Tejeshwar Sandhoo tells Social Samosa how image composition helps him strike a balance between brand briefs and editorial objectivity.
While starting out as a blogger, Tejeshwar Sandhoo found it tough to convince both brands as well as his audiences, given how niche the men’s blogging space is. While the blogosphere has evolved over time, he feels there is still a long way to go. He hopes to widen the reach of his communication while staying true to his message of inclusivity in fashion.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
Oh damn! Now, this needs to be given a serious thought. I think it was back in 2014 when a bunch of us were sitting and trying to find a menswear influencer for a brand we were working on (I am a digital marketing manager). And it then struck us that there was absolutely nobody in Delhi who we could tap into. So then we sort of made a plan, bought a domain name, made an Instagram account and Blueberry Blackout was born. Just like that!
What’s in the name?
I’d probably be the most embarrassed when it comes to this question. I was clueless as to what I should name my blog. I didn’t want to go to the usual “dapper”, “gent”, “boy” type of names and wanted slightly off-beat. I think it probably stemmed from my love for blueberry muffins and Britney Spears. Now as much as I think of changing this, I’d rather not. It’s a part of me.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
I have always made sure that I stand for what I believe in. That makes a lot of difference. My blog has always been into the whole experimental fashion space where I urge regular looking Indian men with regular bodies and hair to be confident enough to carry interesting outfits. I am an average looking guy with the average Indian height and body-type and so I like to convey to the audience that if someone like me can do it, then so can they! Also, I say no to campaigns or brands who I would never wear on a regular basis. How can you sell something you don’t believe in?
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
It’s all about analyzing what has worked for you in the past and then move forward. If you’re true to what your personal sense of style is, it is easier for you to market through the blog. So being relevant is a lot to do with my own personal style evolution and obviously the on-going brand endorsements fill in for the current trend forecasts. So it’s a healthy balance of my own personal projects and brand-related content.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
It was really hard initially. I mean whenever someone starts their own blog, they expect that they will start earning in the first month of doing so. It was really hard for me to make money since the whole men’s blogging space was not as evolved as it is now (we still have a long way to go). And especially since my content was not regular and a little niche, it was really hard to convey to brands and audience alike. But now over the years, I have learnt to market that content to brands with a similar aesthetic and struck long term deals which help pay the bills on some (if not all) occasions.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
This is where the disconnect happens on a lot of occasions. Brands have a lot of basic outfits and products that they want to promote. But I also have to stay true to my blog aesthetic. So the balance is found in terms of product selection – finding the coolest of the lot & image composition – working with my photographers and making sure we strike a good balance and work on interesting and captivating imagery.
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
Being the only male influencer from Delhi to be nominated for the Cosmopolitan Blogger Awards in 2018. That was really cool!
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
Can you not make it gay? ( I am gay and quite open about it, so I was like “How insulting is this”, but also funny at the same time )
If not blogging, you would be?
Actually blogging is number #3 on my list. I work a social media and digital manager and have worked with brands like Harley-Davidson India, DLF Emporio, Ritu Kumar to name a few. Plus I studied to be a Pilot so I keep myself updated with constant studying and exams throughout the year.
A day in your life…
Okay, I’m going to describe a day, which is a healthy mix of almost everything that makes blogging worthwhile. I like to start shooting early. We mostly start shooting at about 530-6 AM so that we capture the beautiful morning light. Once I’m done with that, I get back home, and then off to work. Post work, it’s time to work out just a bit, enough to stay healthy and then it’s time for a quick dinner or an event. I love coming back home early as soon as the event is over because I feel that my personal space is something I love the most. So once work is done, you’ll never see me “chilling” at events as I have a zillion other things to take care of after. (I hope I don’t sound arrogant about this)
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
Stay true to your personal sense of style and all the things you believe in. And don’t shy away from hard work, because when you work hard, only then will it show, nothing comes easy. And if you think that this is just an easy profession where you’ll make a lot of money instantly then I’m here to give you that much-needed reality check — it’s not! None of the top bloggers in India has reached where they are now without hard work and lots of dedication.
Your Favorite Influencer
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
To continue what I am doing. I think there are a lot more people I need to instil a level of confidence in and my work is not done yet. I will think of a future when I have completed what I set out to do. A lot of us suffer from self-image issues and I want to be able to influence those men out there and tell them that it’s time they break the monotony and experiment! So for the future, it’s aiming to reach to a wider audience but the message remains the same.