— Jasmeen Dugal
Jasmeen Dugal has often been asked about her professional story… why did she leave the world's leading Fashion magazine and launch a luxury website? When is she penning a book about her wealth of experience?! The founder editor of Explosive Fashion shares a few nuggets!!
"After years of experience with a newspaper and luxury magazines, the four years I worked with Condenast India as Net Editor was a learning curve! Condenast India gave me the offer to launch Vogue India's official website in terms of design, layout, technology and daily content. After a successful launch, I learnt a lot by observing, interacting and working with powerhouse editors Priya Tanna, Anaita Adajania, Geeta Rao and Bandana Tewari. Four years later — with a wealth of experience working with the best in the business worldwide — I took the plunge as entrepreneur and launched my own luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. It was the ultimate challenge!! I had taken the leap of faith. Starting a self-owned venture is not easy; there are ups and downs in each field but thankfully there were no hiccups; just the worry, if a luxury website with no corporate backing or endorsement, would survive. Would I vanish into obscurity after the glamorous days of Vogue?
The biggest change was developing an entrepreneurial mindset. It took me a long time to get comfortable outside of a paycheque-every-month job. And, arriving at the realisation that entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, not a job. I work all hours of the day and night!! I also like the idea of controlling my destiny. The harder I work, the more success I achieve, and isn’t that the way it should be? I poured myself into work and from the first day, I had my finger in all pies — editorial, marketing, branding, advertising and social media! And I continue to enjoy each step of the way because I don't see long hours as hurdles — I’m fiercely passionate about what I do! Perhaps it's due to this unrelenting hard work, enthusiasm and out-of-the-box content that Explosive Fashion is now at the forefront of style — reporting trends from fashion weeks and ateliers, championing talent and critiquing luxury hotels and restaurants, penning travelogues and reviewing art and books. What makes Explosive Fashion work? Frequency of exclusive stories, integrity and independence! My editorial style has often been described as a storyteller—the story is about people I write on. I really care about fashion but 'feeling the designers' who created it, their inspiration, their story is more important than simply documenting collections. If fashion was just about pretty girls in pretty frocks it would be dull. I relish observing fashion evolve, seeing how it's being reinterpreted. I equally relish reviewing restaurants and presenting their unique flavour to the world. The same goes for people doing interesting, inspiring things. Personal stories.
It’s not smooth sailing all through, though. There are the challenges of keeping business going, the need to innovate and improve, evolving content as the market demands shift. I've been told the content is not 'juicy'. It could have been; I know where skeletons are buried. But Explosive Fashion isn't an expose. And it isn't a celebrity circus! It's about luxury, Fashion, hospitality, wellness, travel, royalty, people… Lastly, does the desire to be liked influence reviews? Possibly. I try to express my viewpoint without hurting anyone. Would my work be stronger if I didn't care about being liked? Maybe. But I'm not willing to go there even if it's perceived as a weakness…
Well, it's been six years and my self owned, self operated luxury website has no employees on the payroll; I find it simpler to work with acclaimed fashion writers, editors and designers to contribute columns that add value. My mantra? Believe in your vision, work hard and don't let others' opinion steer you from your path. Have a competitive mindset and an attitude that failure is not an option. Success WILL follow!"