Series: How to Start Beauty Blogging — How I Started

Introduction: How I Started

The most frequent question I get (seriously!) is, “How do I start my own blog?” followed by a few questions in the same vein.  I’m not always able to answer everyone in detail, so I thought putting together a series of posts would be helpful for those interested, and then I can point future inquiries to a really in-depth answer! :)  I thought the best way to start would be to tell you where and how I started, to give you a better idea of who I am, what level of knowledge I have, and how things have changed.

Temptalia began in October 2006, and frankly, I didn’t know anything about blogging when I started. I’ve grown up on the internet, and I’ve always done quirky things on the web, but the concepts of blogs and blogging were not in my vocbularly.  In my teens, I managed (to my horror, now) ten e-zines, two of which were daily, and then after going away to college, I moved on and eventually landed myself on Livejournal.  After I fell in love with makeup (also, when I went to college, so I was around 18), I started posting makeup looks on a community called MAC_Cosmetics on Livejournal.

Two years went by, and it seemed like a good idea to put all of those looks in one place, like an archive.  I was also doing photo-driven tutorials, and those were included.  For the first two months, it was largely an archive, and then I started posting my collective thoughts about the most recent MAC collection, and by December 2006, I was posting some swatches and photos of products I had purchased.  In August 2007, MAC reached out to us and invited us to go backstage at San Francisco’s Fashion Week (which no longer exists). It was a Big. Deal. at the time, because I didn’t know this stuff was important, that brands would read it, or that it was anything more than an extension of my makeup obsession.  It’s pretty amazing to be writing about one brand exclusively (gateway drug! yeah!) and having that one brand know you’re alive.  That same month, I received my first press samples ever (which were from MAC).

By the end of 2007, we were working with multiple brands, including Clinique, Elizabeth Arden, La Mer, NARS, Prescriptives, Renee Rouleau, Too Faced, and Zoya. In late 2006, we were reaching a few thousand people a month; a year later, over 100,000; two years later, 200,000; and so forth and so on.  Now? We reach around a million unique people a month.  The rest, as they say, is history!

Temptalia started completely organically. It wasn’t a planned operation; there were no real expectations.  I certainly didn’t expect it to become a career path open to me five years later!  When it all began, it was a lawless time, so I made plenty of mistakes and will continue to make them going forward but hope to learn something from each of those. A lot of blogging was trial and error; there weren’t rules or even helpful guides on what to write about, how to get more readers, or what to focus on.  It’s funny to think about, because it’s hard to believe this time ever existed, but indeed there was: a time when product photos, real swatches, and the like were not standard protocol.