Rachel Schlather first launched her fashion and lifestyle blog, CLEFashionista, on a whim.
"I worked in digital marketing, and coming out of college I knew nothing about it," says the 26-year-old Strongsville native. "So I started a website where I could play around and learn more about my day job. It just took off from there. People other than my mom were reading it."
Two years later, Schlather (pronounced schlought-er) now works at Rosenberg Advertising in Lakewood by day, and by night crafts blog posts that tackle everything from local fashion trends and sales, to how to pack a bag for a beach day at Marblehead and where to dine and shop along the way.
"It's a two-part mix: Cleveland and fashion," she says about her blog. "I write about things to do in Cleveland, places to eat and drink and hangout, as well as fashion for the every-day Clevelander.
She describes her own style as classic and budget-friendly, two characteristics that have made their way into many of Schlather's posts. "I want it to be accessible, not just runway styles," she says. "I want to offer people options at reasonable price points and give someone who maybe doesn't consider themselves to be 'fashionable' some tricks to try," she says.
While her audience consists primarily of Northeast Ohio women ages 20 through 40, Schlather's site has an even broader reach, grabbing the attention of tourists planning trips to Cleveland, and even some national brands, such as Shopbop and True Religion, who've asked her to test and review their products.
As her blog has evolved, Schlather says she's had to become more selective about the companies she works with, but that by a landslide her favorites are always Cleveland based. "If the company is local, I'm an automatic customer," she says. The Wandering Wardrobe, Banyan Tree, and CLE Clothing Co. are just a few of her favorite local shopping haunts.
"It's an exciting time to be part of Cleveland," she said. "There are so many great events and I've gotten to meet so many cool Clevelanders." Just this February, for example, she modeled in the Hunger Network of Cleveland's annual All About the Bag Fashion Benefit that helped raise over $70,000 to feed local families. "It all circles back to Cleveland, which is awesome," she says.
When she's not being invited to attend events or cataloging fashion trends she's craving on her blog, the local fashionista says she enjoys drinking pinot noir, watching crime shows, and spending time with her husband. She also knows how to appreciate a fine pair of sweatpants. "I wear them every night," she says.