Tuesday 11 December 2018

From Kerry to Manhattan: How Erika Fox created her one-woman industry 'Retro Flame'

Fashionista, from Kerry, is one of the many young Irish taking New York by storm

Ambitious: Erika Fox has built her own fashion blogging empire using social media platforms
Ambitious: Erika Fox has built her own fashion blogging empire using social media platforms
Glenbeigh's Erika Fox is making a big name for herself across the pond in New York City
Erika Fox, 5A Digital

Colm Flynn

When Erika Fox began tapping away on her computer writing about fashion, only her mother, sister and a few close friends bothered to read it.

She was just 19, studying at college, and her "office" was her bedroom in her native Co Kerry.

Seven years later, and Erika is a one-woman industry after swapping picturesque Glenbeigh for the high-octane energy of Manhattan.

Erika has struck that elusive seam of social media gold with her hugely successful blog and website, Retro Flame.

She has become a digital influencer - a blogger whose tips on fashion, interiors, fitness and food have become a go-to tab on the laptops and mobile devices of tens of thousands of young women around the world.

In the city that never sleeps, she has become part of a new vanguard of young Irish who have found new ways to realise the American dream.

Traditionally, the Irish have made their mark in the construction industry, the police force and the hundreds of bars dotted around the city. But today there is a new generation of young, ambitious and hard-working Irish who have made New York their home. Times have changed, and today many of the young Irish here are working in jobs and pursuing careers that didn't even exist a couple of years ago.

"I can't believe how big it's become," Erika told me.

"At the start, it was just my mam and sister and a few friends reading it and now it's tens of thousands."

But what started as a blog has developed into a growing social media empire, with Erika now sharing content on YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat to 100,000 followers.

"Retro Flame is a fashion and lifestyle website which became my full-time career here in New York last year," Erika added. "Up until then, I was working in marketing for a big NYC fashion brand, but as Retro Flame began to grow and my income from my hobby began to outdo my income from my job, I knew I had to make the leap.

"The possibilities are endless in a city like New York. I've always wanted to work for myself and have always been very interested in entrepreneurship, so it's been an amazing journey so far building a brand from scratch. I have a manager based in LA and it's been great to work with Google Maps, Jo Malone, Michael Kors, Land Rover USA and many more brands over the past year.

"As well as my website, I also launched a YouTube channel this year which now has nearly 10,000 subscribers. I also post daily on Instagram (@retroflame), Twitter (@retroflame) and Snapchat (@retroflame1).

"My sister Kaelin joined the Retro Flame team here in New York late last year and we have more plans than ever for the next 12 months. It's definitely a very exciting industry to be in right now."

The Nationwide New York Special, presented by Colm Flynn, will air on RTE One tomorrow, Wednesday and Friday at 7pm

Sunday Independent

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