Mochi Chats With Street-Spotted Founder, Caroline Tseng

Caroline-for-AboutWhat started off as a project for a senior class at New York University has become a highly-talked about blog that puts the spotlight on fashion-forward college students. Starting off at NYU, Street-Spotted captures street fashion on college campuses, showing how you can study hard and look your best, too. In our exclusive interview with its founder, Caroline Tseng talks about how it all started. When did Street-Spotted launch and who are the founders? Street-Spotted launched on July 23, 2008, and it started off as a class project, actually. The four founders are myself, two of my group members, Candice Madan and Steve Patuwo, and my friend Ian. Steve, Ian and Candice were doing it more for fun and have moved onto different things, so things are headed by yours truly now!

How did this blog come about?  I pitched the idea of Street-Spotted to my Senior Entrepreneurship Seminar class at NYU. Steve and Candice loved the idea and joined my group. I had developed the basic idea of Street-Spotted in my Entrepreneurship Web 2.0 class the semester before and bought a domain name for the site already. Since I love entrepreneurship in general, this was my way of making my idea a reality.

What motivated you to start Street-Spotted? The idea for a college street fashion blog came from being inspired by each NYU student's ability to look ridiculously put-together every single day. Every day! Rain or shine, exam week or welcome week, weekday or weekend. I like to call the sidewalks of NYU "concrete runways." NYU students are definitely unique in their caliber of creativity and commitment to looking fabulous all the time. Street-Spotted was started as a way to recognize these incredible looks that were constantly loitering our sidewalks and classrooms.

How difficult was it to start your own blog? Buying the domain name, figuring out the host (ours is Bluehost), and starting out with Wordpress were pretty simple. Actually designing the site was an entirely different story. I had a lot of trouble figuring out what theme to use and how to customize different parts of my site so that it reflected the image we wanted to portray. I did an unreasonable amount of research and ended up using a theme called thesis theme, which allows you to make adjustments to your theme without knowing any HTML. Wee!

How many hours per day do you spend working on this site? My schedule is almost humorously irregular, but on my super-focused days I can spend up to 12 hours on the site. Other days are spent scouting (2 hours) and posting (1-2 hours).

Max Street-SpottedStreet-Spotted has been featured on Nylon's blog, and Time Out New York. What is your reaction to your blog’s growing success? I feel extremely lucky and excited whenever I see that we've been mentioned or recognized by ANYONE (e.g. being asked to do this interview!). To know that someone out there appreciates all the hard work you've put into your dream project...there are few things better. I can only hope that with all the projects we have for the coming school year (new iPhone app, Street-Spotted store), that we'll be gaining more traction in the fashion blog world.

What is your ultimate career ambition? My ultimate career ambition for Street-Spotted is to make it the place to go to see the most updated styles on campuses all across the U.S. I also want to be a pop star.

How would you describe your own fashion style? Funktastically fearless.

What are three words that describe yourself? Effusive, fair and ballsy.

Who are your favorite designers? My favorite designers are Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel and Ralph Lauren but most of my clothes are from Urban Outfitters, Taiwan/Korea and American Apparel.

Out of all the college students featured on your blog, which outfit was your most favorite and why? I have quite a few favorites so it's hard to pick one, but one that comes to mind is Max because his look was SO HIM. Even in its casual simplicity, he wore it with complete ownership and comfort.

Any words of inspiration to people who are interested in starting their own website/blog? Do it! You have absolutely nothing to lose. It's easy once you get the hang of it, and it's super fun. It might be hard at first when it seems like no one's appreciating what you have to say, but stick with it, post often, and you'll slowly start building a community around something you love.

Photo (top) of Caroline Tseng, courtesy of Caroline Tseng; photo (bottom) of Max, in one of Caroline's favorite Street-Spotted styles, courtesy of Street-Spotted