• Roxii Hoare-Smith

Studded Kisses is 5!

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

Thank you for all of your support over the last 5 years!

It’s crazy to think that it was five years ago now when I decided to start Studded Kisses, named after my favourite Lady Gaga lyric from Bad Romance…(hahahah)

I was in my first year at Kingston University studying journalism when I realised that all of those years of posting outfit and food photos on Bebo, MySpace and Facebook were actually becoming a ‘thing’. I’d been blogging and creating websites since I was about 11 on Piczo, Bebo, MySpace, WordPress and even Blogger but it was nothing to shout about (they’ve all been deleted now, THANK GOD)

I’ve been dedicated to Studded Kisses since that rainy day in March when I thought I’d finally take the plunge. I felt inspired by other bloggers such as Fashion Filth and Beauty Crush (now known as Samantha Maria Official). I decided that I wanted to showcase my love for fashion and beauty and also have something to add to my journalism portfolio while studying at Kingston. Back then I never knew how important the blog would become! Blogging has played an important role in helping me find work in PR and journalism as well as go on to work on projects or experience things I couldn’t have imagined before.

Blogging has changed dramatically since 2012, some good and some bad. It is completely different to the ‘outfit of the day’ blogging which was popular five years ago showing each other our latest fashion or beauty purchases. I’ve noticed these changes from being a blogger and also from the other side as a PR. Here’s a few things I’ve noticed in the past five years…

1. There’s more understanding now

I see it at work and I see it through my friends and family. Thanks to the rise of bloggers such as Zoella, Tanya Burr and InTheFrow, a lot more people know what blogging is and understand how important and influential it is today. I notice it when I speak to people who had no idea why I was writing this five years. I even had people coming up to me in the street who I barely knew asking why I posted so many photos of myself on my blog… I can see why it is very confusing for people who don’t read blogs but it’s nice to see that people are starting to understand why I do what I do now.

2. Photo quality has changed

Photos have always been important but when I look back on my old blog posts I’m like ‘What was I thinking???’ I would set up a tripod in my living room and take photos in different outfits on my digital camera. These photos seemed to be good enough then and interaction on the blog and social media was really high. But times have changed and good photography is everything. There’s A LOT more blogs out there than there was 4/5 years ago. A good quality photograph can dramatically change your likes, follows and shares.

3. Anyone can do it 

Nowadays everyone has a blog because the beauty of it is that anyone can blog. You don’t need to be an amazing writer or own high quality photography equipment. All you need is a passion and your phone and you can tell the world about what you love and what you’ve done. The best part is that you can publish whatever you want because you are your own boss.

Blogging has inspired me in so many ways (through my own blog and reading others). It has inspired my style and my travels. Blogging has led me to meet so many amazing and inspirational people which shows how beneficial blogging can be.

4. It wasn’t about money and the free things back then

Yes it’s great getting ‘free’ things but I and many other bloggers work hard for these samples and experiences – and remember, things in life are never free. A sample or experience takes lots of time to photograph, then we need to edit these photos, write about it, post it then promote the post. It takes hours of work and I personally, as well as other bloggers, only accept opportunities which I feel will benefit my readers.

The subject of ‘freebies’ and sponsored posts is a sensitive area in blogging which some people may not agree with but hear me out…

Five years ago for the big bloggers it may have been about the money and freebies but it wasn’t for me then and it still isn’t now. I blog as a hobby because I enjoy it and I want to write posts that people can relate to or be inspired by. Even compared to just a year ago it feels like my whole Instagram feed is full of #ad or #spon (paid for content for those who aren’t into blogging/instagram). The odd advertisement is absolutely fine and I often even find myself wanting to buy the product. But when my feed is just constantly full of bloggers posting advertised content it makes me wonder, is the product good they are advertising or is it just about the money? Yes you need to make a living but too many people think they can make a blog, get a couple of followers and boom the sponsorships and samples come flowing in. It’s not as easy as that, you need to work for it and it’s taken me years. Just because you have started a blog it doesn’t automatically entitle you to payment for everything you post or to constantly ask for items to be complimentary

It does drives me mad that some people make blogs just to jump on the freebie and money bandwagon. of course this isn’t the case for everyone though! For me blogging always has and always will be a fun hobby. It’s a place where I share what I love and what my readers love too. I only feature what I enjoy and what I want to recommend to others. I blog because I love it and what I love most is the interaction that I get in person and on social media. It’s a wonderful feeling seeing a blog post help or inspire people. I love it when someone says a blog post I’ve written has helped them or when I feature a product from a small business and I hear that it has helped that business or a customer find something they love.

5. There’s more honesty nowadays

Ok I’m sounding hypocritical after going on about all the #ads and #spons, but behind all of that there is more honesty on social media. I see more bloggers and influencers putting funny, quirky and honest captions on their photos. Talking about real life behind the picture perfect, heavy edited and filtered photograph. I love it when I see a caption that is realistic and not trying to make their readers see them through rose tinted glasses.

6. There’s so much competition but there’s also more support

As I mentioned there’s SO many more blogs than there were five years ago. But this is great encouragement to work harder and aim higher. It’s also a great way to meet more bloggers, work as a team and support each other. I love nothing more than seeing other influencers understand, congratulate and support each other.

7. It’s all about Instagram

I’ve used Instagram now longer than I’ve been blogging but I used it more as a personal place to share photos rather than blog photos. It’s in recent months that blogging has began to transfer from written articles to just a simple photograph on Instagram. Even I’ll admit that I check out Instagram more than I read blogs nowadays. It just shows how our attention spans are getting shorter and how we want to see and read things even quicker than before.

I adore Instagram and I’m totally obsessed with scrolling through for inspiration from hair styles to outfit styling to make up to interior design. But I am finding that some of Instagram is all the same. The same style of Instagram themes, captions and sometimes too much ‘perfection’ on Instagram. I remember being asked ‘I have 10K followers, how many do you have?’ and that’s when I realised how the likes and the followers were taking over people’s lives. It shouldn’t be a competition. I didn’t start blogging so I could compete against others so I’m not going to make that the reason I continue.

But blogging and social media is moving so fast, who knows where it’ll take us next?

Thank you everyone for your support over the past five years. I’m proud of how far the blog has come and also so I can laugh at those people who a few years ago would tell me ‘you’ll get no where with that blog’ or ‘I don’t know why you bother!’. I’ve even had to change my URL multiple times due to people trying to stop the blog from running. I now know that not everyone is going to understand the nature of blogging and that I am not just being vain and posting a million photos of myself! I listen to what people like and I track the popularity of the photos or blog posts I publish and therefore this influences my future content.

I’m so excited for the future of Studded Kisses. I’ll continuing blogging whilst juggling a full time job in PR, writing freelance and *trying* to have a social life.

The plan for now is to continue with the food, fashion and lifestyle posts and write more personal posts like this. I’ll continue to show you my favourite places, trends and products.

I’d love to know what you’d like to see more of, because you are the reason I continue to blog! So do tweet me @roxannehs or contact me on Instagram @studdedkissesblog or email me studdedkisses@hotmail.com

I’ve been blogging for five years but still haven’t learnt to pose…

What I’m Wearing…

Coat and Boots – Zara

Top – WeGo Tokyo

Bag and Jeans – New Look

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