Susana Fernández has an MBA in marketing and a Ph.D. in leadership theory and human resources development administration. Fernández teaches graduate business courses at two universities in Florida. Before teaching full-time, she worked in higher education for many years, and has also worked in public relations, television, and written professionally for a newspaper affiliated with The Chicago Tribune. Fernández’s undergraduate degrees are in broadcast journalism and public relations, with a minor in French. Given her background in communication, a microphone and a camera still make her the happiest person on earth!
“I am quite multicultural,” says Fernández. “I have lived in Latin America and Europe before coming to the United States to finish my studies. When I moved to Miami, Florida, and without really planning it that way, I ended up staying…” — And in 2011, she decided to enter the blogosphere with A Key to the Armoire and A Key to the Pantry. After seeing her unique approach to blogging, we knew we had to sit down and learn more about Susana Fernández, the blogger.
When did you start blogging and why did you decide to start?
I started blogging on October 9, 2011 after following some personal style and cooking blogs for a while. Most people don’t believe me when I say that I’m shy, but I am VERY shy, so the whole idea of opening a blog was a bit intimidating to me. Nevertheless, many people had suggested I start one, and usually asked for shopping or dressing advice, as well as for recipes, so I finally conquered the fear and decided to start mine. Also, I have always had an interest in anything creative, especially because it provides me with an outlet for self-expression, and opening my blogs gave me a perfect tool for this.
What’s the story behind your blog title and slogan?
A Key to the Armoire: Chronicles of my Personal Style
I own an antique armoire, which I have in my room, and I feel it really captures the essence of who I am: classic, a bit old-fashioned, organized, reserved, full of memories, and lady-like. When I decided what would be the focus of the blog, I knew I would be sharing personal aspects, while at the same time, it would serve as a platform to showcase my closet–except the word closet was too utilitarian, especially because my style is the result of years of collecting pieces, so armoire fit much better. Armoires are much more personal and private than closets, and that was another aspect I liked about using that visual. I also love keys, and armoires usually have them. By giving you the key to my armoire, I was trying to establish a virtual friendship, much like when people are given the keys to a city. Besides, I had “stolen” a very old key from my grandparents’ home, and I wanted to feature it to honor and remember them in my blog. The key that appears on the heading is the real key from my grandparents’ home in Spain. It is over 300 years old!
With regards to my slogan, “Chronicles of my personal style”, I chose that because I don’t want people to see me as an expert–I’m not!–only as someone sharing her views on style with them. This is my story; my diary of what I wear. I’ve always loved history, and love when we can peek back in history thanks to the documenting efforts of someone who chronicled something that maybe was considered mundane at the time. Thomas Jefferson is my absolute favorite president, and the fact that we are able to know so much about colonial times thanks to his detailed accounts of trees, weather, food, and other practices has always amazed me, so this is my little historical contribution to how a normal woman dressed in the early 2000s.
Once I had the title for my personal style blog, the other two came easily. To maintain a “branding” continuity, I kept the visual of the “key” in the title. For the cooking blog, a pantry was the natural choice, and for the writing one (which has yet to debut) a secretaire also fit, as both elements keep contents protected and private under lock and key.
How would you describe your blog’s style as far as its look-and-feel, writing style, positioning?
I hope my blogs reflects who I am. That is very important to me. I am a classic person, who enjoys dressing in very lady-like fashion, and likes to cook and bake from scratch. My brother, Alberto Fernandez, was the one who designed my blogs for me, so when I discussed with him the elements I wanted to include in the design, I feel that he captured that essence perfectly!
I love the ethereal nature of butterflies, and the poetic quality of ribbon and keys, so he obliged and kept them in mind while brilliantly designing the site for me.
For the cooking blog, he captured my love for tableaux, so I arranged one and that’s what he used. In terms of my writing style, I hope to come across as a genuine person. It’s always hard to strike a balance because you don’t want to sound pompous or stuck up, and yet you are describing your own style or sharing your choice of food or decor, which automatically is sort of presumptuous, so I try to share how I came up with something instead of focusing too much on how much I like it. Also, I feel very weird giving advice because who says that the way I do it is right? That’s why I always try to explain what I did without necessarily giving much advice. Another aspect that I try to infuse in my blog is a bit of trivia or an educational/informative slant…what can I say, I’m a professor after all!
Regarding positioning, I have a very clear perspective on fashion, which is that you don’t have to constantly buy the latest trend to look put together. Most of the personal style blogs out there are simply advertising space for the latest products in stores. I don’t want my blog to be a part of that. I want people to buy quality pieces and keep them for many years, combining them in multiple ways. I don’t share the mentality of use once and throw away, so I don’t want to be positioned among fashion bloggers who incite you to constantly shop. Instead, I want people to be creative with what they have. Also, most personal style bloggers are pretty young, and I’m not as young, so I offer personal style for a different demographic that may not be as interested in the latest fads, but in more professional and tailored looks.
With regards to the cooking/lifestyle blog, the same is true. I want people to see how easy and rewarding it is to make things from scratch, to experiment, to improvise. I also hope to make people think about the kinds of memories they connect to food, so I share mine to start the dialogue.