Interview with a Fashion Expert: Heather TJ-Palmer

Most fashion bloggers just post pictures of themselves in fabulous outfits. Well, Heather TJ-Palmer does that too. But, her pics also feature her adorable pug, Chloe Bisou! That means her blog, The Stylish Bisou, provides tons of fashion inspiration (for both humans and dogs!). Read on for the inside scoop on how Heather manages to be constantly fashion-forward - and what items she’d take with her if she were stranded on an island!

Your blog, The Stylish Bisou, follows the fashion adventures of you and your super stylish pug, Chloe Bisou. Can you tell us a little about where you got the idea for the site?

I had been ghost writing and blogging behind the scenes for a variety of companies for several years. It dawned on me last year that I have a voice too; I love fashion, I love styling, I love dressing up Chloe Bisou, so I thought, why not express myself creatively as well? I’m also a firm believer in creating opportunities for myself. Jobs in the fashion industry are very competitive and hard to come by, so by managing this blog, I’m able to create my own opportunity to love my job.

Your background includes an education in fashion merchandising and business, a bachelor’s degree in communications/PR, and 2 (!) master’s degrees. You also work as a social media consultant by day. How have these experiences influenced your blog?

I’ve always naturally loved fashion, but I felt that I wouldn’t be taken seriously unless I invested in myself and got an education. Although these paths of education and other career choices have diverted me away from fashion, they’ve all contributed to how I manage my time, organize, set goals, build relationships, and to how I write.

Since you’re a social media master, do you have any tips for our fans who want to step up their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram game?

1) Engage with people!! I don’t just mean thanking a person every time they make a comment on your Instagram post or when they retweet you. I mean, scroll through your feed, follow new people, and if you like something, comment on it. Maybe commenting won’t start a conversation right away, but somewhere along the line you’ll start to build relationships, and you never know where a positive relationship may lead you.

2) Social media is a crucial marketing tool for businesses, but so often small businesses get discouraged and give up too quickly. It’s important to remember that social media is like a muscle. Just as you wouldn’t go to the gym once and expect to have six pack abs overnight, you can’t do a month of social media and expect results. It takes patience, perseverance, and time. I manage a couple of clients who I started from the ground up on Twitter and Facebook. They are coming up on their two year mark and just NOW are starting to get a great group of followers and meaningful engagement on social media. It takes time, folks!

Who else is rocking social media right now? And who could use your services to improve their approach?

Hamilton Pug (@hamiltonpug) does a fantastic job. He’s caring, he gives back, he’s cute, and he does a great job across all of his social media channels. The #pugchat that he started, which is on Wed. 7pm EST, often trends too.

One company that really impresses me is Nordstrom Rack. They do an excellent job of engaging and making their shoppers feel special. They actively seek out people who’ve said they had fun shopping or posted pictures of their shopping trip and engage in conversation with them. They repost people’s pictures in IG, they retweet, they thank people for shopping at The Rack. Heck, one time I was having a conversation with a Twitter friend about Nordstrom Rack being dog-friendly and they chimed in to agree! Great people are behind that social media!

Your pup, Chloe Bisou, is featured prominently on the site, and she’s always dressed to the nines! What are some of your favorite places to shop for dog clothes?

Pugs are difficult to dress, and not every dog clothing brand’s “large” is actually large enough for Chloe’s sturdy pug frame. We thankfully get some really fashionable pieces from an Italian designer who sells on Etsy as “Pimp My Pug Italy.” We also think that Stinky Wear on Etsy, is a good place for “squishy face” breeds to  get custom clothing. And then, silly as it seems, I keep my eye out for cute things in the children’s section at H&M and TJ Maxx. There are often cute tutus and dresses that I can easily alter to fit Chloe appropriately.

Your daily fashion diary showcases all of your amazing outfits. The best part is that many of the items you wear are super affordable. What’s your strategy for mixing high-end and discount pieces?

It’s a combination of:

  • Knowing when it’s okay to spend a little more money,

  • Where to find deals on stylish items,

  • and seeing the potential in clothing.

I’ve loved shopping my entire life, starting with my childhood where we thrift-shopped. I still love thrifting, because it challenges me to truly envision the beauty and potential of an article of clothing, to make it modern and stylish again. That being said, I allow myself to spend more money on handbags, shoes, and jackets… all items that I know I’ll use multiple times throughout the course of a year or two (or longer).

You have more than 5,000 followers on Instagram. What’s your secret for taking such awesome pics?

My secret has two names: Chloe Bisou. Lol! I attribute everything on Instagram to her darling, squishy face.

You’re also currently rocking a killer hair color. Where does your beauty inspiration come from?

I get inspired by anyone who takes bold chances with their style but makes it look classy, feminine, and fashionable. People like Nicole Richie or Kelly Osbourne who were some of the first to rock the lavender hair color - or even someone like Helen Mirren who is in her 60’s and rocked bubble gum pink hair - are so inspirational to me.  

Every pic you post shows you looking fabulous, but there must be days when you don’t get all dolled up! What is your go-to casual, comfy look?

For sure! That’s the misconception I want everyone to realize about being “stylish.” The fact of the matter is, we aren’t all stylish every hour of every day. I look terrible at the gym, horrible when I’m climbing out of the ocean after boogie boarding, ridiculous on a day when I’m deep cleaning the house and even funnier on Sunday mornings when I lounge with my pugs. My go-to comfy look? In the winter: cotton leggings, an oversized Adidas sweatshirt and thick socks (my feet are always cold), and Uggs. In the summer: a plain, loose cotton dress and flip flops.

You’re stuck on a desert island. What are the 3 clothing items you’d take with you? (You can pick 3 for Chloe Bisou too)!

If we were stuck on a stylish island (hehe), I would take a turban - which sounds odd, but trust me, they are chic and stylish on anyone and the absolute best way to hide a bad hair day. I swear by them!

Next, I’d have to pick a dress. I think, as women, that we’re so blessed to be able to wear dresses. It’s the easiest way to look stylish without a lot of fuss - it’s just ONE piece of clothing after all!

The last item I’d bring, assuming that we’re on an island and that it’s warm, is a bathing suit so that I can swim all day.

Chloe Bisou would be more practical than me and bring her favorite pink hoodie - we both get cold easily, so she’d fare well to have a sweatshirt.

We couldn’t be stuck on an island without her having at least one tulle tutu to prance around in.

And lastly, she too would want to swim with me, so we would take her doggie life jacket.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Anything else you want the CouponPal readers to know?

Thank YOU so much for having us! Chloe and I will be busy this year. We are launching a weekly YouTube video called “What The Stylish Bisou Pug Loves” which will feature any five things (fashion-related, dog-related, etc.) that we’ve loved from that week. We’ll be announcing the debut video soon, so stay tuned for that.

I’m also offering virtual styling services starting soon, which anyone, any age, from anywhere can partake in. While I love working in social media, image consulting and styling have always been my end goal, and I’m so pleased that this year I’m finally able to offer it. Details on that will be available soon as well.

Other than that, we plan to be doing a lot of events, shopping, dining, and having fun in the Southern California area!  

Like this interview? Check out the rest of our Interview with an Expert series. Have a question for an expert or someone you want to see interviewed? Tweet your suggestions with #Experts to @CouponPal!

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