Bloggie Wednesday: How I Started Beautyholics Anonymous

Bloggie Wednesday: How I Started Beautyholics Anonymous

Happy hump day, my lovely chickadees!

Since I’m celebrating my blog’s 8th anniversary this month (okay, technically it should have been last month but I, erm, forgot), I thought I’d share with you a personal story on how Beautyholics Anonymous was born. Long time readers will know this so please do bear with me but if you’re new to the blog, welcome!

Here’s my story.

How it started

In 2007, I was working as a Research & Development engineer in Malaysia at a multi-national company. Even though there was an increasing amount of lady engineers in the department, it was still a male-dominated field at the time. Very few ladies were as interested as me in discussing beauty and cosmetics. The men were about as interested in talking about it as I am in talking about cars and fishing with them.

I started a personal blog in 2006 that I opened to the public and that was when I learned about blogs. Months later, I stumbled upon Paris B‘s personal and beauty blogs. She had only started her beauty blog a month back and I remember our conversations via comments on her blog about the beauty products that she’s tried. She encouraged me to start my own. I didn’t know if I could write only about beauty products, but I said I’d give it a go. In May 2007, I launched Beautyholics Anonymous. It wasn’t a big deal; it was more like “yeah I started a beauty blog. If you’re interested, go check it out” sort of thing. No big shindig like new blog launches these days. 😛

At that time, the project I was working on at work had already gone pretty much full swing and ended so I had a bit of time on my hands. I drafted blog posts at work, photographed what I could during the weekends, and published them during the week. Blogger (or better know as Blogspot) didn’t have a scheduling feature back then so everything was done on the fly. Nobody gave a hoot about photography either. I used a simple point-and-shoot camera I had and when I couldn’t be bothered to take photos, I used stock images of products instead. Go to my Archives and see the earlier blog posts in 2007. They sure were very different from what I do today.

Moving to Australia

In February 2008, I got married and migrated to Australia (Tim was already a permanent resident in Melbourne). It was a very exciting yet scary move for me and it took me at least a year to finally settle down and call Australia home. The most disheartening thing was that I wasn’t able to find a job here. The industry I was in when I was working in Malaysia is very different from what is available in Australia. I tried applying for other engineering positions and I got turned down at every single one.

I’ve always been quite crafty with my hands so in between looking for jobs, I picked up jewellery-making. Initially, it was just for fun but when I improved and started making more intricate jewellery, I decided to try my hand at selling them. I started a tiny online business called Sweet Contemplation Accessories, which I’m sure some of you know of. It became quite popular at one point; even Tim’s colleagues were buying them from me.

I was still running BA at this time. When business was slow, I started spending a lot more time on blogging. After a while, I realised that I was spending way too much time working on the blog than I was on jewellery. A couple of years later, I realised that I’ve lost the passion for selling jewellery, but I still loved writing and blogging. Unfortunately, by then, I had also neglected the jewellery side of things (see what I mean by I make a lousy businessperson?) and I had to decide if I wanted to continue working on that or fully concentrate on my blog and make blogging a full-time thing. It was one or the other.

It was with a heavy heart that I closed Sweet Contemplation Accessories down. I may have started BA on a whim but it had grown so much over the years and I enjoyed blogging too much than to simply let it go. I knew I wanted to make more of it and thankfully, with growing opportunities in Australia, I’m able to.

How blogging has changed the media game

Beauty blogging was very simple when I started and it’s certainly very different now. So much has changed; bloggers are now considered influencers and new media. Back then, blogging was nothing but a hobby for writing. Brands would never have considered any Tom, Dick or Sally blogger to help them grow. Now, blogging has become a career. Bloggers are going on front rows at Fashion Week, appearing on front covers of international women’s magazines and so much more.

It’s funny how people think that since I’ve blogged for 8 years that I must have worked in the beauty industry some time or rather. I’ve never worked in the beauty industry. People I meet are often very surprised at my background and how I became a beauty blogger from working as an engineer, and writing about topics that I don’t have official training in. I’ve learned a lot about beauty through experience and through education by experts. It’s a journey of ups and downs, and even though it’s bloody hard work (I’m never not thinking about the blog in everything I do), it’s a joy and a passion that I have found that I never did when working as an engineer. I’ve put in so much more hours of work a week as a blogger than I did as an engineer for far less and unpredictable pay. And I love it.

