Tell us a little about Polkadot.tv?
I launched my blog in early 2009. My original name was StreetStyle London, and I was inspired by Bill Cunningham of the NY Times, who I'd grown up with, on Long Island. I didn't really know about blogs, had never even heard of The Sartorialist. My blog quickly grew in readership, (apparently I was the top one or two UK street style blogs for a while), and I kind of dove in head first to the fashion blogging community: I was blown away by the support and friendship. Some of my closest recent friends are either people I've met through blogs, at fashion weeks, or literally on the street, when I approached them to shoot them.
The second and year of my blog life drew me off course: let's just say, I got in with the wrong crowd, and found myself spending all my time raising the profile of ambitious bloggers. And now, in year three, I'm not quite sure what I want to do with it next, having passed the baton onto the next, worthy generations of street style bloggers. I'm considering moving into travel, film, the arts, food – or possibly shutting it down altogether.
How do you monetize Polkadot.tv?
The short answer is, I don't. The list of ‘opportunities' I've been offered – from international magazines, high profile brands, down to start up online magazines, would be hilarious, if I hadn't spent so much time working for free. If someone sends me promotional material on something, and I like the product, I might post about it. But recently, I've decided to phase that out, and keep my blog purely uncommercial. As for affiliate networks and all the social media incentives… I can't get my head around it. But I do know of friends who are earning money that way, and enjoying themselves, and I tip my hat to them! It's just not me. I don't think I'm cut out for the business side of fashion.
What's the best advice you would give to aspiring fashion bloggers?
Decide what you want to be. Do you want to be visible? Do you want to post photos of yourself, i.e. ‘self style'? Are you comfortable in the limelight? Are you comfortable with criticism? Rejection? Or are you the type who prefers to observe, anonymously? If so – and I was, I only started out as a street style photographer, I never intended to have a face – then be sure you stay anonymous. Once you let that cat out of the bag, it's hard to stuff her back in!
If you think of success in terms of large numbers of followers, hits, etc, etc – I'd say the secret is to be as good as you can be, without overanalysing it, and, at least at the start, have a focused and/or clever idea. Be true to yourself. Then go forth and try to make friends. Comment on like-minded blogs, but try not to do that ‘come to my blog' thing, because it puts people off. Just comment in a kind, generous spirited way, and hope that what you say is interesting enough to make people curious. And from time to time, ask other bloggers, via email, to swap links. You'll get rejected a lot – I did – but sometimes, people can surprise you. I always try to help people, if they ask in a genuinely nice way.
If you're in it for the fame, or the fortune, I can't help you, because I haven't a clue! But most importantly, have FUN with your blog. Try not to fret about numbers, hits, followers. Post about what you want, when you want. Find your own voice, and sing your song, loud as you like. The same rules in the virtual world apply as in the real one: you get out of it what you put it. A generous heart goes a long, long way.