Beaches, Kauai, Hawaii. Photo: Gunjan Virk (self picture taken with a tripod). Image©www.thingstodot.com.

Beaches, Kauai, Hawaii. Photo: Gunjan Virk (self picture taken with a tripod). Image©www.thingstodot.com.

In the last few months, I have been receiving a lot of queries regarding how I started my blog and got my first brand partnership. In this post, I want to answer your questions and share with you some of the details of my journey so far. 

About me

I have studied fashion design in India and Italy, worked with the top fashion houses in Milan, launched my own fashion label, ran a production unit and participated in my first Bridal Asia exhibition. As a fashion designer, I have received accolades from the likes of Hillary Clinton and have been featured in newspapers and magazines and also given interviews on TV channels. 

 Prada dress, River Coln, Bibury, Cotswold, England. Image©www.thingstodot.com.

Prada dress, River Coln, Bibury, Cotswold, England. Image©www.thingstodot.com.

The courage to make the switch

In general, when we are doing so well in life or have a high-paying job, it is very difficult to change professions even if the job itself is not fulfilling. On one side, we worry about the society that continuously passes judgement on us and on the other, we are confronted with our own fears doubting our capabilities about doing something different and making it a success. My last job after having worked as a fashion designer for a few years, was as Creative Director designing laminates at a multi-million dollar company. My work required me to travel overseas and even though the traveling was fun and the money was good, I didn't quite enjoy what I was doing. Finally, I decided to quit and spent the next couple of years learning German and serving as a volunteer for a yoga organization in the US.

 London, UK. Photo: Nina Shaw. Image©www.thingstodot.com.

London, UK. Photo: Nina Shaw. Image©www.thingstodot.com.

My first blog 

It was the year 2015. I had just returned from my volunteer work in the US and was still wondering what to do with my life. During this time I met a friend who suggested that I should start a blog. In the past year serving as a volunteer, I had removed myself completely from the world. I was not on Facebook, I didn't know anything about Instagram, I didn't know that blogs existed and I had never heard the word 'hashtag'! However, my friend knew my love for clothes and online shopping, and his idea of having my own web page where I could provide people with online shopping advice, resonated with me. Within a couple of months, I launched my fashion blog www.sourcingstyle.com and started posting my favorite online shopping deals. Slowly, I moved to reviewing pieces from my wardrobe and modeling my own clothes. I bought my first DSLR camera (Nikon D810) and took an online photography course from National Geographic called Fundamentals of Photography by Joel Sartore. I used to wake up at 5:00 a.m., get ready and go out in my front lawn and click my own pictures with a tripod. In the meantime, my website also got approved for Google Adsense.

 My first attempts of taking my own pictures!

My first attempts of taking my own pictures!

 My first attempts of taking my own pictures!

My first attempts of taking my own pictures!

And London happened!

After a few months of experimenting like this, I went to stay with my cousin in London for a couple of months. I immediately did a makeup course at the London School of Beauty & Makeup and learnt how to do my own makeup for my blogposts. I was still taking my own pictures and would roam the streets of London looking for quiet places where I could shoot myself without people looking at me! I even stopped at a graveyard once! Slowly, I began to connect with other photographers to take my pictures and even though I was a bit shy in the beginning, the results were good and I started enjoying standing in front of the camera with somebody else clicking. 

 Shooting myself at the graveyard, London, UK. Image©www.thingstodot.com. 

Shooting myself at the graveyard, London, UK. Image©www.thingstodot.com. 

I launched my travel blog

As far back as I can remember, I have loved exploring new places but I never thought I could turn my passion for travel into a profession. After doing my fashion blog for almost an year and a half, I decided that fashion was not my niche and switched to travel. I launched www.thingstodot.com in January, 2017. The fashion blog had taught me not only photography and make-up but also things like how to make a google friendly website and why google SEO was so important. 

  Tree Tunnel, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. Photo: www.pk-worldwide.com. Image©www.thingstodot.com

 Tree Tunnel, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. Photo: www.pk-worldwide.com. Image©www.thingstodot.com

My first brand partnership

Towards the end of last year, when I had only about 5,000 followers on Instagram, I wrote to several fashion brands to sponsor my clothing for an upcoming trip. Despite my small following, the marketing manager of one of the big brands got back. She liked my pictures from Singapore and Japan and consequently sent me the brand's spring 2018 collection including shoes and bags! After they saw the pictures I had shot for them, they made me another offer which was to shoot their next collection in another exotic destination. This time not only was my clothing sponsored but I was paid to travel as well. 

 Shooting for my first brand partnership! Image©www.thingstodot.com.

Shooting for my first brand partnership! Image©www.thingstodot.com.

'I will see my idea through!'

The best decision I have ever made in my life has been to follow my passion and start this travel blog. I love what I do and do what I love! I know it takes courage to go after your dreams but when the motive is right, everything else falls into place. It seems to me that this blog has connected all the dots in my life and everything I have ever done has become one. One just needs patience, perseverance, a joyful heart and the belief that 'I will see my idea through!'. 

 Mudgee NSW, Australia. Photo:Noel Dawson, Image©www.thingstodot.com.

Mudgee NSW, Australia. Photo:Noel Dawson, Image©www.thingstodot.com.

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