Photos by Sarah Ellen Photography
On the spending culture that has usurped the blog community.
As a long-term blogger, self-confessed shopping addict and very much a textbook impulse-shopper, a question I’m often asked is ‘How can I further my blog and create new content on a budget?’
You see, when I founded Daisybutter 5 years ago back in 2009, I was fresh-faced and naïve first-year student at University. I had barely enough money to see me through from week to week and had MINUS £173.86 to live off each semester after paying for student housing. Instead, I worked throughout the summer, Christmas and Easter breaks to see me through. I certainly didn’t have the funds to invest in several new outfits, beauty products and other blogger ‘essentials’ each week.
And so something that presses on my mind whenever I receive these emails or see Tweets come up on my feed about the pressure of keeping up with the masses, is that there’s a dangerous culture surrounding hauls and spending excessively to ‘run a blog’. As a blogger, I fully understand the peer pressure to stay afloat of what’s current and churn out newness to keep readers interested. YouTubers flaunt hauls worth hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds and subsequently the viewers believe this is normal.
But what if I told you that the majority of the orders are returned? Or if I told you that the fast fashion industry is responsible for 3% of the global production (or 850 million metric tonnes) of CO2 emissions per year, according to a report by New York Post. I know that some of my most popular posts are my ‘I Bought This’ posts and product reviews, and this could be interpreted as ‘newness = success’. Is there pressure to consume more for the sake of creating content? Let’s discuss.
Haul culture is worrying.
Despite the frivolous ways of Daisybutter, I’d like to think I have a firm grasp on my personal spending and the way I buy into trends. But it hasn’t always been this way. Someone in the blogging road, I also got caught up in haul culture. In fact, it was when I was at University and at a total low with my income that I started writing Daisybutter, sharing my student buys and everyday outfits that my blog began to flourish. Each day, I’d share the outfits I wore – always from high street shops – my honest thoughts on hyped-up products, catwalk show notes and more. But mostly, I’d be talking about the pretty new things in my life, let’s not lie. I took inspiration from popular YouTubers who were changing the game with weekly haul videos, and it translated. My hits doubled every time I showed my £50 clothing hauls or whenever I introduced a new wardrobe addition. I get it: it’s addictive.
So, what’s next?
Last week BBC One ran a documentary on the Bangladesh factory disaster in 2013, one that could have been avoided with just a fraction more responsibility and consideration. With thousands of factory workers killed and survivors exhausted both physically and mentally, the documentary turned to mention and briefly criticise the consumer-centric nature of our society today. (The documentary is available here on BBC iPlayer if you want to have a watch.)
It’s unhealthy to revolve an inherent part of your life (i.e. the money you worked hard for) on frivolous and gratuitous sharing. I never want my readers – you guys – to feel like you “have” to spend money to create content. It’s hard to voice how I feel about the subject but I genuinely feel that any content and posts that I write about things that I’ve bought is just a bonus. I never buy a dress with the sole intention of sharing it on here in the same way that I don’t buy 5 eyeliners just so I can compare them. Make your life and interests and belongings and shiny-new-things work for your blog, not the other way round.
No New In? No problem.
The idea that you can only run a successful blog if you always have new products to write about is a myth.
No new-in things to share? Try creating a post about revisited items, styling/using something in three ways, create complete capsule wardrobes or ‘packing lists’ that your readers can read and then take inspiration from. Variety is the spice of life and often if you can’t afford to keep up your blog shopping lifestyle, chances are your readers can’t either. Myth debunked.
Moreover, it’s terrifying to consider the carbon footprint of the fast fashion industry. From the excessive packaging used in PR gifts to the outlandish use of plastic in our online shopping orders, I can’t help but think that we could all do better.