Working during the lockdown has not been easy but even with the pandemic raging on, creatives have remained innovative, working within an industry that seemingly never sleeps.
If there was any kind of silver lining to the lockdown, it was the gift of time. With countless online resources from webinars to workshops, more now than ever is the time to learn new skills and become as multifaceted as possible.
For one creative, this helped her to take an unexpected step in her career. Malvika, founder of fashion & beauty platform and blog ‘Stylebymalvika,’ is one of the top five up and coming fashion influencers according to Pixlee. A digital content creator, her platform caters to the driven dreamers and luxury fashion lovers of the world and has also appeared on Forbes India, Create & Cultivate, Buzzfeed, and The Cut to name a few. She has previously collaborated with brands like Jimmy Choo, Givenchy Beauty and Reebok.
How would you describe your role before the lockdown?
Before the pandemic, I was focusing on building my platform as a creator on Instagram, but as the opportunities to collaborate with brands decreased due to budgets, I somehow got lucky with other kinds of opportunities. Specifically, I was given several opportunities to become a “paid” creator of sorts for several different apps and platforms. I’ve also been able to do some consulting work, freelance photography and videography. Now, it’s not only about building my own content on Instagram but being a skilled creator in all aspects of the word. I’d say before I was mainly known as an “Instagram Influencer”, which was a term I was never really comfortable with for some reason, and now with all the freelance work, I’m doing as well as content creation, the better way to encapsulate all the work I do is by referring to me as a digital content creator and consultant.
Did being in a lockdown make this change more difficult?
It has affected my work both positively and negatively. There aren’t as many opportunities to collaborate with brands to create a fun personable synergy to relay to an audience, but I still have the ability to get paid for what I do, creating. Having to stay home means more time to delve deeper to make sure my work is of better quality. I’ve developed a no-nonsense attitude when it comes to whatever I put out. Even if I’ve spent 4 hours on something, if it’s not good, I’m scrapping it.
In fact, I consider myself to be extremely lucky that this happened to me as the opportunities landed in my lap. As mentioned, it’s a shift from the model I was used to, and maybe, does require a lot more work, but getting into the creative process is something I love doing, and challenges to create content in new ways keeps me on my toes. Though don’t get me wrong, I still think one of the most rewarding things is partnering with brands that you love, and that’s very much something I’d like to continue focusing on.
Were there any online resources you were able to take advantage of?
YouTube has always been one of my biggest teachers. If there’s any trouble I have in navigating something, YouTube is there to teach me. Whether it’s troubleshooting with technology, video editing, finding beauty inspiration for my videos, or otherwise.
Do you expect anything career-wise to change once the lockdown is over?
I most definitely do. For one, I’m a commercial talent, so I hope to be able to go out on more auditions. Two, I think as a result of the lockdown being over, perhaps business will pick up for some, and if brands find it in their marketing budgets to do more influencer activations (which mainly happen through Instagram for me), then maybe I’ll be shifting more of my efforts back to that!
What are your thoughts on the current state of the fashion industry?
One of the biggest shifts I’m seeing is a bigger conversation on the topic of diversity. I think fashion is a reflection of society and its sentiments, and at a time like this, diversity is top of mind for most companies. There are lots of (much needed and long overdue) efforts being made across the board. There is still so much to be done, but it’s a good sign that the industry is moving forward.
Generally, I think the industry has been hit pretty hard since the pandemic. Since there has been so much unemployment, discretionary spending has gone down, and I know this directly impacts the bottom line of most brands in the industry. Though I did notice that beauty spending had gone up for a bit during this lockdown period, and that was definitely interesting to me.
How has adding another title affected your career?
I think it’s given me a lot more confidence to provide a larger range of capabilities when it comes to any kind of creative collaboration. It’s no longer a standard “Instagram photo” that I’m good at, I feel that with the kind of practice and training I’ve been able to get, I can offer new ideas, new ways of communicating to an audience, and I just generally feel so much more creative, and less limited.
I also think having to create so many beauty videos has made me much more comfortable in front of a camera, even when I thought I already was. This works well not just for my “online” career, but also when it comes to commercial opportunities.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to those who want to want to learn a new skill or change roles?
Jump into it even before you think you’re ready. Sometimes, the best way to learn is on the job. If there’s something inside of you pushing you in a new direction, listen to that inner voice–it’s there for a reason. Do not let the fear of the unknown or anxiety to switch to a completely new world scare you off. Being a little uncomfortable in a new scenario is what makes us grow!