What will happen after the dust settles from COVID-19? How will bloggers and social media influencers keep moving forward? Audiences are tuning in more and more to what influencers have to say right now, and they are looking for guidance on ways to stay afloat when anxieties and scary thoughts are so prevalent.
In this week’s Tip Jar feature, we spoke with Emem Nnamdie, a fashion + lifestyle influencer turned fashion designer. She shared her take on how she started out as an influencer, how to stay optimistic during this time, and what influencers should be doing now.
Can you share your background on how you started out as an influencer?
I used to work in social media behind the scenes. This was years ago before social media became a job. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It allowed me to stay connected and be involved in fashion but in a way that was new for me. I had to deal with a ton of PR outreach to influencers. I started paying close attention to all of the girls that I was reaching out to. I thought to myself, I can do that. I started working towards that goal but then I got involved in the liquor and marketing world so I put my fashion dreams aside.
Fast forward to about 2 years ago and I saw some of the influencers that I used to work with behind the scenes…. They were so big in the field of social media. This gave me more motivation and pushed me more towards becoming a full time influencer. The pandemic pushed me even further into committing to doing this full time.
We know how great it is to pursue your passion, but we know that it’s not always easy. Do you have any tips you’d like to share for aspiring or new influencers?
Keep note of every single thing.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for money because your time is not free. If you do stuff for free make it sure it is something that you want to do. Make sure you benefit from it.
Don’t let these companies take advantage of you.
Please tell us more about your work. What you are currently focused on and most proud of?
I’m currently focused on being a full-time influencer and fashion designer. I truly do love the both of them. Being a designer is what I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. I used to model, so for me it was a natural progression. During this pandemic I started making couture masks that I like to call Face Adornments. They are handmade and created with Swarovski crystals. I am also very proud of becoming an influencer. It is something I did not know I wanted to do but it’s something that I fell in love with. I can’t pick one over the other. I am equally proud of both being a designer and an influencer.
How have you managed the stress of tight deadlines as an influencer and owning your own swimwear brand?
There are times when it’s just hard but I can’t let that get to me. I have handled the stress the best that I can but starting a fashion house by yourself can be heavy. Being an influencer is only stressful when people try to take advantage of me. I take the stresses that I get from the both of them and use it as fuel to do better. I meditate. I practice yoga. I go to the beach. I paint. Stress will always be part of the territory. Finding a way to channel it into something useful is the key to handling the stress.
We’ve seen many brand campaigns get pushed back or even cancelled because of the pandemic. While it might be tempting to lower your rates or take on new campaigns you normally wouldn’t take on as an influencer, how do you stay optimistic during this time?
You just have to think positively and don’t sell yourself short. At the beginning of the pandemic I nearly lost it because my whole field was completely gone. I actually had a promotion to become a Sommelier but that was taken away with Covid-19. I had to remind myself that everything happens for a reason and that I need to not be upset at the situation. I needed to figure out how I can make my situation better. That meant that I couldn’t stay in a bubble of sadness but I had to get up and create a strategy that will allow me to rise from these ashes. We’re all going to get sad and have moments of anger. Let it out. Just don’t let it take over. Not holding everything in is what allows you to have the room for positivity to come in to your life.
Any tips on not selling yourself short?
Just don’t do it. If a company approaches you and you have to think twice about it then maybe it’s not for you. If they are using your likeness and not paying you and it’s not something that you actually do love… then don’t do it. Never sell yourself short. Find a way to make it work for you.
Anything else you would like to add?
Do not let companies take advantage of you.
Always take time to clear your mind.