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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, September 27, 2012

'Why Don't You Have More Subscribers?'

Iam often asked this question via Youtube messaging and while I try to answer each person as thoroughly as possible without getting too wordy, I thought a little blog response might be a good idea.

Lisa Freemont Street on Youtube started back in 2008, shortly after I had gone 'platinum blonde' and was avidly researching authentic vintage hair settings to compliment my new color.

I started the channel as a means to document my adventures in hair styling, but also because the vintage oriented channels on youtube at the time seemed to be geared towards very different hair types than mine (Ilovegerardo was the only girl who regularly did vintage styles back then and her hair was super long and thick). My hair is fine and very straight, making setting it imperative. I also realized quickly that heated sets didn't give my style much stamina.

In keeping with my love for silent movies, I decided to try shooting my tutorials without any spoken instruction. After all, my kids are loud (I had three at the time) and I knew having a few minutes of quiet time would be tricky. Instead, I sped up the video footage and added music. Music and classic movies are a passion of mine, so it seemed a no-brainer. Of course, I knew NOTHING about copyright stuff back then. I just knew that the right music coupled with my videos about vintage hairstyles seemed to work. All of that seemed to come together most successfully in this video, which to date is still one of my favorites:

People seem to like my videos, which improved a bit once I figured out lighting, camera placement, and video editing. I felt like a little independent film director. Companies started sending me things to review, which was extremely flattering, so product reviews soon followed as well as cooking videos, Pin Up features, and fashion reviews. I also was able to purchase a better webcam eventually, so the quality of my videos improved over time.

So why don't I have more subscribers? I can't really answer that question completely, but I am flattered that people feel I SHOULD have more. :) So I'll try to let you in on what I feel holds me back from having a larger audience, and why I'm fine with it.

1. Target audience: My target audience is obviously limited. Vintage style, especially using authentic techniques, is not something that is in the mainstream in most communities. Though there are many professional hair stylists with youtube channels and many of them create gorgeous retro INSPIRED looks, most of them do not take the trouble to do so in an authentic way. Not only is this in the interests of time, since heated irons and setting options facilitate styling so much more efficiently, but it also gives a decidedly 'current' look to a style. After all, authenticity lends itself to what most fashion experts would term 'costumey'. And most people choose to avoid that. So naturally, retro styles with a modern flair are what the general public would prefer.

2. Youtube Partnership: I used to have no opinion of the youtube partnership program, which puts popular videographers on the 'payroll', so to speak. You don't get a fee to actually make a video, from what I understand, but you receive a set percentage based on the amount of times your viewers click on related ads that Youtube places around your posts and channel. If you have an enormous audience like Michelle Phan, you can see how this could result in quite a little income. For someone with a smaller audience, the payback is reportedly small. I really don't know because my opinion of the partnership program has lowered significantly since I originally learned of it and I now have decided opinions about the amount of control that they exhibit over their 'partners'. Either way, I have no interest in becoming partner and therefore I miss out on a lot of the promoting that Youtube does on behalf of those who choose to join the program. Partners also seem to support each other as part of an elite club of sorts, which I appreciate. However, those who are not partners also give each other plenty of props and I credit many of my fellow youtubers for my current viewership. You know who you are. :)

3. Copyright Strikes: This one is the kicker. And it's the one feature of my channel that I'm most militant about protecting. Since the beginning, I have used some of my favorite music as the background of my videos. While I'm sure some artists may not want to be affiliated with a gal doing her hair on camera, I strongly feel that most artists and record labels want to get the music out there by whatever means possible. Even if it's a somewhat questionable platform. There is some GREAT music out there that is no longer available, some that has fallen by the wayside, some that deserves to be resurrected. A lot of it's not even that old; it just doesn't get air play and MTV no longer cares about music (different rant; different time). So I thought Youtube was a great way to get the music out there to the people.

At first, my videos were muted or pulled sometimes and I was very disappointed. I would upload with new music, hoping for different results. Over time, I noticed that more and more labels were starting to 'allow' the music, as long as an Itunes link or ads were placed by the video. This seemed like a win-win situation for me, since I truly want my viewers to purchase the music, above all. When the music is not automatically 'allowed', I can technically appeal to the Fair Use portion of the Copyright law, which states the the use of some material can be considered lawful if the person is receiving no payment for distributing the content and if they are using the material for the purpose of teaching. This is a gray area for me, but I'll take it. And this reason continues to be a driving force in my decision not to start getting paid for my videos in any way. A person who has any copyrighted material in their videos does not qualify for partnership anyway, and that's fine with me.

Over time, I developed some great contacts with amazing musicians and artists willing to 'donate' to my cause and allow the use of their music. I'm so thrilled to have their support and continue to appreciate their generosity. In return, I hope that being featured on Lisa Freemont Street has helped some of them gain a few more fans.

