Jaime Ridge talks to Danielle Clausen about taking her digital brand on the road
It’s early on a Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles and Jaime Ridge is about to fly home to New Zealand after four months of jet-setting. But before she does, she’s enjoying one last hurrah — lunch with friends at slick seaside restaurant Soho House in Malibu. She slips off into a quiet spot to take our interview over the phone. The 24 year old has recently turned her fashion and lifestyle blog Dillondot.com into her full-time focus following the completion of a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in commercial law and marketing at Auckland University and two years working in beauty PR. Now more than ever, the lines between work and play are becoming blurred.
“I’ve had so many incredible opportunities this past year and I’m working with brands that I have only ever dreamed of,” says Jaime. “I really feel like everything I’ve strived so hard for is starting to come to fruition and I’m doing what I was made to do. Which is to create and collaborate with amazing brands who in return reach my loyal audience. I don’t just wear beautiful clothes! ”
Jaime’s international stint has seen her touch down in London, Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Milan and Hong Kong — which is where I met her in October along with several suitcases of items from Louis Vuitton’s 2018 Cruise collection. After our photoshoot, she headed straight back to Paris to catch the tail end of the spring 2018 fashion week circuit that she’d been following around the globe and documenting on her blog. It was a glamourous job, but required no shortage of grit. Working from 7am to midnight most days, Jaime says the most surprising part of the experience was the intensity of it. “I wasn’t just attending shows, I was creating original content for my channels and content for my clients,” she explains.
Jaime doesn’t identify with the term ‘influencer’, instead approaching her work out of a love for creating things. A long way from The Ridges
— the reality TV show that, back in 2012, first made Jaime a household name — since founding Dillondot in late 2015 she’s carved out her own niche in the luxury market both here and abroad. Brands she has collaborated with include Estée Lauder, Tiffany & Co, Dior Makeup, Moët and Chandon and, most recently, Louis Vuitton.
“Luxury to me is a lifestyle. It’s about the art that goes behind it. People are so quick to say, ‘I can’t believe you’d spend that much on [a luxury purchase]’. But to me a luxury item is an investment — I will have that piece for forever,” says Jaime, adding that she really looks after her things. “All my shoes are constantly being resoled, I take my handbags to be restored.”
This combination of grace and gratitude is Jaime to a T, and it’s demonstrated again when she’s asked who in the world she would most like to sit down to dinner with. “The list is so long!” she laughs. “It would have to be a dinner party, and I would host it.”
With plans to spend the summer back home in New Zealand, a dinner party or two is no doubt on the cards. As for what 2018 holds, more 17 hour days are certain, but the rewards of growing her brand are sure to be as fruitful as ever.
“It’s pretty amazing, you tend to forget, you know? I see what I do as a full time job, as my business, and it feels normal. It’s not until you stop and take a moment that you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m actually doing what I’ve always wanted to do.’”