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Interview by Neha Dhingra.
It’s time to welcome 2017 in style. Kolkata, the city of joy is now running fast and gaining popularity as the next hub for fashion blogging. In an exclusive conversation with Feministaa – four of the most popular and trending bloggers of the Roshogulla City introduced us to the revamped blogging industry of Kolkata. Meet the girls who are making the heads turn.
Chikky Goenka of Style-o-graph is not just a blogger anymore, she has been in the run of style, writing and designing the longest among all and currently enjoying her new found love for entrepreneurship with her fashion trunk shows ‘Made in Bengal’ through which she wants to take the local designers of Bengal at a global level.
How did you start off?
I read a lot of books as a child followed international bloggers. I always indulged in new experiments to make people understand styles and communicate with the masses. To me when I started, Kolkata was not that friendly when it came to fashion blogging compared to the other cities. Gradually things have changed. Park Street has started to see a new sea of young dynamic fashionable youth who follow the local bloggers!
Does a degree in fashion matter?
7 years back in Kolkata no one understood odd styling or personal shopping. I graduated in Political Science and did Masters in Fashion Management. I think theoretical knowledge is necessary it gives you an edge but when it comes to styling your reputation depends highly on your own taste. You need to have an eye for trending fashion.
What upsets you?
The upsetting part about the blogging industry is that the society doesn’t look up to this as a profession. I started as a personal shopper but people used to confuse me with a lot of other things, sometimes even for models.
How secure is it financially?
I feel the biggest drawback is the lack of unity in the kolkata blogging industry because if there are four bloggers who promote a brand and if one of them doesn’t charge for it so it leaves the other three with no choice but to do it for free. To survive financially just on blogging might take a couple of years more for Kolkata. Kudos to the women who want to take blogging as a career; they should go for it and have the patience as it will pay off eventually.
If you have a sense of modern style and quirky fashion Srishti Nadhani’s blog ‘Store Untold’ and ‘Srishti Nadhani’ is just the go-to page for you.
How did you start off?
People told me that I have a good taste in fashion. I was a curious kid and the experiments I did in college led me here. I joined Pune college for a bartending course initially!
How has fashion blogging changed since then?
If I compare today with the time when I started, everything has changed for the better. We have blogging seminars and networking is really easy and beneficial – people get to know you within three months because of the small yet rapidly growing blogging industry.
What do you dislike the most?
Unprofessionalism puts me off. Since, fashion blogging is not too prominent in Kolkata, people tend to have a laidback attitude. They keep delaying their work until and unless they are addressed infinite times in order to get that work done! That is exhausting!
Is blogging a rewarding career choice?
In terms of monetary benefits, just blogging doesn’t pay much; one has to do some other projects. Within five years I believe that the blogging industry will be totally flourishing and more rewarding in terms of monetary benefits.
The BlabberCat by Astha Modi is a blog that will tell you everything you want to know about fashion, lifestyle & shopping in Kolkata; she doesn’t believe in staying confined to a specific genre. Her unique selling point as she proudly states is the quality of her content.
Why a shift from Print Media journalism to Blogging?
I was into journalism for quite some time but I felt I needed something more than this my writing was excellent hence I finally found my love in blogging.
How did family react?
Family was quite supportive when I chose blogging as they were quite apprehensive about my safety and late-nights as a journalist.(smiles) So when I chose blogging they were happy and gave me all the support I needed.
What are three things every blogger should keep in mind?
First – Do not post anything and everything if it doesn’t have a news value for you as well as your readers as it demeans the value of your work. Strong content is important. Second – be your own competition. Third – read a lot of quality books and newspapers to gain knowledge.
Tell us one major drawback of the lucrative fashion blogging industry?
I feel kind of cheated when everyone starts calling themselves a blogger. People believe blogging means posting stuff online – a major drawback due to this is people don’t pay for branding to bloggers. Quality should be a major and important the part of your work – If you don’t believe in it then don’t do it just for the sake of money.
One stop blog for Kolkata’s fashion and food industry is Nikita Agarwal’s ‘Pentwister’. When she started this blog, she wrote about fashion, food and generic things about herself until she went to Bangalore four years back and explored the possibility of making blogging her career. And her blog has been booming ever since!
How did you start off?
When I was in UK, doing masters in Hospitality Management, I noticed that everybody maintained a blog. So when I came back to India, I thought I’d pursue it and it was at that very moment my then boyfriend now husband suggested me the name ‘Pentwister’!
Did marriage change anything?
I got married and to everyone’s shock I chose to continue my blog instead of joining a big hotel brand like ITC which wanted me to work with them at a good position with an attractive pay! Want to know why? Because it completed me. So ‘Pentwister’ it was!
How did your family react?
My family was apprehensive of my blogging choice as I wasn’t drawing any money from it. Kolkata was not that eminent in terms of the blogging industry back then. However, my husband was my support pillar.
What’s the high point of blogging?
You become a social figure and people look upto you as a mentor. But trust me it’s not as easy as it seems.
What’s the low point?
One needs to have a lot of patience. In terms of monetary benefits, blogging alone can’t be your only source of income. If you want to make it big, it requires a lot of effort and hard work.