When the “B” Word became a Bad Word

As most of you know, I started my journey into the world of fashion as a blogger. Setting up Sequin Cinderella almost 7yrs ago was a scary but exciting time in my life and I genuinely loved every second of sharing my inner most thoughts, my looks and my tips with you all… but then several years later things took a kind of a funny turn in the blogging world, everyone with a camera phone was suddenly a blogger… People had instagram pages and called themselves “fashion bloggers”, people didn’t want to read words and articles anymore, they literally wanted to hit like on a picture (if even) and therefore the time and effort that went into a blog post suddenly became meaningless to the reader and to myself. I have my boutique now and my time is a lot more valuable to me so the thought of essentially wasting time taking and editing pictures, writing the article, publishing it and promoting it almost felt like too much of an effort to me when people may or may not read & engage with it.

But only over the past few weeks have I started to think more about why I became a blogger in the first place. Obviously we all want people to read our posts, I would be lying if I said that didn’t matter to me or that we all do it solely for the love of writing and never look at the numbers… bullshit, of course we look at numbers. Numbers make it worthwhile, numbers make brands want to work with you, but there is an element of actually just loving writing this blog that I lost and that I would really like to get back.

As a kid, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I used to say “Either a journalist, a fashion designer or to have a job that I can get up every morning and get dressed up for work” and now in my (early) thirties, I am so lucky to have all of those things. Whilst not being a “journalist” in the true sense of the word, blogs are essentially online magazines or e-zines that we create for the world to read – I can “Get dressed up” every morning for work in my shop and take pics of the looks for my blog, and I design my own collection – exactly where I wanted to be… Even though I most definitely lost my mojo for writing over the past while, I definitely want to get back in the game and let that inner child know that all her years of dreaming was worthwhile – I want to get Sequin Cinderella “The Blog” back on track and better than ever.

It’s hard to reflect on when exactly the “B” word became a bad word for me, I don’t know if there was one specific time or one specific incident but I just found that over the past few years, calling yourself a blogger became less of a badge of honour and more of a cause for an eye roll. With the infamous rise (and fall) of bloggersunveiled, readers and brands became a lot more aware of the darker side of blogging with some of the more “famous” influencers editing pictures to unrecognisable proportions to sell a product and selling their souls for another “ad”. We became so incredibly suspicious of everything they posted that we stopped believing what they were saying and started rebelling against them. My blog never reached the levels of some of the top bloggers but as a micro-influencer and someone who did it more for the love of fashion, beauty and writing rather than a money-making scheme, I always tried hard to be real, to give honest advice and to interact with my readers. This is why its important for me to get back into my blog and start bringing you my honest advice and opinions again because I know, as a reader of other honest and real bloggers, its refreshing to see that still ongoing.

As a boutique owner it is extremely hard to find the balance of being a blogger and a business woman. For the most part, I wear items from my boutique almost on a daily basis but let’s be real, I’m a size 10-12 which is a very general and popular size. Most brands send out just two of each size, so if I keep one of everything then that only leaves one to sell… and whilst I am promoting the pieces by wearing them, my business wouldn’t be very successful if I was putting every single item on my back, therefore it is inevitable that I will also shop elsewhere. I am not betraying my own shop by showing you clothes from other stores but sometimes I feel as though I am. I have no problem telling you where they are from, I always have and trust me, I love nothing more than a good old “Penneys haul” and to share my bargains. Where the line becomes blurry however, is when other small boutiques or websites who stock similar brands to myself wish to collaborate with my blog. I often have to decline as it wouldn’t make good business sense to promote other similar businesses and send customers away from mine. This can get annoying as I am essentially a fashion blogger. I love writing about beauty but it isn’t my first love, fashion is what inspired Sequin Cinderella in the first place and I would love to have more versatile fashion content daily. From a consumer perspective, I understand that constant blog posts from the same boutique can be very repetitive and boring for the reader which is why it is hard to find the balance sometimes and to figure out where my blogger role ends and where my boutique owner role begins. Business will always come first, but I always have and always will try to strike an even balance between the two, sometimes it just takes a little more thought and planning.

