Being the brand

COVER David 2

David Guison


What luck! Think about the “perks” of    travel and lifestyle bloggers—touring  different places for free and getting a great deal of designer clothes to fill their already full wardrobe.

But if there’s anything we’ve heard from the bloggers themselves,  it’s that luck alone won’t make the cut.  The founder of top menswear blog DG  MANILA, David Guison, shares his endeavors coupled with a lot of  effort to get the whole picture.

Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Lacoste, Zara, Topman, H&M—these are only a few international brands David got to work with. His take on blogging is a good example of the old adage “Choose a job you like and you never have to work  a day in your life.”

The  Philippines’ much followed lifestyle and travel blogger takes us #BTS (behind the scene), telling us how  things were before DG MANILA. Blogging
tips included. Be charmed by the prim, snappy, and  effortlessly versatile David Guison. #HappeningNow.

How did you get to be a blogger?
I started my blog in July 2009. I studied Multi-Media Arts in De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, and it was required in the course to have our own blog. The professor would check the content at the end of the term, the blog layout, everything. I just considered it as a normal project. I was surprised that after
the term ended I started getting  requests like  “Why don’t you post a photo of yourself or what you’re wearing.” What I posted there were all about photography and stuff. There were many  requests,  so I did, and that’s where it took off. I started getting followers.

Compared to other bloggers, what do you think is your edge?
Well, I think my edge is that I started early when blogging  was still booming. Back then, hindi pa siya ganoon ka-popular like it is
now. And it was  very personal before. Sobrang detailed like “I woke  up at 6 a.m.” But now it’s more like work na talaga siya. It’s more of a lifestyle thing.  Another one is that my blog is very relatable to my readers. I’m not very brand conscious and what I post on the blog are things that I really love, things I support. When I was a student, I was already blogging. I would post outfits… what I would wear when I commute to school. Siyempre estudyante pa ako and
I wasn’t earning yet. I had a limited  budget. So  I would buy clothes from ukay-ukays (thrift stores), and that made it very real and relatable. They’d know “Ah, I can pull off this look with only 200 pesos”. They can see that I was constantly repeating my clothes. (Laughs).

Tell us about the international brands you  worked with.
I was blogging in 2009, then in July 2010, I got an e-mail from Forever 21. They were looking
for an ambassador. I had no idea what  Forever 21 was. Baka scam ‘to! (Laughs). Hindi ako nag-reply. But I followed Tricia Gosingtian, one of the pioneers in blogging, and she tweeted “I’m now an ambassador of Forever 21.” So then nakita ko na, OK legit pala ‘to.
After my endorsement with Forever 21, doon na nagkasunod-sunod kasi ang laki ng market nila. It was very big when it opened here, remember? Then came Lacoste, then I got sent to Sweden for H&M, to Barcelona…

What have you learned from these stints?
There are so many bloggers in the industry that  you really have to set yourself apart from the rest. You can’t settle for mediocre work. You have to think of great content and kung ano ka noong nag-start ka, dapat ganyan ka pa rin hanggang ngayon. You have to be humble. Take each challenge one day at a time. Kasi minsan when you’ve had a big project, the next day, hindi pa rin ako maka get over dun. Parang “Is this really happening?” But it’s just work. It’s just your job. Don’t take it personally. Wag lalaki ulo mo.

And how did you get into travel blogging?
I started two years ago.  Parang I started without knowing how the industry works. I used to follow international bloggers. They have so many clothes! Paano kaya nila nabibili ang mga ‘yan? I didn’t know you can get sponsors or endorsements from blogging. Wala talaga akong idea so I wasn’t in it for the fame, money, or freebies. I was just really passionate about writing—documenting everything. Before ibang platforms pa ‘yan, Xanga, Blogspot, Multiply. Hobby lang
talaga siya that I really enjoyed.

Do you still see it as a hobby now?
Well, hindi ko siya naisip as work kasi when I get a project, I still get excited about it. I immediately think how I can present it to my readers in a way that it will get their attention. The readers now are very smart. They’d know when the post is sponsored, and they can be very picky. Last week nga lang, parang may nang-away sa akin… I endorse so many phone brands na daw that I already lost my loyalty, and that made me think… Yeah, I should stick to the brands I love. There’s contradiction sometimes, that’s why it turned into a business na talaga. I got a handler, so they know the brands you like and the brands that you don’t like.

