They say influencing may be the highest level of human skill and the world is certainly going gaga with the emergence of blogging as a popular culture. Influencing has now become the 'it thing' for youngsters as a viable career option and an interesting way for brands to reach out to their target audience.
Gone are the days when just the celebrities had a strong foothold on the market. Say hello to the 21st-century millennials, who are taking things in their own hands outside the confines of an office and changing the world one post at a time. While many youngsters are now coming out with their own blogs on various social media platforms, top influencer Shereen Bharwani, with 194k followers, begs to differ. Shereen was amongst the first ones to tap the pulse of this new-age medium. Republic TV exclusively got in touch with the blogger on her journey in an unchartered territory and on the changing dynamics of it with each passing year. Excerpts from the interview:
"I come from a fashion background in the sense that since school I knew what I wanted to pursue a career in fashion and it was never really anything else for me. I went to London School Of Fashion and I studied fashion there and when I came back to India I started working as a stylist. I worked for three years as a stylist for Bollywood films and celebrities and then after that, I think you know how everyone wants to move on. I started following a lot of international bloggers. I think Instagram wasn't like what it was back then so I just started websites of other fashion bloggers and how they go about their own personal style. That's something that I found really interesting. I realised I can find clothes from my own wardrobe, maybe use some contacts I made in the styling industry creating looks and talking about my own personal style. When I started talking about my personal style so this took off and I think more and more people started relating to real girls instead of looking at celebrities. Looking at real girls with bodies like us wearing a fashion, it was just a little more relatable. I am 5'1, I am not super skinny but I still love fashion and I love to encourage people."
Not at all! When I was studying in London, I knew that I wanted to do fashion designing. For me a job in a magazine or something in terms of styling. Putting clothes together, putting shoes together small scale or big scale sometimes. I was thinking of art or production shoots sometimes. It was those things that I thought in my mind but I started styling. Blogging was never, I didn't even know what blogging was. One night, I and my husband were sitting and talking about it. I took a break during my marriage for a year and I was starting considering going back to styling then I just started thinking of what different can I do. He runs an IT company so he's a little more inclined digitally so he told me about these things. He told me about some tech blogs at that time so he introduced me to this whole concept that people are doing it and people are talking tech and the same thing is happening in fashion as well. So I started following this blogger The Blonde Salad and a year into my marriage, I saw what she was doing and I saw few others and realised what it was like. At that time, it wasn't even Instagram, I had my domain name and my blog name and we used to put up content on the website. Instagram started growing more in 2014-2015 at least for me. Instagram then took and social media became bigger than what it was then.
We have always been a team - me and my sister so we came together and thought of names. We wanted something very unique, I knew that I wanted to have the word 'love' in it as I really believe in the law of attraction. One of us was sitting wearing a t-shirt with bugs on it, it just came together very randomly. There's no specific meaning to it but it came together very randomly. It wasn't a branding decision, it was very spontaneous and it the moment.
Whenever we do an association or content creation, I make sure that we make the content that works the best for us and my audience because I have been living with my audience from the past four years. I feel like I am in a relationship with them for the last four years so I understand clients and brands and we tell them to just leave it to us. It is difficult sometimes. We do a big filtering process if I am not being able to relate to the brand. I would talk about a brand that I wear or use but if there's a brand that I never wear then there's somebody else who can talk about it.
I started this off as a passion project, I didn't make money on it. I didn't make money on it for the first three years. I think the last one and a half year or two years is when we got commercial projects. I think more in this year only, the last 12 months. For me it was not about being a career option, I was doing it as a passion project. There's an evolution that we all have to take and we all have to make those calls when may be different apps come or different platform comes. We have to predict a little on what's going to happen, adapt and evolve but I am okay if it's not a lifelong profession. Honestly, I think that there is a lot more to it. Even if Instagram wouldn't have been there, I can still produce shoots. Blogging has given me a lot of perks. It's a dream job and I am able to create. I am getting to travel the world, I am getting work with big brands, let's see. Trishala and I, we have been producing shoots besides our own content we do lookbooks for other brands.
Previously my husband would get a little irritable with the constant clicking of pictures, I wouldn't lie but we found like a compromise we found so instead of ten pictures, I will take two but you take them happily. I think he also knows that it's something that I wouldn't want to stop. I have never done it, I have never taken a break from Instagram in the last four years.
I distribute a lot. My mother gets the happiest when makeup comes. A lot of it gets distributed. We give it to our teams, we give it to our friends and a lot of it we keep. It does get a lot sometimes but we keep distributing here and there. Other bloggers do a lot of giveaways.
I have decided once a year maybe on my birthday I can plan a big give-away. Since my birthday is in January, I feel like my 200k followers will happen around the same time so it can be a 200k plus birthday so a bigger giveaway.