Here is my interview with Jessica Micahult that I did last week. Jessica is a renowned fashion journalist and senior vice president of Industry Relations at Launchmetrics. I had such a great time chatting to Jessica about blogging and I thought I would put down some points here for anyone that missed it!
How did you got started?
I was working as a dental hygienist, and actually I LOVED my job – a lot of people talk about working mundane jobs before they find their true passion etc., but that’s not me – I loved my dental clients and my colleagues, it was really challenging and fun. I had always loved styling clothes (and making them when I couldn’t afford them!), it began to take over more and more of my life. Like a lot of other bloggers, my passion slowly began to take over my ‘real’ job, and I just didn’t have time for both anymore. So a couple of years ago I had to switch off my dental work and go full time blogging. I won’t lie, I love my life, every day is a dream for me, but I do still miss my dental friends and patients
Why the move to London?
My husband and I both like to take risks, and so when things are going too smoothly we tend to feel like we have to raise the stakes. Although we miss our friends and family terribly, we don’t have children (except my family dog Grizzly!) so we are able to be nimble. My husband used to live in London and wanted to start a business with some old friends of his, and I just fell deeply in love with London from the first time I ever visited. The fashion scene here, and the fashion connections to Milan and Paris and New York, are so exciting for me. And the industry that surrounds it (agencies, brands, journalists, high street retail) is so vibrant that I’m easily able to fill my days lunching and brunching and networking with people who have the same interests as me. I love Europe, and have a particular love affair with Ibiza, so London is great for me right now
Tips and Tricks of the Trade
- It sounds so cliche, but be yourself – people will love you for it. It doesn’t matter if your personality is coming to life in an app or on a website or in person – it’s all the same. People want to get to know you BECAUSE you’re different, so don’t worry about having to conform too much to anyone else’s looks and styles – it’s not what people want.
- Overdeliver and be flexible – if you’re being paid by a brand to do X, Y and Z, go a little further and surprise and delight them if you enjoy working with them. And if they come back and say that something wasn’t right or wasn’t effective, don’t get upset or stubborn, just work with them. You want brands to love working with you and want them to feel like they’re getting real value. The experienced marketers in the industry know what they’re doing, so work with people who you respect and don’t ignore their needs if it means going over and above what might have been initially agreed.
What’s a mistake you’ve learned from?
Don’t be blinded by money – if an opportunity comes your way and you know in your gut that it’s not something your readers or viewers are interested in, politely decline. What you’re building is a brand, the business will simply follow if you get that part right. But brands are delicate things – people have great bullshit detectors. Remain authentic otherwise you’ll get quickly punished by your loyal fans.
Who do you admire?
There are many and I can’t list them all, but if I had to name three it would be:
- In the Frow, (Victoria)
- Tamara Kalinic (Tamara)
- Angelica Blick
Thoughts on brand partnerships
Easy – if you love the brand, you’ll love getting deeper into a relationship with it. A good example is Daniel Wellington. I love their watches and accessories, and their people are just the best. I truly love working with them so if they want me to remain exclusive to them in that channel and be brand champion for them, it’s an easy decision.
How to deal with compensation
- Get some advice on setting a rate that is right for you
- Don’t be too firm, it’s ok to do deals
- Take a long-term view, measure you results in months not from deal to deal
- Think about it as a business, your brand has a value, which grows when people love what you’re doing – so it’s not all about what you invoice, it’s about what adds value to your brand
The power of saying ‘no’
- Run your business and your brand in a way that makes you proud
- To remain focused on the opportunities you love, you have to politely decline the opportunities that don’t excite you or add value to your brand
- So say no, very very politely, as often as you need to
- Always ask yourself, “What would my audience love?”
How you deal with the whole aspect of self promotion, which a lot of people struggle with?
I used to really struggle with this. I didn’t want to post anything that’s showy and I know a lot of people find it strange that I post photos of myself everyday! But now this is my business and this is how I make a living. I am shameless. Hahahaha I have to be. I am building my own personal brand myself and you kind of have to be shameless. But there’s a fine line. You can still be lovely about this.
How do you reach out to brands you admire and what strategies work best for you.
I find if I just start wearing a brand and tag them, and supporting them. It shows that I really love the brand and most likely they will get in touch with me eventually to work with. But it’s important to support the brands that you love. Also I get in touch with brands on the emails all the time. Just remember….. The worst they can say is a simple “no”… to me that’s not even that bad. You need to learn to have thick skin and really persistent in this industry
Lots of brands are moving away from traditional marketing and turning to influencers. Why do you think working with influencers has become so effective in the luxury market?
- Because it works, for any size business that has products that people want
- Fashion brands are so good with deliveries, but you can’t click on a magazine – so brands want to be as close to where the sales take place as possible
- It’s so interactive, my followers are my friends so they can chat with me and give me ideas so it’s more of a three-dimensional experience than traditional media
What sort of posts generate the most engagement for you?
This is very strange, anything of me on the plane and travelling always do well. Also really beautiful backdrop always does well. London will have to be one of the most Instagrammable location I can ever ask for. I am so grateful to be able to live and work in this city.
What is your next step?
I want to continue doing what I am doing right now but to build a more concrete business out of it! I have something huge coming up in 2019 and I want to start my own label.
What is your biggest challenge right now?
Balancing work life and personal life. Not sleeping enough. I’m trying to reset somethings and just try to have more me time.
Thank you so much for reading!