Bonjour, Blogger! : Niki

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Name: Niki Whittle
Age: 33
Location: Bristol and Bangalore
Blog URL: www.stylestudsandlace.com

What is your blog about? I’m a personal stylist and textile designer living between the UK and India so my blog is a real mix of fashion, style advice, travel and Indian inspirations…with a bit of bonkers Indian experiences thrown in too.

Is this your first blog? Yes, although it’s evolved quite a lot over the years.  I recently changed the name and gave it a much needed makeover from this (http://hipshapesandbristolfashion.blogspot.co.uk/) to this (http://www.stylestudsandlace.com ).  The content’s still the same but I felt the look and feel no longer reflected me or my circumstances.

When did you start your current blog? I started back in 2008 which means I’ve actually been blogging for over 5 years now!  I can’t quite believe it’s been that long…I don’t think it had occurred to me until you asked me the question!!

What made you do it? When I started my own personal styling business nearly 6 years ago I decided that blogging would be a great way to promote it; I’d also been following blogs and loved the idea of starting my own.  Pretty quickly it went from being a free marketing opportunity to an extension of my business and something I loved doing.   Since moving to India, blogging has become more important to me as it allows me to share my life over here with friends and family and helps me to stay connect to my clients, business and life back at home.

What was your first blog post about? Ooh, I can’t remember, something to do with tights I think…not very inspiring!  It took me a while to get into the swing of things; it was a case of just starting and trying different things in a bid to see what worked for me.  If I’m honest, I’m probably still figuring this out.  I guess it will change grow as I and my business do. 

What do you think is the most useful tool to you as a blogger? Polyvore!  I use it ALL THE TIME!!  It’s such a great way of creating look books and mood boards quickly and easily.  If you’ve not used it yet it’s definitely worth checking out.

Do people in your “real life” know about your blog? Yes they know about it but I don’t think many of them ‘get it’ – some do, but they’re in the minority.    A lot of my clients read my blog as they can get regular style advice and keep up with what I’m doing over here (and when I’m coming back) but I’m not sure how many friends and family read it…although I do get some fun comments from them sometimes, especially about my life and experiences living as a stylist in India. I’ve had quite a few opportunities from writing for local magazines, working at fashion events and picking up new clients for my styling business. It’s also been a great way to network and make new connections with other local fashion businesses.  It’s opened up opportunities that may not have otherwise come my way. It’s also helped me settle in and meet people over in Bangalore; there are some awesome Bangalore fashion bloggers!

What has been the one thing (blog post, project, etc) you’ve been really proud of? I did a ‘charity shop challenge’ feature with Venue magazine (a local Bristol and Bath magazine) where I had to pull together a heap of different looks using only items found in local charity shops.  We spent the day running around Bristol trying to find everything and then spent the evening styling the photo shoot.  I loved the challenge and opportunity to try something a little different.

Where do you see your blog in a year? Ooh, I’m not sure really, I just love sharing my experience and inspiration and want to continue developing more as a writer and stylist. I’m trying to put some structure in place and to have some routine features, as posting regularly is something I struggle with.  I’d love my blog to become more interactive and have introduced a couple of new features including an ‘ask Niki’ style feature where I answer reader’s style dilemmas, so we’ll have to see how that goes. I guess it also depends on where we live next and what opportunities that brings…!

What do you wish you knew when starting your blog? Where to get images from that I could use on the blog.  My first 10 or so posts were pretty much image free and not very inspiring.  Now I try and use my own photographs as much as possible as I feel it gives my blog its own identity and feels much more personal. I also have a very patient husband who takes brilliant photos for my outfit posts.

What do you wish you know about now? Oh so much!  Blogging is always challenging me to learn and discover new things, it’s one of the reasons I enjoy it.  Despite having a blog, my biggest challenge is writing – I’m not a natural writer , it’s taken me a while to develop my own writing style and it still takes me an age to pull some posts together…I wish I was better at putting my thoughts into words.

How do you keep motivated to post? When I moved to India I knew it would be a tough transition to make to go from running my own business full time, to not actually being able to work (I can’t work in India thanks to visa restrictions).  When we first arrived, I threw myself into blogging; my motivation then was the sense of purpose it gave me and the ability to stay involved with fashion and trends back at home, to stay connected to my clients and to ensure that my business had a presence back in the UK even if I wasn’t there full time.

That still motivates me now, but it’s been slightly overshadowed by a rekindled love of photography and textile design (there is so much creativity, colour and pattern in India) – blogging has given me the motivation to rediscover old passions, it’s challenged me to get back to designing and has encouraged me to improve my photography and writing skills.  As long as my blog motivates me, I will keep motivated to blog.

Anything else you’d like to add? Just a thank you for featuring me!  Oh, and please get in touch via twitter or my FB page if you have style dilemma you want help with, or want to know more about life over in India!!

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