Creating Looks for Less. Meet Kimberly Smith Of Penny Pincher Fashion


Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I'm Kimberly Smith, Owner of PPF Media, Inc. and full-time blogger at Penny Pincher Fashion. I’ve been married for 17 years to my high school sweetheart and we have two kids (ages 13 & 9). We live in Fairport and though we’re not native to this area, we absolutely love upstate NY

What are you passionate about? What makes you tick?
Obviously, I have a great love for beauty and fashion, but what I’m even more passionate about is helping women look and feel their best. I never could have imagined the amount of women I would get the chance to connect with on a deeper level because of my site, some of them have become life-long friends.

How did you get started? What were some of the difficulties you faced in starting?
Initially, I began my blog as a hobby six years ago. The industry wasn’t nearly as saturated as it is today and I wasn’t even aware that I could make a living blogging. I just wanted a creative outlet to focus on while my kids were in school each day. The biggest hurdle when I was starting out was growing and maintaining a loyal following. I was and still am much more interested in readers who are authentic and engaged than in just amassing sheer numbers.

What is your biggest regret?
Not being more selective about the brands that I partnered with. This is something I’ve been much more intentional about as time has gone on, I’ve decided that I’d actually rather make less money each month than take on every single campaign that comes my way. I never want my site to come across as advertisement after advertisement. It’s so much more important to me to be honest about the products I regularly use and the stores I truly frequent when I’m not being paid for it.

What is your best advice to someone just starting out? What advice do you wish someone had said to you?
Make sure you absolutely love the work because a paycheck isn’t guaranteed.  Don’t ever compromise your integrity for a project, even if it means turning down significant income, you will lose standing with your audience and it’s not worth it. Stay true to yourself; be honest; choose a grace-filled response even when you’re being attacked and always say thank you.

How do you find balance?
This is an area where I’ve struggled to find success, but in the last year, I started setting boundaries for myself. Instead of making work the priority and having everything else end up neglected, I began creating a schedule at the beginning of each week to ensure I’m carving out time for family, church, friends and exercise. Even if it means I have to work a few late nights after the kids are in bed, it’s worth it to develop a more healthy balance so my job isn’t soaking up every hour of the day. I’ve found I’m so much happier and at peace when I make time for the things that matter most.

Lettering by Jill Taft of Tiny Ruby Designs

What is the most challenging part of running your business?
Balancing my work and personal life. I never set out to be a working mom but when my husband lost his job 4 years ago, we had to quickly adjust to make my blog profitable enough to meet our financial needs. When there’s a tight timeline for a campaign or extra work around the holidays, it’s not uncommon to work 60+ hours a week. Those are the seasons that are really difficult, I want to produce the best content that I can for my readers, but I hate missing out on so much time with my family.

What is your favorite part of what you do?
Connecting with other women, it’s such a great feeling when I get the chance to help someone find something that they’ve been looking for (for less) or when I can share my personal struggles/experiences to encourage others.  Some of my most worthwhile interactions have happened behind the scenes and those mean far more to me than showcasing what I’m wearing each day.

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Name some local creatives/business owners that you really admire.
I’m a big fan of Scratch Bakeshop. I was one of their first customers when they opened and it has been so amazing to watch their business grow & flourish. They have been so smart about utilizing social media and getting their fans involved.  They also happen to have the best gluten-free treats in all of Rochester!