Bloggers Interview Series

Interview with Nandini Swaminathan : Founder of Sartorial Secrets, a Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

I started my blog in 2015 as a way to express my personal style and my love for makeup and luxury. Today, we have a reach of over 35k across the blog and social media and have been...

1. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your Blog?

I started my blog in 2015 as a way to express my personal style and my love for makeup and luxury. Today, we have a reach of over 35k across the blog and social media and have been nominated for and won several awards.

I'm a social media and digital marketing professional and have been in the space for over 6 years after my English (Hons) from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University and a postgrad in Mass Communication. I love playing with different colours, textures and styles when it comes to fashion.

I am a makeup and skincare addict so I like sharing my finds and thoughts. I also love to travel and experience new cultures and cuisines. I'm passionate about issues such as gender equality, animal welfare and mental health as well.

2. What did you do before Blogging? What inspired you to start blogging?

I'd been wanting to start Sartorial Secrets for a long time before I finally did, but I've been blogging in general since 2005. I looked up to bloggers like Chiara Ferragni and Aimee Song and others in the Indian scenario for how they inspired people with their style.

I'd often been told by my friends and family about how much they loved my sense of style and would get questions and be asked for advice too, so I decided to create my own platform for it.

3. As a blogger, what are the challenges you face? How you overcome it?

One challenge is finding the right locations and managing budgets for shoots, clothing, makeup and so on. I usually plan several concepts in advance to save time and effort. Next, the blogging scene is still quite nascent in India in terms of brands taking us seriously.

In addition, issues of plagiarism abound, and there is a certain lack of professionalism all around most of the time. I always try to establish a relationship with the brands I work with, rather than make it a one-time engagement. I ensure that I draw up an agreement as far as possible, with the brands I do work with. I run a Facebook group to bring awareness about malpractices/unprofessional behaviour by PRs and bloggers both.

I also call out plagiarism whenever I see it and make sure the culprit understands how serious an offence it is. Also, a lot of brands/PRs tend to focus *only* on numbers (which can easily be inflated these days) instead of quality. I give my work my all and make sure I get noticed more for that than for big numbers.

4. What would you consider to be your biggest achievement in your journey so far as a Blogger?

My biggest achievements would be to have readers and young girls message me and tell me that I inspire them, or when they love something I recommend.

They keep me inspired and keep me going. One of my best moments was winning the Orange Flower Award for Style Writing by Women's Web.

5. Have you worked/collaborate with brands? If yes, name few brands you worked with

I've worked with a lot of brands in the past nearly 3 years including Converse, Caratlane, Lino Perros, AM:PM Fashion, Hidesign, Adidas, MAC, United Colors of Benetton, Kazo, Daniel Wellington and a lot more.

6. What is your primary income source?

As of now it's blogging since I recently went full time with it.

7. Top 3 Blogging tools that you would recommend to your readers?

The Wordpress plugin Yoast SEO, photo editor Pixelmator and Feedburner.

8. One piece of advice that you would like to share with all new bloggers?

Remember to get your priorities straight. If you think only about 'getting free stuff' or 'being famous' as the reason to start a blog, it's very hard to be taken seriously.

Treat your blog like a business or brand that you have to build from the ground up and establish loyal readership first. Think about why someone might want to read your blog and try to model it around that. The rest will automatically fall into place!

9. Finally, what are your thoughts about IndiBlogHub?

The UI could be a lot more user-friendly