A foodie by heart and a wandering soul, Monish Shah aims to be a top class vegetarian blogger having keen understanding of flavours and cooking techniques.
As Shah puts down, “A wise man once said you are what you eat and I am on a journey to define who I am through food. This is a constant learning and some day I hope to master the art.” Its been about 3 years since Shah step foot in the blogging world and more he explores more he realizes there is so much yet to be explored. Shah loves to travel around the world trying different cuisines and cultures. The hunger for exploring is something that sets Shah apart and he hopes to keep on exploring throughout his life.
In this candid conversation, Shah takes us through his journey so far, the content creation process, tips for upcoming bloggers and much more.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
I guess it all began with my heritage. Being a Gujarati, the love for food was always prominent. Professional blogging however started in early 2016. I have been writing about my experiences on zomato for a very long time. I once had an awful experience at a premium restaurant which I had visited because of its name. Clever marketing techniques were used to lure diners. I decided to pen down my experience and realised the importance of social media in decision making. Thats when I realised its time to make your hobby a career.
What’s in the name?
I have always wanted to keep my name generic yet personal. Its important to create a personal name that is difficult to imitate. After keeping a few names early on, decided to narrow down to my current name “the.monishshah
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
Two things that I feel work for me. I am a vegetarian influencer which gives me a unique positioning. With so many vegetarian people in our country, I feel a lot of them can relate to me and see me as a guide to top notch vegetarian guide. The other thing that works for me is that I am true to my work. Its easy to get lost in the freebie world of influencers and most often than not people heap praise for the product / service they pretend to enjoy. I am on the other hand try and be as objective as I can. This I feel is one of my strengths.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
Creating visually good content does 80% of your work. Having upgraded to DSLR, and learning some advanced editing skills have helped me get a very good result. There is always a scope of improvement in this ever changing world. Keeping oneself up to date with latest trends in the industry is the best way to stay a step ahead.
How do you rake moolah with your efforts?
Most of what I do is on barter however there are many brands that wish to get featured on the page. Often some brand collaboration come along.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
Every single time I maintain my objectivity. I often don’t associate with brands I am not comfortable with. It is difficult to say no many times but being honest is a prerequisite to what I do. That is one thing that helps me stay relevant.
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
I have made plenty of good friends over the course of my journey. I have had many great experiences. The best experience was when my father and I were treated for one of the best Indian meals at Paratha Mantra and the smile on my fathers face was priceless. Passionate owner of the place Mr. Antriksh wet out of his way to make sure we had a wonderful experience.
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
There are quite a lot of brand collaborations but the weirdest one has to be from a ladies accessories brand. Its funny when digital agencies send briefs even without checking the influencer.
If not blogging, you would be?
Social media has always fascinated me and in my opinion, this is a greate revolution since the invention of printing press. I have always wanted to start a venture of my own that helps brand narrow gap with influencers. Being an influencer myself, I feel I am in a unique position to help brands decide on the right influencer and just a few months back I started this venture in the name of Wandering Monk.
A day in your life….
Currently I am giving a lot of time to my new venture Wandering Monk. Being a food influencer, staying fit takes priority over trying different dishes. My average day starts with an hour and a half of gym time followed by work on Wandering Monk and my blog during the day and a visit to a new restaurant in the evening. Traveling is also my passion so any free time I get, I try and plan my next adventure.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
Like in any glamour industry, its easy to get lost in the clutter. Being true to your niche and staying objective are by far the most important things any influencer can do.
Your Favorite Influencer
There are plenty of amazing influencers but my favourite is “thebucketlistfamily” Love their content and creativity. Some of my Indian favourites are ‘chefyash’, ‘Larrissa wlc’ & ‘Riya Jain’.
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
Being a new dad to a beautiful daughter, I hope to create more content with my daughter. Hoping to explore into many more niches like parenting, travel, fitness & lifestyle. Only time can tell how well I can do.