This week, Greenroom spoke to Aswati Balakrishnan, a fashion, beauty and lifestyle Instagrammer who has amassed over 75,000 followers on her profile. It comes as no surprise that she is so popular. She is smart, analytical about her work and can articulate her thoughts very well. The chirpy blogger talked about her transition from being a civil engineer to Bangalore’s favorite fashionista.
“It was around 2014 when I started blogging. Being a fashion blogger was not a big career path then, but Bangalore was definitely picking up and looking for inspiration.”
Her inclination towards fashions was always present and thriving.
“I started small – I styled outfits that I bought and tried to present my take on fashion to the audience. Instagram was an amazing platform for me to experiment with my style. Although, my breakthrough was when I entered a contest with Lifestyle, over time my audience stuck with me because they could relate to my content.”
Relatability over luxury?
I would consider my style as minimal and everyday fashion. Over the years, I have experimented with different types of content for my audience to see what they like best. While I liked to extend the boundaries of what I do, my priority was always to figure out what my audience liked.
Over time, I realized my audience liked relatable and wearable fashion. So, what you see on my feed is what I would wear outside and not just for the camera.
What kind of content did you experiment with?
I remember doing a couple of editorials, focussed on making my feed look professional and flashy, tried my hand at high fashion – you name it, I probably would have tried it. How my content narrowed into everyday fashion was actually through my audience – I remember when they used to reach out to me or comment on my posts asking where I got my outfit from. Like every brand’s audience, my followers needed a takeaway too – affordable and wearable fashion.
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My personal preference for watches (and most accessories!) is that it should be simple and sleek. Skagen meets both in this Aaren Kulor Analog watch. Don't you just love this pop of colour? ❤️ I can easily see myself pairing this even with my athleisure and my formals to give my outfits a nice edge. Absolute love! @skagendenmark! ❤ #SKAGENincolor
So, are you equating the type and quality of content with how happier your audience is? How does it work with brands and campaigns?
I always tend to connect the product and a personalized theme. For instance, if I am talking about how good a brand’s earphone is, I would set up a story around it where I am relaxing in my balcony listening to a song. It ALWAYS has to be about what my followers can relate to. Honestly, it took me a while to figure out what my audience wants. There’s definitely been an evolution of my content over time.
Certain brands go with my profile and some really don’t. Basic understanding comes over time with brands. I am very transparent with brands when I think their content will not work. It starts with how the campaign is being communicated – direct advertising in influencer marketing doesn’t work. I need to weave a story and post multiple times about the brand – people on Instagram scroll through thousands of posts every day and it is important to bring out a brand recall.
Do brands restrict influencer freedom during a campaign?
Not anymore! brands and influencers have come to a realization that influencer marketing only works when authenticity is in the display. Also, I took a stand after that happened once. I have had to reject some campaigns where the brand aligns with my ideas, but unfortunately, their current, specific campaign doesn’t. For eg, I can never pull off dance moves. Brands also welcome open communication and want to figure out which influencer works best for them.
Honing her current skills every day
I can’t compromise on working out. I believe in taking care of myself. I also read and research a lot about my industry and constantly keep myself updated with news, I am trying my hand at makeup also now. I don’t want to stop diversifying my skills. My idea is to put up different kinds of content – beauty, fashion and keep experimenting. Especially during this tough quarantine, everyone spends so much time on social media. It is our job to understand what they want and keep them entertained.
Brand collaborations will happen over time when they notice more organic content on your timeline. Infact there is more work now than usual since the content majorly has to be personal and authentic.
What does an influencer’s life look like? What kind of work goes behind this? Give us a sneak peek.
(Pre-lockdown) As much as I enjoy blogging, I also handle some brands’ social media. So majority of my day is consumed with client meetings. I also go to events. I plan my shoots extensively – designing mood boards and strategizing with my photographer, Once we decide the location and create backdrop we start shooting and producing. I edit it myself to ensure quality and personalization. I am generally a very hands-on person. I am also extremely specific about my work , so I tend to put in extra hours for my posts.
It is a tough career choice – our best life which you see on Instagram constitutes about 20% of the whole idea. Stressing for a shoot, kicked out of the location, delays in projects, client calls is what sums up my days in general.
She laughs and adds “There’s no weekend for me – Sunday to Saturday is the same for me. No social life.”
But ultimately, I love the job, passion, and how my audience keep me going. Like every profession, being an influencer too has pros and cons and it is not just a glamorous life.
Tell us something you like doing apart from fashion
I really enjoy reading and I am passionate about planting and gardening. I think it is also reflecting in my feed now. I have started a new series about plants and indoor decor. Also, DIY! I love taking something small and making it look so pretty. I find it very therapeutic.