Smart and sensational, Malvika Sitlani, 27, Natasha Luthra, 30, Kamiya Jani, 34, Devashree Tiwari and Tanushree Sharma, in their early 30s, are well-versed with luxury on and off social media. From flying to the most exotic locations and driving ultra-premium cars to dining at the finest restaurants, and owning wardrobes full of premium beauty and fashion brands, there’s almost nothing opulent that they haven’t experienced. But behind all the glamour there is lots of hard and smart work, and, of course, passion and the desire to be their own masters. Hear their inspirational stories here.
Followers – 501k on YouTube and 338k on Instagram
“Luxury is a result of the hard work put in to fulfil one’s dream, whatever that may be,” believes Malvika Sitlani, a famed influencer, known for her expertise in luxury beauty and skincare. She started her YouTube channel in 2015 to explore the connection between women and beauty, at a time when influencers from the West captured a large fraction of the Internet.
Being in the business for three years now, Sitlani has observed a noticeable transition in the portrayal of luxury brands. “Brands now understand consumers’ needs, which reflects in their campaigns and ads.” Initially, they focused only on the who’s who of the Indian luxury society, but, with the rise of women influencers across social media, luxury brands today want to allure consumers from all walks of life. “Brands put their money on influencers’ engagement with their audiences, which, in turn, helps them establish a relatable yet luxurious. brand identity”
An influencer’s role on social media goes way beyond the perimeters of branding and sponsored posts. “We get to be the voice of women across age groups. In our job, putting out opinions and thoughts is crucial.” As a beauty blogger, Sitlani has frequently dismissed the obsession over fair skin. Her collaborations with high-end beauty brands range from Estee Lauder, Bobby Brown and HUDA Beauty to Guerlain, MAC and Dyson. Recently, she, the first Indian influencer, collaborated with the US-based Smashbox Cosmetics.
“The audience demands no filters; so, being authentic has been my secret weapon to build a real connection with them. Be it in fashion, beauty, lifestyle or one’s life. Having heartfelt conversations is important. It’s the sole reason why I do ‘Sundaze with Mals’ videos on YouTube — to answer my viewers’ personal questions and make them feel involved.”
Sitlani’s routine of creating content for social media involves documenting videos and clips along with her regular Instagram posts. She says, “I never script my videos. It’s almost my second nature to speak to the camera.” She also regularly goes through messages and emails and takes all her viewers’ suggestions very seriously. That’s how winners do it. She was awarded the Beauty Blogger of the Year 2019 accolade by Cosmopolitan and Elle India.
Founder and Chief Travelling Officer of Curly Tales
Followers – 1.4m on Facebook, 569k on YouTube and 203k on Instagram
“Women are multitaskers. Even when they are doing nothing, they are up to something. To indulge in luxury and to pamper yourself is the best way to take a break,” says Kamiya Jani, Founder and Chief Travelling Officer of Curly Tales.
In 2017, Jani quit her job as a news anchor, with one of the most reputed business news channels in India, to start Curly Tales. Fast forward to 2020, Jani, also a mother of a six-year-old daughter, Ziana, has ticked off 40 countries and 123 cities from her travel bucket list, and the count increases every day. Her recent show ‘Sunday Brunch’ on YouTube garnered record-breaking views in which she interacts with star celebrities. Cricketers Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Bollywood actors Kajol, Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan have all graced her show.
Over the years, Jani has seen female luxury influencers evolve remarkably. “Women influencers are not just faces with great Instagram feeds and a few thousand followers, they represent the larger women force and inspire others.”
The rise in the number of luxury influencers has redirected brand conversations. Luxury has now branched into various verticals. Talking about the luxury hospitality and travel industry, she feels that the city-based properties have strategically moulded their services to cater to the end demand of the customer. “Lavish meals, instant services, staycations are all a part of their experiential luxury offers.” She adds, “Why can’t you wake up in a villa, have a grand breakfast of exotic fruits, local produce and sip a cocktail by the pool? None of this sounds bad, does it?” Jani, a recipient of the 2019 ‘Most Influential Content Marketing Professional’ by World Marketing Congress has a wide portfolio of collaborations with premium automobile brands and hotel chains including The Atlantis Palm, The Westin Maldives and The Venetian Macao.
The conversation at Curly Tales revolves around travel and food, so, the team creates content only around these two categories. “With social media, the sweet challenge is to create content that reaches every user’s feed and timeline. A lot of thought goes into creating attention-grabbing content.” Also, Jani ensures that her digital channel regularly posts short clips of travel inspirations, exotic and never-seen-before food concepts and shots of nerve-wracking adventures. She believes that influencers should not change their core category just to make money. “All you have to do is to connect your content with your passion and people with similar tastes will find you.”
