DISCLAIMER EDIT – I am NOT quitting my blog as a whole, I’m taking a break/quitting the career side of it. I’m still keeping it as my hobby. Please do read the last few paragraphs if you don’t want to read it all, but don’t comment if you haven’t read the article as some things are being taken out of context and assuming I’m quitting everything and leaving the online world, so please do read it. I’m not quitting the blog and abandoning everyone. Thanks!
Before I begin, this blog post contains a small rant, some industry information which isn’t usually shared, a look at how hard and stressful fashion blogging can be, and how cut throat it can become, warping your life and controlling everything you do, to the point of becoming a problem. Obviously I’m not a super popular fashion blogger that jets off to different countries every week, does the rounds at fashion week, and has millions of followers on Instagram, but a lot of that is by choice due to my health and mentality, so I wanted to explain to you why I’m quitting fashion blogging as a career (for now) and taking a break from the industry. I have been writing this post for about a month, not sure if I should even publish it, but here goes. I’m sure this is different to the announcement you were all expecting from me, but as I’m always real and honest with you all, I’m speaking from the heart.
When I was younger, I always wanted to be my own boss and creativity has been a huge part of my life, so creating a blog and eventually turning that into a career ended up being a perfect opportunity as I’m self employed, making my own money, having turned my hobby into my living. What I didn’t realise though was how it would eventually become quite stressful as the enjoyment dwindled, with stress taking its place sometimes, which has put me in a bad place emotionally numerous times to the point of being overwhelmed and constantly self critical. None of this has anything to do with any of you as readers, you’re my rock and my community/friends, I’m referring to collaborations, tight deadlines and other things I will go more into depth with.
Regarding collaborations, this is a sticky point for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked with some amazing brands and I’ve met some amazing PR people who have been absolutely wonderful, respectful, polite, and it’s allowed me to do great things, I’ve built up great partnerships and I’ve been able to do some wonderful things, but more and more now I’m getting too stressed out and put down with certain work. This is when I realised I’m not actually my own boss anymore, I’m answering to these other brands who end up creating stresses in my life. Countless times I’ve been given false promises in exchange for content (which is like being scammed), late payments I have to chase, sometimes non payments which is heartbreaking given the amount of work and time I put into my content (which you can’t then remove because it’s already been seen and promoted), companies thinking you’re just someone they can use how they want without your own valid input etc., but the worst for me is what’s happened more than a few times now and actually upset me.
A brand wants to collaborate with you, after checking it out and liking it, you confirm you have creative control over the content because they’re working with you for your vision and style, being promoted on your blog, then you spend hours doing the work and they tell you they don’t like it so you have to do it again in the style they want and what fits their own look. This confuses me to no end because I was given control of creativity and they approached me, so why collaborate with a blogger if you wanted everything in your own vision? It’s given me no end of stress and anxiety because I was proud of the work, but they change their minds or don’t tell me things until I’ve done it, and when you get that coupled with false promises on their end, or late payments, it’s not good. For someone who suffers generalised anxiety like I do, it’s not an industry I want to be part of at the moment because I’m not enjoying it, having fun, or doing what I wanted to do in the first place.
I turn down about 75% of collaboration offers as it is anyway, only choosing those which are suited to me, but it’s just getting worse. It’s at the point now where the majority of the collaborations are going wrong in some way, or the brand is quite rude/demanding, and it’s an issue because I started questioning my own capabilities and whether or not I’m actually good enough. I understand it’s business sometimes, but there seems to be a huge lack of respect in this industry. I know this sounds so negative and like I’m moaning, but it comes from a place of caring too much and I feel like it should be made public because it’s happening all the time, not just to me. I care so much about the work and content I create, that it’s a huge part of myself I am putting out there as I am my own brand, which is why it becomes stressful. It’s not just brands who are disrespectful though, some influencers are too. It bothers me a lot that so many bloggers are now faking it as I’m sure you know. I watch some of them buying thousands of followers at a time, amassing a fake following of hundreds of thousands, then they get collaborations with brands, charging a lot for it, and taking work away from bloggers who have genuine followers. I used to compare myself to these girls and wonder what I was doing wrong, before I watched their accounts, constantly thinking I must not be likeable, why didn’t I have that many followers etc. and it became a problem. Now I know the answer and that it’s not real, it just makes me annoyed because it’s unfair competition and extremely difficult to compete with, and it shouldn’t even be allowed in the first place.
