From the left: Beautylish Beauty Director and segment host Ning Chao, Temptalia Founder and Editor Christine Mielke, Makeup Bag Founder and Editor Erika Valente, me (looking extra Lloyd Christmassy), and Romy Raves Lifestyle and Beauty Blogger Romy Schorr.
Even though I was a little nervous (blast you, Lloyd!) and blinded by the stage lights, I really enjoyed speaking on the blogging panel at The Beauty Social last weekend, and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you while they’re still fresh in my mind.
In hindsight, I wish I’d recorded the session, or covertly taken a few notes, but I do remember most of my answers (NOTE: these are paraphrased, because I can’t remember the exact quotes) and some tidbits from my fellow co-panelists, Christine Mielke of temptalia.com, Erika Valente of makeupbag.net and Romy Schorr of romyraves.com.
Q: What inspired you to start your blog?
Me: Well I’d always really loved makeup, and I’ll never forget the day when I was 14 and my mom took me on that first trip to the Clinique counter… I started the blog in 2007. I was freelancing at the time for magazines, mostly doing travel (for the in-room magazines on cruise ships) and health and fitness articles. I really wanted to break into beauty writing, though, and I kept pitching different magazines, but no one would hire me.
They (the magazines) were mostly drawing from their in-house writing staff, so I kept getting rejected from these beauty magazines, yet I had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I just couldn’t let go. I knew that I wanted to create and write about beauty, but I didn’t know how to go about it.
Then in February of 2007, the Barbie Loves MAC collection came along. 🙂
I think in every beauty junkie’s life there’s always that one release that turns their casual hobby into a full-blown obsession, and for me it was Barbie Loves MAC. I went to the mall, got my little haul, and then when I got back home, that little voice in the back of my head was whispering, “Wouldn’t it be kinda cool if you took a few pictures and posted them online?”
That’s how Makeup and Beauty Blog was born. There wasn’t a business plan, a big reveal or a rollout. It all sort of happened organically, and it’s been one of the happiest accidents of my life.
Erica: Erica said that she, too, had always been a lifelong beauty junkie, and one of her main inspirations was her entrepreneurial husband. She’d always loved trying and buying new products, but her beauty stash had grown exponentially. One day her husband suggested that they find a way to turn her obsession into a business so that they could write off her beauty expenses, which eventually led to Makeup Bag.
Christine: Before Temptalia, Christine had been actively posting looks on Live Journal. She was in school at the time and recalls posting looks after class. She started Temptalia to archive all of her looks in one place, and her blog has just grown from there.
Q: What was the turning point that made you realize that your blog was successful?
Me: It was probably about six or seven months in, after I’d gotten an invite to cover SF Fashion Week. The blog had been bopping along as a hobby at the time, with me doing brief product reviews every few days, but I decided to approach that Fashion Week as I would a freelance assignment…and I also used it as an excuse to get a new camera. 😉