Friday, June 12, 2009

Interview with the Ultimate Budget Fashionista: Kathryn Finney

"The Budget Fashionista" Kathryn Finney (see photo) has turned her blog into a media company and widely popular brand. The shopping expert extraordinaire has been profiled by The New York Times and other top tier media outlets across the country, spoken at conferences like SXSW Interactive and authored an Amazon best-selling book.

She took some time out of her busy schedule to speak with Fabulously Frugal about how she created a brand from a blog, her frugal tips for fashionistas (she abides by them, too) and her upcoming projects.

What prompted you to start The Budget Fashionista? What was your inspiration?

“The Budget Fashionista was started from a love of fashion and a lack of cash. My inspiration was really being broke after an amazingly "fabulous" wedding and trying to figure out how I was going to pay my bills and live the life I wanted to live. My husband works in tech and mentioned that I should look into starting a blog because I loved to write and loved to shop.”

You've turned The Budget Fashionista into a brand -- books, podcasts, speaking opportunities, TV appearances, etc. Did it originally start just as a website and take off from there? How were you able to turn yourself and your advice into a lifestyle brand?

“When I first started The Budget Fashionista, I had no clue that it would get this big. In 2003, blogging was very new and even Google was pretty new. In fact Amazon hadn't even turned a profit yet and most people thought that the internet was not a viable business model.

“The Budget Fashionista gained traction by staying true to who we, and most importantly, who I am- a real woman with real budget issues. By being myself and not trying to be something or someone else, I was able to build a successful brand and a sustainable business.”

Do you follow your own advice when you shop? What are some of your favorite Budget Fashionista tips that are particularly applicable given these tough economic times?

“Again, being a sustainable brand is about truth and I don't think The Budget Fashionista would be as successful as it is if I was rocking $3,000 Carlos Falchi handbags. I do shop on a budget; I love the Salvation Army and Goodwill, and I cut coupons. I am known for being the queen of coupons. The tip I use most is the cost per wear- which is the price of an item divided by the number of times you think you'll wear it in a given period. So if something costs $100 and you wear 100 times in a year, you're cost per wear is $1. I try to shoot for a cost per wear of under $3. This forces you to focus on value not just price. Who cares if you got something for $5- if you never wear it you just wasted $5.”

What advice do you have for young, fashion-forward individuals that will allow them to look and feel fabulous without breaking the bank?

"Sample sales. Sample Sales. Even Intermix has sample sales at the Met Pavillion on 18th. Check out The Budget Fashionista for a list of the hottest sample sales and then when you're finished head to the outlets or to shop in NYC like Gabays.

"Really style is NOT about what you wear but how you wear it."

Any upcoming projects, books, etc. in the works that Fabulously Frugal can share with readers?

“The new book is coming out hopefully in 2010 and lots of TV. I really have a lot of fun doing TV cause I am originally from the Midwest and we love to chat.”


  1. Kathryn is Awesome and TBF is the bomb.. How did you score an interview with her?

  2. In my budgeting tech I do make sure to shop online, and finding deals and codes before jumping to that. I love my fashion collection from Boston Proper and Proper Coupon Codes always give great savings to me. Fashion in frugality!