Interview with Juliana!

Profile: Juliana Chong--owner of www.ilovebunny.net and founder of www.honeyzcube.com--  is Rachel's and my personal favorite blogger. (And we only have one favorite :P) She's an established writer, entrepreneur and thought-leader in the Singaporean online beauty and fashion realm. Despite all her achievements, she regards her readers as her friends,  and always seeks to improve her skills at writing and photography. It was such a pleasure to interview her!

Thank you for your time today Juliana! Tell us, would you classify yourself as a “full-time” or a “part-time” blogger?



I would say that I fall in the spectrum of being a full time blogger. A few years back, I took the plunge and jumped heels first into blogging. It was daunting to say the least, but thanks to my loyal readers and support from various reputable brands in the beauty and fashion world, not only was I able to stay afloat; I was even able to start my own company, Honeyz Cube PTE LTD, Asia's most comprehensive beauty encyclopedia. Now my time is divided between my blog and Honeyz Cube.

How do you think bloggers are perceived by companies in Singapore?
It would be wrong to blanket all companies in Singapore together and similarly, it would be wrong to group all bloggers together too. Just as there are some very professional, well written blogs, there are also those blogs which are infamous for their focus on controversy, function as personal blogs or lean heavily on the use of local slang language. So understandably, there is significant variation in how companies perceive bloggers.

Some companies truly value and understand our role in this day and age where more and more people look for online information regarding products and services before parting with their hard earned cash. Conventional methods of advertising such as TV and radio are falling behind as the public can access information and reviews online on blogs and websites any time they want from the comfort of their mobile phone and laptop. Forward thinking companies understand this and want to utilize this to spread their message and create brand awareness.

However, there is also a significant number of brands who find it difficult to fully grasp the beast that is online media. These companies may be perceived as being slightly out of touch with the reality of how customers now behave and how world is evolving. It can sometimes be a challenge when working with such companies but needless to say, when the results come, they are the most grateful.

Can you share with us a personal example of a positive working relationship with a sponsor?

Sometime back, I met the promoter of a very reputable Korean beauty brand hoping to move into the Singapore market. Upon hearing about my blog and also my company they were very excited to work with me. What I thought would be a one off encounter has turned into a real friendship, to the point where I will be even inviting my new friend to my wedding later this year. They shared their knowledge of beauty products and online business while I shared my knowledge of Singaporean beauty and shopping behaviour and culture. It has been a really fruitful collaboration and we have hosted numerous successful events together and are in the midst of planning the next one. When similar minded business partners turn into friends, it really is a very satisfying and gratifying feeling.

How about a personal example of a not-so-positive working relationship with a sponsor?
 
I was approached by a company specializing in weight loss techniques to review some of the services they offered.  I pride myself in writing honest reviews and this is what my readers value my blog for, my blog is a resource of reliable reviews for them. However, this one company was very controlling of what I wanted to write to the point that almost anything 'Juliana' in it had to be removed. Void of my style and flavour, I had no choice but to change the classification of write up from a review to a paid advertorial. I cannot compromise my standards and of course will not be working with said company again.

The blogging scene in Singapore is a relatively new one, compared to that of UK, America and even Finland. As a popular Singaporean fashion, lifestyle and beauty blogger, do you have any tips for bloggers or companies when it comes to cultivating a happy working relationship?

I would encourage bloggers to strive to be the best they can be. You can always write better, take better photos, innovate and evolve.  Don't write about everything, if your blog lacks focus then why would readers or even brands keep returning to you?  Find your own online identity and something that is uniquely you!

For companies, I would stress they be open to suggestion and opportunity. They may be afraid of this online world we live in, but you fight fear with knowledge. Embrace us, communicate and then understand. There is a reason why the biggest brands work with us, but we are equally open minded, we are not snobbish working only with big brands, we will work with you. There is nothing better than finding a company which is a diamond in the rough and then being able to help them find the audience they deserve! :)

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