Allen Claudius from Bowties and Bones talks about how being ghosted by a UK publication motivated him to start writing for himself.
Fashion influencer Allen Claudius desires to work with brands that he aspires to buy in real life. He tells us about his content creation process and how he distinguishes between his presence on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and his personal blog. Further, she also shares his filtering process when working with brands — one that can help new bloggers.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
It all began with the desire to contribute. I used to write for a couple of websites and one in the UK. My articles would always make it to the top 10 every year. They lined me up for an interview with the BBC. On the day of the call, they asked for my number and when they realized I was in India, they immediately ghosted me. I followed up for a couple of weeks but they would never respond. That is when I decided to start writing for myself. I never wanted to be in front of the camera and was content with developing content. That last line can be confusing since I said content and content!
What’s in the name?
The name is actually dedicated to my puppy, Scratch. I was talking about how bowties look like a cartoon bone. So the bowtie was meant to represent me and the bone, Scratch. That’s how bowtiesandbones.com took birth. Having said that, it has been years since I last wore a bowtie. I think rebranding is needed now.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
I guess sticking to my niche and what I actually consume on a daily basis helps me stay true to who I actually am. I guess that is what my USP is. I am not saying it works, but it is what it is. My content gives me an edge because I make it experiential. For instance, if an automobile brand approached me and asked me to pose next to the vehicle and post a picture, regardless of what they have to offer in exchange monetarily, I would flat out refuse. Instead, I would prefer they gave me the vehicle for a day to drive around town or go on a road trip and create real-world content.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
I don’t follow a process unless I have thought things through. Most of the time, I document my experiences and real-life situations. I work with things I buy/own, rather than what brands would send me. But I usually think of how a certain product can transcend Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and my website. Facebook and Instagram are pretty straightforward with images. The same goes for the website with content that I develop around the product or experience. And then I round that off with BTS on my YouTube channel.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
Fortunately for me, it isn’t always about the money unless there are dependencies or production costs involved. Obviously, a brand will have to pay me money for me to spare my time and effort. But I do not look at blogging as my primary source of income. I do other gigs on the side for the money.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
I am extremely selective about the work I take on. I think I turn down over 90% of the work that is pitched to me. For me, integrity is of primary importance. For the sake of a few extra bucks, I refuse to peddle mediocre products to my limited audience. I do not care for the money or opportunities, I missed out on. If it is something I would actually spend money on or aspire to spend on, I will do it. This filtering process automatically helps me maintain my objectivity.
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
Way too many with varied impacts on my life. I made friends, got opportunities, was recognized and appreciated opened doors and the works.
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
This was from an e-commerce ‘biggie’ who said they would send me a branded box of their platform and I could place my own products in it and pretend as if I bought it from their website. Like seriously, what kind of a joke is that?
If not blogging, you would be?
I would be pursuing a career in music or photography. The worst-case would be working in the corporate, which I did for about 9 years as a Client Relationship Manager.
A day in your life…
It really is quite boring. I begin with some coffee and catch up on social media. I video-call my loved ones, then a walk by the sea. Come back home, shower and head to work. Get home in the evening, tidy up, catch up on some Netflix and get my 8 hours of sleep.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
You can either cash in or stay true to your identity. If you have patience and develop an image, the money will come in eventually. Question is, do you have the patience or are you chasing likes and followers. Nobody can tell you what to pick, that is for you to decide. Cashing in has its benefits. You will make money instantly selling everything from Milk to TVs to entry-level apparel to luxury and even the occasional real estate. Staying true is an uphill climb. It may or may not pay off in the end. I chose the uphill task. There are good days and a whole lot of inactive days. But then again, what is a ‘personal’ blog if you aren’t putting in your true personality into it. Perhaps I am being too idealistic about it, but it is how I choose to do things.
Your Favorite Influencer
Kayaan Contractor, she is amongst the extremely rare few who stay true to their identity and do not sell out.
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
I intend to focus on using my personal brand to build lifestyle and fashion brands. In essence, I intend to make products or build experiences that I aspire to have. And sticking to what you are good at/passionate about/believe in, comes into play here.