What is the story of Malvika Sheth (@stylebymalvika)? Art runs in my veins. From learning Piano since age 7, and having been an 3rd generation Indian Classical Dancer since age 4, I’ve always been an artist in some shape or form in my life. I trained for a 3 hour solo dance debut tirelessly during my last year of High School, and after giving the performance with a live orchestra in front of an audience of about 400 people, I shortly after found myself in university, with no creative outlet. I knew that I wanted to make a career for myself in fashion, so with the encouragement of my best friend, who at the time had a poetry blog, I started Stylebymalvika. As it slowly started monetizing, I grew eager to continue scaling it, and decided I would finish my Entrepreneurship and Marketing studies at Babson College in 3 years instead of 4. Having just graduated in May of this year, it’s officially been 3 months of Stylebymalvika day in and day out–and I’m loving it!

When did you get into fashion and who is your favorite fashion icon?

I’ve always had an eye for good fashion–since my early childhood. This was something that was passed down to me from generations–in fact, my grandmother was extremely fashion savvy, and was a jewelry designer herself. Somehow, her sensibilities moved right down to me. Entering the industry, however, was something that I’d try to do during my summers with various internships. I started by interning at an embroidery export house in Mumbai, India, and at the young age of 16, I got to help design and facilitate embroidery swatches for huge Italian houses like Roberto Cavalli! Then, I took a 360 and interned at a men’s streetwear brand, Young & Reckless, which was based in my hometown of LA. I learned a lot about social media and marketing here, but it was my internship as a social media content curator for HELLO! India that really sparked my interest in the intersection between fashion and digital media. My favorite fashion icons are both Iris Apfel and Audrey Hepburn. Some days I wake up and want to dress completely classic like Audrey, but other days, I wake up with an extra spring in my step and dress ornately like Iris.

What does being an influencer or blogger mean to you?

Personally, I consider myself a digital content creator, as opposed to an influencer or blogger even. This is because what I do has a purpose deeper than just sharing my life. As a creator, I work to inspire people with my styling, the way I shoot pictures, and in the authenticity of my messaging. As I do all of this, I hope to empower other driven women to embrace fashion as a creative outlet, so that they get up, dress up, and feel confident enough to achieve even their wildest dreams.

Social media and mental health concerns continue to be a topic of conversation. How do you balance your social media presence and personal life?

Truthfully, this is extremely hard, especially as I work to continue to scale my platform. Now, I’ve been using Google Calendar to block off time to “turn off” and move away from anything that could be work related. Often times, parts of my life turn into content opportunities, but I try my best to keep the most precious moments of my life private, as those are sacred. I would strongly urge anyone who has a career that involves a digital presence to block off portions of their day to detox–it’s the only way to stay positive, and achieve longevity in your career without draining out.

If you were to give someone advice who is thinking about getting into social media and the world of influencer marketing, what would it be?

I would say this is a job that requires immense persistence and self-discipline. Sometimes, it might seem like a 9 to 5 job would be tougher, but I can assure you, with any job that requires you to be accountable for yourself, sometimes there is even more pressure. Don’t people say that the biggest pressures we face are those we put on ourselves? I would also say–make sure you get into it for the right reasons and with a clear vision or direction. If you are doing it for the “perks,” then you’ll fizzle out rapidly.

What are some general words of wisdom you live by?

 I am blessed to have a wonderful great grandfather who is 102 at the moment. He has given me pearls of wisdom, and each time I speak to him, I grow as a person. In terms of words of wisdom, I have an email saved that holds his words and would give me answers to any problem I could be going through. I’ll share my favorite line now: “Please keep always positive thinking. If your thinking is good, always good things will happen.” Simple, but so true and important to keep in mind when the going gets rough.

What is next for you in 2020?

 I have way too many hopes, dreams, and aspirations, but at the moment, I have a lot of cool collaborations with newer brands coming up! I’m also focusing on being more regular on YouTube; this is a major goal for 2020. As for the rest–you’ll have to stay tuned!

What has been a major hurdle?

When I was away on family vacation in Yellowstone and was sharing a bunch of fun content, just this June, my Instagram account was hacked. I was at a loss of words–even thoughts–on what to do. I felt paralyzed; it was as if someone stole my past 2 years of hard work. With the support of my family, I bounced back up the next day and tried to create a new account. I put out a video explaining what had happened, but most of my followers hadn’t even realized that the hacker had temporarily disabled my account–maybe they just thought I was taking a break. I knew, somehow, that there had to be a way to get my old account back. Fortunately, after a few days of reaching out, someone at Instagram graciously helped and I was able to retrieve everything. Note to everyone: make sure you have 2 factor authentications on, and in general, always diversify your revenue streams just in case one gets threatened!