"Have Sincere Desire to Create Meaningful Content" - Reetu

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1. Tell us about your background and journey. 

I'm an engineering graduate in Computer Science and an ex-DAVian. I hail from a typical North Kolkata Bengali family where education, literature and art have been always emphasized. I have been employed in the corporate sector after my B.Tech. But as much as the corporate looks glamorous from the outside, the mundane life inside was taking a toll on me. 

Couple that with stress associated with deadlines. Not that I hate it (because it was paying me), but I desperately looked for a space that would be my own. I have always nurtured a love for writing, and reading. So I decided to have a blog, where I can write my heart out and discuss all things beauty. 

Hence my blog ambersity.com came into being. Here I must mention Corallista, whose blog I loved reading, and whose experiences I enjoyed. She was a big, big inspiration for me to start up the blog.

After more than a year of starting my blog, I created my account on Instagram: @ambersityblog. Currently I'm more active as an instagrammer than blogging, although I do post on my blog occasionally. Instagram was the next turning point for me. It started to heavily interest me in photography. 

I was learning previously, and Instagram helped take my interest in photography to a completely different level. Flat-lays and product photography are what play as an important feature on my page.

I have also recently started educating myself on ingredients used in skincare, and share my knowledge over my page in form of posts and stories. This is because, people today are much more aware about what they're putting on their face, and a blogger has to be responsible. 

She cannot blatantly recommend a product without proper testing, because the audience is intelligent now and will question her authenticity sooner or later. Blogging over Instagram now is much more than just product reviews. 

It's imperative to be transparent while reviewing, and share skincare knowledge with the audience alongside being active over stories. So for me, instagramming takes up a lot of time which if course I enjoy.

My love for makeup also got me to create my YouTube channel: Ambersity by Reetu where I occasionally share makeup looks. For now, it's Instagram which takes up the major share of my blogging time.

2. When did you first decide that you wanted to create content and how did you start?

Back in 2017 I had my first blog. I needed an outlet to manifest myself positively. I was too stressed out and needed a space of my own to be able to say anything without being judged. My blog was that space, the outlet I had been looking for. I was passionate about writing and it became my savior. 

A friend helped me set up the blog. I started off humble and reviewed Neutro-gena and The Body Shop products that I had been using at that time. I came over Instagram after 1.5 years and that’s when my handle @ambersityblog was create. Joining Instagram was definitely a turning point in my journey of beauty blogging.

3. Is blogging and content creation a financially sustainable career? 

Yes and no. Like a salaried person you won't have a guaranteed flow of income every month. Also if you're just starting out, you are going to need a capital to invest in a good phone or camera, and to purchase products in the first place. One needs to create content and for that she needs to choose some brands to buy from and review, before expecting PRs. 

Also most brands practice barter system with micro-bloggers, while some do paid. But to get paid collaborations, one needs a good number of organic followers, great content and substantial engagement on posts. Brands ask for analytics you see, sometimes even for barters. Certain brands do provide affiliate programs, but the sales generated are not uniform over every month. 

So it is advisable to keep the primary flow of income stable while working on one's blog. Only after a blogger is established at a level of her satisfaction, and feels that she's earning enough, can she think of quitting her job. But in the end, it totally drills down to personal preferences.

4. Who is your favorite creator and why? 

I was inspired by Ankita from Corallista into blogging. She's a favorite for sure, she's amazing with her makeup and photography. Also Renji Anooj from Makeupholicworld: her reviews are crisp and to-the-point, yet encompasses the details. I love reading Karen’s Makeup and Beauty Blog, as well as Paula’s Thirteen Thoughts. Paula’s pictures are next level, big inspiration for me.

Coming over to the micro-blogging community, Suppriya of @a_good_skin is such a refreshing account, she transcends all traditional blogging norms and her page is jam-packed with skincare information. I also enjoy Niranjana @leo_tales and Shenaz of @thecontentlounge content quite a lot!

5. How and where do you find inspiration to churn out content?

Inspiration is everywhere! It's said that if you look close enough, you'll find inspiration from the smallest things which then translates into ideas. For me personally, once I get on the roll, I have no dearth of ideas. However, to be very honest, I do face creative blocks too. 

In general, I may want to talk about a couple of products that I'm into currently, or share my skincare routine over stories, or try to amp up my photography skills. I tend to look into ingredient labels of products and research them till I understand what feature the ingredient lends to that particular product. 

I also discuss filtered information from my research over stories with my audience. Creating content is an age-old habit of mine, I used to write poems back when I was in school and even later. Nature would be my biggest inspiration then, followed by small incidents of daily life. So as I said, inspiration can be derived from the smallest of things. You only have to have the sincere desire to create meaningful content.

6. What does your typical day look like?

I normally dedicate my noons and afternoons to photography and putting up a post. Other than that I'm catching on with daily life. But honestly, instagramming has no specific duration. It can be very time-consuming too. I edit my pictures in some free time, mostly in the mornings or evenings. 

There's no specific time when I choose to come over stories, I do it at convenience when I really want to share or talk about something. On some days I'm more active over Instagram, on others I'm not: I might be catching a movie or simply facing a creative block, or I might be totally caught up someplace else that deserves primary attention, or preparing content to share over next few days.

7. Which is your favorite book and why?

Very tough pick. I'm an avid reader and I can not choose one. Given my background, I'm as much into Bengali literature as I'm into English. In fact, I feel people miss out on a major chunk of the treasure that literature has, if they don't read at least the translated works of Bengali authors. 

I love reading stories by Satyajit Ray and R.N. Tagore. I enjoy J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter, as well as mythological plots by Indian authors like Shatrujeet Nath. His Vikramaditya Veergatha is one of the most engaging reads I've come across in recent times. Joseph Murphy's The Power of Your Subconscious Mind is a favorite. It makes you realize so many truths about living life. 

I love reading short stories a lot. Thanks to my mum and dad who instilled the love of reading in me from a early childhood, I have always loved reading books. My mum actually reads much more than I do. I ask her for a review before picking up a book to read!

8. What piece of advice would you like to give to future and aspiring creators?

Consistency is the key. You've to be honest to your audience, share in-depth experience with a product. Gone are the days when one could superficially review a product without much accountability. Try not to give too much effort behind photography, just ensure they look presentable. Low-light, disoriented pictures don't look very appealing, they can mar the overall appearance of your blog/social media page. So have a decent camera and consider good lighting conditions.

One important thing, it's not a good idea to start blogging for the sake of freebies. I tell you it serves no good. Equip yourself with knowledge, be confident and if needed, invest in products to get you started, rather than waiting for brands to send PR. It's also important to empower and support bloggers around you (rather than pull each other down) it helps boost your own morale. 

Take inspiration, but don't copy. Creativity and originality go hand-in-hand. Give somebody the credit they deserve. Also, be your real unfiltered self, being real helps build people's trust. Most importantly, don't lose patience; know your worth, and don't settle for anything that undermines your worth.


Interviewed By - Kirti Wadhwani

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