Scherezade Shroff’s vlogging journey started more than five years ago, with a beauty blog. “Having grown up around fashionable people, I always had lots of information on beauty and fashion. I wanted to share it with the world," says Shroff, 32, who considers her grandfather “the most fashionable person; he never left the house without a three-piece suit."
She didn’t enjoy blogging for too long, though. “My spellings were atrocious," laughs Shroff, who started modelling at the age of 16. It was around that time a multi-channel network approached her to work on a fashion vlog on YouTube. Shroff, who was inspired by her elder sister Anaita, a popular fashion stylist, actor and costume designer, to make a career in the fashion world, did the stint for a year, and realized that vlogging was her “true calling". “When I started vlogging, I thought, ‘This is me, this is what I love doing.’"
So, in 2013, she launched her eponymous YouTube channel. Today, the lifestyle channel, which provides beauty and fashion tips and hacks, make-up and hair tutorials, travel vlogs and DIYs, has almost 3,00,000 subscribers on YouTube, over 2,00,000 followers on Instagram and more than 30,000 on Twitter.
Shroff started vlogging on YouTube when it wasn’t as popular in the country as it is today. “So many young minds with the most unique ideas come on to this platform (YouTube) and make a place for their talent. It’s great that vlogging on YouTube is so well monetized that young people actually consider it as a career option," she says.
The growth of vlogging industry, she adds, is more gratifying than threatening. “One thing I’ve noticed in all these years is that viewers don’t generally pick specific content to watch, they pick the vlogger. If the viewer likes the aesthetic, the personality of the vlogger, they will stick with their content," she explains.
Her strategy to keep her followers engaged is simple: “Keep it original, raw and organic to make a successful vlog."
She explains, “My channel is an extension of my life. About 95% of my content is original and only based on my opinions. I know that my subscribers wouldn’t know this, but another thing that makes my channel quirky is my policy to never make pre-planned and scripted content. On days I don’t have anything to vlog about, I just sit and talk into the camera about topics that I am passionate about."
Unlike what outsiders believe, the YouTube world is not as competitive, for there’s always space for creativity, says Shroff. “YouTube’s monetization policy helps facilitate everything. What you will earn as a small time YouTuber won’t be much but you can bet that brands and event managers will soon ping you to ask for collaborations and shout-outs."
Shroff herself has paid partnerships with brands like Sephora and MG Motor India. Brand deals, affiliate programmes and starring in events are her main source of income.
“I have a strict process before I say yes to any company. This is why I’m also never compelled to give a false opinion on the product of a paid partner. I only feature products that I myself would genuinely use." She says her pickiness with paid partners and deals is precisely what makes her channel different from other lifestyle vlogging channels.
But is vlogging a passing trend? Shroff doesn’t believe so. While new talent will keep entering the industry, Shroff is confident that people will always want organic content.
As for her channel, she says it is a reflection of her life, and the content “will always be fresh and genuine."
“Right now, I’m planning a video about what people don’t tell you about your 30s, and I know my subscribers will relate to me," she says.
Having said that, Shroff says she does have a plan ready in case competition becomes too much. “I will always have my law degree in that case," she says. “I’ve never practised it but I’m a qualified lawyer so that’s my plan B. But I would like to say viva la YouTube so that it never comes to that." A Vlogger’s Diary follows the lives of people who started vlogging as a hobby and later turned it into a brand.
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