Business of Fashion

Fashion Mega-Influencer Blair Eadie Has Made Sarasota Her Second Home

Eadie, who has more than 1.4 million followers on Instagram and just launched a collection with Nordstrom, shares the secrets to her success, the trends she's most looking forward to for spring, and why she loves Sarasota.

By Megan McDonald November 8, 2018 Published in the January 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Editor's note: Blair Eadie's second collection for Nordstrom drops today, Oct. 10, at Nordstrom online and in select stores. A holiday collection is also forthcoming. Click here for more. 

For those of you wondering: Blair Eadie—the fashion blogger turned mega-influencer and now part-time Sarasota resident—is just as cool in person as she seems on the Internet. (And she's just as beautiful and friendly, too.)

But more than that, she's whip-smart—a proud University of Florida grad who can pivot from talking about fashion trends to business and marketing in the same breath. 

Eadie, 33, started her blog Atlantic-Pacific in 2010 while she was working as a merchandiser at Gap, Inc.; she went on to become director of merchandising at Tory Burch before leaving to run Atlantic-Pacific full-time in 2017. Along the way, she picked up 1.1 million Instagram followers, 217,000 Facebook followers, 53,000 Twitter followers and 3.1 million monthly viewers on Pinterest. She's also partnered with a Who's Who list of brands, including Nordstrom, Harry Winston, Gucci, Sephora, Range Rover and Veuve Cliquot. 

This fall, Eadie lent her fashion sense to her own collaboration with Nordstrom. Atlantic Pacific x Halogen—a 150-piece collection that includes clothing, shoes and accessories— launched Oct. 22, and Eadie's followers were quick to scoop up the merch: many of the pieces sold out immediately, and limited sizes remain in the rest. (You can shop it here.) The collection, which comes in sizes 00-24, is full of colorful, printed, feminine pieces that mirror Eadie's own style—exactly what she wanted, she says.

And while her permanent residence is currently New York City, Eadie's now a part-time Sarasota resident—in 2017, she and her fiance, Andrew Powell, bought a 1920s cottage in Sarasota that they're currently renovating. We caught up with Eadie on one of her visits to town and asked her about everything from her thoughts on Sarasota style to her collection to the trends she's most looking forward to for spring. Here's what she had to say. 

Tell us about your Sarasota connection. 

I grew up outside Fairfax, Virginia, but my great-aunt had a home on Anna Maria Island, and my parents bought and renovated a 1960s home on Siesta Key. This was our little spot to come for the holidays, and we fell in love with it like everyone else does. Last year, Andrew and I were looking at listings, and one popped up for a 1920s cottage—we put in an offer and got it. It's a home we plan on having forever, and we're going to try to get down here once a month or so, but we haven't quite figured out how to pivot full time because so much of my work is tied to being in New York.

Have you always loved fashion? How did you turn it into a career?

I've always put time and money and energy into what I wear. My first job was at the mall, and I spent all my money and employee discount on clothes. When I went to UF, I studied political science. I loved my major but I was like, "What do I do from here?" One of my sorority sisters had gone into Gap Inc.'s Rotational Management Program [RMP] and she told me she thought I'd love it. You learn merchandising at Gap, product development at Old Navy, and inventory planning and management at Banana Republic—it's a crash course on the retail industry, and it's a good balance of business and creativity. There's not really a clear path in fashion—everyone's like, "You have to move to a really expensive city and intern for $6 an hour and hope you make it." That was not my ideal situation!

After completing the RMP program, I lived in San Francisco, working in merchandising at Old Navy, from 2007-2012, then moved to New York in 2012. I worked at Tory Burch for five years—first on ready-to-wear, then on accessories. I loved living in California, but the East Coast felt like a homecoming.

How would you describe your style?

Quirky, feminine and colorful. I try to evoke elegance, with a polished approach but also a side of irreverence. I want it to be fun and approachable, but I also love an over-the-top, dramatic moment.

What's a typical day in the life of running your blog? 

There's not a typical day! I still do run a traditional blog, even though you can have a much bigger audience on Instagram these days—but I have dedicated blog readers and I want to keep up that part. My business is about 60 percent true partnerships—so, for example, a blog post and an Instagram post for a brand—and I have a lot of long-term partners, like Nordstrom. From there, it moves into rev-share—for example, my collaboration with Nordstrom, which was a very big opportunity, or the nail polish line I did with Sephora two years ago. Then there's attending events, hosting events or traveling with a brand somewhere to promote an idea, place or experience—always through the lens of fashion.

For me, though, it's important to make sure I diversify not only my business but also my reach—keeping up with the blog and different social media channels, and making sure I'm doing each of those well, but also providing different value on each of them. Hopefully, on the blog you'll see something different than you do on Instagram. 

I also want to continue the relationships with brands I've worked with for a long time, but also be open to new partners; people who are just entering the space. You work with so many different people and clients—in New York, there's in-house PR, out-of-house PR, or you might work with a third-party agency. There's a lot going on! That's why I try to create long-lasting relationships. When you're in lock-step with your partners, it just becomes more fluid. If I had 10 new clients every month, it would be so much work to onboard people and explain how I work, as well as adjust to their timeline.

And Atlantic-Pacific is just a two-person team—you and Andrew.

