Why this fashion blogger's simple life is attracting thousands
Yael Kimelman is out to promote a realistic perception of beauty. And her message seems to be resonating.
Yael Kimelman grew up in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, Israel. It's from that Mediterranean metropolis that the perfectly polished lifestyle and fashion blogger runs the site Life by B (B is her nickname).
After building up her fashion cred working for Israeli design legends in New York City like Nili Lotan and Elie Tahari, Kimelman returned to Israel to build her own brand. This move proved to be a successful one: Kimelman’s been named one of the top Israeli fashion bloggers by PopSugar. And with well over 9,000 Instagram followers, the blog is an artful look at her views on style, fashion, food, music, beauty, travel and design.
We talked with this bright young mind about how her blog is different from other fashion blogs out there (and there are many!), how she approaches fashion shoots and what she’s currently working on.
From The Grapevine: Where was your interest in fashion first sparked?
Yael Kimelman: One might say fashion is my DNA. In her younger years, my grandmother – who’s still a fashion icon at 90 – worked as a fashion designer for a New York City brand, and though she changed her profession, she continued to design and sew as a hobby. Growing up, I used to spend hours with my grandma: Carefully sketching outfit designs I wanted to own, playing with her shoes and dresses and adding that extra “bling” by accessorizing with her huge collection of jewelry, belts and scarves. For as long as I can remember, I have taken pleasure and pride in defining my personal style and have always received attention due to my sense of style.
FTG: You had some really important experiences during your time in Manhattan. Can you tell us about that?
YK: I spent several years living in New York City and, as luck would have it, the first job I had landed in the city was in the coveted, crazy fashion industry working as Nili Lotan’s personal assistant! I later worked at Elie Tahari, and was thrilled to experience the creative process from building a collection, presenting it to buyers and even working during New York Fashion Week which was a dream come true.
FTG: Why did you feel compelled to start Life By B? How did you parlay it into a full-time career?
YK: My congenital connection to style and styling brought me to constantly search for a source of content and inspiration. I have always taken pleasure in writing – in fact, I majored in journalism. My whole day is comprised of bits of everyday style that I love sharing with my readers. Luckily, people enjoy taking part in my story, and I’m thrilled to receive daily feedback, and to hear and see that my style inspires others. There are bloggers who boast bigger numbers than I, but I pride myself on being genuine and refuse to “shop” for tens of thousands of fake followers. I want to make it for real. The blog and projects I work on are a full-time job for me. My blog’s success has also served as a sort calling card, granting me modeling campaigns and freelance writing opportunities.
FTG: How would you define your blog’s mission?
YK: My mission is to make fashion and trends more approachable for all women, not just for “fashionistas.” This way every woman can adapt trends that suit her personal style and comfort zone, adding a touch of glam to her everyday life. My POV on style is that it’s not only what you wear – it’s everything you do: your hair, beauty regime and general style, as well as your home. I am thrilled to hear from my readers that they are inspired by my clean and easy-going style.
FTG: It seems as though there’s so much competition in the fashion blogging world. What do you do to make Life by B stand out and offer readers something unique?
YK: Life by B isn’t “just another fashion blog.” Like Yin and Yang, the blog is an integral part of my life and my life is an integral part of my blog. Readers get a peek into my personal world, the music I listen to (every blog post is accompanied by a song I selected especially for that post), my home and even my marriage. My husband is a successful DJ, so we are lucky enough to travel abroad frequently and visit desirable locations, collecting inspiration along the way.
FTG: Do you have any favorite haunts or local Tel Aviv boutiques?
YK: I’m a huge fan of street art and enjoy shooting outfits by the graffiti-filled walls around town. Tel Aviv is very easygoing, so I feel my easy, breezy style suits the city vibe perfectly. My favorite boutique is definitely Limka. Conveniently located a 10-minute walk from my house, Limka’s selection of local designers is on point, and she even throws crazy sample sales to sweeten the deal.
FTG: Who are some of your favorite Israeli designers right now?
YK: I’m very much into Bikont Jewelry at the moment, I find her designs to stand out among the crowd. She designs unusual pieces and handcrafts them using sterling silver from her studio. I like Sabina Musayev’s elegant and feminine silhouettes, and Tangens’ fun twist on urban wear. In the shoe department, readers should check out Norman & Bella. I love that her unique designs are made using high quality Italian leather and are traditionally manufactured by local craftsmen in Tel Aviv.
FTG: Fantastic suggestions! So once you’ve identified the brands and outfit you want to feature in a post, where does the creative process go from there?
YK: I like to keep the creative process fairly spontaneous. I don’t usually select a location in advance. In fact, most of my blog posts are shot by my husband in a 10-minute session, and I’ll choose the location according to my mood and the outfit I’m shooting. When I work with photographers, I also insist on keeping it short, sweet and natural. My style is clean and sleek, and I like my photos to be the same: I wear minimal makeup and never photoshop my photos as I like them to be natural. Whether you meet me in person or browse through my Instagram feed, I’m a pretty straightforward person and I deliver myself honestly. I’d never want to be anyone else, anyway.
FTG: That’s a really honest way to connect with your readers, particularly when so much of what women see is in fact photoshopped. How will you continue to grow Life by B?
YK: These days, I’m working on redesigning my blog and am super excited to launch a cleaner, sharper version of Life by B. As a former personal assistant to leading executives, my objective is obviously to create a thriving business based on my blog, and I keep defining goals along the way. It has always been important to me to march to the beat of my own drum and to grow my brand in the way that I believe is right for me, so I stress on carefully choosing the brands I collaborate with and the events I attend. This past year I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with international brands such as Clinique, Kerastase, Courvoisier cognac, Tom Ford and many others, and to have selected by both PopSugar and Elle as one of the leading fashion bloggers in Israel. I’m excited to see what’s next. I’m also thrilled to have been selected as a brand ambassador for Ripple Yoga Apparel. Yoga, and fitness in general, is great love of mine as well as fashion, and though I already write about fitness and mind and body on occasion, I look forward to addressing these subjects more often.
Lindsay E. Brown is the managing editor of Eco-Chick, the web’s first ethical fashion, beauty and travel site for women. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, and Cottages & Gardens. Lindsay has been featured as a fashion and beauty expert on the Veria Living Network. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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