Companies will also approach you and expect you to do numerous hours worth of work for them in exchange for a free, cheap item. I’m not saying gifting isn’t a great perk of the job, it is, and it’s a great way to do things sometimes, but when that ‘gift’ is worth about £10 and they expect you to do photoshoots and reviews (which take 3-5 hours or so) and all you get for that is the item you didn’t even want because they expect you to do it, I find it quite insulting. I think a lot forget just how many years, the countless hours, long nights, and effort that’s put into building a blog/community and they just expect you to do what they want, regardless if you want to or not. A lot of the time a brand can’t understand the amount of work put into content and too many times I hear people saying in comments online ‘get a real job’ not realising it’s a 24/7 job that’s actually really hard (remember my post on what does a fashion blogger do?), and if it’s your income, you can’t do all the work for free items you don’t want as you can’t pay your bills. They couldn’t hire a model or photographer for free, or get ad space in a magazine for free, so it does get frustrating when a brand tries to insult your work like that when you’re so proud of it in the first place. It really just shows how much they want to use you, rather than build up a great relationship with you, which is usually what I am about because I care.
I’m regularly used to being taken advantage of now, everyone always wants something from me, and you know what I’m like, I’m happy to help everyone as you know from my replies to your comments, emails, and the articles I do, but I’m constantly taken advantage of. Because I have a voice and a platform, people use that and just flatter me at the time, pretending to build a friendship when they want promotion or a lot of advice on something, then once I give it, I never hear from them again. That doesn’t sit well with me as I value friendships and people, so I’m often hurt by this and it’s making me trust nobody and always assume someone wants something from me and doesn’t actually like me. Which in reality is not a good way to be, but if you’re getting screwed over constantly, you can’t help but feel that way. I’ve even built up relationships with brands over years, being somewhat of an ambassador and always promoting their products because I love them, then all of a sudden they drop you in an instant and tell you you’re not good enough anymore, then I see them working with people I know are completely fake… It’s actually started to hinder my mental state and the way I evaluate things now, so I really need to take a step back before I start to lose myself. I know this happens for numerous people in other industries too, getting dropped like you’re nothing, and also when you’re set for a collaboration but the next day they decide no, they don’t want you anymore (like what happens to actors, I imagine) and you start questioning what you’re doing wrong, if it’s your body because you’re not as thin as everyone else etc. when in reality, you’re not doing anything wrong, it’s just business to them.
I know this might sound like a rant and a petty bitch fest, but trust me, if you know me, it’s not. I don’t have a defeatist attitude and I’m not a cry baby that complains about everything. I’m generally really strong and try to turn even the hardest things into positive ones as you know if you’re a long time reader, which is what I’m doing now. This has been building up over the last year or so and I’m not the only one to quit the industry as other big bloggers (Kayture as an example – I remember her calling the gifts in the beginning ‘poisoness’ because they weren’t actually thank you gifts, they always came with strict requirements) completely quit and left because of issues like this as well as issues I’m moving onto now.
Social media somewhat becomes your life, as does your blog, because it is your life, it’s an extension of you. You’re switched on 24/7 and you can’t rest because you are a one man business. Without fresh content you become old news, without engagement nobody wants you, and without an increase in followers, you’re worthless (from the standpoint of a career). At the start this is great because you can’t get enough of it, but once it becomes stressful and not enjoyable, it’s no longer a good thing. You literally become worth what your numbers say. Whether you’re deemed good enough is no longer about your abilities or quality of work and it’s about the numbers over your head instead. I’ve always took pride in having quality content on my blog and building up my community here, which I love, but as the times have changed, it’s mostly always about social media now, and your numbers, not your quality, which got me thinking the other day, how did I become a statistic? Why am I only worth however many followers I have? It’s such a warped way of thinking.
