Meet the fashion bloggers taking the Mideast by sandstorm

You double tap their photos on a daily basis and lust after their designer wardrobe and effortless style. (Photo courtesy: Styledrifter.com)

You double tap their photos on a daily basis and lust after their designer wardrobe and effortless style, but who are the bloggers who have taken the Internet by (sand) storm?

We spoke exclusively to two of the region’s most popular style bloggers, with three others interviewed in part one of this series, to pick their brains on why and how they turned their digital destinations into full-time successful businesses…

Name: Maricel Mansano | Age: 29 | Nationality: Spanish Filipina

1. Why blog and how did Thesandgypsy.com come about?

The Internet is a powerful thing. Whichever industry you’re in - it serves like an online portfolio and honestly encourage everyone to get their own personal space online. Lucky for me, I'm a Digital Marketer by trade and blogging is aligned with my job. I started blogging mainly because I needed a space to share my thoughts and opinions and a place where I could share landscape photos from my travels without having to bombard my Facebook feed.

sand gympy

sand gympy

 

2. What do you feel are the key elements into maintaining a successful blog and to keep people reading?

There are now so many bloggers in Dubai and based on my observation, there are five key elements that are important if you want to be a successful blogger:

1. Niche - Choose what you want to talk about and stick to that. You have to be the leader of any industry that you choose to be in. If you’re a food blogger, people should know that if they need to know the latest best place to visit, that they can always count on your page for that.

2. Branding - Make sure to be consistent. As a lifestyle and fashion blogger, I get offered free stuff a lot, if the product or brand is something I wouldn’t really wear, I wouldn’t accept and politely decline the offer and explain why.

sand

sand

 

3. How long did it take to get noticed and were any key strategies implemented to do so?

It took me 7 months, the first brand I worked with was Tory Burch, then I did a project for Armani Exchange that was featured in Emirates Woman Magazine. From there my blog took off, I got more projects which in return helped me create better content for my blog.

4. What’s the best and most challenging aspect of being a blogger?

The best and most challenging part is producing content a.k.a photography and I have invested in amazing photography equipment. However, I have no one to snap my photos and that can be challenging. I’m also one of Dubai's lifetsyle bloggers, which means I do a lot of hotel and restaurant reviews, and I spent most of my time taking photos. It's part of my job and it's fun as I enjoy the creative side of it and I like the challenge because I always want to produce a better content compared to the last post I shared.

sand gympy

sand gympy

 

5. What’s your approach to social media and how do you use it to your advantage?

Social media played a vital role in my blogging success, especially in the UAE. You can have a business purely existing on Instagram and be very successful. As a Digital Marketer, part of my job is to manage client’s social media pages and most of the leads are generated from their social media accounts. My social media accounts are what I use to approach brands, I message them directly on Instagram because they can see the number of followers I have and the quality of content I can produce. If you just share the link of your website via email, brands have no way of seeing your stats unless you share your media kit. I find this to be very effective and powerful. Brands that I work with always find me through social media.

6. How has your career elevated since starting your blog?

Imagine hiring someone to help you build you online presence? Because I'm a blogger and I've managed to build a strong brand in such a short time, the clients that I'm working with trust me and they are confident that I'll handle it well. I also get brands approach me and want to work with me on a full time basis which is both great and flattering.

7. What top tips do you have to anyone wanting to head online and become their own boss?

Know what you want and capitalize on your passion. If you don't know what your passionate about - just choose one thing that you like to do and stick with it. It's important that you get a buzz from whatever it is that you do. Passion is crucial because it gives you that extra drive to do more.

Name: Teresa Karpinska | Age: 37 | Nationality: Swedish

1. Why blog and how did Styledrifter.com come about?

I started around 5 years ago, parallel to launching my styling business. I was looking for a personal creative outlet to compliment the work that is dictated by client needs and perhaps that way limits a little of the creative freedom. I was honestly starting out with no expectations but seeing as blogging was new to the region it quickly got picked up by the media. Three months into it I was featured in Harpers Bazaar and somehow the rest is the proverbial history.

Teresa

Teresa

 

2. What do you feel are the key elements in maintaining a successful blog and to keep people reading?

I am very passionate about this question actually - I strongly believe that transparency, commitment to quality and consistency are the key parts. In the end, it's coming from a sense of respect towards my readers and if I keep feeding them sponsored content and don't dedicate myself wholeheartedly to delivering my very best it will eventually get picked up on.

3. How long did it take to get noticed and were any key strategies implemented to do so?

I was lucky to get picked up quickly due to the fact that I was one of the first (committed) bloggers on the scene. I gained good momentum that probably will be harder to achieve for bloggers in this day and age. The market is quite saturated. I believe, however, that I developed somewhat of a niche - my aesthetic is quite minimal and I also work as a fashion stylist for many high fashion brands, which gives me credibility in the eyes of my readers, or so I would like to think.

Teresa

Teresa

 

4. What’s the best and most challenging aspects of being a blogger?

It's hard to deliver inspiring content when you're not feeling inspired. Social media needs to look consistent, even if behind the scenes the blogger is being challenged in their personal life. It's also been a journey educating brands on how bloggers should be compensated - at the end of the day it's a marketing job - we are paid to promote products and the challenge is to do it through content organic to our core values.

5. What’s your approach to social media and how do you use it to your advantage?

I love social media. I think it's great that everyone has a forum where they can express their creativity. It is also a very powerful tool that sometimes gets miss-used but I believe that if you focus on putting out positivity it will attract the appropriate crowd.

6. How has your career elevated since starting your blog?

I find it really funny because as a full time stylist (who gets booked solely based on my portfolio, as Teresa Karpinska and not StyleDrifter); I occasionally walk into a production meeting room full of marketing executives and the least expected person at the table bursts out: "OMG you're StyleDrifter, I have been following you for years"". It's really humbling. I know that a lot of clients find it a plus that their campaign will get an additional social media boost when promoted on my pages. I don't think that's why I get hired, though. I really love my job and five years later it's still a honeymoon feel.

Teresa

Teresa

 

7. What top tips do you have for anyone wanting to head online and become their own boss?

Work hard, find a unique niche (not everyone HAS to blog about fashion); stay true to you instead of getting overly inspired by others and make sure to have a fallback career in the making - if they are correlated it's a huge plus.

This article is the second in a two-part series of interviews with leading fashion bloggers. To read the first, click here.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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