Sophie McGuire is a 17-year-old blogger living her best life in Highland Park. You can find her shopping at Highland Park Village, taking pictures for her fashion blog, Much Love Sophie, or for her Instagram, which has close to 16,000 followers.
We asked McGuire to meet in a thrift store at the back of a store complex next to a pet feed store, so she could put looks together for us ratty folks who don't know designer names from French menu items.
Genesis Benefit Thrift Store is hidden in a back parking lot and doesn’t have much of a storefront. It has moving trucks with boxes scattered about, second-hand furniture placed at random in front of the doors, while every sign is faded. McGuire doesn’t quite know where to go, pulling up from her house in Highland Park a few minutes to the north.
The fashionista shows up in a lacy white dress and bright pink shoes, with purple eye shadow placed expertly around her lash line. She’s bright and sunny, and as she makes her way inside she already makes every old thrift shop find feel like new. McGuire doesn’t thrift often, and she’s never been to a thrift store in Dallas.
“Usually I will shop online off other blogs. I like to shop Evolve, Shop Bop, Brandy Melville, Zara," she tells us. "I think it’s definitely an eclectic mix of stores.” But McGuire shows enthusiasm toward the idea of thrift shopping, having been to a few shops in California and now being pleasantly surprised with Genesis Benefit. She gets even more excited when commenting on the store’s cause, the Genesis Women’s Shelter for victims of abuse and sexual violence.
“Where should we look? Should we start in the back?” she asks while scanning the room. Her eye first goes to the shorts rack with the instinct of someone very aware of seasons.
“I love the style from like the '60s and '70s. You can find little styles and little gems from, like, those time periods and incorporate them into your style now. And it’s also exciting because nobody else has what you have,” she says, happily diving into the color-coded display of shorts. “Like all this neon right here, all the '80s vibes, all that is coming back.”
Even strangers shopping nearby can tell young McGuire is an authority on fashion. At one point as the blogger peruses the aisles, someone stops her for advice.
“Is this a dress or a shirt?” someone asks, holding up a bright purple Hawaiian-style top that seemed to hang long.
“I think it could be either,” McGuire replies, with the confident tone of someone who was talking to a close friend rather than a stranger, to whom she offers further advice. “But you could tuck it in if you want it to be a shirt and you can wear it longer if you want it to be a dress. I like it, that’s a good find!”
A few years after she had first started blogging at age 13, RewardStyle reached out to McGuire to be the youngest influencer on their platform.
RewardStyle, as McGuire explains, is a way for bloggers to monetize content and their platforms through sharing clickable links that have embedded codes, so that if a follower clicks on it to shop for an item, the retailer provides a percentage of the sale price as a fee. "This is such a hard thing to explain,” McGuire says with a laugh, pausing to take a breath before continuing. “Essentially, it’s a way for bloggers to make commission off of what the bloggers are selling or showing.”
With RewardStyle, bloggers are equipped to essentially be vehicles for curated shopping and are set up to earn a commission off the sales they drive, making it a useful tool for these influencers to turn their passion into profit.
“I think it’s cool to, like, share it with my friends so they can shop for, like, prom dresses and their workout outfits and all that kind of stuff on the blog too,” McGuire says.
Like other bloggers, McGuire often gets sent products from companies who want her to promote them. “I do get sent things,” McGuire says, “but usually if someone has sent me something, it’s a brand I usually love and I feel aligns well with my brand too. If I am posting it and sharing it, I want my followers to look at it and be like, OK, this makes sense.”
But though she gets sent free things every once in a while, her job is still a job, she says.
“I’m always working," McGuire says. "I think blogging is always working and putting up stories and sharing things and posting, but I’d say like three or four hours a day of planning, emails, research, just a creative process and photo shoots. So it’s definitely a lot of different aspects, which I love so much.”
McGuire says the biggest misconception about bloggers is that their content is spontaneous.
“I definitely think that it’s not just taking a pretty picture,” McGuire says. “It’s all of the planning and all of the details that go on behind the scenes too that people don’t realize.”
But what about the oversaturated blogger scene? Nowadays seemingly everyone and their cool mom has a blog or an influencer-type of Instagram, which feeds a growing stereotype of bloggers having it easy or being fake or filtered in every sense of the word.
But McGuire isn’t worried about misconceptions.
“There’s room for everybody at the table, to be completely honest,” she says. “And everybody’s going to be really different in how they want to express themselves, but I chose to do it in the way that I like and in the way that makes me happy and to just share my personal self, and if someone else wants to share themselves, they totally can and that’s awesome.”
In the end, McGuire’s favorite part about her job is the community it brings.
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“My favorite thing that makes me so happy is when I get a letter or a DM from a reader or someone who has found my page and they feel like they are more confident and learn more about their own personal style, or they found a prom dress that they love and they send me a picture of them wearing it,” McGuire says.
After combing through more racks, she stumbles on a faux denim and white polka-dotted jumpsuit with a thick black belt. At the line to the dressing rooms, most of the customers have their arms full of things to try, but McGuire stands there patiently with her one item. She knows what she likes.
“And it’s only $12? That’s insane!” McGuire says, gasping. When a dressing room finally frees up, she throws on the bargain and steps out smiling. “It’s actually so cute,” she says.
McGuire doesn’t end up purchasing the item, but she leaves the store with a vow to come back soon. She doesn’t take off the jumpsuit before posing for a picture. And dang, she’s really good at pictures, almost like she’s a professional.