Well, that's about the size of it. While I appreciate all of your concern for my slow grow on Youtube, I truly would'nt have any other way. I see the results of huge fan bases on Facebook and in the sordid comments left on many of the most popular Youtubers' channels. I will continue to support those folks and I am super excited to see other great vintage styling channels getting more popular, like that of Cherry Dollface, who is a great teacher and one of my favorites. But I can clearly see that there are definite perks to having a smaller, choosier audience. I can respond to individual comments, form relationships with many of you on Facebook, actually get to each one of your requests! And I'm steadily building a little business based on your continued support. Most importantly, I can keep up with the growth and rearrange my schedule around it. As it stands...I'm happy.

So in answer to your question, the title of this blog post, 36,000+ subscribers might not be 5 million. But it's just the right number for me.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Sponsor Salute!- September 2012

Iknow, I know. You need another reason to shop like you need a hole in the head. But singing the praises of Lisa Freemont Street's lovely sponsors is one of the perks of having a blog! So you will read the following and you will love it, ya hear me?
Make sure to stop by Queen of Heartz, your one-stop-shop for vintage inspired clothing with a classic flourish. While the size range is considerable, don't forget that any of the fashions can be cut to fit if you are in need of custom attention. In addition to their tried and true styles, they are now offering menswear as well!
You probably recognize the gorgeous Fleur DeGuerre over there to the right, in that snappy little ad for Heyday Clothing. While the styles are more limited than some lesser quality vintage reproduction lines, Shona's designs are nonetheless eyecatching. I love the level of ease with which they can be worn; no fancy underthings required! Make sure to check back often to her facebook page, since she tends to have great sales regularly.


Remember that trusty pin curl tool I mentioned in my pin curling videos recently? It's still available at the Vintage Hair website. Make sure to visit and check out their other offerings as well.


Kelly Grace Art is continuing to impress. Not because she is still selling those dandy likenesses of yours truly (bless her heart), but because her style is unique and inspiring, to say the least! Often she can be seen at local art festivals and featured online, where her retro tints and tributes receive major attention.

Make sure to visit her facebook page, by clicking on the above link or on the ad to the right. There, you can see all her new pieces as they progress, as well links to purchase her work.
Last but not least, don't forget to visit The Darling Plum, where Ursula Gibbons continues to crank out adorable clothing and accessories for women AND children. I'm especially loving her aprons!
Can't you just see yourself standing there in the kitchen, cooking bountiful feasts for your upcoming family festivities in one of those charming retro kitchen prints? And there are matching ones for the daughter of the manor!

I hope all of you will visit the sites above and by doing so, show your support for Lisa Freemont Street and the great little companies that keep me in the pink!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Muddy Roots 2012... My Thoughts

The 3rd annual Muddy Roots Festival again graced the hills of Cookeville Tennessee last weekend. Though I've been able to visit the festival for its prior two years, I have never been without the kids. The prospect of enjoying two days ( I didnt get to stay for Sunday) of great music and a night sleeping under the stars with my husband was an exhiliarating one, to say the least.

We arrived Friday evening and scoped out a camping spot, most of which had already been taken. The event takes place in a large open space in the Tennessee hills, a spot called the June Bug Ranch. Hard to find, but worth the drive. While there is a permanant stage at one end of the field, the area is otherwise free of obstructions and provides excellent accoustics for the scheduled performances. Camping takes place in a wide circle surrounding the stages and vendors, without any real order or structure to it. It's pretty much 'first come, first served', with the spaces closest to the tree line going first, and the rest of the tents slowly closing in on the main strip. Car clubs and traveling buddies tend to set up close together, forming tight little communities for the duration, and this year the organizers made it possible for small air conditioned cabins to be rented as well. These latter structures were roughly made of new wood and smelled like a gerbil cage. A quick glance inside revealed a tiny bunk or two and not much else. I couldnt help but think of Cool Hand Luke.

Most of the attendees opted for a tent or an RV and quickly set up their camp in time to catch the first acts. We were anxious not to miss the Dirt Daubers and their signature old timey sound, which has been featured in several of my videos. Even with a few technical difficulties, they didnt disappoint.

Friday's weather was lovely and mild, hot and humid as always, but not many bugs and no rain. A blessing considering last year's gully washer. I wore my cowboy rain boots and a white eyelet sundress from Delia's. It turned out to be an ideal fashion choice and although the nights weren't nearly as chilly as prior years, cotton is always a great option for humid weather. My hair had been rolled in pillow rollers before I arrived but the humidity quickly made an end to any curl that was left. So I twisted the back into a ponytail and threw some flowers in it. The victory rolls (you can't see them in these pictures) stayed around all night.

