DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
By Reem Kanj / Location: Le Palais Paysan, Marrakech, Morocco
I’ve had these pictures since June, and although I’m not a fan of posting images alongside copy that hasn’t got much to do with each other, I didn’t want them to go waste, and I have some things to talk about, so it kinda works out. Just as a quick sidenote, these images were shot at our wedding venue, back in June when Jenai and I visited Marrakech to prep all the final details for the wedding (which by the way, I am still completely in shock has even happened). More on that later.
I’ve had a little bit of writer’s block with this post, but that tends to happen when I’m trying to verbalise complex feelings. I’m going through a little bit of a transition, it’s been in the works for months, but has now officially started to take effect as I realise more and more that blogging is no longer my first and foremost priority.
I’ve been doing it for years, it started off as a hobby of course, and I’ve been lucky enough to watch it evolve into a booming industry from the inside out. When I got my first ever paid project it was for £70 and I legit thought I was winning at life. Fast forward seven years, thousands of images and four blog layouts later, Five Five Fabulous has developed into something I’m truly proud of. I focused on turning it into a business as soon as I saw the opportunity for it to be one and I’ve never looked back. It’s served me well and helped propel me into an industry which I didn’t find a door to prior.
I’ve always described Five Five Fabulous as the workplace I created for myself, all those years back when I graduated from LCF, the same year the world’s economic climate decided to plummet and there were no job roles for a fresh, wide-eyed, blissfully unaware young adult, in the fashion design industry. I was frustrated and lost but I’m so happy I never sat on my arse and waited for an opportunity. I made something happen.
I’ve been blogging for almost seven years and of course in that time I’ve experienced a few ups and downs, had the unfortunate realisation that the people you look up to aren’t always as nice and warm as they seem on their Instagram pictures, and can very quickly teach you the meaning of losing respect for someone, but there have also been some incredible friendships made, new skills and talents discovered and of course plenty of pinch-me, dream come true moments. (A few noteworthy times have been, touring with Rihanna around the world, shooting with Louis Vuitton for their first global shoe store launch in Dubai, running a half-marathon with Nike in San Francisco and of course all the incredible trips I’ve been able to go on around the world).
Over the past year, I’ve been developing a new business. It’s something I’m extremely passionate about, something I want to do well and something I’m very proud of, which ironically has meant that I haven’t wanted to talk about it publicly. I’ve never announced it, shared much about it or really even plan to. But I thought it would be good to give you an idea about what was going on and why there’s been a bit of inconsistency with posts here on the blog. It’s had to take a bit of a back burner, which is sad but also very exciting. It’s allowed me to realise that blogging does not come with a rulebook. I see lots of tweets every day from bloggers sharing their top tips to blogging in this way or that way, but to be completely honest with you, this industry only even exists because people did what they wanted when they wanted. We had no rules back then, and they certainly shouldn’t be enlisted now.
I check up on some of my favourite sites from time to time, (like Gary Pepper Girl or Harper and Harley) and some of them blog every day, some every other day and other’s haven’t blogged for months. There are really no right or wrongs, just as long as you remain a decent person and not use your digital space to slag off your peers, (which unfortunately happens more often than you’d think), do what you want, don’t get too caught up in whether your photography is up to scratch, or your grammar is perfect or you don’t visit enough luxury hotels, just enjoy sharing the content you put the effort into creating. Funnily enough, removing the pressure from blogging full time has meant that the time I do put into creating content feels so much more rewarding than just constantly churning out posts for the sake of it and hasn’t really affected the business side to the blog, which essentially is a win-win.
As I said, I’ve watched blogging grow from the beginning into something industry changing and unstoppable, but in recent years, I’ve found myself privy to cattiness and casual shaming online and even when you try and avoid it and not get involved, it’s all you see thanks to tweets and re-tweets and it’s sad and really not what this industry is about, but I genuinely believe it’s because there’s so much unnecessary competitiveness between bloggers and eventually it all just becomes a vicious cycle.
I’ve gone on for long enough now, so I won’t get into this too much deeper, but I’ll leave you with this, it’s a little piece of advice I like to live by. ‘Run your business, not your mouth’. Now, you can interpret that any way you like, but for me it’s basically all about putting your head down, getting on with that will offer you longevity and not worry about letting everyone know about it. The satisfaction of your peers knowing you’re doing well can be nice, but it can also be really distracting.
At the end of the day, your successes will be noticed when they need to be noticed, and trust me when you stop worrying about keeping up, or making sure everyone knows you’re keeping up, you’ll surpass so many personal goals and it will feel so gratifying.