Tales of an Ingénue, is a smorgasbord of cute stocked with craft tutorials, nail art, and event snaps, all spiced with a pinch of hime gyaru. But I'll let her tell you the rest! Here is our interview~
Lumpy: Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your name? Where are you from? What do you blog?
Violet: Hi! I’m Violet, I live in Melbourne Australia and I run a blog called “Tales of an Ingénue”. I write about crafty diy projects, over the top nail art and sometimes Hime Gyaru fashion. I’ve been running this blog for around 2 years and before that I was on Livejournal for around 5. Before my current fashion interests, I wore Lolita for quite a long time.
L: What are some of your biggest inspirations, as far as other bloggers, websites, etc. go?
V: There are so many fantastic bloggers out there and I think if I listed every one that inspired me you would be here all day! Off the top of my head I love Trashtastika from The Fashionate Traveller (http://www.thefashionatetraveller.com/) for her sense of style, Mitsu of Universal Doll (http://www.universal-doll.com/) for her wealth of information and Candice of Super Kawaii Mama (http://www.superkawaiimama.com.au/) for her general awesomeness.
L: What’s the idea behind your blog? How did you come up with this idea, what made you want to start blogging about it?
V: My blog really started as a way for me to catalogue my crafting and socialize a bit more. At the time I was stuck at home a lot due to an illness so I needed something to occupy my time. After stumbling across a couple of other people’s blogs such as Brooke from Getcha Nails Did (www.getchanailsdid.blogspot.com) I thought this would be the perfect way to keep myself entertained! In the beginning people would comment and ask questions about the crafts or my clothing and hair so I started making tutorials. I enjoyed making the tutorials so much that I kept going… now I have 60+ tutorials in the library!
L: You’re a full-time blogger, and you also run your own graphic design company, Blue Crane Design. What can you say about working for yourself? What would you say is the most difficult part of being self-employed?
V: Separating work and personal life is the most difficult part! I work full time with my partner James in our graphic design company and on top of that I spend many hours a day taking care of the blog related business. So it can be hard to find time to just shut off the computer and relax. While most people clock off from work and go home my work is always there staring at me. When I shut the computer off I just tend to feel a little bad for not replying to comments quicker or for not making more tutorials XD Time management is a very good skill to learn.
I wouldn’t change it though, I work best when left to my own devices and I think that my progress is a testament to that. There are plenty of awesome things about being self employed (like being able to schedule time to go shopping during the week!) which make it worth it. I do miss the certainty of having a set paycheck but this is the life I love so I’m happy to sacrifice some things to keep doing it!
L: What type of work did you do before you started blogging?
V: Before the blog and before Blue Crane, I worked doing freelance graphic design with James. Previous to that I had worked in finance, administration and retail along side of selling my artwork.
L: You say in your book that relationships often become strained when one begins blogging full-time. How would you say that blogging has affected your life, for better or for worse? What kind of opportunities has it opened up for you, and has blogging had any unexpected outcomes?
V: Blogging is very time consuming whether you consider it a hobby or a career. There are only 24 hours in a day and when you work full time (especially self employment) and blog as well there are only so many hours left for relaxing and spending time with your significant other. I know if you were to ask James he would tell you I work too much. Personally I have a tough time taking time off because I’m not good at relaxing! That said, while I would like more free time to relax, blogging has brought me so many fantastic opportunities that I could never give it up!
Blogging has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people that I now consider friends. It allowed me to visit Singapore last year for the Asia Pacific Blogger Awards. It has brought me to up route my life and move to a whole new city recently and I love it! Through blogging I’m able to try so many new products and experiences I could never have been able to hope without it. Most importantly though, blogging has made me part of a really wonderful community of fantastic people. I’ve met some of my best friends through blogging and it’s wonderful to know that no matter where I visit in the world I’ll have a great bunch of people to hang out with!
L: Tell me a little about your pen name. How did you come up with it? Do you recommend using a pen name – do you think it’s something newbie bloggers should consider?
V: Pen names are a funny thing, mine came from when I was briefly in a band playing keyboard and my real name wasn’t cool enough for the Victorian theme hahaha! I’m totally not going to tell you I came up with the name though because it’s slightly embarrassing… yes more embarrassing than playing keyboard in a Victorian themed band!
The name just kind of stuck… Now almost all of my friends and business colleagues call me Violet and the only people that use my legal name are family and James! It suits because I never particularly liked my real name. I don’t think it’s really given me any anonymity though. I don’t think the internet ever allows for real anonymity anymore so I’ve never hidden the fact that Violet isn’t my legal name. People tend to assume though and it’s always a little awkward when I have to give out my real name to have packages sent or something like that. A few people have said that it “ruins the magic” but oh well such is life!
I think a pen name is a great way for new bloggers to find their voice. Having a pen name can allow you to write more freely but I would advise new bloggers to make sure that they don’t stray far from their natural voice especially if they ever plan to meet anyone from their online world in person!
L: Is there any advice you wish someone had given you when you first started blogging?
V: Believe in yourself because very few others will. Also don’t expect anyone else to have the foggiest clue what you’re doing. When I started my current blog no one here knew what the word meant. Even now that it’s gained in popularity people usually still don’t get it… or ask me questions like “You write about what?? Why would anyone want to read that?” If you know that blogging is a good use of your time go for it and don’t look back!
L: One of the most important parts of blogging, besides content, is the way a blogger “carries” herself online- of course, I’m talking about branding and marketing. Do you have any tips you’d like to share on promoting yourself and your image?
V: Branding is so important. This is the graphic designer in me talking but get a well designed site. If you can’t afford to pay someone to build you one then get learning some code and some Photoshop skills and DIY. In terms of promotions don’t be too pushy. Being assertive and being annoying are two very different things and you will find that if you stray into the annoying you will lose potential audience members very quickly. In my blog I have always found it easier to make friends rather than try to find readers but that is something that differs depending on your style and the type of blog you’re trying to write. Be clear about your intentions with the blog and make sure readers can know what to expect from you.
Don’t be afraid of branding but don’t go too overboard with it either. Subtly is the key ^_^
L: Lastly, if you could sit down with any one person for tea, be it another blogger or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
V: Technically I’m cheating by saying three but I would love to have tea with yourself, Caro from FYeah Lolita and Victoria from Lolita Charm! I think that would be the cutest tea party ever!
Thank you so much, Violet, for such an enlightening interview! And if you ever find yourself stateside, let me know and I will make that tea party happen! ♥♥♥