Everywhere I go or whatever I do now means I’m 95% of the time instagramming it or it’s to do with the blog and I have stopped living life, being free, enjoying myself. It’s become a problem. Not because I’m not happy to share everything with you, I am, but because I’ve always got requirements, so even leisure time turns into working time. I can take great photos I’m really proud of and if they don’t get as much interaction as another photo or they ‘don’t do well’ then I question why and get down about it, which is ridiculous. I fully get it’s to do with the algorithm on Instagram and how they have made it, but when your career and business is yourself, it’s a stressful mix and often mind warping. Goals have become about numbers and how to get more followers and engagement rather than about what makes me happy and why I started it in the first place.
So now that I have got that out the way, and you know what’s been going on, I have decided to take a new direction. I’m an open person and I’m always honest with everything I share with you regarding my health, my anxiety, my life in general, so I’m taking a break from the superficial side of this industry. I want my blog to be how it was when I started it, just purely my hobby. The way I work with anyone will be changing dramatically going forward. I will still be using affiliate links when I recommend products to you, as with the Ehlers Danlos Syndrome I can’t attend a 9-5 job, so I will need to keep a small side income, but it wont be my career anymore, just my hobby. I am doing this for my own sanity, my own peace of mind, and it feels right. I used to feel like I couldn’t post certain things because of my own brand image and whether it’s going to hinder me in the future for collaborations, but not anymore, I need to just be me and focus on that.
So to be clear, I am not quitting my blog, I love my blog, I love you, I love what’s created here, but I wont be doing it as a career where I collaborate with brands for a while. I stopped going to all the PR and press events quite a while ago as I can’t handle the falseness, the pretending to be your friend and like you while they’re constantly looking around to see who else ‘better’ is in the room, or because they just want you to blog and instagram the event so they get exposure. It’s just not who I am (again, I’m not tarnishing everyone with that brush, I’ve been to some amazing events and met some wonderful people). I care too much and I give too much of my own self away to carry on with that as it becomes quite draining. I get invites to fashion week shows and I don’t go because of that too, I have no desire anymore to go deeper into this industry and lose myself in the process. It’s a scary prospect that I just don’t have the mentality for at the moment. I need to work on myself.
I want to be clear that not all brands are like this, as I said above, some have been amazing, genuinely nice, and wonderful, to which I cannot thank them enough. I am not saying I wont ever collaborate with a brand ever again, as I am not ruling things out like that, but I am saying things will change. I would only ever consider a photoshoot collaboration again if it’s a brand I know and love, that’s well known and trustworthy, or if it’s a brand close to me that I have a wonderful relationship with, but otherwise, I will just be using ads and affiliates here in order to be able to keep the blog running for now, while I work on myself and producing better content for you, getting back to a more real and engaged vibe.
Anyway, now I’ve got that off my chest, I hope you understand where I am coming from by wanting to leave this stressful and superficial industry. It’s a good thing for you readers though as it means I will be focusing on my personal, health, outfits, wish lists, reviews type of posts much more and giving more of a personal approach to everything instead. I’m taking a new direction and I am feeling inspired. I also have some ideas about adding in ‘fitness with an illness’ and some food/recipe related content too, mixing things up a bit, doing them how I want to as I’ve taken a great interest in that lately with my exercises and health changes. I’m working hard with my physiotherapy sessions and trying to get my body in a good place, and I need to work on my mental health too, especially the anxiety which I’m making progress with, and learning to make time for myself. I’m already feeling in a much better place by having spoken about this to you all, and I’ve been happier than I have been in a while, I feel like it’s a new beginning, a fresh start, a happier one where I can be much more engaged with you and my own content. Let me know if you have any questions at all and I hope I have your support. If you’re a blogger and have experienced things like this too, please do comment and let me know!
P.S. – I am super excited about not having to freeze my butt off in a little amount of clothing in the Winter for photoshoots with a deadline or if I’m not feeling well enough, I wont have to power through it and try my hardest to do a photoshoot when I’m just ill, so I can rest instead. I am taking on a few other at home jobs writing content for others in order to make up some money, which I’m looking forward to as it’s my creative side, it’s not the same income, but I am sure things will be ok and with my mindset, I know I will be fine. Fingers crossed! I will be finishing up the collaborations that I have in place at the moment, and go from there. Lorna xx.