Jennifer Palpallatoc, the woman behind the fashion blog hauteofftherack, is a refreshing example of how passion leads to success. Her blog has landed her gigs on live TV, features in ad campaigns and on billboards, and her current job as a Fashion Editor of Dig Magazine. And she’s only 22 years old.
Palpallatoc has always loved fashion, but it took her a while to embrace it as a career path. She went to college at LSU and proceeded to switch majors a number of times, from journalism to theater performance to fashion merchandising. By the time she was in her fourth year, she was a creative writing major, but even then her real interest was fashion. At the time, Palpallatoc was working at a clothing boutique called Park Lane in Baton Rouge, and there she met a designer who had recently launched an Italian shoe line. One of her daughters had started a fashion blog to promote her mother’s shoes. “When I saw her blog, I thought, ‘Why don’t I have one of these? This is exactly what I need!’” recalled Palpallatoc.
Her first post was on February 1, 2012, and from there it took off remarkably fast. “I was really surprised by the way that I started getting so many views, and companies wanting to work with me,” says Palpallatoc. She decided to stay in school for another year to finish her major, but at that point school wasn’t her first priority. She eventually decided to leave, thinking, “I can always go back, school will always be there. But all of the opportunities I’m getting right now aren’t guaranteed to be there later.”
That turned out to be a very good decision, as a number of opportunities have presented themselves to her since she left school. One was a live fashion segment with WBRZ for Valentine’s Day, on which Palpallatoc showed the audience a variety of outfits to wear for the romantic holiday (view it online here). In addition, one of her photos is going to be featured in the May issue of People’s style watch. Her blog has gained her a lot of publicity in the fashion world and connected her to many important people as well, such as the web designer of Frockcandy. The designer followed her blog and asked her if she would be interested in doing their spring ad campaign to help promote their site. She got to be featured on their homepage, not to mention on the billboards here in town!
But the success didn’t end there. Palpallatoc got her current job as the Fashion Editor of Dig Magazine in Baton Rouge, thanks to her blog. The Editor in Chief of the magazine saw her page during a search to fill the recently vacated position and knew on the spot that they had to have her. Now, she writes a weekly article for the magazine, in addition to working at a high-end retail store in Baton Rouge and blogging for commission (which she achieves through advertisement links).
Palpallatoc thinks she might go back to school one day and get a degree, but for now she’s doing just fine without one. “The way I think of it is: there are many different paths to success,” she said. “Not that I would recommend anybody leaving school, but for me it was the best thing to do at the time.”
Part of the popularity and appeal of Palpallatoc’s blog is the wide variety of styles and price ranges that she features on her site. All different types of women are drawn to her page, from high school girls to middle-aged women to the elderly (her boyfriend’s grandmother is one of her biggest fans). She also likes to make a lot of posts about jewelry because jewelry is something that appeals to women of all ages.
After achieving all of this success, where does Palpallatoc plan to go from here? “I would love to just blog forever and have that be my job,” she says. “But I guess my main goal is just to be somehow needed in the fashion industry, whether that’s blogging, writing about fashion, styling, etc. It would awesome to be someone like Rachel Zoe one day, where I have my own TV show, and I’m styling celebrity clients... that’s my dream goal. Even if I don’t get there, though, these experiences are things I will never forget. The fact that I did this by myself and I’m getting such a good response, from both followers and all these different companies, is so rewarding.”
Palpallatoc credits her accomplishments to a few steadfast rules that can be applied to any career path: do what you love, play up your strengths, make use of social media outlets, and network. “You have to put yourself out there,” said Palpallatoc, “and you can’t be afraid. If you’re being 100% yourself, the people who need you are going to find you. That’s how to end up in the right place for you.”
Visit her blog at www.hauteofftherack.com.