“So how did you get into blogging?” is a question that pops up every time I meet someone new and they ask me what I do. I’m writing this blog post so I can share the link with them when we get to that point in the conversation. Just kidding! I thought you guys might want to find out too. And since you’re already reading this, then most likely you do.
I didn’t just wake up one day with the idea of having a blog. My fascination with fashion started way back when I was a little girl in pre-school. I wanted to be a fashion designer and my parents signed me up for this course. There I was a young Maria Grazia Chiuri in the making. I was into couture as most of my ‘designs’ were glamorous dresses fit for a red carpet event. Oh, I wish I could find these sketches now. My father is an artist so I definitely had potential. But as you can imagine my ambition didn’t last very long.
Studying Journalism at University
Fast forward to 2011 when I moved to the UK to study journalism at university. Apart from writing, I explored photography during my first year. I even learned how to process a film in the darkroom which maybe doesn’t sound so impressive right now but if you’re reading this in 2028.. What is even a darkroom? In my second year I focused a lot more on fashion magazines and obviously working at Vogue became the ultimate goal. I did an internship at a small independent magazine where I got involved in the entire creative process. From photography, to writing, to layout and design. Following that internship, I managed to create an entire magazine by myself in my final year. I would have certainly done things differently with that magazine now but if you really want to see it, I can show it to you upon request.
At the beginning of my second year, I was asked to create my very first blog on WordPress. I honestly hated it and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Of course I left everything until the very last minute and I was far from impressed with the final result. Later that year, I went to my first fashion week and it seemed like the perfect time to start fresh. So I gave blogging another go. The whole purpose of that blog was unclear at the time. I looked at it as a creative outlet, where I could practice my writing skills, share insights from my journalism course and the fashion events I was attending at the time. There was no clear direction, so the blog itself didn’t last very long.
In my final year, I was writing my dissertation on fashion magazines in the digital age. At the time everyone was questioning the future of fashion publications and whether people are still interested in flicking through a magazine that consists of 80% advertising. I compared actual magazines to their websites and mobile versions. Thinking about how much has changed in the course of the 4 years since I graduated is just insane! That was the first time I came across case studies on blogs and realised the huge potential they had but there was still a sense of uncertainty in the air. The journalism industry was portraying bloggers as this uneducated and uninformed bunch of people who had no clue what they were doing.
Life after graduating
By the time I graduated I knew I wanted to have a blog but I felt like monetising it would be hard. I had no access to the amount of information that’s available out there now. As soon as I graduated, I moved to London and started looking for an internship at a magazine or a job as a writer but I got a job in retail instead. That was very exciting at first. I got to communicate with a lot of people and felt like I was doing something significant. As a creative person I was constantly exploring different aspects of that retail business and even got involved with social media. However, I still needed an outlet to express my individuality and I felt like starting a blog would be the best thing to do.
There was a clear vision in my head, but I was lacking the confidence, the time and the resources to make it happen. I couldn’t commit to writing a 600 word blog post, 2 or 3 times a week. That’s a struggle even now when I don’t work full-time. Who was going to take my pictures? I didn’t even have a camera. Instagram at the time was gaining a huge popularity with people sharing their outfits and style. It was the easiest way to get started without having to invest a huge amount of time. My audience started growing slowly and I kept saying to myself that once I reach a certain amount of followers, I’d start a blog. The truth is I was just making excuses but I always kept it in the back of my mind.
Making baby steps
It took me months if not a year to make that first step. I launched Note by Michelle on the 1st of January 2017. Wrote 3 entire blog posts the same month, another one in February and I had my first collaboration in March. In April, I got my Olympus PEN Epl-7 which is the camera I’m still using for some of my photos today. I shoot a lot on iPhone and sometimes with a DSLR. The following months were very quiet as I was trying to figure my life out. I took some time off to travel and had a fresh start in September. That’s when things really changed for me and I started collaborating with brands and earning some money. It’s not been an easy journey but I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.
I rarely write blog posts these days but I’d love to get back into writing. That’s why I got into blogging in the first place. If you enjoy reading my posts, please comment , share and show your support. I appreciate any feedback, good or bad. It’s the only way I know if you like what I do.