|Vahni's cool wit and warm honesty make fashion blog Grit and Glamour one tall glass of water.|
A professional writer by trade, V has written for various online venues, but probably the best fit, and most pivotal in growing her audience, has been her contributions to Independent Fashion Bloggers. IFB is a robust blogging community founded by Jennine Jacob of the Coveted, and has been instrumental in the burgeoning influence of fashion bloggers in general. Vahni's involvement with IFB and Modly Chic's Friend Friday has firmly set Grit and Glamour in the blogosphere firmanent as polestar for fashion bloggers everywhere.
This past year, Vahni put together a series of blog-specific articles entitled "Build a Better Blog," a must-read primer for any serious style blogger worth her salt. In the works for 2011: a Vegas-bound Style Nation blogger symposium, co-coordinated by Vahni and Beverly of Style Underdog. Vahni recently announced her pick for Blogger of the Year which you can read by clicking here. The following is an interview with this extraordinary woman.
|WVW: What V Wore: Vahni's first outfit post featured her beloved Mongolian lamb's vest|
The Citizen: You're a professional writer and have been blogging for several years now, but 2010 seemed to be a tipping point for your blog, Grit and Glamour. Tell me, what triggered the growth to your blog in this past year?
Vahni: First, I finally got off my blogging island. I ventured into uncharted territory and actually started visiting other blogs and commenting. Second, I reached out to Jennine of Independent Fashion Bloggers and pitched some articles to her...and she accepted! Third, I started looking at blogging from a technical perspective, and it occurred to me that I could help other bloggers by sharing tips about content development that I've learned in my 10+ years doing just that professionally. Fourth, and most important, I decided I would practice what I preach. If I wanted a dialogue, I would have to reciprocate. If I wanted to level the playing blogging field, I would have to show people how.
The Citizen: While your blog is heavy on well-written original content, much of the allure of G&G is YOUR interaction with your readers. G&G-heads are a rabid bunch of die-hards (me included) who seem to feel a direct rapport with you. So you seem to be a very good reader and listener, not just a writer. How much of this listening skill do you think plays a role in your success as a blogger, and as a professional writer?
Vahni: Lord have mercy, Bella, you crack me up. "Rabid bunch of die-hards"...I like that. You make a great point here...a lot of commenting is the "listening" part; the best way to connect with another person is to HEAR what they have said and to VALIDATE it. I try to read and remember what my commenters have written, not in an endeavor to increase my readership, and not for some sycophantic ploy—it's because it helps me to know everyone as an individual. It enables me to see that blogger's face in my mind, to know what their personality is like, and to connect it all. When I see a comment from you, Bella Q, I think: Bold. Fearless. Funny. Brilliant pattern-mixer from Sacramento. When I see one from Leia of Leia's Delight's, I think: Beautiful, exotic, vegetarian Londoner with amazing saris. When I see Kristy's name (of Vogue Gone Rogue), I think: Greek-American, crazy-talented, smart cookie currently in Italy. And so on.
I consider many of my readers (like you) to be my friends. So I want to show them through my comments and writing, that I hear them, that they mean something to me. Because they...and you...do.
The Citizen: What direction do you see G&G going towards in 2011?
V: I made so much progress this year that I'm kind of afraid that there's no way I can one-up myself. But in reality, there are a million more things I could do better. I don't know if my direction will change, because I like where I'm going. Perhaps a better response for me is that I plan to expand on where I am now. I need to hone my photography and videography. I want to create a richer multi-media experience on G&G. I may look into creating a "Blogging Boot Camp," as some have suggested to me. I want to really harness technology and do things other bloggers haven't done. I can't divulge all that's going on in my head, but suffice it to say that if I can get it sorted, I have some plans for some really cool stuff.
The Citizen: What are your 3 favorite blogs, blogs that you HAVE to read daily?
V: GAH! I hate questions like these, just because there are so many blogs I just adore. It's not you...I get asked this all the time. OK. Most of the time, I'm non-committal. For you, Bella, I will commit. I’m always consistently impressed by Pretty Shiny Sparkly and Beautifully Invisible. Of the superbloggers, I adore Karla’s Closet and The Glamourai. Oops, that’s four. I suck at math. And I’m bad at following the rules.
The Citizen: What inspires you?
V: Fashion magazines. Art. Music. Pop culture. Great food. Great blogs. Pretty much everything except the aforementioned mathematics and the local news.
The Citizen: If you could give just one piece of advice to a blogger just starting out in 2011, what would your words of wisdom be?
V: If you don't know how to do it, Google it. And one more (told you I’m bad about rules, except for the Golden one): Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Online and in real life.