For many people the script of life is pretty standard: go to school, graduate, get a job (preferably with the government) start a family and finally get your hands on that piece of land upcountry. Our parents have faithfully lived by this script. Young people today want so much more than an 8-5 job. They want fulfillment, that YAAS! moment when you hack a 2-hour Photoshop edit, or like Winnie, that perfect blog post that sends hundreds of likes your way.
Doing something you are good at and enjoy brings the most satisfying feeling in life. 23-year-old Winnie Awino is doing just that through her fashion blog – Winnie the Fashionista.
Tell us about yourself.
I am Winnie Awino, a law student in her early 20s. I love all things beauty, from fashion to hair and makeup. I find pleasure in the little things that bring me joy in life. The top of my favourite things to do is dress up and splurge on shoes.
I run a fashion blog called Winnie the Fashionista. It showcases my personal style, fashion and beauty tips.
What inspired you to start your blog?
It was all random and unexpected. Back in 2012, blogs weren’t as popular but I remember reading international blogs. As I was doing my rounds on the internet and I bumped into Silvia Njoki’s Style by Silvia and Nancie Mwai’s Fashion Notebook. I adored their blogs particularly the outfits they featured. I thought about how great it would be to have my very own fashion diary, featuring my personal style, trends as well as give other people fashion and makeup tips.
Did you have any professional help or did you create the blog yourself?
Initially, I set up my blog on WordPress. A year later, I hired a web designer to give my blog a facelift which paid off eventually as it drew a lot of visitors to my blog.
It actually is when you are starting out. For quality content on your blog you need to invest in essential assets such as a good camera for perfect photos. The venue for shoots is also quite costly. But once you get a hang of it, you will learn how to manage all these expenses. For instance, I saved for about 7 months to get my own camera. That’s way I don’t have to pay as much for photographers.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is Eclectic but always with a touch of class.
Who takes your photos?
When I started out, my sister used to take my photos but she eventually gave up. The tripod works wonders on most days but Muhoro Macharia does my photography, he always tries to work with different angles and lighting to get the perfect photos. Even if you’ve never taken photography lessons, you would be amazed at the things you can do with a camera in your free time.
How do you juggle Law school and running your blog efficiently?
I would research on ideas for my blog posts for a week then take the photos for each post. I then schedule my posts for a week and simply post on my blog on each day setting aside ample time for me to study.
What are some of the challenges of blogging particularly in fashion blogging?
One of the challenges that I think every blogger faces is competition. There are thousands of blogs on the internet with great content. But I think the best way to deal with competition is to find your niche and be extremely good at it so that you stand out. This will mean you have to stay updated on what is happening in the fashion industry. This will eventually give your audience quality and engaging content that they can’t resist sharing. With this, more people get to read your blog and you gradually grow your audience.
What are some of the highlights of your blogging journey so far?
I have been featured in blogs and the Standard’s Pulse and I got to take part in Kenyan Fashion Bloggers challenge alongside bloggers who inspire me. But perhaps my greatest highlight would be my nomination for the Best Fashion Blog 2015 in the Kenya Fashion Awards to be held in August this year.
What would you say that is the greatest satisfaction of being a fashion blogger?
The feedback I get from my fans. It feels really good to know that someone appreciates what you do. This gives you the confidence and motivation to keep on blogging.
I would like to grow my audience through quality and engaging content. A little more hair and makeup also sounds like a great challenge.
Who are some of your favorite bloggers locally and internationally and why?
Sharon Mundia is an inspiration because she has achieved a lot in Kenya’s blogosphere.
I love Silvia Njoki’s avant garde style and Maureen Bandari’s attitude on life.
What do you consider as some of the biggest fashion mistakes?
Following trends blindly. Just because it is popular, doesn’t necessarily mean it works for everyone.
By Evalyne Awuor