In conversation with Social Samosa, Cosmos and Chai’s Malavika asserts the power an influencer holds, to build or ruin a brand’s reputation.
Malavika from Cosmos and Chai speaks about the passion that led her to quit her full-time job as a stylist for Juice magazine and pursue fashion blogging. While she believes that staying true to the audience is key, she also understands and acknowledges the consequences of negative reviews for a brand’s reputation.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
Truth be told, conceptually, ever since I learned my ABCs. Content creation and writing are two things I’ve always been passionate about it since a very young age. Operationally speaking, upon completing my Master’s degree in Journalism I worked with one of the fashion magazines in the country, which made me understand what my true calling was, beauty and fashion blogging.
What’s in the name?
When it came to picking out a name for my blog, I wanted it to be unique, but at the same time represent the content I’d be sharing. Cosmo and Chai because, I’ve spent many evenings sipping on a cup of chai, getting lost in a fashion magazine. It was my one escape from the daily chaos, and I’d be mesmerized every time I flipped the pages of a new issue.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
In a world where luxury beauty and fashion bloggers are thriving, I try my best to come up with attainable beauty, fashion and lifestyle hacks for my subscribers. This is because I know that not everyone can afford to splurge each time they go shopping.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
I like to use social media to connect with my audience and ask them what they’d like to see, on my blog, Instagram stories and posts. I believe that as a content creator, while creative freedom is important, it’s also equally important that one pays close attention to what their audience wants to see, balance it out always.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
I have my blog, besides that, I collaborate with upcoming beauty, fashion and health brands who’s products I truly believe work and share them with my followers.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
I ensure I use the said product for some time before I review it, this is especially true with beauty, skincare and health products. Only if I genuinely like the product, would I recommend it to my subscribers? If I don’t, I just won’t mention it anywhere at all. I don’t like doing negative reviews, because as influencers have the power to build up or ruin a company’s reputation.
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
I remember going gaga over a certain company’s health bars as a teen. Not only did they taste good, but they were way healthier when compared to chocolates. They reached out to me on Instagram so that I could promote those same bars on my stories. It was a full-circle moment for me since it was a brand I’d looked up to since I was young. I was glad that not only had they thought that I was worthy of promoting their product, but the quality had only improved with time and I was happy to be sharing the brand with my subscribers. Especially those, who had just begun their weight loss or health journeys.
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
I’ve had a few brands persistently ask me to provide a good review, even if their products are not up to the mark. I politely declined as I want to remain loyal to my followers and not lie to them. Now, I always make it clear to the brand that I will only talk about their product if I genuinely like it and it works for me. Only after they say yes, will I ask them to send me their package.
If not blogging, you would be?
Probably a fashion writer and a stylist with a fashion magazine, doing what I did earlier. I’ve known nothing else in the last few years. I can not imagine doing anything else besides being in the fashion industry, in any form.
A day in your life…
I start my day by going to the gym, early in the morning. Then run some errands, brainstorm a few ideas for my next post, check my emails and the usual continues. Some days are a little more hectic than others if I have a shoot or two. But I don’t complain at all, because I love my job and it’s never felt like “work” to me
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
Just do it! Don’t think twice about what your family, friends or relatives will think of your blog or channel. Take that leap of faith, put your heart and soul into every piece you put out there and don’t do it for the money. It will come, eventually but what’s more important is you do is out of love and always stay loyal to your audience.
Your Favorite Influencer
When it comes to beauty, definitely James Charles. He’s not only super talented but is also humble and mature for a 19-year-old. I love how he refers to his followers as his ‘sisters’ which makes me believe that he truly pursues it for the love of the craft, and not only for the money. And in the fashion arena, it would have to be Naomi Boyer. Her videos focus on styling one piece of clothing in multiple ways, which I appreciate because not only is that creative but it’s also pocket-friendly.
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
Besides mainstream blogging, I want to delve into the world of personal styling. Clothes can have such an impact on not only others but on the person donning them. I’d love to help people overcome their body image issues, break certain stereotypes and regain their confidence. We all deserve the right to look beautiful and feel happy.