We had the opportunity recently to represent APEX and the brands we work with at DX3 EMPOWER – a one-day fashion, beauty and lifestyle event with the goal of connecting leading Canadian brands to content creators and influencers that shape their industries.
During the event, we heard from several influencers who had successfully transitioned their passion for beauty and fashion into fulfilling, full-time careers in social media. If the saying goes “choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” then the impressive speakers at the conference had really nailed it. Here are some lessons, or reminders, that are worth sharing.
The first lesson is to be a storyteller at heart.
The opening keynote was delivered by Wendy Nyuyen from Wendy’s Lookbook. Her transition from foster home to Wall Street and then to Los Angeles to live her dream of working in fashion and beauty was inspiring. What really stayed with us was her ability to masterfully tell a story – something we always hold in high regard in the communications business.
She started off by sharing some of her recent work with a luxury brand, which had just taken her to Italy for a gorgeous video campaign. She talked about how grateful she is for her success every single day – and then the whole tone of her talk changed when she took the audience on a journey back to her childhood and where it all began for her. It was hard to believe that someone so confident and successful had been through the challenges she had faced in her early years.
Secondly, be proactive.
The other standout insight that Wendy shared was that while initially she used to wait to be approached by PR or media agencies to help develop content for the brands they worked with, which she then created with her then-boyfriend, an upcoming videographer. With time, she was able to carve a niche for herself and establish her own unique identity. And that’s when she began to approach brands directly, suggesting ways they could work together and how she could help create content that would resonate with or grown their audience. Today, she has her own production team and works out of a film studio, where she and her team are actively creating beautiful visual content for brands – including her own personal brand.
The third lesson is to trust your partner.
It was also great to see popular YouTuber Rachel Cooper, or RachhLoves, share her approach to celebrating all things girly, and creating beautiful content that had a clear voice and is very engaging. It was especially interesting to hear from her since she has a background in marketing with a leading CPG brand – so she is well-versed with the questions and doubts that brands face when it comes to giving license to external parties to create visual content on their behalf.
Finally, the fourth lesson is to keep your lines of communication open.
Our favourite part of the evening, however, was the Curated Conversations hour, moderated by fitness influencer Eva Redpath. It was so interesting to participate in a frank conversation with YouTubers, bloggers, brand teams and fellow PR/media agency folks about topics that can sometimes be barriers to collaboration – compensation and monetization, ownership and accountability, and disclosure – while negotiating a contract. But the change in setting, particularly outside work hours, helped all of us gain a better understanding of each other’s pressures, goals and best practices when working together.
And yes – the gift bags were the icing on the cake. Plus, we got to make our own custom lip gloss with Annabelle Cosmetics – and one of our photos was even shared by the brand in an Instagram post. #workgoals: check.
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- Featured image, EMPOWER presented by DX3