Fran Bacon (full name Frances just like “Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner” Houseman) is the Fashion Writer, Stylist and Brand Consultant behind The Fashion Lift blog. I first met Fran at Donna Ida in 2017 when we were playing dress up with a pair of star jeans. Fast-forward four years and she’s gone stratospheric with a number of successful collaborations under her belt. This includes designing a cashmere collection for Wyse London (their fast selling to date) and developing her own shoe style, The Fran, for Marks & Spencer (which quickly sold out). Throughout the years, she has worked with a number of other big brands in the fashion space, including Ted Baker, Jigsaw and Kurt Geiger.
I’ve always been intrigued by Fran’s industry background, which means her views on fashion are rooted in years of hard work. Her sleek, effortless approach and ability to take catwalk trends and transform them into functional high street style has been the key to her success online; she has amassed over 93 thousand followers on Instagram alone, where she shares her daily outfits with her followers.
In this interview, I ask Fran all about her background, creating The Fashion Lift brand, her USP’s including Shopping with Fran, and all about her design collaborations.
NakedPRGirl: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Fran Bacon: I am originally from where I live now a village in Surrey. I left to go to uni, lived in Hampstead in my 20s, Wimbledon in my early 30s and moved back to my hometown when my daughter was two.
NakedPRGirl: What did you study?
Fran Bacon: I studied English Literature at the University of Kent, fun times and not a lot of work done, to be honest.
NakedPRGirl: I know you worked in fashion buying, how did you get into that and did you enjoy it?
Fran Bacon: I left University and went to work in the City in HR for an American bank for five years, the money and social life was crazy good, but it wasn’t my thing, I was desperate to get into buying and be creative. I quit my city job travelled around the world for six months and when I got back to the UK, I spent a small amount of time doing work experience in the This Morning fashion cupboard, this helped me get a job as a Buyer’s admin assistant in John Lewis, I started at the very bottom and worked my way up.
NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your business, what is the idea behind it?
Fran Bacon: My business started as a means to an end if I am honest, I had given up my job when I had Jess as she was poorly as a baby and I was unable to juggle travelling and looking after her, she was my priority. I wanted to get back into fashion so started my blog Schoolrunstyle when Jess was four and it took off and after a while grew into The Fashion Lift.
NakedPRGirl: How did you come up with the business plan? And name? Who did your branding for you?
Fran Bacon: I have never had a clear business plan, I always had one in my head which I didn’t really talk about which was to build up my brand and start designing my own range, but I never truly believed I would achieve it. I came up with the name The Fashion Lift as I wanted it to reflect how the right clothes can give you a little boost and make you feel more confident.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your USP?
Fran Bacon: I guess my Shopping with Fran feature is my USP, as I worked in John Lewis fitting samples with garment tech for years I have a good understanding of fit and fabric and hopefully can select the best items available. I only ever feature items I would be happy and often do buy myself. Also my designs for brands give me a USP too.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a particular career highlight that stands out?
Fran Bacon: Designing my bow shoes for M&S was a major highlight, I was involved in every aspect of the process and went to every meeting about them to make sure they looked and fit just how I envisioned. I was delighted (and gobsmacked) they sold out in 1 1/2 hours and were subsequently reordered by M&S and sold out again. Also, I absolutely adore designing with Wyse London it’s such a fun creative process and again get huge satisfaction that it sells out consistently. I’m working on a fun project with another brand at the moment so cannot wait to see the end result!
NakedPRGirl: What’s your personal style? Have you had to look at marketing yourself as a brand? For example, I love your Carrie Bradshaw-esque profile picture!
Fran Bacon: Thanks so much, without a doubt Sarah Jessica Parker as both herself and Carrie Bradshaw’s is my ultimate fashion icon! My personal style is pretty laid back with a big dose of puff sleeve and high necked blouses. I have thought about changing The Fashion Lift to my name as it’s used on all my designs, not sure, what do you think?
NakedPRGirl: How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years?
Fran Bacon: It’s changed a lot, blogs started as platforms to share ideas with very little or no money making potential and have grown into businesses especially since Instagram exploded on the scene.
NakedPRGirl: Where do you see it evolving in the future?
Fran Bacon: I am not sure to be honest, Instagram is such a powerful marketing tool for both businesses and influencers but I think there is a tipping point when people will find it too saturated with the same messages or ideas. There is definitely a shift towards more organic, less curated idea/life sharing on Instagram stories.
NakedPRGirl: How do you use social media for your business? What’s your favourite social media channel? Do you have any social media tips?
Fran Bacon: Instagram is my favourite, I curate my feed so it‘s inspiring, I follow fashion, travel and interior Instagram accounts and really enjoy scrolling. I love chatting and connecting with the people who follow me mainly by DMs. I use my Instagram to hopefully give people ideas of what to wear, for me it’s not a money making tool it’s still an ideas sharing platform. If you go into Instagram purely to make money it does not work as no one wants to see ad after ad. I know I don’t. Like your question before, it’s important to identify your USP, know what you are good at and don’t take it too seriously.
NakedPRGirl: How do you manage your blog/social media workload – are you a planner and a scheduler? And do you get techy in the back end?
Fran Bacon: Unfortunately, I am not a planner so I spend a lot of time and lots of very late nights researching and working on new designs, and also tend to go with the flow with content.
NakedPRGirl: Who in the industry inspires you?
Fran Bacon: I am really inspired by small fashion business owners, they are incredibly brave and work so hard.
NakedPRGirl: How do you split your time between business and real life?
Fran Bacon: I normally don’t do any Instagram things on a Sunday, after school and the weekends are family time, although I am a night owl so do spend time answering emails etc from 9pm until 2am lots of evenings!
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?
Fran Bacon: Be kind.
NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
Fran Bacon: I would love to be the creative director of a brand or have my own brand.
All images courtesy of Frances Bacon – visit the blog The Fashion Lift.