Is Instagram the New Wave of Social Media? + Influencers I Love

I’ve read a lot about how to engage your audience with SEO, eye-catching designs, etc. I have taken plenty of design-centric classes throughout high school and college that taught me what colors look best together, how to mix fonts and vary thicknesses. However, to keep up with the landscape of today’s ever-changing technology, it’s not enough to mimic what’s “always worked” in design.

You have to be more than just unique on social media. You have to recreate the entire definition of “social media”.

In 2004, Facebook changed the way we viewed connecting with others. In two short years, this social platform was open to everyone over the age of 13 with a valid email address. When Instagram (owned by Facebook) first launched it’s Instagram Stories, it did so well that it dipped Snapchat’s stock by 3.4%, with 250 million daily users in 2017.

Personally speaking, it is much easier to have an all-in-one platform like Instagram that has aspects of everything available; direct/group messaging, photo and photo set posting, Snapchat-esque stories and business tools (to name a few). With the capability to post 60-second videos, makeup gurus, nail-a-holics and many other content creators have been able to expand their brand to more than just YouTube and take it to a whole new level.

As I am starting to recreate my brand and push for product/promo influence on Instagram, I’m really enjoying how it feels to work with the business aspect of the app. If you are a blogger or social media influencer, you probably know what I’m talking about; the statistics, the ability to create topic-oriented highlights… the whole shebang. With 3×3 gridding, you can create an entire photo with individual pictures. You can tag products in photos and even create paid promotional material by yourself or in partnership with other brands. It’s unbelievably easy user-in-mind marketing.

With that said, there are some serious game-changers that I love within the Instagram/YouTube community:

1. NikkieTutorials:

Nikkie is my Instagram Inspo when it comes to photography and videography. She knows how to work her angles in her photos and she makes THE BEST edited Instagram makeup videos I’ve ever seen. She is closing in on 10 million followers on Instagram (currently 9.7M) and since her collab with Too Faced, it’s only been up from there. She’s been real with her followers and always gives the hones-tea about products she’s reviewing.

2. James Charles:

I will admit that James is the reason I bought my new Morphe 35B and 35K palettes (and the 702 Eye-Credible Brush Set… oops) because of HOW MUCH HE RAVES ABOUT THEM AND USES THEM! I think if you partner up with a brand that you love, trust and mesh well with, your set for life. While James is definitely more active on Twitter than any other of his social media, he makes use of his Instagram Stories pretty well (especially his “Brushes” story that literally showcases his EXTENSIVE collection of Morphe… Use code “JAMES” for 10% off, AMIRITE??)

3. Jeffree Star:

Jeffree Star taught me two very important things: Be unapologetically you and don’t give a f***. He literally built an empire putting his own spin something that he already loved—beautiful makeup and a ton of highlighter. What keeps me coming back to his videos every time is his infectious, drag-queen-style comedy. That, plus the fact that his video format has perfected the product review game.

4. Stef Sanjati:

Stef. Is. My. Bread. Mother. You need to watch her channel if you don’t understand that reference. Stef recently went through some rough recovery after she had a BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift)/Liposculpture surgery to enhance her curves and give her the body shape she wanted. After seeing how she chronicled the entire process, both for informative and entertainment purposes, it made me think about how being real and raw with your viewers can only bring the community together closer. Plus, it’s a lot easier to feel better when hundreds of people that care about you are hoping for a speedy recovery.

5. PatrickStarrr:

Patrick first introduced his channel—and himself— as a “boy who wears makeup.” Since then, he has really redefined the beauty industry standard of catering to “women only.” From working at a MAC Cosmetics counter in Orlando, Florida (only a few hours from my hometown!) to having an entire makeup line created in partnership with MAC, it’s safe to say PatrickStarrr is living his best life after years of perfecting his art. He’s a huge inspiration to people who are learning to be comfortable with the body they’re in and he’s worked with TONS of celebrities to show that beauty comes in many shapes and sizes.

All of these people are role models to me in one way or another. Whether it’s how they handle trolls in their comments, going through a tough time mentally or trying to prove themselves in their industry, every one of these people has made a name for themselves. Learning how to be comfortable with who you are (while killing the social media game) is important in building your brand.

I’m not, by any means, a social media professional. I’m still learning and I definitely have a lot to learn. But until I have it completely figured out, I’m going to continue posting new makeup looks on YouTube to my small group of subscribers and share Instagram Story templates with my few hundred followers. And I’m going to love every second of it.

Yours Truly,

Allie

 

 

Meet the Beautifully Brilliant Mind Behind “Seven Swim,” Hannah Marjon


I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Hannah Marjon, 20, as she shared the challenges and experience of becoming her own boss with her swimwear line “Seven Swim.” Here is Hannah’s story:

Allie: When did you first have the idea that you wanted to own your own business? And more specifically, when did you know you wanted to make swimwear?

