“I’m still trying to figure it all out,” says blogger Siki Msuseni, who is currently studying consumer science. “I do a lot of amazing styling work. I do some freelance writing; it pays the bills and works as an outlet to communicate my ideas. I also do a lot of people-watching and hopefully one day I will get paid for it.”
The ever-so-bubbly and colour obsessed Siki is one of the South African blogosphere’s current favs if the magazine spreads she’s been getting are anything to go by. While she never thought blogging would result in some financial and other benefits when she started back in 2010, Siki says it’s been a humbling journey.
“It has been gruelling but worth it. There are nights when I stay up late editing images, creatively writing a blog post hoping to make an impact to the reader, replying to endless emails of people asking me blog advice.”
“It’s always so special bumping into someone on the streets of Cape Town and they tell me that they follow the blog. I often just crumble and cry because such words are so humbling. I couldn’t swop it for anything.”
While that might be so, I had to ask if she wants to be blogging forever. Would that be worth it? “I have other ambitions. Without sounding like I am doing it for the hype or for the now, only to leave it later on: I do not see myself as a blogger till I reach my sunset years. Maybe I will create a digital platform, but I do not see myself putting up outfit posts at 45 and attending all these launch events while stuffing my face with salmon sushi, sipping on champagne, blowing kisses to fellow fashionistas across the room.”
She notes that blogging is a numbers business, and brand collaborations- which is how most bloggers make their money- are all about that. Asked whether it is possible to make a decent living from it, Siki simply states: “Decent living is relative.”
“I do not have many financial responsibilities so I will say, yes it is possible to make a decent living through blogging but once you consider rent, the monthly groceries, the monthly debit orders, the fixed costs then it’s totally different story. Brands come and go and it’s very rare that they pay a good retainer.”
Her ambitions, Siki tells me, include a retirement annuity fund, a provident fund and life insurance, medical aid and “to create a trust fund for my kids yet to come and, and, and… The list is endless.”
“I don’t want that hand-to-mouth lifestyle, and unfortunately it can be like that when you are a full-time blogger. I’m also being careful about becoming a brandslut for the sake of making money.”
Siki mentions a blog post she once wrote addressing the disadvantage that many young people who want to work in fashion face because of the sometimes impossible requirements that come with magazine internships. In case you don’t know, it’s a real issue and I applaud Siki for taking it on because very few people would be brave enough to. I have my own opinions on this but let’s not speak about that.
Actually, fuck it! While it may seem like a harmless little thang to (1) ask young people to work for free and (2) require that they have their own cars as a criteria, what many people don’t realise, is that this policy alone is enough to disqualify many people, but mostly those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s really just a policy that- while this is not intentional- entrenches the lack of transformation in the magazine industry. But enough of what I think… Back to Siki…
“I addressed a very sensitive issue and wrote it as a blog post, thinking that only my sister and mom would read it. Weeks later it was published in the City Press. That was a big deal for me, and to date, that’s my greatest achievement. A lot of cool things have happened such as a magazine spreads profiling my style but one that truly resonates with me is that City Press feature.”
But… Just like we asked Siyabonga Beyile of the Threaded Man recently, what we wanted to know from Siki is whether she thinks anyone, actually, gives a blog?
“Oh yes!!!” Siki exclaims. “People love visual inspiration. People love seeing beautiful images. I sit with engineers, lawyers and accountants and they love following blogs and stylish and creative people on instagram. Everyone has that little spark of creativity within them so they love seeing beautiful visuals, not forgetting the fact that blogs help us when we decide to go out shopping, be it for a fashion item, a beauty product or food product, when we’ve seen an honest review of a product on a blog, as consumers we are easily swayed to buying it.”
Check out Siki’s blog, All Things Intriguing here.