Followers – 153k on Instagram
“Luxury to me is a journey, an indulgent experience and an artistic extension of myself,” says Natasha Luthra, a luxury fashion influencer and content creator with a growing audience base of 153k on Instagram. She first started with her website Nat on the Rocks in 2015, which mostly documented her fashionable and stylish way of life. In January 2018, Luthra left her position as a Ratings Manager at Crisil, a global rating agency, to pursue full-time blogging. “Rising levels of education and financial power have given a voice to women in every context, and more purchasing power,” says Luthra.
A glamorous personality with a knack for luxury business, Luthra believes women are far ahead in the space of fashion. “Without women, the concept of influencers in luxury and fashion would be redundant. Hence, female representation is important.” The growing number of women influencers has helped luxury brands reach a larger target audience, across our culturally rich country. The new-age consumers on social media are better connected, informed and consciously crave authenticity, which was earlier limited to print ads and TV commercials. “Watching one’s favourite influencer use a product or a service allows the audience to make an informed choice.”
Luthra, a frequent collaborator with a diverse range of brands has been the preferred influencer for high-end labels such as Jade, Payal Singhal, Varun Bahl Couture, Emporio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Coach and LongChamp. “When associating with a brand, I ensure that their values and aesthetics resonate with my sensibilities and my followers’.”
One of her favourites and a highly successful partnership was with BMW 3 Series in 2019, for which she was the only woman influencer to become the face of the campaign. One challenge which she constantly deals with is to match a brand’s pre-planned concept without compromising on her individuality. “Followers on the gram appreciate this.”
As an influencer, outsourcing content is not an option. Every step in creating digital content, from conceptualisation to final execution, is done by Luthra. After all, it is her style, taste and opinion that the audience seeks. There is an overwhelming number of posts being uploaded every second on social media, and to stand out from the crowd is challenging. This is where visuals become extremely important. “Humans are visual beings. We retain only 10 to 20 per cent of the information we read or hear. But when that information is presented visually, the retention rate quickly goes up to 65.” Luthra’s Instagram feed flaunts a very vibrant palette; from her many fashion avatars in lehengas, ravishing party dresses, athleisure and casuals to her photographs with some of the most coveted personalities including Virat Kohli, Katrina Kaif, Manish Malhotra, Kunal Rawal and Payal Singhal.
Devashree Tiwari and Tanushree Sharma
The Glutton and the Owl; Followers – 201k on Instagram
“Women pursue luxury in all its shapes and sizes. For me, it is a very fluid concept and could mean many things; a handbag with exceptional craftsmanship or a holiday in the lap of nature or sometimes a quiet afternoon,” says Devashree Tiwari, who founded The Glutton and the Owl along with her sister Tanushree Sharma. The lifestyle blog started in 2016, covers the gamut of everything that inspires and excites the duo.
In the beginning of 2020, the sister influencers collaborated with French luxury Maison Hermès to create a series of stylish looks. “We only collaborate with brands that we use or are ardent lovers of.” They have also partnered with luxe properties of Taj Hotels, Lodha Group and W Hotels, fashion labels Satya Paul and Karleo, and with Charles & Keith and Audi.
The duo believes that women hold the power to shape and influence youth’s decisions, and with some help from the democratic social media platforms, expressing one’s opinion has become easier. Within the luxury sphere, the well-educated and well-travelled Indian audience is often engrossed in conversations around recent events in the industry. “Technology, fashion, beauty, you name it, they know about it all, and also keep a keen eye on quality and finish of the products of their desire,” they say. The industry is gradually catching up with the eccentricities of an Indian consumer’s tastes and demands, boosting consumption and appreciation of luxury goods.” Moreover, the luxury market is paying heed to what women need and desire. and, accordingly, introducing great functional yet attractive looking products.
On the work front. being consistent in putting up posts and regular engaging with their followers is a no-brainer for them. “In the four years of our presence on Instagram, we have hardly ever taken a break from updating our accounts with new content. In the last few years, we’ve seen our aesthetic and style evolve rapidly.” Last winter, the influencers-in-charge did a campaign shoot, capturing the migratory birds in Mumbai with a drone, which they say, is one of their favourite shoots yet.
They are women of the social media age and have a significant voice in the society. Tiwari has been engaged with environmental issues and often speaks about it. Recently, she sold some luxury bags from Givenchy, Fendi, Gucci and Louis Vuitton through Instagram, and forwarded the proceeds to a tree plantation drive in Mumbai.
They believe that there are no prescribed rules to find success on the Internet. “You chart your own rules, and if people like you, like our audience does, there is no looking back,” they say. The one challenge, however, is the occasional lewd or personal comments. “That can be slightly disturbing.”