Ever since a young age I've always wanted to do the very British activity of Afternoon Tea experience in London. Yes, while most Asians socialise in sheesha bars l want tea and snacks. What's more British than good old afternoon tea! Yes, I've watched too much Alice in Wonderland and over excited myself!
l had an image of me sipping on tea (chai) whilst snacking on an array of delectable sandwiches over a cosy chat about life with a Mad Hatter. Although my date, lifestyle blogger Safeera Sarjoo of Habibi Lifestyle was more like an Asian Alice and as most of you may know I'm more suited to the Mad Hatter role.
This afternoon tea experience wasn't like any other because in true Asian style Safeera and l went to an Indian Afternoon Tea in Strand Palace Hotel. I was just praying there was no chilli in the food other than that l was eager to try something different.
We started with some spiced chai which had a hint of cinnamon, not sure if we would like it (I'm a coffee lover myself) l sipped and it was truly pleasant. As we went for a second cup Safeera and l shared stories of reasons we start our blogs. It was evident life experiences brought us to change our lives and truly making a difference to people's lives. We didn't want to sit back and watch the world go by.
We discussed our school days, how we were the odd ones out, geek or loner and realised how far we had come from our 'unpopular' school days. The ugly ducklings were blossoming!
Then whilst snacking on the delectable sandwiches and nibbling on some keema samosas Safeera shared her recent experience when attending a wedding show. l was astonished but not surprised to hear a PR contact from an Asian brand advised Safeera, they would not be interested in speaking unless she had a large following? Now having worked in digital marketing with large British brands and smaller ethnic SMEs for over 5 years, l definitely feel people need to learn before they start discussing social media and other digital marketing elements. Can l point out, just because some people use social media everyday, that does not make you an expert.
Let me give you an example, it's like an Asian uncle opening a fashion business with no knowledge of the industry but only that he tailors clothes and a fashion expert approaches our tailor uncle. The fashion expert has worked for large British organisations and asks tailor uncle how he can help promote his business and tailor replies l will only work with you if you have sold 100 dresses. For those of you who think the same, I'll make no apologies for this next part but you're only going one way and it's not up. And people like this in the industry fail our British Asian industry that has huge potential.
After nearly choking on my sweet yet spicy deli delight l expressed my outrage; a blogger could have 250 followers but if they are quality followers e.g. BBC, respected publications and media contacts that she has built a relationship with that beats 5000 followers who are normal lads following an a young lady for other reasons. The most ironic thing was Safeera works in media with some very big contacts in British broadcasting and she only has a bad experience to share with her accredited readers.
We both believe the British Asian industry need to realise most of us serious British Asian bloggers don't just blog! We work for British-led organisations in digital marketing, media, journalism and fashion.
If Asian brands utilised us they could have a powerhouse brand, nothing like we have seen before in the UK.
Social media is an art we all have access to, but it takes years of experience to strategically master it. I guess pride takes over and we are stuck in the same Asian rut.
Other chit chats included designer bags & watches. The perception of girls who wear a head scarf again the ones who don't mix with vlogging thoughts. The discussion blogs to follow soon.
After a delightful afternoon tea and chatting with great company it was time to head out. Time does fly when you're having fun!
I hope you enjoy reading the magazine, as much as I loved sharing the hidden fashion gems and supporting women promoting their fashion business. I'm always on the lookout for inspirational women running or thinking of starting up a fashion business. If you're one, please get in touch and you can join me at one of my exclusive meetups for women with fashion businesses.