Looking to become a fashion blogger, a fashion stylist or a fashion influencer? You’ve come to the right place!
“Looking back, I’m so grateful for all of those struggles because those are what made me such a knowledgeable creative and helped me grow tougher skin. My work ethic has changed a lot from those struggles.”
Already having thoughts of giving up because of your first few struggles? Then you clearly don’t want it bad enough. Read on to know more as to how Mariel, of Polydeux, got over obstacles that could have stopped her from getting to where she is now and where she wants to be!
What is your name or what should we call you, and how long have you been a stylist/blogger/influencer? Do you remember the year (maybe the day and month, too) that you started?
Hi, my name is Mariel Cornel but my brand/online presence is better known as Polydeux. I started blogging straight out of high school (August 2012), which I’d like to think was an on-and-off process for its first two years.
Do you have a specific style?
I don’t like to categorize myself, as hipster as that sounds, only because I don’t like to limit myself. I have influences from high-end street and couture fashion so my style is a blend between the two.
Why did you want to become a blogger or an influencer? Was there anything that happened that triggered you to become one? Did you see something or someone online, or was it because of your avid interest for fashion?
After years of private school, uniforms and going to detention for breaking the dress code (so often that I had to start paying for it), it finally occurred to me how much I loved expressing myself through clothes.
When I first started blogging, no one really knew what blogging was. All I knew was that I liked writing and I liked fashion. The first real ‘blogger’ I came across was Olivia Lopez. She did both and people seemed to like it so I tried it myself and it became something I enjoyed. I didn’t realize it could be a career then. Now, it’s all I do.
How did you start? Did you start with social medias first, then made a site? Or did you start off with a website together with the social medias?
I think I’ve always had a blog for the sake of my writing but as for my brand, I think I started everything at once. Blogging isn’t just posting on Instagram but expressing your thoughts in a safe place, which is typically a blog.
Which website are you using for your blog (WordPress, Blogpost, etc.)? Do you have a reason as to why you chose this website? If so, what were they?
I originally was using Blogger/Blogspot but moved to WordPress. I think this is just a preference but I wanted to start over, re-brand and create a cleaner and more organized interface. I didn’t want to deal with affiliates, banners and ads. I just wanted to create content and have somewhere beautiful to put it.
Which social medias did you use in the beginning? Which one do you think was the most helpful one in terms of reaching your audience? Why did you think that it was the best medium to use?
As I mentioned in my previous question, I used all of them. I wasn’t thinking about an audience. I was just doing what I love because I loved it and I was grateful that so many people enjoyed it. At the time, Instagram had just started and not many people were on it so I would say that all my medias were equally the same in terms of reach. That’s not the case nowadays, haha.
Do you use more social medias now compared to when you were just starting? If so, which social medias have you added?
I think I use about the same amount of platforms as I did then. I always had a YouTube channel. I always had a Snapchat, etc. It was just a matter of how I used it.
How often do you post on your social medias when you were in the beginning stages? Was there a specific time that you thought was the best to post?
At first, I posted once a week and eventually once a day. When I first started, we didn’t have analytics or anything to tell us what was optimal for posting. We just posted whenever we wanted. There was no rhyme or rhythm. Just trial and error.
What camera were you using when you started? Did you have a photographer or you took the photos by yourself? Would you be able to compare the quality of the photos from when you were just starting and to how it is now? What were the changes?
I had a camera that I remember shelling out all my birthday money for. It stopped working eventually and I ended up having one of my sorority sisters shoot me for a few years to build each other’s portfolios up. I did get my hands on a Canon T3 but used it mainly for vlogs than shooting. Nowadays, I use it for shooting my own flatlays and fillers to make the workload easier on my current photographer, business partner, and boyfriend, @justinquebral.
Shooting with him changed everything. It gave my brand a definitive look. Before, it was very portraiture based and boho-inspired but now my fashion sense, mixed with Justin’s photography style, creates consistency throughout my brand. We deviated from shooting in front of walls to finding locations with depth and wearing clothes I like, instead of what’s trending and what other people are wearing. That’s what I believe makes me stand out from the rest.
Was there a specific blog post or social media post that made you go “Wow!” because of the amount of likes, follows or interactions it received? What was that post?
There was one post of me squatting under a neon sign that was eventually picked up by Pursuit of Portraits and several other features. It wasn’t because of the numbers that was important. Frankly, I don’t care about that. Numbers don’t make a blogger. Substance does. It was the fact that Justin and I did something different amongst photographers and bloggers that interested people. That’s what content creating is about.
How was your first year of becoming an influencer? Others have said that the first year is the hardest, for any business in fact. Was there ever a point that you didn’t think it would work? Did you ever get demotivated? If you did, what happened and how did you go through that obstacle?
My first year was a year of firsts. Granted, I started at a different time than the generation is starting at now so there wasn’t much competition. I think the hardest part was battling against myself. I was struggling to find my voice, find my style, find who I was as a person so I could translate that through my brand.
Of course, I always got demotivated. It’s hard being in a new occupation that no one knows about. I didn’t have anyone to go to for advice and because it was so brand new, there were no articles on how to get far.
Looking back, I’m so grateful for all of those struggles because those are what made me such a knowledgeable creative and helped me grow tougher skin. My work ethic has changed a lot from those struggles.
There was no ‘secret’ to overcoming these struggles. I just kept doing what I was doing; doing what I loved and seeing what came out of it. How people reacted was my only baseline to figuring out my next steps ahead.
As an influencer, there must be a lot of times that you were contacted for a collaboration, do you remember the first time you were sponsored by a brand? Do you remember which brand it was and what it was that you received?
I think being sponsored by a brand was a huge milestone for me. To me, it meant that I had something different; something of value to offer others. I don’t remember the brand as they closed down a while ago but I just received a baseball tee and flannel. Nothing exciting but to me, it meant that I was doing something right.
Receiving that from the brand, how did it make you feel? For many bloggers, that must have been such an achievement! Did you celebrate when it happened or was there anything that you did in particular to celebrate?
I ate a burrito, haha. Jokes aside, to celebrate, I just worked harder to get even more collaborations. Success doesn’t stop at just one goal being achieved.
Do you have any advice to the future influencers/bloggers/stylists? Do you have any few words for them that they could keep in their minds to keep them motivated or inspired?
The best advice I’ve ever been given was to stay in your own lane. You don’t stand out by copying trends or comparing yourself to others. You do so by paving your own way. Other people’s success doesn’t equate to your own. Just because I post x amount of times a day, shoot certain content etc. etc. doesn’t mean you will be successful from doing the same. There is no ‘secret’ to success. If there was, everyone would be successful immediately and no one would work hard in life. The secret is, is that you have to figure out sh*t yourself.
Finally, do you have a motivational quote that could surely motivate you whenever you are feeling demotivated? If there is, what would that be?
“When you are resting, other people are grinding.”
Follow her on:
YouTube: Mariel Cornel
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