A sunny afternoon, a cup of warm latte and sweet talks with the lovely Zvezdelina from Mint Stories. She is one of the best examples of an Internet role model. With her boyfriend, they have the impressive ability to create truly inspiring, outstanding and beautiful candids that you cannot take your eyes off. The content they create is a breath of fresh mint in the Internet ocean. This interview proves this, too. So take a warm beverage (and why not pamper yourself with a mask) and enjoy:
Why did you decide to name your blog like this (Mint Stories)?
There isn’t any particular story to it, I simply wanted it to combine my boyfriend and I’s work. Our names didn’t form any interesting names (Zvezdelina and Kaloyan). I didn’t want the name to reveal who stays behind it so I could eventually transform this into a brand or service. That’s what I came up with back then. I like mint in general, not the color, however.
Can bloggers survive in Bulgaria?
Yes. In the last 2 years, bloggers, as well as vloggers, do make a living out of it. The problem is that people start doing it just for the money, not because they have something special to share with the world.
Is this the difference between blogging here, in Bulgaria, compared to blogging in West Europe?
They do this everywhere. Actually, it’s even worse there. They have special laws for that – if you do not designate the sponsored content, you get fined. I remember a story about this influencer who had a 1-year contract with Samsung. Someone took a photo of him using an iPhone and Samsung charged him with a big fee. So influencers there are on a whole new level. I’m not saying that they are better than us. They buy likes, followers and create bad quality content, too. They just get more money than us. People even have kids, adopt animals only for the sake of more views.
What would you change in terms of blogging in Bulgaria?
I’d like us to have such a law for the sponsored content, too. I notice the aggressive ads for cigarettes that celebs do on social media and people start thinking this is normal. It would also be lovely
to have agencies that combine the work and abilities of influencers and to share them with different clients in an adequate way.
Because it’s not normal for brands to offer me diapers when I don’t have kids. The clients need a connection between me and them so that they can get results from the campaign.
You and Kaloyan are simply a dream team. How did you manage to make things work so well?
We knew each other 2 years beforehand. I was within the first people he was shooting. Before that he was into landscape and animal photography, he took part in National Geographic contests. Then he created his own photography studio and I helped him create his portfolio. We were friends and then we decided to become a couple.
How was the blog born?
We took pictures, I came up with outfits and ideas for the shoots. So we thought it would be a nice idea if we created a website to upload these things. Back then there was no such thing as blogging or influencers. We never did this to earn money. In the beginning, we didn’t even understand how to do so.
Where do you get the ideas for your content?
It depends on the client and on how the particular thing fits my lifestyle. That’s how the Nestea campaign turned out. I didn’t have a particular plan conducted by the client. They just told me “We want to show unpopular beautiful places in Bulgaria”. The ideas came with the shoot.
Fashion and traveling are represented in a beautiful way on your YouTube channel and blog. How do you select your looks – do you plan them in advance?
It’s not just me, but most bloggers use clothes that we shoot, photograph and then return. In the beginning, I bought clothes and sold them online so as to buy new ones to have more diverse content. As for the outfits – I make sure they represent the location in some way and look good on me. Although I love jumpsuits and teddy bear coats I cannot wear them, because they look good on women with different body types than mine.
Do you have a favorite season?
I don’t, I love them all. Every single one is different – now I want to eat pumpkin, in a few months, I will be in a Christmas mood… We are happy to have 4 seasons!
Which is your top 3 for this month: 1 piece of clothing, 1 beauty product, and 1 destination?
I love my pumpkin-colored coat. I’m currently obsessed with the Extentioniste series by Kerastase. My hair has grown 6 cm for two months and I’m so satisfied! I also love a dark lip, especially when it’s with a Tom Ford lipstick. As for the destination – I’m really in the mood to visit Morocco or Tibet – something quite different from the large cities.
The outfit of the season is…
What I love about transient seasons is that you can wear layers. For example, you can style your trenchcoat with a maxi skirt and boots. During winter we tend to keep ourselves warm as much as possible. But now you can style your favorite summer dress with boots, throw on a leather jacket and this makes a whole new look.
During the fall season, you can basically style clothes from all seasons. Take a summer skirt and an oversized sweater, for example.
It’s budget-friendly, too!
Definitely! I’m quite strict in this department. For two years I have been wearing a certain palette of colors. That protects me from buying unnecessary stuff. Back in the summer, I got a woolen Max Mara coat in a khaki color, which was so worth investing in! I know that it will last me for many years. I love making conscious choices in terms of shopping.
How do you usually shop – online or offline, and how often do you do so?
I shop only online and not so often. What I do for a living has taught me not to be so dependent on ads. I have a master’s degree in Commercial and Brand Management. I know how brands try to sell. Even if there is a big sale in Zara, I can go in and pass by 99% of the items because I know that I don’t need them.
What piece of advice would you give for traveling in the colder months?
My most read blog post is called: “My 6 Favorite Tourist Houses In Bulgaria, Made With Lots Of Love And Coziness“.
In my opinion, winter is the most beautiful season during which you can explore your home country.
The house in Apriltsi is restored because it had been a dream of the owners’ parents. They put it up on Airbnb and they support Bulgarian tourism like that! Also, Leshten and Kovachevitsa are so picturesque during that time of the year! Here is a trick: the perfect time for photos is when it’s snowy because the snow reflects the sun. We also love the Bulgarian seaside – there are no umbrellas on the beach during the cold seasons and it’s all so different!
Which are your favorite destinations in Bulgaria?
In the first place, it would be the place where we live. I’m 26 and I’m lucky enough to wake up in the place that I do. We live near Vitosha mountain and I love the silence in the morning. It’s such a unique experience to wake up so close to the mountain.
There are so many beautiful places in our country… No one wants to advertise them, on the other hand. When I upload photos from Bulgaria people are so impressed there are such locations! And they are so close to us! Zheleznitsa, for example, is a 20-minute ride away from Sofia. I recently did a shoot in a horse base nearby. This year we explored the Northern part of our seaside, as well. I was so impressed by its beauty and serendipity there.
What do you do when you overwork?
Our biggest mistake with Kaloyan is that we haven’t properly rested for 6 years. No matter where we go we always have something to do. Apart from the blog we create visual content, we do marketing and commercial. Our clients don’t care if it’s Christmas if we’re sick, or on a summer vacation. Fortunately, I’m a very active person and I can’t sit and no nothing. But when we truly relax, we love watching a good movie.
We love sinking in someone else’s art.
We have a TV, but we don’t watch television, only movies, and TV series.
In that case what movie would you recommend?
You should watch “The Joker”. It leaves you with a weird feeling… I love Joaquin Phoenix. I think he is an actor that wasn’t praised enough before. Back when he was playing in “Her” he impressed me a lot. We also loved “Euphoria” by HBO as well as “Mind Hunter”.
Describe the perfect evening.
The perfect evening is when Kaloyan has made me something for dinner – he rarely does so, but when he does, he truly impresses me [laughs]. I love it when we put the fireplace on, we have guests over and we watch a movie. Oh, and when Bebo, our cat, tortures us from time to time.