What’s even funnier is that when I was working as an engineer, my father, who also started out as an engineer, had never once told me he was proud of me. When I started putting a lot more effort and time into BA and started blogging full-time, I’d show him my achievements and accolades. One day, he texted me saying he’s damn proud of me (his words!) and what I’ve done and that I’m able to do what I love. I still keep that text message to this day.

I wish I could show you pictures of the transition of BA, how it started from Blogger and how it became what it is now. Silly me, I didn’t save screenshots of previous designs. I didn’t pay anyone to create any of the designs. I used what was available and made it mine. My motto in life is “don’t reinvent the wheel. Make it better“. That’s how I work on BA. Over the years, I’ve shed blood, sweat and tears over the technical and not-so-technical parts of BA. I’ve learned a lot through experience.

Learning from you

I had coffee with a PR from a well-known beauty brand the other day and she asked me a very good question “how do your readers fit with your blog?“. I thought about it and while I could have said that they’re aligned with my content, that they learn about products that I’ve tried, so on and so forth but instead, I answered “I grow with them as they grow“. I learned a tremendous amount from you too.

There are many things that I wished I did when I started BA in May 2007 like start growing my mailing list back then or secure all my social media platform names to just one, but in hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t do all that. I may see it as a business now, but it didn’t start off as one and I’m glad it didn’t. I don’t think I would have enjoyed nor continued with it till today if it did.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little blast from the past as to how I started BA. I could still remember my hesitation in clicking that Publish button on the very first blog post I wrote.

I’m so glad I did.

Bloggie Wednesdays is a series of articles just on blogging. They contain tips, how-tos, discussions about anything and everything you need to know about blogging and how we can be better bloggers. If you have any suggestions, tips and tricks about blogging you would like to share with us, or if you have any questions you would like me to address, please let us know in the comments.

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21 comments… add one
  1. Mel

    That’s the same reason I started my blog! My husband is also an engineer and I had no where to outlet my interest in makeup. I haven’t written new blog posts in a while because I’ve been busy though.

    Thanks for sharing how BA came to be, I enjoyed reading 🙂
    Mel recently posted..How to Pull Off Purple LipstickMy Profile

    1. Tine

      It was my pleasure, Mel. Blogging is a fantastic creativity outlet and we can write and share to our hearts’ content about our love for makeup without annoying our partners or friends who aren’t interested to death. 😛

  2. Beauty Box

    What a wonderful walk down memory lane! Goodness, Tine, I do remember the time when you had Sweet Contemplation going — little did I know that BA was so new then! I thought BA had already been around for quite a while because I thought it was a pretty good blog then 🙂 It’s been great following your blog all these years and I’m pretty sure I’ll be following it for lots more. Keep up the good work and I always look forward to reading your posts.
    Beauty Box recently posted..Mega UpdateMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha you remembered! Yeah it was pretty new back then. In fact, at one point in 2010, I was *this* close in shutting the blog down because I was sick of blogging and only blogged about 3 times a month. Thankfully, it was then that I met several beauty bloggers in Melbourne and they revived my passion for blogging once more. Five years later, it’s still going strong!

      Thanks so much for following me for that long. I’ve been following you that long too! 🙂

  3. Lynne

    I’ve been reading your blog since 2007 or 2008 (can’t remember when exactly, just that I was searching for reviews on the Cellnique pro sebum gel late one night and stumbled upon it), and moved on to follow your personal blog for a while when it was still going on. Your posts accompanied me from my undergrad days to starting work to becoming a semi-adult today, so you are absolutely right in growing with us and vice versa. Congrats on a wonderful 8 years, and to many more to come!

