In conversation with: Sharmili – founder of Sharmtoaster
One of the OG skincare Instagram bloggers who I have loved/been obsessed with for a very long time. Her photography and Photoshop skills are something to envy and oh that I do – on a regular basis.
To me, Sharmili is a huge inspiration because she effortlessly manages and maintains a useful Instagram account. Hence, this interview is a little bit selfish in that I wanted to learn more about her but I can guarantee reading this will leave you feeling motivated enough to get up and do the things you’ve always wanted.
How did you come up with Sharmtoaster?
It was a random nickname that my little brother came up with when he was an annoying pre-teen. But instead of annoying me, I found it funny and decided to use it as my social media handle!
How and why did you start your Instagram?
My Instagram started off as a personal Instagram. After I discovered the skincare community through reddit, I decided to start posting more skincare on Instagram. It was actually the #abnewyearstashchallenge that pushed me to post skincare on my feed! I enjoyed the challenge so much that I stuck to posting mostly skincare.
You are so well beloved in the skincare community – what qualities do you think your page brings to the community which has made it so?
Hmmm that’s hard to say! I would hope it’s my honesty and genuine passion for skincare.
Is your page a full-time project? If not, what do you do alongside being a fabulous Instagrammer? And if not, how the hell do you manage it so well (personal Q because I am so crap at that).
It is not! Blogging for 6 years has seriously helped my time management skills. I plan everything in advance. I write lists of posts I want to write and photos I need to shoot. I’ll usually batch shoot a week or two worth of content on the weekends, and try to edit and draft as many posts as possible too. I’ll also spend my weeknights keeping up with comments and editing + drafting my posts for later on in the week. Basically, I try my best to stay organized and stick to an editorial calendar.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult is it to manage a page with thousands of followers?
I wouldn’t say it’s much more difficult than managing a page with a hundred followers. The main difference is I have to keep up with a larger volume of comments and messages (one day my inbox will say 0, one day!!)
My main difficulties are worrying am I creative enough, is my writing good enough, am I optimizing my content, are my posts getting a good number of impressions, is my growth rate going up? But I think those are difficulties many people face, regardless of the number of followers they have.
What has been your proudest moment on Instagram?
When @byrdiebeauty said I was one of their favorite beauty accounts to follow on their story! They’re iconic in the beauty community; I was humbled.
What is your current favourite skincare and/or make up product?
Is this question fair? How can I pick just one! For skincare, I would say the Verdio UV moisture essence. It’s an obscure Japanese sunscreen that’s so elegantly formulated—no alcohol, no silicones, no EOs, no fragrance. It sits beautifully on my skin without any white cast or dry patches. And it has a SPF 50 PA++++ rating!
And for makeup, my favorite at the moment is the Rituel de Fille celestial eye soot in Andromeda. It’s one of their LE shades for October and I’m in love with it. It has a darker, grey base with a pink/ gold shift. It’s easy to wear and looks complex on the eyes.
If there was one product you couldn’t live without, what would it be?
Probably moisturizer. My skin is dry and dehydrated so moisturizer is a must 24/7.
The skincare community has grown tremendously in the last 2 years, do you find it is harder than ever to keep up with trends, new products, reviews?
Absolutely! I’ve kind of stopped keeping up with new products. It seems like some some brands are releasing a new product or two every month—especially Korean brands. I also think some brands release so many products it ends up becoming gimmicky. (*cough**cough*glamglow.)
How do you feel about the over saturation of skincare bloggers?
I’m happy in the sense that the skincare community is growing! But as a blogger it obviously means the landscape is more competitive. Perhaps there are more opportunities, but there are also more people to compete with for those spots.
What do you think about the longevity of skincare blogging?
Honestly? It’s not something I’ve given much thought it into. I’m sure skincare blogging will continue on because social media is on the rise and the cosmetics industry is HUGE. I think BOF reported that skincare is the fastest growing sector in beauty? As for my personal journey with skincare blogging, who knows. I will do it for as long as I enjoy it.
Who are your favourite bloggers (IG and beyond)?
There are so many! I love watching Gothamista on youtube. Traditional blogs I love the Beauty Lookbook, Geeky Poshe, Reflections of Sanity, the Little Plum, Atlantic Pacific, Sea of Shoes, Where Did U Get That?, and too many to name.
A question that I know everyone wants to know the answer to – what do you think it takes to have a successful Instagram account?
I think there is a lot of cheesy advice that’s sadly not accurate—like be original and authentic. There are plenty of successful accounts which are neither. The single most important thing IMO is consistency. If you aren’t posting consistently and engaging consistently, you won’t see any organic growth on IG.
I know that you are not afraid of sharing your political voice, as it should be. Has this ever impacted your Instagram in a negative way?
If it has, it’s only impacted me momentarily. I’ve had people send me ignorant messages—mostly in regards to racism. And I’ve definitely had people unfollow me after I’ve posted political messages, but I don’t really consider that a negative. I’d rather be unspoken about things I’m passionate about than silent so I can have a dozen more followers.
Lastly, do you think you’ll be doing this forever?
No because I think all social media platforms have a lifespan. Who knows how long Instagram’s will be!