When UVU student Rachel Parcell started a blog to document the first year of her marriage, she had no idea it would develop to be among the top five grossing blogs in the largest blogger affiliate network.
Parcell is the editor of the popular style and beauty blog, Pink Peonies. She is also a junior in communications here at UVU.
Even as a child, Parcell has always had a passion for fashion. While on the UVU dance team, she helped select the costumes and had the chance to design one of them.
When she started her journal blog she had no intention of focusing on style, but when women she didn’t know started asking where she got her outfits, her game plan changed.
Parcell started focusing the photos in her posts on her outfits. Readers began to put the images on Pinterest and her blog traffic skyrocketed. From there, Pink Peonies was born in September 2011.
Now the site gets over 2 million views each month, being an online influencer and digital style publisher has become more than a full time job.
“Conference calls, emails, editing, more emails, concept planning for creativity, more emails, negotiating contracts and a lot of traveling,” Parcell said.
Her inbox is always full, sometimes with about 3,000 unread messages. With that many people contacting her, there is not enough time to respond to everyone.
When you get that many messages, there are bound to be some crazy comments that come in.
“A reader told me that she knew I was pregnant and that I should stop hiding it. Guess it’s time to lay off the cookies because I’m definitely not pregnant,” she said.
Like many other occupations, Parcell attends various conferences, including brand summits, fashion weeks, meetings and design jobs. For these events she has gone to places like Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, even Cabo and China.
“It’s been amazing because I’ve met people I would have never met otherwise and learned so much,” Parcell said.
Being a popular online influence doesn’t come without its challenges though.
“The last several years of blogging for me has definitely had its ups and downs. I’ve grown as a person and also learned a lot about myself. I’ve had to develop a very thick skin and let hurtful comments roll off my back (although sometimes I still struggle with this).
“I’ve seen negativity and even hatred swarming around my little space on the Internet and in the blogging world in general, but at the same time, I’ve experienced so much love,” Parcell said on her site recently.
Despite the gloomy parts, she is still happy with what she does.
“I never would have dreamed I could turn this into my full-time job and make it my main source of income. I’m so blessed to be able to do something I love,” she said.
The inspirations for her posts come from just about everything around her, including magazines, interior spaces, fashion books, food, Tumblr, flowers, traveling and much more.
Parcell has worked with retailers like Tory Burch, Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus, Macy’s, J.Crew and Ralph Lauren.
She has also had magazine features on People StyleWatch, Glamour, Utah Bride and Groom, Seventeen Magazine, Lucky Magazine, Marie Claire, Utah Valley Brides, The Wall Street Journal and Utah Valley Magazine.
So, why Pink Peonies? Pink is her favorite color and peonies are her favorite flower. Both were in abundance at her wedding and since they fit her personality and style, it fit.
Parcell has recently taken a leave of absence from classes due to heavy traveling for business. She said that countless courses at UVU have helped her tremendously. The ones that stand out were photography, Photoshop and journalism classes.
She and her husband, Drew Parcell, met at UVU. With him standing at 6 foot 5 and she at 5 foot 6, Utah Valley Bride had fun writing about their wedding.
“Follow your dreams, don’t be afraid to be different and think outside the box,” Parcell said to her fellow students at UVU.