I honestly don't even know where to begin with this...
For some reason my mind keeps going back to my college apartment bedroom, sitting at my desk and scouring the internet for leads and sources on clothing brands instead of being in class... yeah, I did that... but hey, these ARE confessions after all, right?
I started this blog quite blindly. All I had was a lot of free time and this infatuating feeling that I NEEDED to be surrounded by this fictitious world. If Bella Swan was irrevocably in love with Edward Cullen, I was irrevocably in love with the Twilight Saga. I'm convinced to this day it had to be the same feeling.
My mind is a little hazy as to the process that lead me to the blog. I guess you can say back then were my days as a human, and certain things seem very distant to me now. I believe my thoughts were along the lines of - I NEED TWILIGHT - I'LL COSPLAY TWILIGHT - I NEED A PLATFORM TO TALK ABOUT COSPLAY - I CAN HAVE TWILIGHT FRIENDS?! -
Okay... so I have a blog... now what? Where is a girl who has zero knowledge on clothing and costuming supposed to go to find info like this? My first source?
At the time this was the ONLY other Twilight clothing blog that I was aware of, and had stumbled upon it only weeks after creating mine. It was a great blog that taught me a lot about the clothing/ costuming world and its community! It taught me that there WERE other people out there who were interested in the same crazy thing I was, and that I would be able to find family in all of this!
So I started blogging... and started collecting! It wasn't too long after that that I was trying to come up with ways for the blog to be more engaging. People were commenting on posts but that was it. I wanted more. Better yet, I wanted to find people who I could cosplay with. I decided the "Whats in your closet" page would be the perfect way to find other Twilight cosplayers. People would submit their cosplay photos with their name and a little bio and I'd post it to the page! To get it started I actually reached out to a cosplayer in Germany and asked if I could post their photo in case no one actually ever sent photos in.
I was in the middle of class when my email popped up on my laptop that I actually received a submission. Don't ask me what the class was even about that day because for the remainder of the time my head was in my laptop emailing this person back and posting their incredible picture to the page.
Who was the first person to submit to the page? Our beloved Vee, of course!!!
I literally still have all of our emails. There were hundreds. Actually... if any of you sent me emails from the OG blog days... I still have all of those too (some of them make great blackmail with close friends...)! I've saved every single Inside Bella's closet email I've ever received from someone. I never had the heart to clear out or delete just in case I had to reach out to someone in particular, or really just simply for the sentimental value. Every email was an interaction I had always wanted with a Twilight fan. Is that weird? Probably.
More and more cosplay submissions came in, along with emails from people tipping me off on clothing they'd come across in stores. I would post their tips (and credit them) and then rush to that store to see if I could find anything (of course!). It was then that I learned not everyone was able to access the clothing that was still available in stores and online. international shipping wasn't as popular, and a lot of brands only shipped within the U.S and that was it (not even Canada)!
I offered a free service on my blog where I would help international people purchase items and then ship them to their home. The first person I ever helped was Maria from Spain! We talked quite a bit and I can remember sending her a lot of different clothing items (mostly alts).
Neither of us knew it at the time, but Maria played a big part in shaping who I am as a collector/cosplayer today... And it all happened with a gut wrenching mistake I made that had me sick to my stomach for days...