Norma interviews blogger:
Norma interviews blogger:

BeautyBloggingJunkie (BBJ): I am Amber Katz and I write

Norma Kamali (NK): Tell me what the essence of your blog is - what are you trying to do?

BBJ: It’s 80% beauty reviews with a pop culture bent. Personal anecdotes are in almost every post.

NK: When did you start writing in general?

BBJ: I started writing when I was a child - books and obviously never published – but books I wrote with antagonist names like Tiffy and all kinds of stupid things. I used to be a financial writer and I wanted to write for a magazine. It just never worked out for whatever reason – so I started my blog almost six years ago next month. Was able to transition from being a financial writer to being a beauty, pop culture writer. And I still do one day a week at Oppenheimer Funds – where I used to work full time. It provides balance. Shifting from a lot of that to a little bit of this, to a lot of that.

NK: That is so fascinating, a total shift. Another thing that I kind of just recognized in meeting bloggers through the years is that if you started a blog five or 6 years ago, you are really a pioneer. You were definitely a pioneer. When you decided to do it, what was your motivation then? And is it the same now?

BBJ: Then, I worked at a big four accounting firm. So you can imagine - dry as dust.

NK: I am looking at you and not connecting to this at all.

BBJ: I used to cry into the printer and think this is not my life! I used to talk to like 50 year old auditors about my favorite hairsprays. I could not talk about my favorite lip gloss, etc. They were men - partners. I was talking to accountants. They could not care at all. I realized that they could not stand this and not be less interested. Just forcing people to talk about this with me was not appropriate. So I started my blog at PricewaterHouseCoopers at my cube. Jane Magazine had a beauty blog - years ago - it was great. That was my dream - to be Beauty Editor for Jane Magazine. I made a suggestion for an eye cream, and the beauty editor picked it up - so I said - that’s it - I need to advise the nation on beauty products so I started. Nobody but my mother read it for a year. WWD did a roundup of beauty blogs and I was listed on that. Then everything changed. Nobody at work knew I had a blog for years.

NK: Getting back to the makeup and all the girly girl that you were trying to infuse into the financial world. When did you discover what beauty products could do - what was good, and etc.

BBJ: When I was 5 years old, my brother had complete control over the TV so I would bribe him into doing whatever I wanted if I could do like facial masks when I was 8 or 9. I was ordering Bonne Bell through mail order… All these things, Avon, and using it all on him. In exchange, I would watch Thundercats and whatever he wanted to watch on TV.

NK: What was your influence? What inspired you? What did you see or learn?

BBJ: Teen Magazine, women’s magazines. My mother always read Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. They were always around. Style on CNN with Elsa Klensch. That was major - it changed my whole life. I would say singularly Style with Elsa Klensch was the best!

NK: I was on Style with Elsa Klensch! That is so funny. Do you think the information – you probably started somewhere telling people what you loved. What was the pull that people wanted from you - so you’re sharing this information and something happens. You start to have an interaction, there’s electricity You get a sense that people want something from you - what was that, where is that?

BBJ: Everything that happened on my blog would sort of happen in real life.

NK: Authentic.

BBJ: Yeah. I would get phone calls almost weekly and daily from a different friend of mine. Who has best tights, what kind of wedge shoes are in. I found myself advising people as they called in and it was like a girlfriend thing to do. That’s the same tone that I take with my blog. I’m basically giving one recommendation a day on my site - whether fashion, décor. The calls still happen. It’s morphed into an online conversation versus on the phone or in person.

NK: So blogging has evolved through the years. What do you think is the biggest change for you personally as a blogger and what you are witnessing?

BBJ: It’s so hard to say - um - just the fact that it used to be bloggers culling our own things. I would go to TJ Maxx. Now I’m at the forefront of things before it even happens, before it’s even on shelves. Crazy to come from a trade perspective than a consumer perspective. Twitter, Facebook, video, makes it so immediate. Dina and I hand out all the time. It’s a different work culture. It’s so entrenched and talking to people on Twitter on the weekends. It’s less of a corporate thing, more of a lifestyle thing. Every industry, too.

