
Girlfriend - my former teen mag stomping ground.
Madison - Australian women's mag.
Shop Til You Drop - the Aussie answer to Lucky.

Name five blogs that you read religiously

How do you see GWAS evolving over the next two years?
It's a total cliche, but GWAS is becoming a brand in its own right. I'd love to launch an online shop to coincide with the site's editorial offering and also explore video, etc. As long as there are glossies being printed, GWAS will be in business.

3 cool comments:

Kwana said...

Great interview. Thanks so much.

Top Bird @ Wee Birdy said...

I'm with Erica on the weekend mags - they're the best. (Tho' as I'm in London my picks are the Weekend Guardian mag, Observer Magazine and Sunday Times Style.)

Lovely interview! xx

MsQuiche said...

Brilliant interview! I love GWAS, Erica's style is so informative, yet quirky and she comes across as ultra positive. I used to be such a glossy mag addict but in recent years have had to cut down on my habit.