Wednesday, July 22, 2015

haul culture + finding your niche

This is a post I've had sitting in my drafts for some time - I have been debating posting this, and generally I don't like stepping outside the box and discussing Bloggers as a wider issue - mostly because I feel like it inevitably rocks a few boats.

However I've recently realised that I just don't care upsetting people that much - and I wanted to talk about two topics that have become my main gripes with this little bubble we've created for ourselves: the haul culture that we have created, and this drive to find your 'niche'.

finding your niche in blogging

Let's start with this culture of 'hauling'... If you look back in the Uncia + Tigris archives (please don't, those posts are awful! haha), you'll see that I used to be a beauty blogger. I even ventured into the world of beauty youtube, and had some relative success in that arena, before packing it in and realising it wasn't for me. I kept up with the blogging, though, for several years: I was a bit mad about it. I used to do friends makeups for parties and proms, and did a bit of work at college for photo shoots and stuff, and I sort of felt like that justified the amount of makeup I had.

It was a weird thing, though, because even though I knew I had a ridiculous amount of makeup, I felt like I never had enough, there was always the newest thing I felt I had to buy - my favourite makeup artist or YouTuber was recommending it, it had to be good! I look back then and I realise how naive I was, I didn't realise that all those YouTuber's and makeup artists are paid, sponsored, or given products for free. I felt like I had to have designer bags, shoes, clothes, sunglasses, makeup, because all the blogs and things I read had them too. I used to go to London and spend £200 on makeup, because I felt like I needed it all, or get my dad to buy me all of the newest MAC collection on his trip abroad.. I justified it by lying to myself, saying that I needed it I wanted to become a makeup artist, or that I wanted to share in on my blog (which was getting popular, but not by that much). I was spending it just to flash about in a new haul video or post, and it was ridiculous, really.

I think it was when I was in my first or second year at university, I realised the money I was spending on that kind of stuff was stupid, and it gradually faded out. I'm still sort of ashamed at the amount of makeup I own now, as I know I'll never use it all. I try and give it away to friends that I think will use it, or my mum to try and convince her to wear lipstick (never works). Even still, though, I get the urge to spend. I was in London recently and I literally had to walk away from the shops, because I was going to buy stuff for the sake of it! I actually left the city that day, with only a few pens from Muji in my bag, and it felt amazing!

I remember reading this post by Michelle from a little while ago now, and thinking that she was exactly spot on, and I felt so much better that I wasn't alone in this way of thinking. These days, I try to be a lot more savvy with my purchases. I rarely buy things on a whim, I research products properly, outside of paid advertisements on some pretty coloured youtube channels. I try and use stuff up, only buy new mascaras or foundations when I've run out, and although I do have a lipstick vice, I am getting better in that arena. I didn't like that desperate need to keep up - what was I trying to keep up with and why? Obviously, if you are super passionate about beauty products, have the funds and the love to buy everything, then there's nothing wrong with that, I would just suggest caution...!

finding your blogging niche

This brings me nicely to the topic of finding your niche. I had a bit of a crisis, when I decided that beauty blogging, in it's current form, was not for me. What was I then? Was I a food blogger, or a craft and knitting blogger? At the time, I had an allotment and spent a lot of time outdoors, I was also studying art and had a real passion for that... I was at a lost end. If you look back through my archives, you can probably see my phases!

Which leads me to where I am now... It's taken a long time, but I'm finally happy with what I post here. It's completely me, completely honest, and I don't have to spend a penny on it, if I don't want to. And really, it's only recently that I've discovered that I am a true lifestyle blogger. Essentially, I have no niche! If you came here hoping for a how-to-guide to what you should be blogging about, er, sorry? As I have been blogging for so long, I have noticed that there is this real trend of blogs become identical. Same photos, same style, same bloody marble trays and peonies! The same churning out of content, like 75+ 'Blog post ideas', etc.

I just think there is less individuality about these days - I always find it so refreshing when I see blogs that I think are really unique! I follow a few super cutesy blogs, all dyed pink hair and kawaii images, and some dark, all-black wearing goth bloggers, hippy wannabes and wanderlust filled travellers, stay at home mums and career driven bloggers... But the one thing they'll probably have in common is a uniqueness - they do something different and step outside this cookie-cutter blogger image that saturates the market these days.

If you've found your niche - good for you! But if you haven't - don't worry, you might never find it. I am finally happy with the little space my blog has become, but it's taken me six years of blogging to get to this point.

I hope this makes sense, and if you want to start a discussion in the comments, please do - I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a niche, or have you ever felt the need to buy something, just to keep up with your favourite blog?

Some great posts I've read on similar topics, that have inspired this one:


  1. I really loved reading this post and like you, I don't particularly like talking about bloggers and blogging BUT sometimes an opinion needs to be expressed and so what if people don't agree?

    The 'niche' thing is something I've been thinking about recently; there are a lot of things bloggers are told they NEED in order to be "successful." They need to cut down on the content, write about very specific topics, and find their niche - I've even seen people say that 'lifestyle' blogs aren't ever "successful," whatever that is supposed to mean.