Another huge factor in my disillusion with the industry has come from other bloggers. The level of competition, of “one-upmanship” and of false friendships for personal gain really started to get to me, even though it never really directly involved me in a negative manner. I have made some amazing friends in this industry and have been lucky enough to meet some amazing, supportive and talented girls (and guys). I personally don’t get involved in the drama of it all but to sit back and watch how girls can tear other girls down, privately and publicly reminded me of a playground mentality and made me want to runaway from the unnecessary negativity of it all. So many want to promote and encourage others by sharing their platforms but others do shout-outs in order to get re-posted, be nice to the “bigger” bloggers to be shown on their platforms and if it isn’t shared or reciprocated, they un-follow… and maybe re-follow in a week or two to try it all over again…

I also find that people are willing to help promote you as long as you have less followers than they do, if you have more then they don’t want to know (unless there is something to gain in it for them). I for one never get involved in shout-outs as I feel that readers want content they can consume… not an endless list of who is most popular or who might re-share posts… and if I were to actually share the people who I follow on a daily basis then I know for sure that there would be many offended for not being included. Watching endless stories of shout-outs and re-posts has shown how bloggers sole focus has become to get more likes and not to share decent content. Again, we all want likes, we all want interaction but when the desire for that becomes greater than the desire to be a decent, honest blogger, that’s where people need to question if they are in it for the right reasons. It is clear as day when people genuinely love what they do, they don’t worry about who’s copying who, they rejoice when they see people imitating them as that is what the role of a blogger is – to influence… not to do so, only to get the credit and glory. We are essentially magazines… you don’t have to credit Vogue if you style an outfit based on one of their photoshoots therefore you don’t have to credit a blogger who influences you… The blogger is obviously doing something right if you love their style enough to take inspiration from them and that should be all that matters! Seeing people take influence from my style or shopping my looks is one of my most favourite elements of this game and one of the main reasons for doing what I do. If I could personally go shopping with each of you then I would (dream job!) but as I can’t, this is the next best thing!

When I first began blogging, no one helped me, no one “shouted me out” and in fact, I was purposely left out of little “blogger groups” all because I didn’t fit the mould. I wasn’t of the same mind frame as them but I proceeded nonetheless… I didn’t change to suit them… I kept going in spite of them. It may have been a longer, slower process but nothing worth having is easy. We can look at some people flying up in numbers because they are part of the “cool” gang and that’s ok, but take it from me, you don’t need to be. Even if you have just one dedicated reader who loves your content, content that you love to create –  and you stay true to you… then you are doing something right! If like me, you fall away from it and let the opinions of others get in the way then just take a step back, re-evaluate why you are doing it then go hell for leather at it all over again and do it bigger and better! The people who once shut doors in your face will be the first to knock on yours when you become successful and trust me that it the best feeling… especially when you can close it on them in return. (albeit a little more gently than they did to you ’cause you know… you’re not an a**hole)

I get that most of you reading this may not be bloggers but I am sure you can relate to some of this in your own careers or jobs. Certain factors make you lose focus, make you question why you started in the first place. Sometimes you need to get knocked so far out of your zone that it almost gives you a kick in the butt to get up and get back at it and I feel that that is the point that I have reached now and why I decided to get it all down on paper (so to speak) in this post. We can all too easy, let the opinions of others stop us from achieving what we wish to achieve and that is one of the worst things we can do.

So whilst I get my backside in gear and get back to blogging, let this post inspire you to get back to doing something you love… something you may have stopped doing because you felt you didn’t measure up or because you felt others were judging… let them judge… if they are judging you, they are leaving others alone! And no publicity is bad publicity! Good luck and I look forward to hearing if this post has helped or inspired any of you!

Nicola x

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