I used to like blogs because they were a rebellion against magazines – get your voice heard. Without the consent of Anna Wintour or some editor who has to worry about advertiser revenue. You can be painfully honest and not worry about offending the brands. But thanks to sponsored content and affiliate links, most blogs have become product peddlers ! Most reviews are positive raves. I don’t even understand how you can write a review from first impressions of an item….. unless you are a craftsman in the trade you are writing a review in. #Rant
As my blog matures, I am getting some opportunities to work with some brands. Some emails include ‘We want you to suggest to your readers to buy our products ( -glos**** )’. And then I see so many bloggers feature products from this brand raving about everything. It usually puts me off and makes everything fishy. “Do you want to try our bedding?”, they ask and then I see too many posts praising the homeware from this other brand everywhere. If I responded back with a list of questions about the origin of the products/ingredients used and they were no longer interested in working with me. I have had it with bloggers who take the easy route and just sell product. I made a few bucks on this blog last year through referrals and it is really tempting to make more. Put links in every damn post and write some enticing words to make readers click these links. But I have to learn from my mistakes. I once shopped a lot because of this sort of influence on me by my-then-favorite blogs. You click and ads follow you all-day-every-day so that you don’t forget the temptation. How could I do this to someone who identifies with my simplify journey and has taken the time to read what I write ?
This year, for spring cleaning, I had nothing to donate/declutter. The only excess in my life is my shoes and the reading material online. I decided to not let go of any shoes till they are unwearable. So I decided to tackle the reading material instead. By aggressively unsubscribing from blogs/youtubers. The product peddlers do not deserve my time and readership. Here is my avoid list :
- Unsubscribe from anyone who talk about purging while doing hauls. These are the folks who usually have ‘holes’ in the wardrobe all the time !
- Unsubscribe from “PSA” bloggers with posts full of affiliate links based on vendors on RewardStyle. I can see that lot of them go on rstyle to grab links that have a theme and post. No wonder everything routes to Shopbop or Nordstrom. Are they any different from the magazine articles that have consumeristic content like “10 pieces you need this season”?
- The IT bag of this season is a certain Gucci bag with lot of pattern and big hardware. All the bloggers wearing that exact bag – have to go. Those are the ones who would have carried a ps1 in 2010, celine phantom in 2013, celine trio in 2014, Prada saffiano in 201X, chloe fye last year …. and will all graduate to a Birkin eventually. If fashion trends takes over a blog, I am not interested.
- Folks who feature fast fashion. There is a rumour that you got to mix high end with low end to look “effortlessly put together”. Not for me. They have to go. I do own items from Zara from a few years ago (beat up leather jacket, khaki windbreaker, blue rain coat) that I wear all the time because they have lasted this long. But I wouldn’t want that temptation now that I know how they are produced.
- Outfit of the day bloggers who put up 10 photographs of the exact same thing. (99% of the fashion bloggers).
- Bloggers who write a post on Fashion revolution day, then talk about quality over quantity, and then go back to shopping at H&M/F21/Zara.
- “Minimalist” fashion bloggers who think it’s about buying monochrome items by truck loads and pose next to white/gray backgrounds. With the Kinfolk filter. I have had my saturation point.
- Consumption bloggers who blog to keep track of their shopping habits in check and go buying something every week.
- Anyone posting duck face selfies on instagram ( narcissism? ).
- All the shops I was following on instagram ( Everlane, Cuyana, Mill Merchandise, General Stores, APC, Steven Alan, …). There are the ones who can abstain and there are the ones who can moderate their habits. I have failed at moderation and hence need to abstain. My instagram is now officially free of selfies and material goods.
- Oh and the last one and the most important one : the bloggers who confuse love of fashion with love of shopping. One is a craft and the other is a game of acquisition.
I am left with three dozen blogs in my feed after this cleanse. And that is perfectly fine by me. Quality over quantity right ? A good style blog should have a few of the following elements :
- Less emphasis on outfits and more about style.
- Timeless classics that get reused and talked about.
- Reviews showing that the user understands quality in a quantifiable manner.
- Style muses, inspiration, discussion on design, price rants, etc.
- Should not be shopping all the time.
- Have other hobbies and interests which cultivate the brain.
- Beautiful writing.
- A fair amount of snobbery + confidence because you know your mind and have opinions on style.
- Some amount of humour / sarcasm / humbleness because you are always learning.
- Brutal honesty.
Also, taking a month away from blogging helped. I was caught up with a lot of influences. I thought I was blogging to keep a tab on my habits but it didn’t really help. As I talk to recruiters before job interviews, I am sort of embarrassed to talk about my blog. “I write a blog about shopping and decluttering”, eek ! It made me wonder about the direction of this blog. It was my journal turned into rants about consumption. Perhaps it’s time for different kind of content. Essays on personal style, simple pleasures, slow fashion, good food, objects that last a lifetime and craftsmanship is what I have in mind.
P.S : If you disagree, please please comment. I know so little of this world and have no experience turning a blog into a business. Your perspectives are definitely valued. I am also not against making blogs commercial. I may do so one day in the future. I pay for hosting, stay ad free and buy products to review. It would be nice to be reimbursed. I will like to route more funds to my ‘save the wolves’ fund that comes from this blog. Creating quality content takes time and energy. If it is a passion, it should become a day job that pays. But …. but … I don’t like sell outs, content that looks like an ad on a click bait or promotion of consumption. If your fav blogger goes to Uniqlo/Zara and buys something every week, you will shop more too eventually ! If your idol has strong ethics/rules and sticks to her guns, it will inspire you too. That is my take. It needn’t be yours.