    If someone is trying to make money from their blog, I think doing certain things will enable money to be made much quicker. But for bloggers who just want to blog (like me) then these "rules" are dumb and also, success is usually found by not following the crowd.

  2. Loved reading this Clare! It's so interesting and refreshing to hear someone else's point of view on this topic. I certainly still think that the blogosphere has a burgeoning problem with regards to spending - although those faux marble manufacturers and peony growers must be raking it in! - but I've noticed it has plateaued a little.

    I particularly like the points you make about lifestyle blogging and retaining that certain uniqueness. I adore reading your blog for the fact that I genuinely feel like I'm checking in (in a non-creepy manner...) on a friend and on her daily musings or whatever you're fancying that day. My blog was once completely fashion-focused but I hope everyday that it's become a more accurate representation of the millions of things zooming around my mind each day.

    Here's to non-niche blogging and just being the best of our normal human blogging selves! x

    (And thank you a million for the kind mentions - I felt similarly nervous to hit 'publish' on that bad boy.)

  3. Lovely blog post, and I think realising that quantity is overrated is something that comes with getting a little more mature. I went thought the same thing - I now PREFER to have less better quality things that I go and use again and again. x

  4. OtherSomewhere22 July 2015 at 10:59

    I've thought about this a lot, too. I don't really have a niche in my blog and just generally write about whatever I'm focusing on in my life etc! Probably best with these things to just not fret about it, I guess.

  5. Since I've always been more of a savvy person (thanks mom!) I've always been pretty good on limiting my hauls (making sure they were things on sale/things I really needed). But I do see people churning out hauls full of clothes so often. As much as I enjoy watching and reading hauls, I do see that as bloggers we do have a consumerist culture. And gosh, I totally agree with the whole "finding your niche" thing. I blog about my day, college, art, fashion, and places I've been. Do any of those really sound similar to you? You could argue I could connect them, and possibly. But they really don't fit in a certain niche and I'm not willing to give up any of them.

    Peace & Love //

  6. I can't tell you how much I relate to this post! I had a beauty blog back when I was about 16 and I used it as an excuse to buy a stupid amount of makeup, I wasn't really interested in using it, it was more just to have it and show it off! Looking back I can't believe how much money I wasted, now if something runs out I replace it and I don't buy extra! I suppose it's mainly down to the fact I have a lot less disposable income these days but I would also much rather spend the money I do have on days out or I save it! I do have an unhealthy obsession with buying books but even that's restrained!

    I would definitely classify myself as a lifestyle blogger, there are so many different things I am interested in that it would be hard to restrain to just one topic on my blog. I would much rather share different aspects of my personality, so if that means not having a niche, so be it!

  7. Such a great post, Clare. I was thinking about this earlier too, the uniqueness and individuality we have is really just our faces and our names in some cases. The need to find a niche limits content for some, and the need to fit trends and buy all the new right now when people can't really afford to just to justify a post... It's kinda bad when you think about it. For me, there has been a certain - oh I need that - thought, but only in passing, and when i start to ask myself /why/? I can usually reason away the need for x item. (That is not to say I don't have wishlists 6 miles long...)

    If I see another sodding marble tray I might actually cry. Can we be done with the marble and obvious sheeple-ing. :(

    Fii || little miss fii

  8. Oh my gosh it's like you crawled into my brain! In a nice way, not like an earwig...

    I have never ever understood how so many bloggers have so so much make up!! I find it ridiculous! So much that they end up SELLING IT?! How can people afford that?! Especially bloggers who are also students like omg. Not gonna lie, I am super at saving money and shopping smart *smirks*.

    The niche thing. Oh jeez. For a while I was like, well shit... what am I?! But yeh, I generally say I'm a lifestyle blogger 'cos I just blog about my life haha. Things that make me happy, annoyed, opinions, OOTDs, travel, food, student... just about everything ahah :')

    Just noticed you are also from Hampshire! Yay! xo

    amber love

  9. I love this, especially being something I've struggled with, but learnt not to care about. Saying that, I am off to read those other posts now!

    Annabel ♥
    Mascara & Maltesers

  10. I agree wholeheartedly. Firstly, with the hauling thing, I think that the sheer amount of products that bloggers review it really makes you feel like you need to buy all the things just to keep up with anyone in whichever area you blog. Fashion hauls are even worse and it's like these people buy 20 new items of clothing every week just to have a new outfit for the day. I'd like to see a fblogger wear one pair of jeans in the same outfit for a week. See how good they really are.

    I like hauls in general, but the sheer amount and frequency of them puts me off. They're probably a secret pleasure but only if the hauler isn't going bananas on me.

    The niche thing is something I blatantly ignored from day one and it was obviously (or not as my shitty blog can testify to) the best decision I made from a personal POV. It's prevalent on Help Blogs that finding your niche is the way forward, but that's only good if your blog is only for other people and to make money (and with instagram). I have a wide range of likes and hobbies and just being one type of blogger would have driven me utterly insane.

    Sterling, XLeptodactylous


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