Thinking Outside the Box with Shanel Elle
Itching for a creative outlet in the midst of working a full-time job, Shanel Elle started Think Outside the Cloth, a blog that teaches how to revamp your closet on a budget. Since starting the blog, Shanel has had the opportunity to travel wherever the good flight deals take her and dream big about where she wants her business goals to lead her next.
We were able to chat with Shanel and learned about how to create consistent content, her resolutions for the new year, and so much more.
Tell us about yourself and what you're excited about right now.
I love learning, and I am naturally very curious which is why I like to dabble and try new activities. Currently, my curiosity has led me to work in social media marketing. I find it very interesting that the way we communicate and seek out information is changing so rapidly. I also enjoy podcasts, working out, reading, and of course traveling!
I'm excited about the new connections I have recently made. I think networking and creating a sense of community is important. Just by showing up, going to events, it's led me to connect with really interesting people and provided me with new opportunities.
So how did you start Think Outside the Cloth?
It was a project I started because I was working a full-time job and I had this strong need to unleash my creativity. I had a friend who had started her own fashion blog and seeing her going out, working on projects, and writing inspired me to want to start my own website.
I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to take it, but then I became aware of my friends complimenting me on how I was able to put together outfits, and ever since I was little I always liked crafting. I dove head-in and started seeking creative inspiration from anywhere I could. I began taking photos, developing, and writing fashion DIY (do-it-yourself) projects and content for Think Outside the Cloth.
What have been some big lessons in having your own site?
Just because you build it doesn't mean they will come. It takes a lot of hard work and consistency to push content. You have to understand which audience you are speaking to, know where they hang out, and figure out what they find valuable and interesting.
Also, look and pay attention to insights, if a page or post on your website does well and gets a lot of traffic, try and figure out what made it work and apply it to new content.
Any fun "wins" or moments you're particularly proud of with your own journey and the site?
I am proud of taking risks, and traveling on my own. Solo travel is something I had always wanted to try, and I was really happy once I did it. It opened me up to new experiences and allowed me to really grow outside of my comfort zone.
Also, starting Think Outside The Cloth led me to work with one of my first social media clients, and that was very exciting for me.
Following you on Instagram, you always seem to be in a new city. How do you choose where to go next?
I use Flight and Travel Facebook pages to seek out great flight deals. I don't have specific criteria, and I will honestly travel almost anywhere. If the price is right I will book it!
Any tips for people wanting to create their own content?
There is a formula I came across from a YouTuber and Entrepreneur, Alex Ikonn that I try to apply whenever planning and creating content. The formula QVCA stands for:
Quality – Your content doesn't have to be super high-end but make the most of the equipment or tools you have and put your best effort forward.
Value – Give your audience or followers complementary tools, tips, resources, advice or strategies that can help improve their lives.
Consistency – Create content regularly (at a minimum once a week). Creating a content calendar and sticking to it can help. You also want to review your content to ensure that it is consistent with the look, feel tone, and with your brand or area of focus.
Authenticity – Be yourself, and don't be afraid to show the world who you are.
What are some of your favorite books and podcasts right now?
I am always on the hunt for good podcasts and books. I often shift around what I listen and read, but currently my favourite podcasts and books are:
The School of Greatness – The host Lewis Howes is super inspirational, he has overcome a lot of adversity, and his interviews with guests are always open, honest and humble
Risk! – It’s a very candid, uncensored, raw storytelling podcast where different people tell stories from their lives
The Business Leadership Podcast – The host Edwin interviews leaders from different industries on their career paths, and each episode offers actionable career advice and insights
What can we expect from you in the new year? Any resolutions?
When creating my resolutions I like to take a piece of paper and write everything I want to do or accomplish within the year. I then take the piece of paper and hide it, and I do not look at it until the last day of the year. A few things I will likely write on the list this year is to try scuba diving, go work for a few weeks in a foreign location, grow my business, create more video content, volunteer, and have 4 pack abs.