Ila Johari (@ilawise26) from Mumbai is an engineering graduate and a business development professional with an MBA. On top of those accomplishments, Ila has a deep love for beautiful clothes and all things fashion. Balancing her two loves, Ila works both a full-time job and runs a fashion blog on the side. Her passions run more specifically towards flea market finds with a touch of high street! In a brief chat with Ila, we discover how she got into blogging and what keeps her life interesting!
- Hi Ila, tell us your story
I’m a small town girl born in Delhi and brought up in Ballarpur, which is an industrial town in Maharashtra, India. I’m a computer science graduate who got my first job as an engineer in 2007. From 2010-2012, I took a break to pursue my MBA. It was at this time that I started one of the earliest fashion blogs in India called “The Flea Market Queen”.
- What made you get started on your fashion blog?
In 2003, thanks to my engineering college’s 24/7 internet access, I started an online diary. At the time, it used to be called a “weblog”. I wrote poems, daily snippets of my life and everything that excited me during my 4 years of engineering.
When I was in my final year of MBA, I was put up in Panchkula for an internship with Colgate. Thanks to this, I got to explore the flea markets of Chandigarh and Delhi. My love for flea markets was rekindled all over again. I took photos of window displays that I thought looked trendy and added them to my blog.
When I came back to Mumbai, I was exposed to high street brands like Zara (thanks to the marvelous SALE season) and I fell in love! Zara mimicked the kind of stuff that I would pick up from flea markets, so there was an instant connection. This love affair helped shape the idea for my blog, which is a mix of high street fashion and flea market finds. Brand collaborations followed soon after, and I was able to collaborate with fashion brands for my blog.
- How do you balance your full-time work with your other full-time passion (blogging)?
Currently, I’m working as a national account manager for a leading telecom giant while also following my passion. Work has taken me all over the world and with 12 countries already traveled, I haven’t looked back. Travel compliments my blog by adding beautiful settings for my Instagram feed and of course, tons of inspirations for my blog!
Thanks to my soulmate and better half Nikunj who shows his support through his point and shoot camera. He isn’t a typical photography buff, but he does it for me 🙂 He is the ever-patient photographer and the best “Instagram & Blog” husband.
- Walk us through a day in your life.
My alarm rings at 6:30 AM, doorbell at 7:00 and 7:15 AM, at which point I drag myself out of the bed. I start my day with emails and then get ready for work. Given the nature of my job, my day comprises of traveling for never-ending meetings. After I’m done with the office, I come home to blog- my work never stops!
On weekends, I schedule my content for my social media on auto-mode, this helps reduce the burden on weekdays. Other than working on the blog, I love to try out new restaurants and see new places on weekends.
- Share a lifehack or a tip that has always worked for you
Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you. I have been using this as “Thought of the day” in my school assemblies, whenever someone else forgets to prepare theirs haha!
- Share with us your favorite flea markets
Sarojini Nagar in Delhi (I could live here!!) and Hill Road in Mumbai
- Before you go, share some of your favorites
Fav Perfume: Versace Bright Crystal
Favorites Magazines: I like reading Grazia but I’ve come to read everything online
A hobby: I love to paint
Current Fav Beauty Product: Colorpop / TheBalm – Mary Lou Manizer Highlighter
- Your Fashion obsession
I hoard shoes, all types in all sorts of colors. I love classics like Brogues, Mary Janes, block heeled sandals and pointy toes. For dressier days, I love to play with voluminous silhouettes. I’m currently loving my Adidas Stan-Smiths Superstar which compliments most of my outfits.