What stuff do you always bring  when  traveling other than the essentials?
Camera. Laptop. Wipes. Under-eye patches. Books—not Kindle! (Laughs).

Do you usually carry a lot of stuff?
I really don’t bring a lot when I travel because I have to leave space for the shopping.

How much time do you spend in front of your laptop in a day?
When I have a travel blog, it usually takes me 6 to 8 hours to write a single post, and that’s just writing only. No editing yet. Travel usually entails researching but the fun part is the photography because that’s where you get creative and get the attention of your readers. So when you have a trip, you don’t blog Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. You have to present it, like “Top 10 Destinations in…”  to make it catchy.  You brainstorm with yourself, how it works for you, for your blog, for the brand. With the blog, it’s kind of a one-man team. You’re the stylist, the model, the writer. But I need to have my own photographer now. It was my yaya before or my friends who took photos. (Laughs).

How do you manage your time?
I treat it like a regular job. Since I’ve never tried corporate work, I treat blogging   like one. I wake up at 6 a.m. I answer e-mails for an hour. I fix my schedules with the clients, and then attend the events. When I get home, I write the blog post. Feeling ko may office hours din ako. Pag 9 p.m. ayaw ko ng sumagot ng e-mails.
I really try my best to answer the e-mails though. I, myself, started out as a reader as well. I followed Georgina Wilson. Pag nagre-reply sila sa akin… meron pa akong folders with the replies… So I know how it feels to be a  reader. I know that feeling na when you get a reply that means they really took the time to read my comment.

What’s the ideal place for you to get the writing started?
Most of my blogposts are written when I’m on  the plane or at the airport! (Laughs). There’s no downtime, which is the downside of blogging. There are no office hours. It’s up to sawa. If wala kang post for this day, sayang din yung one day na wala kang content to give to your readers. That’s why I found the beauty of
micro-blogging which is Instagram and Twitter. That’s where I can post real and quick content. Snapchat also, which is getting big.

Who are other bloggers that you look up to?
I follow international bloggers, like Pelayo Diaz. He has really great content. He’s very brand conscious but at the same it’s very wearable. Also, international bloggers usually have good quality pictures, good presentations, maybe because their country is beautiful? (Laughs).  And Adam Gallagher.

PAGE 3 FOTO 1 - David 4Do you follow a lot of fashion bloggers?
Not really. I also follow fitness bloggers, food bloggers. You get inspiration from them, many  ideas from them. Actually, everyone started out as a fashion blogger, but they ventured to lifestyle, travel.  It’s a little bit of everything. I started as a fashion blogger and nakaka-umay.  It was all my face! (Laughs).

What’s your advice to those who want to make blogging as a profession?
I don’t want use  the cliché advice, “Be yourself”. I‘ll just go to the technical aspect which is… Find a platform that works for you. I’ve tried different
platforms  like BlogSpot,  Xanga, and now I use WordPress which is great. and it leaves room for improvement.  Post great content. If you can’t post every day, then maybe once or twice a week  as long as people have something to see. You have to market yourself. You cross remote it through other social media channels such as
Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook page. Write about what you know. I started with  fitness but I didn’t know anything about it! (Laughs). I wasn’t making sense in the blog. So I started writing about things I really know of like “How to Get Rid of Your Fear of..” or “How to Pack..”. I made it very specific. Find your niche, and from there, try to venture to other things. Being an  online influencer doesn’t happen in a day. You have to build your brand through the years with much effort.  Build your brand first. Know how to market yourself. Attend a lot of events. Make yourself visible. Make connections.
Always think a step ahead. What am I going to blog next year? How can I push myself further?

Do you see blogging as something you would still do in the future?
Actually, two years ago I  was thinking… there might be someone new or young to replace me. (Laughs). I related it to modelling, like if you
get old, you’re not relevant anymore. But no! As you get older, so do your readers. They grow old with you. You can write things they still can relate to.

If you were to look back, what changed in you over those years?
Before I was very experimental with my style. Now I’m more mature, more into laid-back pieces, classic pieces.

Where would you be if you’re not doing things for the blog?
It’s hard when you’re a blogger on vacation. You tend to bring work with you. I’m not going to bring my camera or laptop. It never happened! (Laughs). If I don’t have a blog, you’d see me at home watching TV the whole day.  I’m grateful for all these blessings. Without this, I wouldn’t be as adventurous or as experimental as I am today.  I pushed myself for my readers. And I’m continuing to learn through the years.

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