‘So­cial me­dia helped me launch a fash­ion line’

Essentials (South Africa) - - YOUR LIFE - ✱ See bret­trob­son.com or find her cloth­ing line at shop­bret­trob­son.com

Brett Rob­son, 30, lives in Dur­ban. She is known for her self- ti­tled fash­ion blog, YouTube chan­nel and cloth­ing line. As a young girl I used to cut up ma­te­rial to make clothes for my dolls – I knew even then that I wanted to be a fash­ion mer­chan­diser when I grew up. Af­ter school I com­pleted a fash­ion de­sign course and when I grad­u­ated in 2009, I took a job as an in­dus­try as­sis­tant to a fash­ion de­signer, but it wasn’t what I ex­pected. Dis­ap­pointed, I re­signed, de­cid­ing to take time off and give se­ri­ous thought to what I wanted to do long term.

At the time, fash­ion blogs were my daily read­ing ma­te­rial, and while I was work­ing out my no­tice pe­riod I toyed with the idea of start­ing a blog of my own. And when my then-boyfriend en­cour­aged me to pur­sue the idea, it was the nudge I needed.

Soc ial Me­dia Jour ney

I started my blog in 2010 us­ing the Blog­ger app and only mi­grated to Word­press in 2015 when I had my site re- done by a pro­fes­sional. At first my style-re­lated con­tent was just me shar­ing photos of the out­fits I was wear­ing, and writ­ing about trends. My beauty con­tent cen­tred on the prod­ucts I was us­ing per­son­ally. I wasn’t on any PR lists for my first few years as a blog­ger, so ev­ery­thing I shared was what I bought for ev­ery­day use or when I trav­elled. My nine-year- old brother used to take my pic­tures but I’m quite par­tic­u­lar about what I want, so we of­ten ended up ar­gu­ing and my mom had to step in as pho­tog­ra­pher in­stead!

In late 2011 I started a full-time job as a vis­ual mer­chan­diser and loved win­dow dress­ing man­nequins for a big re­tail store. I earned a steady salary but I wanted to make ex­tra money, so I de­cided to charge a small fee for brand con­tent on my blog. There weren’t as many blog­gers then as there are to­day, and the trend to spon­sor blog posts was relatively new in South Africa.

My first paid post was about fash­ion ac­ces­sories and it was a hit. My mother was still tak­ing all my photos for me (a pho­tog­ra­pher does that now) and be­cause I didn’t have a car, we’d do our shoots very early in the morn­ing, nearly ev­ery day, be­fore she drove me to work. My mom has al­ways been my big­gest sup­porter.

My blog fol­low­ing grew steadily and once I was get­ting paid for the con­tent that I was pro­duc­ing, my so­cial me­dia ac­counts, which com­pli­mented my blog, grew or­gan­i­cally. By then my YouTube chan­nel – which now has nearly 4 000 subscriber­s – was gain­ing trac­tion, and peo­ple started see­ing me as an in­flu­encer in the fash­ion in­dus­try. Some­times I’m still shocked at how many peo­ple turn to me for fash­ion ad­vice. A young woman stopped me at a mall in Dubai re­cently and told me she fol­lowed my blog – that’s how far and wide my brand had grown!

How my life has ch anged

So­cial me­dia was the start­ing point that helped me build my Brett Rob­son brand in ways that I never thought were pos­si­ble – in­clud­ing start­ing my own fash­ion line, which is avail­able for sale via my on­line shop, on Zando, and through my app. Brands pay me to wear their cloth­ing, and, based on the strength of the per­sonal brand that I had cre­ated, my cur­rent em­ployer, Cruise Col­lec­tions, bought into my dream of launch­ing my cloth­ing line. They now own 50% of my brand and our part­ner­ship al­lows me to travel the world, and make a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional trips ev­ery year to buy fab­ric for the cloth­ing that is pro­duced lo­cally and in Swazi­land.

It’s been amaz­ing to in­flu­ence women in a pos­i­tive way through my love of fash­ion but it has brought chal­lenges along with it. My so­cial me­dia fol­low­ers are some­times sur­prised that I don’t post more about my per­sonal life, but there are things I’m just not will­ing to share. My fo­cus for this year is on cre­at­ing more prod­ucts and mak­ing more sales – I want to give my cus­tomer ex­actly what she’s look­ing for.

A woman stopped me in a mall in Dubai to say she fol­lowed my blog

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.