    1. Tine

      Oh my goodness, that’s a long time! Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. I can’t believe you’ve been reading it from undergrad days to now. What a difference the blog was back then. Oh wow thank you! 😀

  4. Saumya

    What a wonderful story Tine, thanks for sharing it with us.
    I started my blog after moving to Australia too and continued it after finding a job here. It started as a hobby and still is, and its is true that I had no idea about makeup before starting my blog. It all started with the blog 🙂
    You rock !
    Saumya recently posted..5 Favorite NOT BLACK Eyeliners !My Profile

    1. Tine

      Thanks Saumya! Even though I loved talking about makeup when I first started, I didn’t know how to apply it at all. I have blogs to thank for teaching me how to apply eyeshadow (previously, I only did one flat stripe on my lids with zero blending), liquid eyeliner, etc. Not even YouTube!

  5. Nikki

    I can still remember the first time I stumbled upon your blog! It was through PB too and so nice to read the full history! I knew about the move and I kinda felt sad you moved too soon or we should’ve met when I visited Malaysia! 😀

    Cheers to MORE years for both of us! I really pray some day, to give you a huge hug! 😀

    1. Tine

      Nikki! OMG yes that was how I found you too, via PB! I really wish I was able to meet you when you were in Malaysia. Come here soon? I owe you the biggest hug possible. 😀

  6. Asha

    Oh wow! Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Tine. I don’t even remember which post led me to your blog but I do remember that I consumed every single post within the next 48hrs (leaving time out for sleeping!)

    Must admit my early years in Australia were exactly the same, pretty jobless, pretty lonely and depressed as a result!

    1. Tine

      Hahahaha oh wow that’s commitment! THANKS! 😀

      1. Asha

        Na, that’s killer content! 😀

  7. Paris B

    Gosh Tine, we go back a loooong way and I think we both have learned a lot of things along the way too. Like you, my social media platforms are all over the place with different names, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think it makes us “human” and not just a blog, if you know what I mean 🙂 I never saved my past screen shots of my blog too, but you can use the Wayback Machine to see what your blog looked like at a certain point in time. For me, I cringe whenever I see the old designs, but I’ve always DIYed it so a lot of it is just me being well, me 🙂 I’m actually glad we had the chance to grow as bloggers through the years. In this day and age, there is a lot more pressure to be an instant hit or fizzle out. Us Marathoners are in it for the long haul – hopefully 🙂
    Paris B recently posted..Your Say: Does it make you uncomfortable to buy sanitary pads or tampons?My Profile

    1. Tine

      OMG I forgot about that website, thanks for letting me know! I found what BA used to look like. Kakakakak!
      I think that these days, blogging is different. There’s a business opportunity behind it, whether the blogger wants to monetise or not. We didn’t have a choice back then, and social media wasn’t something people would use to promote their websites. Nowadays, it’s all about “20% of the time creating content, 80% of the time promoting it”. I definitely didn’t get on social media for the sake of promoting my blog, which is why the names are all over the place! But like you said, it really does make us “human”.
      Hahaha we’ve been marathoning for 8 years! Hopefully we’ll see each other again on the 10th year mark! 😀

  8. Yishan Chan

    I’m glad we started our blogs in the era we did as it’s such a different game now!! Keep up the passion you have for beauty writing, it really shows in your content & I look forward to more blogging milestones & successes for BA!

    1. Tine

      Thanks Yishan! Haha we met each other when our blogs were so young. Remember when I actually thought your name was Akisa and that girl on your blog’s header was you? 😛

  9. SharonC

    Your honesty, hard work and passion that you put into BA made me an an avid reader. It is certainly not easy to take good photos, craft quality blog posts/design and write objective reviews. Readers like myself get to read and enjoy your blog posts without having to think about the hard work that goes “behind the scenes”. No wonder you are always thinking about BA in everything you do! –> even on holidays! Thank you so much for your commitment to us!

    1. Tine

      Awww thanks Sharon! I’m so glad you enjoy BA. Haha yeah I have a “blog” brain now. Even on holidays, it’s very hard not to be thinking about content! 😛

  10. Lanovia Ingryanti

    One thing for sure, you really take a good care of your readers. It makes reader feel appreciated and getting involved with your blog. I still remember that you always reply all my comments and emails. You even still remember my story about the first time I red your blog 🙂 good job Tine!! Wish you more succcess in the future!! XOXO

    1. Tine

      Hahahahha the Vincci shoes!! Oh yeah I remember that. 😛

      Thanks Lanovia. Really appreciate it. xx

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