Many people underestimate the fashion industry and write it off as “fluffy” or imagine it to be dominated by a group of stiletto clad bitches (otherwise known as the clackers in the Devil Wears Prada). So this term the OxStu will be running a series of interviews with people involved in an array of jobs in the fashion industry that involve specialisms ranging from history to law to chemistry.
It seemed right to start with the foundation of many modern careers in fashion, blogging. Having a blog is a non negotiable part of any wannabe stylist, writer or designer’s repertoire. This is primarily because creating a blog is so easy thanks to sites like Blogspot and WordPress. However, being successful at blogging and making it a career is a feat that only a few achieve. It is essential for showcasing your ideas and opinions. Making these ideas stand out is the difficult part. A poorly put together blog can be a bigger turn off to employers than not having one at all. But how can you be a fashion blogger and be anonymous?
I spoke to anonymous fashion and lifestyle blogger, Brighton Girl Problems (whose blog amassed half a million views just a year after the idea was born!) With a penchant for fake tanning and contouring BGP is the archetypal 20 something struggling along but aside from her brilliant commentary she’s something of an enigma. Her podcasts are dubbed to make her voice far deeper. She very rarely posts pictures of her own styles. This mystery allows her to deliver posts with brutal honesty which brings a huge dose of humour that many other bloggers simply can’t achieve. In a world that is saturated with pretension it seems that the secret to being a popular blogger is to not take yourself too seriously.
What made you start the blog?
I started my blog as a follow on from my twitter. It was a platform to talk all things beauty, fashion, food, girly advice and more. I’ve always loved writing and as I built up views I knew it was something I wanted to stick at.
How did you build up your followers and how long did it take for it to become successful?
I have only been doing my blog for a year, and BGP for 18 months and have only seriously been doing my blog for around 6 months. I started off with the twitter so this helped to build up the following of the blog. It definitely wasn’t an overnight success and only in the recent months has it gotten to the level where I can do it as a full time career – I’m very lucky for this to happen early on, as it can take a lot longer.
What do you think is the secret to your success?
I think people see me as very real. I don’t put on any airs and graces, my blogs are the sort of things you would say to your friends as you’re getting ready for a night out and people like that.
Your blog is anonymous, have you found any negativity easier to take because of this and is it easier to be honest?
I think each person deals with negativity in their own way. A lot of my first blogs were very jokey and tongue in cheek but as the blog has grown they have become more serious in certain ways. My main forms of negativity do come from males as I don’t think the things I blog about connect with them as much. It is easier to be honest as I’m anonymous, I can open up a lot more about certain topics which I think my readers appreciate. I’m not honest because I’m anonymous though, I’m anonymous because it’s how my blog and twitter both started and it just feels right. I get called Gossip Girl and Bridget Jones and a modern day Carrie Bradshaw which is lovely but at the end of the day I am just the girl next door sharing her experiences in the world of love and beauty and fashion.
You started up the BGP store, how else can a blog be profitable? Is the blog now your full time job or do you work as well?
There’s lots if different ways that you can make your blog profitable if you have the determination to work hard. Marketing, advertisement and brand sponsorship are just a few ways but that takes time as you need to reach a certain stage before you can turn it into a career. I currently do have another job however my hours have slowly been decreasing as BGP grows, and I am hoping to be able to commit to BGP full time this year, as blogging is a full time job once you reach a certain level and it’s becoming a bit of a struggle juggling everything on top of my blog!
You’ve expressed your dislike of kitten heels and clear strap bras but what is your number one fashion and biggest beauty faux pas?
I think my biggest fashion issue is when someone wears a top which was once white and is now grey. I just hate it! It’s so obvious. My biggest beauty problem is when people wear a darker foundation than their skin but don’t tan their body too – I always wear a darker base but I make sure my body is the same colour! It’s surely just standard isn’t it?
The blog started off quite fashion/beauty orientated but is now more personal, you’ve also turned into something of an agony aunty. Why is this and was it easy to change the focus?
My blog still contains a fair amount of fashion and beauty, which is my passion but I did a few break up blogs and my followers and readers connected to them so much that I slowly started doing more. I get hundreds and hundreds of emails a week from girls, young and older and even a few men asking for advice on all their personal issues and I would love to reply to them all but it’s just not physically possible. I think people see me as a good source of advice – I’m anonymous and I know what I’m talking about (I hope anyway!). It’s very flattering to be someone’s person to turn to but it’s also a massive responsibility especially as my blog grows. It’s easy for me to talk about cheating and break ups and depression because they’re all things I’ve gone through and come out the other side of stronger and as a better person.
Have you had to change your lifestyle much or did blogging fit in with what you were already doing?
My lifestyle has changed in the fact that it’s now more difficult to just experience something without thinking ‘oooo I could blog about that’. Being given brilliant opportunities and contacted by amazing people is a massive honour which has taken some adjusting to but I’m not fully adjusted yet!
What are your tips for starting up a blog?
I would say blog about something you love, enjoy and are passionate about. And if you are just blogging for money then it’s not likely you’ll succeed – most successful bloggers started out of loving writing and what they were writing about and then it spirals into a career if you’re lucky. Be patient and stay focused. Be your biggest fan and your greatest critic.
Finally, what plans do you have for the future of BGP?
There’s all sorts of things in the pipeline but at the moment I’m just trying to write the best blogs I can and listen to what my readership wants. I have lots of great ideas and I can’t wait to watch my blog grow with time. It really is something special seeing all your hard work and dedication pay off.shion