The face that launched a thousand trips; Bonnie Rakhit is THE Style Traveller. Bonnie is a London-based former fashion editor who has worked for titles including Sunday Times Style and Grazia. Our paths crossed when Bonnie was fashion editor at British ELLE, back when blogging was a brave new world and Instagram was in it’s infancy. It was during that time that gorgeous Bonnie founded the prestigious and inspirational blog The Style Traveller – ‘a fashion editor’s guide to the world’s most stylish places.’ No stranger to creating content, the blog, which is a ‘must visit’ if you are planning a trip, has been voted in the Top 5 Luxury Travel Blogs in the UK. The blog is a ‘Place of Dreams’ full of mouthwatering photography, fabulous scenery, food and fashion complete with essential travel tips and hacks. If that isn’t enough, she’s taken TV in her stride by gracing the This Morning sofa several times this year in her role as travel presenter – is there anything she can’t do? I’m in awe of her commitment, her determination, her entrepreneurial spirit for spotting a gap in the market, and clearly, her travelling wardrobe! It is time to get inspired by the globe-trotting fashionista, Miss Bonnie Rakhit.
NakedPRGirl: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Bonnie Rakhit: Both my parents are Indian but I was born in Manchester, in England, where I grew up. Then moved down to London after uni and I’ve been here ever since.
NakedPRGirl: What did you study? What was your first job?
Bonnie Rakhit: I studied Fashion Design at Manchester Met Uni. My first job was actually in fashion PR.
NakedPRGirl: What was your big break?
Bonnie Rakhit: Before doing PR I had done work experience at several magazines and newspapers. One of which was the Sunday Times Style magazine. I did that work experience while I was still at college. And three years later I bumped into the then fashion editor at the mag and she asked me if I wanted to come back the Sunday Times as the fashion assistant! I said yes of course!
NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your time at ELLE, what was that like? Was it a dream job?
Bonnie Rakhit: Being at Elle Magazine was my ultimate dream job (until now). I’d always wanted to be a Fashion Editor on a big glossy magazine so when I was accepted onto the mag I felt like I’d made it! It was such a fabulous and varied role, but it was super hard work and highly pressured. The amazing things I got to do on the job completely made up for all of the hard work.
NakedPRGirl: Where did the idea come from for TheStyleTraveller?
Bonnie Rakhit: Whilst at Elle I travelled the world all the time, but the only thing you saw in the magazine was the model shoot and none of the trip behind the scenes. So I decided to start a blog which was all about the trip, where we stayed, the trendy bars and restaurants we ate at and where the shop and party in these far flung destinations. and being a fashion editor there were plenty of style and packing tips and street style shots.
NakedPRGirl: How did you come up with the business plan? Who did your branding for you?
Bonnie Rakhit: I pretty much winged it to begin with. I started a google blog at the time and did the logo and branding myself. Things changed pretty quickly once the blog started to become more successful. I moved over to word press and my graphic designer re designed everything for me. That was about a year later.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your USP?
Bonnie Rakhit: The blog is a Fashion Editor’s guide to the world’s most stylish places.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a particular career highlight that stands out?
Bonnie Rakhit: Yes I styled JLo for the Elle cover shoot in LA. And in blogging I met and hung out with Richard Branson at the launch of his Chicago Virgin Hotel. And last year I was given my own private jet, which flew me and boyfriend to Nice for an all expenses paid romantic weekend away.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your personal style? Have you had to look at marketing yourself as a brand?
Bonnie Rakhit: My personal style is pretty, feminine, colourful with a sexy nod. I do market myself as the brand, clients and customers respond and engage much better when they see the face of the brand rather than than a generic logo and an invisible team.
NakedPRGirl: I saw you on This Morning recently, how did that come about? Does TV feel like a natural next step for you?
Bonnie Rakhit: I loved being on This Morning. I met a TV producer years ago on a press trip and out of the blue she said she’d been following me on social and seen the blog and did I fancy doing a slot all about Holidays of the Rich and Famous for them. I loved doing it, it felt very natural to me. I’ve been on the show a couple of times now and would love to go on again.
NakedPRGirl: How do you use social media for your business?
Bonnie Rakhit: Social media is one the most important parts of my business. I promote my blog, TV appearances, talks and shop events on there. As well as all my trips. Many brands also want to purely work with me on my social channels now.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your favourite social media channel? How did you grow so many Instagram followers? Any tips for readers on social media?
Bonnie Rakhit: It has to be instagram! I love it and it works perfectly with my brand which is so visual and all about beautiful imagery. I was very lucky as I started my blog while I was still at Elle so every time I was featured in the mag or online I saw a surge of followers. Likewise I work with so many brands and am now featured in magazines and on TV and when these happen I gain more followers too.
NakedPRGirl: Are your business branding and blogging persona symbiotic? Do you ever feel like they are out of step with each other?
Bonnie Rakhit: They are totally symbiotic, the only time they aren’t is if I’m taking a much deserved social media break. I’ve only done it once around my birthday and I didn’t share anything for a couple of days. It felt great.
NakedPRGirl: How do you manage your blog/social media workload – are you a planner and a scheduler? And do you get techy in the back end?
Bonnie Rakhit: I am very techy and like to keep up with the latest fads and trends. I do have have assistants and people to help me.
NakedPRGirl: How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years? Where do you see it evolving in the future?
Bonnie Rakhit: It’s so much more about Instagram and Youtube these days which is a channel I’m just starting out on now. I see it evolving into video.
NakedPRGirl: How important are London events in your work – for example London Fashion Week? What do you look forward to attending?
Bonnie Rakhit: The more you are seen out and about the more people you network with the better. I love London Fashion Week and being a Mercedes brand ambassador means I get my own car to take me around the shows which they put my logo on. It’s all very exciting!
NakedPRGirl: Are there any London events or venues on your wish list to attend or visit?
Bonnie Rakhit: Without sounding spoilt I do get a lot of invites. What I really love when I’m at home in London is spending time with my friends and family.
NakedPRGirl: What are your favourite places to shoot? And who is behind the camera? Do you have a certain ‘look’ you’re aiming for?
Bonnie Rakhit: I love dramatic backdrops, the more romantic or fabulous the better. I’d like to create a dreamy reality, somewhere people will be swept away. My boyfriend shoots me when we are on trips together, I also regularly collaborate with photographers and other bloggers.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion start ups or bloggers?
Bonnie Rakhit: Do it. Don’t be scared, put yourself out there and see what happens.
NakedPRGirl: Who in the industry inspires you?
Bonnie Rakhit: I love seeing what other bloggers and Instagrammers are doing. I love how epic SamKolders videos and photos are and I love the dreaminess of other Instagrammers like Gypsealust and SincerelyJules.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?
Bonnie Rakhit: Do what makes you happy.
NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
Bonnie Rakhit: Doing the same thing but with my family in tow. And being happy!