Over the years, I’ve had difficulties getting my lingerie blog accepted by and linked from directories, other blogs, lingerie companies, etc. over the years… I know that I’m rather frank about lingerie’s role in and connections to sexuality than most, but have you had any troubles with your site in terms of acceptance or respect in the “internet fashion world”?
Treacle: Oh wow…you’re starting the tough questions!
Yes, yes, I have. And not just in the mainstream fashion and style world but within the lingerie world too Things have gotten much better in the last few months, but for my first two years of blogging, things were really tough. At best, lingerie boutiques, PR people, and designers flat out ignored me…at worst, they’d insult me. That was really hard to deal with, not to mention hurtful. There were some exceptions to that, of course; Catherine of Kiss Me Deadly, Pandora from Pandora’s Choice, and Vicki of La Magia have always been awesome. But for the most part, people acted like my blog didn’t matter.
But now I see that as a good thing because it taught me to not chase after press or look for acceptance from the industry, but to focus on making my readers happy. And that’s still my goal today…I work to make my readers happy first and view all the other stuff as icing on the cake.
Ally: I’m not sure whether the internet fashion world sees lingerie as fashion or as a remotely fashion related niche. So far, we had no troubles connecting and partnering with other fashion related websites, but I think lingerie has its own unique and diverse online world and most of the websites/blogs and people in the industry relate to each other in a different way than with the rest of the fashion community. It’s not something that can be tagged as good or bad, but when you focus on general fashion it’s no wonder that lingerie is not a major priority. On the other hand, with us – lingerie addicts – it’s all about skivvies.
There are many metrics and ways of measuring “success” in terms of popularity on the Internet… However, the very definition of success is subjective. How do you define success for you and your blog? How do you measure it?
Ally: I agree with you, defining success is a matter of subjectivity. For us, it’s mostly about the number of emails we receive from both loyal readers and new visitors who happen to stumble upon Guilty Pleasures for some reason and fall in love with us. It’s about their understanding (for example we’ve received a couple dozen support emails while we’ve been struggling with a nasty hacking issue) and constant interest.
In a more visible and somehow more quantifiable way – it’s about the number of great friends we have on twitter, about the Guilty Pleasures Facebook page that grows every day with the help of our amazing community, about the thousand daily subscribers and traffic coming from all over the world.
Treacle: Like you said, there are lots of ways of defining success, and the most appropriate definitions for you depend on your long term goals. One of my most important metrics is reader engagement…when people feel motivated enough to comment on a blog post or a Facebook status update or reply to a Tweet, I love that. I like that metric (as opposed to just using visitors or page views, which are also important) because it tells me how much I’m connecting with my readers, and making that connection with people is one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place.
I don’t view the three of us as competition — at least not in the usual way *wink* Gains in popularity for lingerie is a “win” for me, for everyone, I think!
What are your thoughts about “competing” and “comparing”? (About the three of us or any other lingerie sites.)
Treacle: Hmmm…well just speaking for myself here, I don’t view other lingerie bloggers as competition. I’ve never had a problem linking to other lingerie blogs, commenting on them, or telling my readers about them. Nobody knows all the answers to everything, and that’s true in lingerie just as it is in everything else. I do feel like if we compete, it’s in a more indirect way. Our readers only have so many minutes in their day to read blogs, so it’s important to make sure that your content is relevant and updated regularly so they want to visit yours. I guess all that’s to say I feel like the lingerie blogging community is very supportive. I count the ladies behind The Lingerie Post and Faire Frou Frou (for just two quick examples) as friends of mine, and I hope they feel the same way about me.
Ally: I think in our three cases – although we all share the common lingerie topic, hence one might say we are competitors, our online presence is quite different. You cover vintage lingerie a lot – and I’m the first to admit that if we are to compare at this level – than A Slip of a Girl is head and shoulders above any other lingerie blog. I mean where else can one find the most beautiful vintage parade of vintage slips, pinup panties and all the other fabulous finds you feature?
The Lingerie Addict is a fabulous one girl show where Treacle tells more of a biographic story of lingerie and stockings. It’s a personal blog almost as much as a lingerie blog. As readers, we are allowed to get to know her better through her passion for lingerie. We get to find her findings, get to live her life as a lingerie addict through her own eyes and get to grow our lingerie passion alongside with hers. From this point of view, it’s impossible to compare her with anyone else and it’s impossible not to admire her.
Guilty Pleasures is more similar to a lingerie magazine. We have different editors from different corners of the world who write their own opinionated reviews, we have exclusive features and deals, so it’s again a completely different way of showcasing lingerie.
There are many things to be said about compare and/or compete, but all in all, I believe that as long as lingerie is what you love, you’ll find the right way to put it out there and there’s enough room for everybody in this huge online lingerie universe.
One of the reasons I wanted to talk with the two of you specifically was that you’re not retailers, shop owners, designers, etc., you are, like I am, blogging for the passion of it. In some ways I think that makes us more trusted by readers and consumers. Do you feel any sense of responsibility or pressure blogging?
Ally: Yes, I believe that we all have the responsibility of being honest with ourselves and our readers. There are items that you love and items that don’t fit right or are over sold on certain websites. And you’re obviously prone to toot the horn of the brands you love more than of others. As long as you’re stating your personal likes clearly and as long as when you’re asked for advice you try to be as impartial as possible, I don’t see any problems or pressures in blogging about what you love.
Treacle: Definitely! My readers hold me to a high standard, and they have no problem calling me out on it when I slip up.
In my opinion, being an independent lingerie blogger is an asset because I’m able to keep a neutral and objective perspective. I’m not employed by (and therefore beholden) to any one brand or manufacturer, so I’m able to feature indie lingerie brands and small boutiques and give them national and international coverage that they may not have access to otherwise.
I also try really hard to be transparent and authentic with my readers. That affects everything from honesty in my product reviews to a recent example when a retailer wanted me to delete reader comments that they felt were negative about their store. I told them no because trust just isn’t something you trash like that. So yeah, there’s definitely pressure, the good kind of pressure, to maintain your integrity.
Image via Verabee.com.