Vendors this year included healthier food options, lots of bohemian creations for sale, really good coffee (really!), and even some delicious flavored moonshine (that apple pie stuff was deadly). For those who may have forgotten their own.

Other Friday acts included legendary performers Little Jimmy Dickens and Don Maddox who were warmly welcomed by the crowd, consisting of loyal fans and fellow musicians alike. As the blue moon rose, more great music closed out the evening. Dale Watson (pictured above left)delivered an amazing performance, churning out traditional country like only he can. His mellow vocals perfectly blended with the atmosphere, creating a mood that can only be described as contagious. Wayne Hancock also played an incredible set, crooning 'California Blues' and 'Juke Joint Jumpin' into the Tennessee night air like a lullabye. It wasnt quite time for sleep though, since the 2nd stage was just getting itself prepared for an attack from the Legendary Shack Shakers! Again JD Wilkes terrified and thrilled the audience with his insane antics, proving once again that he is one of the world's greatest front men. It was an explosive way to end the day and though I've seen the Shack Shakers many times, they seem to always give something new and exciting to take away from a performance.

We settled into our deflating air mattress for the night, after I made myself feel a little less sticky and 'out of my element' by removing all makeup and rolling up my hair. Yeah, that's how I camp.

Saturday morning, we woke to cloudy skies and the promise of rain. The night was sticky and a shower sounded great to my friend Moose who was camping alongside us. Thankfully, hot showers were available to all and we trooped across the field to wait with other sticky patrons, wondering if the rain would beat us to the punch. On the way back, we found that coffee was available with almond milk and sugar, thanks to the vegan-friendly vendor whose name I forget though I stopped there no less than 6 times during our stay. No, I'm not vegan, but healthy food is always a plus when one has access only to a port-a-potty for 2 days. They offered delicious smoothies, hearty breakfast burritos, and cheesy potatoes with curry as well.

Thankfully, the rain held off and the day ended up being a bright and sunny one. I threw my curly hair into some combs a'la my Festival tutorial, added some flowers, and did some quick sun-burn resistant makeup before enjoying my breakfast and
with a beer. Yep, I do beer for breakfast when I camp. Give me one good reason why I should'nt?

Today,I wore a black jersey knit dress I found at the Bass Outlet for 9.00 and some comfy old sandals I usually reserve for theme parks. By 5pm my feet were so dirty I could have kicked myself for not heeding my own advice and sticking to the boots. I had also found a great big floppy hat at the Bass Outlet...marked down to 6 bucks from 49! It proved to be a LIFE SAVER by the hottest part of the day.

Speaking of fashion, I happened to catch the end of Valerie June's performance. She is a Memphis based singer with a bluesy rootsy vibe. I liked her music, but I LOVED her style. She had these amazing dreds that were styled into rolls and curls. The effect was very 'Medusa'-esque. Not to mention she was flawlessly accessorized and absolutely gorgeous.

Just after Valerie came one of my most anticipated sets of the weekend, Sean and Zander.
Sean Wheeler (of Throw Rag fame) and Zander Schloss (The Circle Jerks) performed last year and were extremely memorable. I adore the way their voices mesh and the song writing is great. Zander's solo performance of 'Song About Songs' never fails to move, and Sean has a gift for audience interraction. Check them out, if you haven't already, since the music is folk influenced but almost impossible to describe. Moose and I were lucky enough to catch a photo with both fellas after the performance(and after I had changed yet again, into pig tails and a playsuit, to accomodate the heat).

Yeah again, the fashion thing is fun at Muddy Roots. You see all types. I love snapping shots of random folks who are hot and not in the mood for a photo.

I also need to mention that the 'ginger beards' were everywhere this year. I think they're taking over the planet. Kinda hope so.

As the day drew to a close, the music got progressively more high-energy and dynamic. I was thrilled to see The Hillbilly Casino deliver one of the best performances of their career, that I've seen. Sandwiched between the insane stage shows of ANTiSEEN and The Reverend Horton Heat, they not only held their own; they stole the night! They were my favorites of the fully packed and enjoyable weekend; and you'd think I'd be sick of them by now.

Though we had intended to leave by midnight, we still managed to stick around for Slim Cessna's Auto Club, blues man L.C. Ulmer, and a few songs by the good Reverend before we called it a night.

I'll close this by saying that even though the showing may have been slim for the first two years, the third year of the festival proves that people are finally embracing this celebration of Roots music and all its derivatives. It's great to see such a well organized event making a name for itself, not only for being held in the state responsible for much of the music it applauds, but also for paying tribute to such a wide variety of genres and ages.

Next year, I'm bringing my own toilet. ;-)