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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Well, You Might as Well Take Me Out Back and Shoot Me, Now...

Because yes. I have the nerve to be a consumer blogger. 

Hello gentle readers. How are we? Me? I am a tad upset on this lovely Saturday. And this is why. Add this to the mix and I start to fume just a little, tiny bit. 

You see, it all started when I decided to peruse the latest from my fellow polish junkies (meant as a compliment, dearies, meant as a compliment) while waiting for photographs of this morning's manicure to upload from my camera to my computer. I came across Beauty Judy's response to the above referenced article in Nails magazine. After reading Beauty Judy's response, I followed her links and read the original article online, then the follow up article in which the author, Hannah Lee makes a lame attempt to "apologize" for her harsh, rude words but succeeds, in my opinion, in merely shaking the polish bottle even harder. 

After reading Beauty Judy today, I found responses by Mary at Body and Soul BeautyPolish Insomniac and Nicole of  Nightly Nails. I am sure that there are many more, these are just the ones I have had the time to find and read, this morning. I am now going to add my own response to Hannah's article and follow up. Some of the points I make have already been made. Please let me make it clear that I am in no way trying to steal their words, thoughts or thunder. I stand, madly applauding every one of my fellow polish bloggers who have responded to this rude bit of journalistic quackery and am merely adding my own small voice to the outcry in my own words. 

I am not a professional blogger. I am not a journalist. I am not a professional nail technician. I don't possess a degree in English (obviously!) or journalism. Or anything else, for that matter. I am just a housewife who loves  polish and makeup and enjoys buying, using and nattering on about them. Call me stupid (I am sure that some people who read this article probably will) but I fail to grok how my being a polish, sometimes beauty blogger is such a terrible thing. How I, in my little home, with my little polish and makeup collection, with my old camera and my crappy laptop and my insanely bad writing could possibly be a threat to an entire industry. 

I depend on my fellow bloggers who receive, swatch and photograph the latest collections to keep me abreast of the latest trends in polish. And beauty, for that matter. I almost never go to salons (can't afford it, dude!) and I rarely read magazines, even those online. I get most of my polish/beauty information from my fellow bloggers. And I am willing to bet that a lot of other consumers do, too. 

I blog for me. I blog for my gentle readers. I rarely show the very latest. I just show what captures my imagination at the moment. I do the best I can to use, photograph and talk about the products I choose to feature in a fair,  honest and hopefully, entertaining fashion. The fact that readers like to come around, read, comment and even be enabled by me is a never ending source of delight to me. I don't aspire to take over and toss the professionals out of the mix. Shit, I couldn't, even if I wanted to! 

In her article, Hannah Lee derides polish/consumer bloggers, calling us "polish junkies who are looking for free handouts of the latest collections from manufacturers." For the record, I have never received from any polish manufacturer a collection of polish samples. Never. I have requested and do receive from OPI and their PR firm press releases to publish on my blog. I have never received accompanying polish samples nor have I been offered samples. I have never been offered payment from OPI or their PR firm in exchange for publishing their press releases on my blog. I publish OPI press releases because I love OPI polish and I want to share the latest offerings from that company with my readers. 

Every bottle of polish I own and show on this blog has been purchased by me, with my own money or sent to me by fellow bloggers or, in one case a company, because I won them as a giveaway prize. My collection is hard won, indeed and it has cost me a dear portion of my small amount of disposable income. So, stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Hannah Lee.

Okay, in the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I have received a few small shipments of nail art supplies from two nail art companies, a set of false eyelashes from another and two pieces of nail polish jewelry from another to keep and for my use and a fair and honest review in my blog. If polish/beauty companies should, in the future offer me samples, I will happily accept as it would be fun and a privilege to receive and swatch and feature the latest collections from polish and beauty companies I like and trust. But I don't expect it and I am certainly not standing here, hat in hand and begging for them. 

Yes, I do my own nails. I have for many years. I enjoy it, I know my own nails intimately and the products that best suit my nails and my body chemistry. I know what shape and length best flatter my nails and hands and work for my lifestyle. I know how to keep my nails as strong and "healthy" as possible. I know how to grow my nails, I know how to inhibit peeling. I know how to care for my cuticles and keep them neat and healthy. I know how to apply my base coat, polish and top coat to get the best results for me and my own nails. 

I am not a professional nail tech. I do not presume to teach anyone else. I would never say, "I use such and such product and you must do the same." I understand that different products work in different ways for different people and have said so, numerous times. Not something I hear often from licensed professionals. Many seem to be pretty rigidly entrenched in their beliefs that the products they use and advocate work for everyone and anyone who would argue otherwise should be drawn and quartered. 

Look, I respect the education and testing that is involved to become a licensed nail tech. But I am not going to stop buying and using and blogging about nail products, even those deemed "professional" products because I don't have a license. I am a credentialed interior decorator. I am educated in the field. Hell... I have a diploma and everything to prove it. But that doesn't make me the absolute, final authority on interior decorating and design. And it certainly doesn't qualify me to tell anyone who chooses to decorate their own home, use "professional" products and supplies, photograph their work and blog about it to stand aside and let the professionals take over, as the homeowner couldn't possibly know what they are doing, can't trust their own instincts or taste and certainly have no right to *gasp!* publish it all on a personal blog.

Mary is right, you know. There is room for all of us. There is room in the polish/beauty world for the professionals and the amateurs. There is so much information, so much knowledge that can be shared and passed around. Why must it all be jealously hoarded, guarded by the few? The licensed? How can a group of passionate amateurs, we, the consumer bloggers really be a threat to an entire industry? I say that we can't. That in fact, we aren't. And if the professionals would embrace, rather than fight us, they might just learn that, rather than being a threat to them, we could be an asset, that we could be valuable allies. 

Perhaps if more professional nail techs were as well informed as so many consumer bloggers are, they would feel more secure in their profession. It is astonishing to me that I can walk in to a salon to buy polish and and know more about the polish and the latest polish trends than the licensed professionals working there. Of all of the beauty supply stores I have shopped, in only one did I meet someone as knowledgeable about polish as I am. I have actually had to educate them about upcoming polish collections! What does that say about professionals? What does that say about us polish junkie consumer bloggers? You tell me, Hanna Lee. Because I am truly at a loss to understand where you are coming from.

I am going to click the Publish button, now. Than I am going to go don my flameproof suit. And get my arse in the shower as I have places to go and things to do. Thanks for reading. *muah!*

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