|Being a social media influencer is a new trend nowadays /Photo by Kaspars Grinvalds via 123rf|
As reported by Mike Schmidt of American business magazine Forbes, the influencer marketing industry is forecasted to reach $2.38 billion in 2019. Indie brands turning to Instagram influencers to gain visibility for their products serve as the genesis of the said industry, explained Anabel Pasarow of American digital media and entertainment news platform Refinery 29.
Since then, brands have metamorphosed into Fortune 500 companies, encouraging influencers to embrace their products such as lotions, devices, water bottles, and everything else. Commodity is a content creator’s influence, and it’s not cheap. The influencer marketing field involves business. As an example, fashion influencer Alyssa Coscarelli jumped from her career as a fashion writer of Refinery 29 to being a full-time freelancer.
Who is Alyssa Coscarelli?
Coscarelli first worked as an intern and fashion writer at Refinery 29. Boasting 250,000 followers, she collaborated with Urban Outfitters, Moda Operandi, and other brands. Aside from being an influencer, Coscarelli is also a fashion consultant for Re: Store, a new retail concept in San Francisco. While her new career may sound fun, Coscarelli’s life was not all butterflies and sunshine.
In Pasarow’s interview with Coscarelli, the latter revealed that making a career shift from being a full-time writer to a freelancer “wasn’t easy.” Coscarelli worked as a writer for five years. It was her first job after graduating from college. She did not gain her following overnight. Rather, it was a steady climb over five to six years.
Coscarelli signed up on Instagram after moving to New York for college. Since then, she posted regularly on her account. Her travels, job, and brands she partnered with contributed to her account’s growth. However, Coscarelli attributed the growth to “consistent posting and engaging” with her audience as well as staying authentic as much as possible.
Interestingly, the writer-turned-influencer did have one breakthrough post. Coscarelli said, “And what's funny is what may have been a top performer for me five years ago looks like nonsense to me now.” Her first brand collaborations were exciting for the up-and-coming influencer, which “definitely count for something.” Moreover, posts that are extra scenic, upcoming announcements, etc. tend to “perform well over the years,” Coscarelli noted.
While working at Refinery 29, she realized she was ready for a fresh start. Coscarelli’s freelance business was taking off, prompting her to take the leap of faith. She felt she had enough network of brands and people to work with on her job as an influencer as well as writing and consulting gigs. For Coscarelli, it did not feel like jumping into an abyss.
|Brands are collaborating with social media influencers /Photo by twinsterphoto via 123rf|
In recent years, the term “influencer” has gotten a negative connotation, much to Coscarelli’s displeasure. It’s not new. In fact, icons like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn were “influencers” before Instagram existed. For Coscarelli, being an influencer means being a resource, whom individuals can follow, feel inspired, acquire information, connect with for being aspirational and accessible. It’s also a full-time job.
Coscarelli is grateful that she has skills beyond content creation—copywriting, producing photo shoots, event planning, styling, consulting, creative direction, and influencer relations. Thus, she has an edge over others of her kind as she can bring something unique to the table.
Coscarelli juggles 10 to 15 projects every month. There are projects with tight turnaround times. Some brands will hold an event within a week and invite Coscarelli and make a post about it. She will then ask her manager for the details, who will instruct her on what to do. Depending on the brand, she may have to provide a preview of the content before uploading it online. Some will give feedback or demand reshoots. Even so, there’s never a dull moment for Coscarelli.
What’s New for Coscarelli?
Her latest and biggest project would expand to various cities in the United States, flexing her style chops with her brand new collaboration with So Major, a retail concept that enables native digital brands to have a “physical presence through a series of pop-ups,” said Mario of Paper, a New York City-based independent magazine.
So Major tapped into Coscarelli’s favorite “fall must-haves” from online-only brands such as KJP, POMS, and Richer Poorer. She credited Instagram for helping her support up-and-coming direct-to-consumer brands. The first pop-up tour began in New York at the World Trade Center’s Oculus Center on September 19.
Around 6 to 12 months ago, So Major approached Coscarelli to curate the brands in the pop-up, making it the influencer’s first time to curate products in a physical setting. The brands in the pop-up did not have any physical footprint due to costs and logistics of putting up space “with so much traffic.” Coscarelli’s partnership with So Major helped digital brands gain more exposure.
She might have made a career in fashion, but she also proved to be versatile, curating home decor items from Katherine Plum to Select LA scrunchies. Describing her style as juxtaposing current style with a “colorful, vintage-inspired feel,” Coscarelli justified, “I think people follow me for that style as it spills over and into beauty, into lifestyle, into home. I think it's really nice that I can represent that with So Major.”