Hannah: I have wanted to start my own business for a long time now. I would always start businesses, like dog day cares and things like that, when I was younger. I started seriously playing with the idea of starting my own business around a year and a half ago. I have always known that I wanted an unconventional job; I just didn’t know what format that job would be in. Being my own boss seemed like a good start. The idea for swimwear came when I was reading an interview with Moana Bikini owner, Karina Irby. In the interview, she talked about when she decided to never work for someone other than herself ever again. I love fashion and growing up on the beach every weekend has given me a solid respect for the perfect bikini. I’m going to have other jobs in my life, and I’m a public relations major and I do want to pursue that still, but owning my own business was something I always wanted to do so I figured, why not do it now?

 A: Where did the name Seven Swim come from? Does it have any significance to your life or to the company?

H: Once I had the concept to create my own swimwear line, I went through a few hundred possible name choices. Nothing stuck. I came up with some amazingly awful names. Seven is a word my boyfriend and I use. I can’t really explain how it started or exactly what it means to us because it represents a concept between us. However, I started saying “Seven Swim” to myself, and I sounded kind of nice. It stuck, and I kept it.

 A: Can you tell me the process of making one of your swimsuits? From start to finish, how is it created? What materials do you use? How are they manufactured?

H: The night I decided to do this, for real, I sketched my designs. I decided to start with seven pieces because 3 tops 3 bottoms and a one piece seemed like a nice first collection. I hadn’t even decided to name it Seven at this point. I had never sketched a swimsuit before. I looked up what swimwear sketches should look like; what measurements to include, what figures to draw them on, everything. There would be a million and one different types of swimsuits I would create if I could, so for the first seven I had to boil them down to super minimalistic designs that would be the starting point for my line. I wanted these to be pieces that would go with pieces girls already had in case they didn’t want to be a full set or wanted to mix it up.

Next came finding a manufacturer. I can’t sew to save my life so finding someone who could was imperative. I knew most of the bikinis I ordered were manufactured in Thailand so I started there. I don’t know if a lot of these places don’t have websites or what but I could only find like 2 manufacturers in Thailand. I ended up widening my search to any country. I emailed about fifty manufacturers in the next two days. After about a week, I found my lovely manufacturers in Brazil. They use eco-friendly / bio degradable nylon.

Getting my first patterns and samples made was one of the more painful experiences I have ever been through. My manufacturer had to think I was crazy. They would send me a picture of a sample they had made, and I would send about fifteen completely disorganized emails back with notes.

Finally, we somehow got the patterns done so they sent me the samples. I cried out of happiness when I received them, and shot off another 20 emails with notes on things that needed tweaking on the samples. I placed my first order once they had redone the samples about 15 times.

The only time I have ever missed class in my college career was the week I was waiting for my 300 pieces of swimwear to arrive at my apartment from Brazil. Customs is the worst thing that has ever happened to this planet. I cried and cried and cried when they called me to say I needed to send more forms and more this and that to get the pieces through customs.

When they arrived, I literally just hugged the boxes which were disgusting after what they had been through. I almost hugged the courier.

A: Where did your idea for the styles of your swimwear come from? Are all of the designs original or was there someone helping in the design process?

H: All of the designs are original in the sense that I start to finish designed them, but they are obviously influenced by the big swimwear trends right now. The cheeky bottom, one piece, triangle top; they’re all super popular right now and I wanted to reflect that in my designs.

A: What were some of the challenges of starting your business? Were there any people that thought you wouldn’t be able to do it as a college student?

H: There are challenges literally every day. I work on Seven like it’s my full-time job. For some reason I kept thinking it was going to get easier or less hectic once I had received the suits from the manufacturer, but that was wrong. I have never emailed, been on social media, or had so many phone calls in my entire life put together as I have in the last 10 months.

I’m sure a lot of people still think I can’t do this as a college student, but whatever, I’m doing it.

A: What were the proudest moments you’ve had with the business so far?

H: When people post in my suits!! I get so so excited every time someone who has bought a suit posts in it. That’s when I’m like, “Okay, this is all going to work out.”

 A: Can you tell readers anything exciting that you are working on? Any future projects or promotions that you are looking forward to?

I just placed an order for a restock of the items I have sold out of and in new colors! I’m so excited to start getting some color in the collection. I also have already started sketching my next collection even though that won’t come out for about a year. It’s going to be super bomb though.

A: Any final thoughts?

H: I am so excited to see what the future of the brand will be because I feel like it’s changing every day. It’s my child.

Follow “Seven Swim” on Instagram and Facebook, or visit Hannah’s site Seven Swim to browse the “Fire Collection.” Pieces start at $40. Subscribe to the “Seven Swim” newsletter to find out when new products are in stock. Apply to be a Seven Babe online for discounts and ambassador perks.