Andrew also worked in fashion, and he ended up leaving his job around the same time I left mine. I have decided to keep the business very tight because it's so fluid right now. For example, last year we were traveling a ton, and then one day, American Express was like, "Can you do this partnership in Hong Kong? Can you leave on a Thursday?," and I was like, "Yes, I can, but I have to be back on Saturday so I can only be there for 24 hours." And this year, we also had the collaboration with Nordstrom, so I was going back and forth to Seattle a lot.  I don't feel I can set up a Monday-Friday, 9-5 work environment—you have to be nimble. But we've made it work.

We also have an amazing net of people who help us—it's just Andrew and me doing it full-time, but my brother is a graphic designer who went to Savannah College of Art and Design, so he helps out, and I have videographers that I've met through other brand partnerships. I reach out to people strategically. Anyone who's managed a team or an employee knows there's a lot that goes into it, and I see that as a big responsibility. I want to make sure I set someone up for success. 

Tell us about your collection with Nordstrom. How did that come about?

 Nordstrom has been a partner of mine for almost seven years, and they've always been at the forefront of working with influencers. They buy brands but they also create brands, like Halogen, and they approached me in January 2018 about collaborating on a collection. Having worked in the industry, I know how complex it is to start your own line, so they were the perfect partner—plus, I knew they were inclusive and kind, and had a great online and in-store shopping experience, favorable shipping, quality products and best-in-class marketing. Their brand ethos overlaps with mine in a lot of ways. And from the very beginning, I said, "Here's my mood board and my line sheet for the styles I want." I didn't want to work with a partner who was like, "Here are the sketches we've already done, you can put your color spin on them or choose a button." It's a true collaboration, which is great. 

Give us some more info about the pieces in the line.

There are about 150 pieces—apparel, footwear, accessories and some lingerie, like camisoles and slips. One of the unique things about it is that each and every piece can go together. And one of the biggest compliments I've been paid through the whole process is when people see the line and say, "It's so you!" I put a lot of styles into the collection that are a little bit out there, like the triple-bow blouse and the tulle skirts, but the styles that went the fastest were some of the most over the top.

It's inclusive sizing, too—sizes 00-24.

Yes! I think inclusive sizing is something everyone is moving toward, but not quite quickly enough. Nordstrom tends to embrace things early, and when I asked them about some of their other goals, even outside our collaboration, they talked about inclusive sizing. So I said, "Great, that's what we should be doing," and this is their first out-of-house influencer collaboration to offer it. 

Would you do another collaboration like this?

It's funny, people often ask, "Where do you want to be in five years?"—you finish one thing and everyone's like, "What's next?!" My answer is I don't know, because I might want a job that doesn't exist yet. If you had told me five years ago that this is where the industry was going, that influencers would be creating their own fashion lines, I wouldn't have believed it.

Editor's note: Clearly, this has changed! Eadie's newest collection for Nordstrom drops today at 12 p.m. EST. Click here for more. 

You have 1.1 million followers on Instagram—do you ever feel pressure from social media?

I started my blog when J.Crew was in its heyday—you could wear 10 necklaces and 20 popped collars and it was so me, all maximalism and color and print. Then we went into this androgynous, minimalist phase, and I was like, "Oh no, I don't like any of this stuff." For six months, I started wondering if I was obsolete, or if I should change my style. There was a point where I got way off course, but now I try to stay true to my personal style and what I do best. 

You keep your personal life under wraps on social media, too. 

There's a trend to real-time sharing right now, and while there's not a right or wrong way to share, for me the reward is just not worth the risk. But you do see how people really connect to someone who shares a lot of their life, and the intimate details of their relationships or their struggles. I don't share that same deep, personal connection with my followers because they don't know a ton about me, but at the same time, they're there for fashion. It's about recognizing where you fit in the space. 

What trends are you most looking forward to for Spring 2019?

For so long, we were in that minimalist phase, but we've come back to a place that's more maximalist and feminine—Gucci was one of the designers that brought it back, and the most recent Dior show had all this ballerina tulle. It's always more exciting when we're back to "more is more." I also think it's interesting that, especially in accessories, we're moving out of the logo trend and toward more quirky, cool shapes—like the basket bag trend. It's more about shape, color and material than a logo. Brands that have been catching my eye are Staud and Ganni, out of Copenhagen.

How about beauty trends?

I'm not a beauty guru—although I love beauty—so it's cool to hear someone say, "These are the skincare products you should be using," then be able to go online and watch a video about how to actually use them. Video is the No. 1 trending medium across social media right now, and I love hearing the people I follow who are amazing with beauty talk about different products. Also, as I'm getting older and have found my beauty uniform, I'm more excited about what's happening in skincare and anti-aging; it's less about the true color and pigment beauty, and more about how I can keep my skin soft, and what is going to help me.

Finally, how would you describe Sarasota style?

One of the cool things about Sarasota is that it's become more of a melting pot of people who've been attracted to the culture and the restaurant scene. You can walk around and think, "Oh, this person looks like she used to live in the Northeast," or "This person looks like he used to live in California." The style is obviously laid-back, but there are little glimpses of where people come from. I think that's super cool. There's not one singular style.

P.S. During the interview, Eadie was wearing this tweed dress and these shoes in pink, both from her collection.

Filed under
Show Comments