You know that phrase that gets thrown around a lot – “anyone can be a blogger”?
While that is true to an extent, it definitely takes a lot more to be a successful one.
There are thousands of bloggers out there, so how do you get started, or make yourself stand out?
Luckily a recent fashion and beauty conference gave us the chance to put some questions to the experts. At Simply Stylist, an inspirational US networking event that made its UAE debut at the Kempinski Hotel, we sat down with headline panellists Aimee Song and Sazan Hendrix.
Song is the American blogger behind Song of Style, a fashion and interior design site, as well as the author of Capture Your Style and owner of 4 million Instagram followers. LA-based style and beauty blogger Hendrix, who’s amassed millions of views on her YouTube channel, is also a digital media ambassador for Maybelline.
With CVs like that, who better to ask about the industry and style in general? Read on for their advice…
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What are your top tips for people who want to break into fashion blogging?
SONG: You have to start somewhere and start on the platform you feel comfortable with. I think it’s important to be yourself, but you have to have a goal too. It’s so easy for people to copy somebody else because they are successful, but then you are going to be second best and you’re not going to have that hardcore, loyal following.
HENDRIX: This industry is constantly changing. Find comfort in knowing that it is you versus you. Don’t pay attention so much to your numbers – focus your time on your vision and create rich content. I always tell girls to ‘pretend that there are 1 million people following you, because one day there will be’. Believe in yourself.
How do you deal with criticism of your industry? Recently Vogue.com team published a take-down of bloggers (where they branded them ‘pathetic’) – do you have any thoughts on that?
SONG: When you attract one hater you know there are 100 good people out there. I only talk back when they talk about my sister [fellow blogger Dani Song], but it’s so easy now to shrug it off.
HENDRIX: I was in New York for Fashion Week and I had a meeting with Teen Vogue. I sat with the editors and we talked about how we can together, so it’s not everybody at Vogue that thinks that way. It was a handful of traditional people that maybe were having a bad day and said some things. We’re all human, we all have our opinions. It did hurt a little bit though, and just made me feel like they didn’t see what we did as something super professional.
In today’s world, whatever business you’re in, there is bullying happening in the office so there is enough room for everybody in this fashion industry. As influencers we are handling [criticism] so well because we deal with so much hate on daily basis. As women we should celebrate each other and lift each other up because collaborating is what this industry is all about. I think a public apology should be made.
What do you see the future of style blogging looking like in five to 10 years?
SONG: People will start focusing on fewer platforms. There will be new ones but there will be a different audience. Brands are getting smarter and realising it is not about the number of followers, it really is about the quality of the work.
HENDRIX: The fashion influencer in the digital world changes so quickly. The trend I’m noticing is that a lot of brands are not going to work with you because you have 5 million followers, that’s not going to be a reason any more. They are going to work with a girl that maybe has 5,000 or 10,000 followers, but ones that are engaged and devoted. That’s something that I think is really going to start to grow.
Do you follow any Middle Eastern style and beauty stars or fashion brands?
SONG: I am so mesmerised by Huda Beauty, and it’s not just about her beauty – I also find her very inspiring. The connection with her sister is so special because I have a sister and I love that bond.
HENDRIX: I pretty much died when I met Huda Beauty and her sister. To hear that their roots are in Iraq – where my roots are from – I just instantly felt like their sister. They are going to send me some makeup! That’s a trip highlight for me because she is such a role model.
A photo posted by SAZAN (@sazanhendrix) on
What do you think of the fashion scene in Dubai?
SONG: For the most part, people dress more modestly and because they do that I think it’s all about the accessories, a lot of metallics and bling. And beautiful make-up! I’m so intimidated, their make-up is so on point.
HENDRIX: Before coming here I was looking for things that would be appropriate but would also be fun and colourful and show my personality. It makes you more creative.
What tips would you give to Middle Eastern women who want to dress modestly but without compromising on style?
SONG: You can dress modestly and still look chic, you don’t have to show a lot of skin.
HENDRIX: Here in Dubai they have their own way of fashion. People who go to the mall get dressed up while in LA we wear workout clothes everywhere. Here, I love that they have their own sense of style.
Words: Diana Bell-Heather