NK: One of my observations is that bloggers have a real raw passion. The service is so great - shopping online - I’m sorry - this is where it is! I mean it’s great! I just think being able to get this type of clothing is the kind of thing you - if something’s working you want to replenish it. We have a black jersey pant that’s the kind of thing you can work out in, replenish it. A lot of it should be easy.

NK: We were talking about the authenticity of bloggers - that’s really refreshing. You get a sense of pure love for what you do. It’s coming from - nobody paid you for it. Everybody’s pretty transparent.

BBJ: In the beginning, people are doing this on top of their jobs, on the weekends, etc.

NK: Can you define this as a career with income?

BBJ: Very risk averse. I had to map it out. I do maybe 30 - 40% comes from my blog. I would even say I’m a full time freelancer. It’s amazing that I make any income from it. It’s amazing that I started in my cubicle because I was bored at my job at an auditing firm is making me money. It’s great.

NK: Have you thought about making it more entpreneurial - or do you think it’s a conflict to telling a story?

BBJ: The two ways – I do sponsored posts and disclose everything is sponsored. Less than 10% of my content. And then I do have some ads. Sometimes they are beauty and fashion. Vitamins, all kind of thing. Sometimes I’ll partner with brands and host a Twitter party, that sort of thing. It’s more random. I wanted to be a freelance writer, so I have more ambitions for that, even though I love my blog. I don’t really have defined goals other than to continue with exclusive content, etc.

NK: One of my questions that I think I’ll ask everybody is - in my business. It’s no secret, there are a lot of people who maybe don’t know enough bloggers or know enough about bloggers and why it exists. But they have a notion that who are these people or what. What do you think if you wanted to clear the air and make sure there was a sense. And you can’t speak for every blogger, but from your perspective and some people you admire in your word. What would you tell that we should know to better understand bloggers, especially in fashion and beauty>

BBJ: I would say - bloggers vary - from completely professional to wild sycophant in the basement. There’s a huge spectrum of bloggers. Not all bloggers are writers. Some are great stylists and photographers. To have a successful blog, there needs to be a component. I would acknowledge that. I would want them to know that these people are passionate that they are doing this in their off time. New bloggers meet with me all the time and think they can get free stuff. Then they want to start a blog called Diamonds and and get free stuff. I would definitely dispel the notion - I wrote my blog for a year and a half before I received a single product or dollar. I put a couple of hours a night into it. There’s a personal life and time that you have to give up to have a good blog. It’s a huge time investment and of your passion. I do agree that there’s a spectrum of bloggers. Depending on who they meet first, it can be an interesting experience. There are bloggers who I think are amazing and have done incredible things with their careers.

NK: So if you were to tell me what you think the all time best beauty tip that you ever gave - the one that you think is a go to and timeless beauty tip?

BBJ: I think - I have two.

NK: Do it

BBJ: Number one - not using powder makeup. It really dries the skin and pre - ages prematurely. Staying away from it.

NK: I agree! I agree - I don’t put powder on.

BBJ: The second thing - eyelash extensions. I don’t know how timeless it is. I save so much time - it’s amazing to be able to be Starbucks ready all the time.

NK: I have a beauty tip to share. I think that a big beauty tip you could share - and it has to do with girls, women any age. Acupuncture face lifts.

BBJ: Really!

NK: If you’re getting married and you want to have great fresh skin.

BBJ: Really - how often do you get them done?

NK: Really!

BBJ: Does it hurt?

NK: No - it isn’t just your face. It’s a whole body thing - your circulation. It puts everything back in line and it’s not just dealing with lips or parts. To have something that’s great for everything and then the tone of your skin. People can do if you really haven’t been taking care of yourself - you can do 12 sessions and kind of look –

BBJ: Do you have a favorite place you go to?

NK: have a doctor - a Chinese doctor and acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It’s not voodoo - y. It’s good to know about. I think that beauty covers so many things. The older I get, the more I realize, what you put into your body and how you treat your body goes into the beauty aspect of how you look. Sharing my beauty tip. Your mother will love it. Tell her about the face lift thing. She will appreciate it.


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