Since 2011 I have been on an endless journey to inspire my readers to buy into other luxury and lifestyle fashion brands that I plug, promote and review. In the last few months, I have had many people ask me how hard is it to start a fashion and travel blog right now and can you live from it? The other common question is how on earth do I continue to motivate myself to keep launching new content almost on a daily basis? The reality is due to my tribe I have no choice but to continue to serve my one million followers.

In 2018 to start a fashion or travel blog with influence is a tough task. Unlike way back in 2011, it was easier and it was not as saturated as it is now. Also, social media platforms have become a lot more business-minded, which is only helping the established players. This is the brutally honest truth.

If you are wanting to start a blog or vlog in 2018, you will not succeed on your own strength! No matter how good you are! Niche marketing is not the key either to a successful blog/vlog.

Avana Vietnam

Make Your Message Clear

There are so many people out there doing amazing work in the world of Social Media! And it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do. If nobody can understand why they should work with you, why should they hire you, let alone pay you for what you do? You will be left feeling very deflated and depressed.

As a female blogger representing both menswear and womenswear, it is important that my message is very clear, into the words, into the images and into the experiences I created for the people I lead. The biggest challenge every day is convincing brands to work with me personally. If only people can feel me in what I am doing and creating. This is the key to working with me and this creates a new level of relationship and trust.

In 2018, we are way beyond the point of time, where people buy into information products and services because they need that product information or services. People buy on the bases on who you are,  people buy on the stories you tell. People buy on the basis of who they want to become. Which are mirrored by who you are being.

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Just Being Me

Since 2011 when I began blogging the market has shifted from what it used to be, and what people are expecting and desiring, out of the people they choose to lead them to the person they want to become.

One core successful ingredient I have always sustained is I am who I am and never changed that for any brand I worked with, no matter how big they were. Being myself setting an example regarding honesty and integrity will eventually lead others into aspiring to be like me.

When I started blogging back in 2011, the key to social media growth was people were obsessed with creating a niche. The brands really needed to understand what I did and who I served. At that time I blogged about men’s fashion only. In 2015 this started changes when other brands started seeking me out due to my influence.  I was led to writing about the luxury car market from a female perspective on a man’s platform. Which then lead me to branch out into lifestyle, luxury hotels, restaurants and luxury Spa trends.

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Tribe Versus Niche

What is the unique thing you are doing? To be honest we now live in a world where the tribe is so much more important than niche.

Tribe means, people you attract within what you do.

My job is not necessary to attract every single person, that needs everything I offer. The challenge is, to attract the people that resonate with me. This can only work if I act like myself and keep giving out the same message, through different forms of collaborations. In that, through my interaction on and offline, I become to understand who share my values. Who puts their trust in what I say, do and review.

My tribe are the people that believe what I believe, through the screen, through a camera, from the stage where ever it happens to be.

This is how I  share my message through two powerful platforms. Gracie Opulanza, my personal blog and MenStyleFashion the brand. This is very challenging, as not many people around the globe have two platforms to sustain, maintain and use.

Avana Vietnam

Standing Out And Being Yourself

There has been a huge shift regarding fake news on social media in 2017 and Google and Facebook are tackling this. Fake news can destroy a person’s reputation in minutes and never has social media been so abusive than now regarding being attacked on-line. This happened to me last year during London Fashion Week: Men 2017, and it was a beautiful victory when a very big fashion blogger had to delete all his tweets because it was fake news attacking me. He was brutally reminded by my tribe that he had got his facts wrong.

My tribe is loyal, because they follow my journey and trust me. Because I sustain integrity and truth in the crucial times my reputation defends me on-line.

The biggest challenge I have in 2018 is not to make my tribe feel they can’t aspire to the things I achieve and they can succeed in their own personal dreams. It is important that when my tribe meets me in person they highlight the fact I am the same person online as I am off line.

For the key tool in growing and sustaining my blogs in 2018 is simple.  When you are that one person saying the same thing as everybody else nobody is paying attention. It is no longer enough just to be good at what you do.

It’s really all about who you are and what you allow people to feel. To encourage my tribe the key to personal blogging success is just being yourself. Remember that you will die, so never stop creating your legacy and doing the things that will enrich your life.

Avana Vietnam

Photo taken by Designer Aldegonde Van Alsenoy 2018

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All the photos were taken at Avana Vietnam. A clothing fusion of Vietnamese Tribal fashion and western designs. Avana Vietnam has stores in Hoi An, Da Nang & Hue.