Wendy Wang Gives Fizzy Mag The Nitty Gritty On The Influencer Industry
The life and times of an influencer manager.
It's been dubbed the day and age of the Insta-Celeb: Instagram Celebrity. A new kind of celeb born on the newsfeeds of Instagram and other social media platforms. With Insta-Celebs conquering the influencer game, influencer agencies are exploding onto the scene. Wendy Wang, a Fashion Influencer in her own right, influencer agency extraordinaire working for IMA and boss babe gave us the nitty gritty on her world at Sneakerness Amsterdam.
Hey Wendy, how's it going? Want to tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Born in China and moved to The Netherlands when I was 10. What I do? It’s a funny question because that has been the #1 question I have been trying to explain to my mom, ever since I've started working in the fashion industry.
To her my job(s) is a new concept, it’s not as straight forward to explain to my Chinese relatives, unlike being a doctor etc.
But she knows I love what I do, and she still supports me always.
In the past I have been working as stylist, brand manager, buyer and now as an influencer project manager at an influencer marketing agency in Amsterdam.
Even though all different experiences, one thing they all have in common is my passion for working with creative and extraordinary people from all around the world. All that share the same eagerness to create, to express and to connect with people.
You're a fashion influencer who also works at an influencer agency. Which came first?
TBH until now I have never considered myself as an influencer. It has always been work first. My social media has always been my medium to connect with creative people I've met through work, where I get my inspirations and find inspirational content, creative people etc.
So, it was a weird shift from me always being the one to find influencers - to being approached as one. Slowly I have noticed, I've gained a small group of followers that actually like what I do, post and even eat. This has been a lot of fun and makes me feel like I have made new friends around the world.
What's your favorite thing about living in Amsterdam?
Favorite thing is our apartment is in the Jordaan area. I live there together with my boyfriend. We decorated the place accordingly to our personality and our favorite things. Before this, I've always lived in the city centre, in small studios etc. This feels like my first grown up apartment and I just love lounging at home and strolling around in my neighborhood.
The rapid rise of the influencer still eludes many dictionaries and spellcheckers. If you had to write a dictionary entry for 'influencer,' how would you define it and whose picture would you include?
An influential individual. Most likely to have an online platform.
Some people have compared being a social media influencer to doing an unpaid internship, in the way that building a personal brand can actually take a lot of free labor with no guarantee of success at the end. What do you say to that?
I think this goes for all occupations. If you find something you are passionate about and want to make a career of it, you will always have to be ready to work hard. In order to build your brand and establish your own mark, you have to first work hard for experiences and not money.
Making money has always been secondary to me, if making money was my sole goal I could have done everything differently. I would have gotten a corporate job after finishing business school.
But if your goal is to make money with your passion, then yes, be ready to work hard for experiences, because it's those experiences that have pushed me forward to eventually do what I love and still cover my bills.
In your experience, what are the standout qualities that make an influencer successful? Are there any secrets?
Be professional - if you are serious in taking this as a career path, and see yourself as a brand. Please do act like so. This will get you further in your career than giving agencies and companies that want to work with you diva attitudes.
What I notice the most these days, is that most established and starting influencers lack the experience in the professional field. Or they are in it for the wrong reason.
This gives them the wrong professional attitude in this industry and makes it very unappealing for us to work with them.
Be polite, be professional and meet your deadlines. This might sound obvious, but you will be surprised how many influencers never meet these three criterias.
More recently, “micro-influencers” have been increasingly sought after by brands. Why do you think this is?
This is because micro-influencers might not have the reach as macro ones, but they have the one on one engagement with their audience. Their relationship with their audience is often based on niche topics, personal communications etc. I can imagine why brands who focus on personal and emotional connection with their audience, love to work with micro-influencers.
Back to your personal brand. How would you describe your vibe or USP?
I think my USP is me doing my own thing - without being too sensitive to social and viral trends and trying to focus on what I love. [I] Think most influencers I love and follow share the same attitude.
There are obviously so many studies that talk about the negative impact of social media on mental health. As someone with a lot of experience in the game, what's your number-one self-care tip?
I don’t think social media is as bad as it's often portrayed. It has also given millennials the opportunity to express themselves and to make a career out of their passions. Think about how many artists, musicians, designers have been able to break through because of it. If you think about it, social media might be the revolution of our time.
We really love your outfit pics. Do you scout your locations or are they more spontaneous?
No matter how organized I am with work - and always plan out other people’s social calendar - I have to admit my own social media is more spontaneous and on the spot. Usually, it’s a friend or my boyfriend dragging me out to take pictures (which I'm thankful for) and they get me excited about it. But in terms of planning social contents, I prefer to help someone else’s page.
What are your favorite brands to wear right now?
I have been pretty consistent on the brands I wear. Getting older makes me realize about quality over quantity. I prefer an organized closet with couple key times that can last over time. My favorite brands at the moment are, Acne, Gucci, Stone Island and Aesop.
And finally, we have to slip a sneaker question in there: If you were a sneaker, what would you be.
New Balance 990
Great Choice Wendy! Thanks for chatting to us!
Next up, we interview Lexie Liu for the SuperdrySounds SS18 campaign