I just wing it." That’s how beauty vlogger Gia Kashyap describes herself on @giasaysthat, her Instagram account, where she shares her travelogues, along with favourite fashion and make-up hacks and products. But keeping her 140,000-odd followers on the platform engaged and entertained means ideating for weeks to decide on what’s going to be the topic of her next vlog.
“I work with my content manager to decide on the vlogs I will produce for the week, which can take weeks. Some days a single two-minute vlog takes 2 hours to make," admits Kashyap.
She is not complaining though. Kashyap started with blogging on fashion and beauty in 2009, when it wasn’t really a “thing". “I started my blog because that was the only way I could express myself outside my college as I was studying a completely different subject (journalism). I had no plan of getting into journalism as I was planning to become a graphic designer, but I realized that I had to balance my creative side with something more theoretical," says Kashyap, who credits her mother for introducing her to “all things related to skincare and body positivity".
She shifted to vlogging on Instagram from YouTube last year. “Today, it’s all about it (Instagram). The social media world keeps changing and I have now learnt to adapt myself," explains Kashyap.
The ‘right’ aesthetic
After college, Kashyap worked for some time with a media house and a jewellery and a clothing brand. “But I realized what my true calling was. So I started working towards vlogging more seriously." she says.
With ample family support and strong interest in beauty, Kashyap took the plunge 10 years ago. “I’d say that I’m lucky to have had things work out for me the way they did. I’ve reached where I’ve wanted to be." Lessons from her self-run T-shirt venture at the age of 18 also helped. “I learnt to save money from that (the venture)," says Kashyap, who refuses to reveal her present age. “I have always been good with money, in a way. I invested in the right places, which is why I’ve skipped from blogging to YouTube to Instagram TV (IGTV) as the trends changed."
One of the reasons for her popularity, she insists, is the aesthetic. “I have always maintained the same aesthetic. Many of my followers relate to me because I have a girl-next-door kind of vibe. While you will see me in sky-high heels, you will also see me recommending a pair of trusty flats or a no-make-up look to give yourself and your skin a break," says Kashyap, who’s an avid follower of vloggers Song Of Style and Chriselle Lim. Her fan following has also helped her get paid partnerships deals with brands like Olay, Nykaa and Bumble. “Legitimate brand deals on Instagram became a thing very recently. Now, based on your content, brands approach you and ask you to promote certain products." And how does she decide which brand to work with? “Thankfully I’ve worked with brands I use and trust myself."
While starting out, making money was not an option but as she gained audience her bank balance increased.
Being in the business is not easy though, considering the number of vloggers that exist today. But Kashyap trusts her followers. “Ultimately, people will become followers if they trust your advice. It is very important to not flood your Instagram with advertisements and promotional content. That’s how you lose credibility."
That’s why Kashyap ensures she serves only “organic" content. “Recently a lot of my content has revolved around body positivity and self-love. I myself have battled these issues in the past and I want my followers to be as content with themselves as I am." She says while she cannot allow her entire life to be captured in a camera lens, she tries to make her content as uplifting and positive as possible. “I will be releasing a vlog on how to avoid negative vibes and take care of your mental health. Youth today is so impressionable, it is very important for them to have a positive force in their lives."
Despite her popularity, Kashyap understands that trends will fade and she will have to keep up with the pace. She’s working towards launching an e-commerce website under her brand name, with restricted access only to her followers. “Vlogging will fade as a trend and I’m ready for that. That is how you survive and thrive in the online world." 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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