SIMPLY partnered with the Azdef Group to bring a day of industry insider panel talks to Dubai. Conference attendees listening to moderated discussions on the topics of fashion, beauty, blogging and tech, in between networking with other bloggers and influencers. Catt Sadler (E! News and theCATTWALK), Karen Wazen and Jacey Duprie (Damsel in Dior) were featured as keynote speakers, along with a number of UAE-based bloggers and business women.
If you’ve never attended a SIMPLY conference we highly recommend you do – especially if you’re a budding fashion blogger or influencer. In addition to SIMPLY Dubai, SIMPLY hosts events in NYC and L.A on a regular basis. Check out the SIMPLY website for more information on their upcoming events, conferences and talks.
Without a doubt, the entire day of SIMPLY Dubai was very insightful. Therefore, we’ve rounded up the top 5 pieces of wisdom for fashion bloggers and influencers, that we took away from the conference…
SIMPLY Dubai 2017
Invest In Your Blog – And Take it Seriously!
SIMPLY Dubai’s keynote speakers Jaycee Duprie (Damsel in Dior) and Instagram influencer Karen Wazen hammered home that if you want your blog to be a success, you need to treat it like a business. And while we’ve heard it before (and understand that it’s easier said than done), Wazen is 100% right.
“There’s no elevator or escalator to success,” one speaker added, as the day progressed. “You have to take the stairs.”
When it comes to succeeding as a blogger and influencer, Dupire and Wazen dished out relatively old-school advice that we’ve heard over and over again here at IFB:
- Networking is important. Get your face out there, and attend events and conferences.
- Quality content is equally important (if not more). Remember, Content is King!
- Stick to a posting schedule and be consistent when uploading content.
- Shoot your imagery content on a DSLR camera or hire a professional photographer.
- When you start earning money from sponsored posts, paid collaborations, etc. put it back into your blog. Treat it like a business!
The overall takeaway? If you want your blog, Youtube channel or Instagram to succeed invest in it and take it seriously!
“The minute you start asking for money, the minute you’ll start earning it.”
One SIMPLY Dubai attendee asked Duprie and Wazen the following question: When is it right to start charging brands for sponsored posts, social media shoutouts and collaborations?
The Answer: “The minute you start asking for money, the minute you’ll start earning it.” Essentially, when it starts to feel right you're probably ready to start charging for sponsored content.
Once you feel you have something of value to offer brands, go ahead and ask for the money (just be sure to stay authentic and keep true to your brand too). It might take a little time to figure out your rates, but if you believe in your business and what you have to offer brands (even if it’s a small following) you will succeed and start earning.
4 Secrets To Growing A Successful Instagram Account
“Your Instagram should do one of the four things,” said celebrity stylist-entrepreneur-author Kelly Lundberg, as she moderated the SIMPLY Dubai’s Fashion Influencer Panel, “Inspire, educate, give a behind-the-scenes sneak peak or provide a sense of community to your followers.”
And Instagram was a big talking point for the SIMPLY Dubai’s Fashion Influencer Panel. Like blogging, the speakers on the panel (Tamara Al Gabbani, Fashion Pirate’s Zeynab El-Helw and Nour Aldin, to name a few) all agreed it’s important to post consistently if you’re looking at building up your brand as an Instagram influencer.
Pre-plan and schedule your posts, but also keep in mind it’s important to be real and authentic. And don’t be afraid to repost other people’s content – just be sure to give them credit.
“Look at Huda [Kattan’s] Instagram,” said TV Presenter and Dubai-based Instagram influencer Nour Aldin, referring to the Huda Beauty account. “All she does is repost other people’s content and she has a huge following.”
And while some of the speakers on SIMPLY Dubai’s Fashion Influencer panel admitted to posting their images on the fly, Fashion Pirate's Zeynab El-Helw did disclose that she uses Planoly in order to schedule her posts in advance. Karen Wazen also disclosed during her talk that she uses Snapseed to edit her photos for Instagram.
P.S. If you're looking to improve your Instagram game, check out IFB's 10-Day Instagram Essentials course.
“You Are Your Own Business Card”
During the Stylist Panel celebrity and influencer-stylists Ugo Mozie, Vasil Bozhilov, Aram Kabbani, Kelly Lundberg and Teresa Karpinska discussed what it meant to work with clients in the industry. Most bloggers are more interested in landing paid collaborations with brands, Style Drifter’s Teresa Karpinska had some universal words of wisdom when it comes to working with others
“You need to put your ego to the side,” Karpinska stated. “You need to look at the bigger picture and take into account the client’s opinion.”
So, what's the takeaway for bloggers and influencers? Sponsored posts and paid collaborations aren’t all about you. Bloggers and influencers should be working hand-in-hand with a brand (i.e. their client), in order to ensure everyone is happy with the end result of a collaboration.
Karpinska also mentioned how important it was for bloggers and influencers to reach out to brands, potential clients, etc. and “put yourself out there” on social media. Don’t be afraid to message companies directly via Instagram’s DM – but it’s also equally important to be doing in-person networking. “You are your own business card,” Karpinska said, as she stressed how important it is to form connections with people in person.
One very important takeaway from the SIMPLY Dubai Entrepreneur Panel? If you’re considering starting a business, there is no excuse as to why you shouldn’t.
Moderated by Alia Fawad (ITP Live), SIMPLY Dubai’s Entrepreneur Panel featured prominent UAE-based business women Fatma Al Mulla (FMM by Fatma Al Mulla), Sara Al Madani (Shabarbush Restaurant, Social Fish, Rouge Couture), Bodour Al Hilali (Belle Femme Beauty Salon) and Mariam Yeya (Mrs. Keepa). All speakers gave excellent insight into the world of entrepreneurship in Dubai.
What business tips did these savvy ladies dish out to the SIMPLY Dubai crowd? If you don’t have a “business mind”, find a business partner that has the business smarts. Use crowd-funding if you need to raise money or reach out to your network for investors. Work hard, get up early and persevere.
“There really is no excuse nowadays,” said Her Excellency, Sara Al Madani. Al Madani founded her first business at the age of fifteen, and has been a serial entrepreneur ever since.
So, whether it’s blogging or running your own clothing line, starting a business is always tough. You need to stay committed, in order to reap the rewards. Don’t make excuses and just crack on with it.
Overall, IFB's Laura Kell had a great day at the SIMPLY Dubai conference and highly recommends bloggers, vloggers and influencer of all levels to consider attending a SIMPLY event.
Special thank you to Sarah Boyd, the SIMPLY team and The Azdef Group for having IFB at Simply Dubai.