By: Elizabeth Wheless
On this past Wednesday, I attended the SMU Look x Neiman Marcus: Fashion Focus Event Series. The event featured six Dallas-based influencers who shared their career journey and gave valuable advice to aspiring influencers. For those who couldn’t attend, here is a recap of what I learned:
Meighan Ashford, a student and Look staff member who moderated the panel, began the event by asking each influencer how they got their start with social media:
Louise Montgomery, @louisemontgomeryblog,shared that she started her blog during high school but put it on hold throughout her time in college, Montgomery explained that her husband played a large role in encouraging her to rebrand and relaunch her blog during the pandemic as an opportunity to make some extra money.
Steven Flores, @natekasuro, had a slightly different start to his influencing career compared to the rest of the panelists. Flores rose to popularity when he was discovered by Zara on Tumblr in 2012, eventually becoming the first male model for the trendy skincare brand Glossier, which kick-started his career in the fashion industry.
The panelists also discussed what their dream job or brand partnership would be:
SMU alum Alexa Field, @alexafield, shared that her dream is to have custom Chanel wedding attire, just like it-girl Sofia Richie Grainge (and I couldn’t agree more).
Lexi Townsend, @lexie_townsend_, also gave a great answer, expressing that her dream would be to have the opportunity to attend a brand-sponsored trip.
Amanda Dewitt, @itsamandadewitt, shared that her ultimate goal is to be on a reality TV show, which definitely got the crowd excited.
The final question asked the panel what advice they would give to aspiring influencers:
Kayla Atha’s @thesavvysppon response about the importance of authenticity really resonated with me. She explained that the consumer can easily see through those trying to give their audience what they think they want, instead of creating genuine content.
Alexa Field left the audience with words of encouragement, reminding aspiring creators not to be discouraged by the perception of social media being an oversaturated market, emphasizing that there is room for everyone to find their niche.
One key takeaway that all of the panel guests emphasized was the importance of consistently posting to build trust with your audience, especially if your follower count seems low. Lexi Townsend advised aspiring influencers to envision their follower count as an in person audience that they are public speaking to, as the screen barrier can make your following count feel insignificant. Emphasizing the idea that your followers, regardless of the number, value your opinion and want to see your content; so remain authentic to your personal brand and be patient as you wait for your page to grow.
To learn more about the influencers featured in the panel, you can visit their Instagram: Steven Flores: @natekatsuro Kayla Atha: @thesavvyspoon Louise Montgomery: @louisemontgomeryblog Alexa Field: @alexafield Amanda Dewitt: @itsamandadewitt Lexi Townsend: @lexie_townsend_