What I learned my first year at NYFW
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You guys are probably over hearing from all the influencers you follow about NYFW, but tonight I’m sharing my final post and I promise, it’s a good one.

I wanted to take time tonight to reflect and be very raw with you guys about my first experience as an influencer at NYFW. I’m sharing mistakes I made this year, how I felt during the week, and a few of my favorite moments.

Going in, I had no idea what to expect. I read blogs from other influencers who’d been and almost every marketing agency was pushing contact lists you could buy to pitch to designers to try to get invites to their shows. This was rookie mistake number one. Let me break this down for you: as an influencer, you have to basically sell your abilities all day long for collaborations and in this case, for show invites. Essentially you send multiple emails per day that give companies a brief overview of you and why you, of all people, are worthy of attending their show or promoting their brand. It’s honestly draining because you hear no ten times more than you hear yes.

Well, I fell into the trap of buying a contact list because I didn’t really know any better. Looking back, I don’t know why I thought I could get into a show like Kate Spade while the Kendall Jenner’s of the world were in the city for fashion week. My 11K followers pales in comparison to hundreds of thousands and the marketer in me should have known better. Anyway, I spent hours pitching and pitching only to not hear back. I did receive several invites from one PR agency and they were responsible for the shows I attended.

Sitting in our first show I was thinking, “Holy shit. I am in New York City for freaking fashion week, sitting in an actual runway show, for FREAKING FASHION WEEK. LIKE WHAT?!” I did that. I sent out pitches, I built my brand, and I made it to the city that so many dream of visiting during this time especially if you love the fashion industry. That being said, the shows were amazing and so well done, but at the end of the day, they don’t really help advance my career. Sure, they made me look cool, but I didn’t land any brand deals from going to these. I don’t want this to come off as ungrateful, because believe me, it was so surreal, but I wish I wouldn’t have been so focused on getting into shows, which leads me to rookie mistake number two.

I should have focused more time and attention on setting up brand meetings to make connections and foster relationships with PR agencies and brands. That is what would have furthered my career. I did meet with Now & Zen PR which was awesome and we got some cool shots with pieces they gifted us. However, I needed to do more of these. So now I know for next time.

During the week, I was watching other influencer’s stories wishing I had a larger following so I could go to exclusive parties and cool meetings. I was kicking myself for not working harder for these. Then I’d remind myself what I was doing. Comparison can literally be the death of your personal brand or business if you allow it. I’d remind myself to refocus and be thankful to even be where I am now.

So now that I’ve talked about my mistakes and some of the negatives, let me share a few of my favorite moments:

  1. Shooting in NYC. This city is like no other. We spent our entire day on Saturday just shooting around the city and the images we got were AMAZING. Thanks to Erica Dildine for helping each of us capture our shots.

  2. Meeting other like-minded influencers. We were able to meet several other influencers and I even got to shoot with the girls you’re seeing in these photos. It’s weird (and cool) that we live in an age where we generally meet people online first, follow their lives for a while, and then maybe meet them in person. I always enjoy meeting people IRL because then I feel like I can really build a connection with you. Also, I’ve always been an advocate of community over competition so it was fun to meet and exchange ideas.

  3. FOOD. The food in NYC is like no other. I’m doing a separate post on food and what to do in the city since I lived there for a few months so stay tuned for that. The food list includes THE BEST gluten free pizza that I dream about.

  4. Friends. The girls I traveled with are awesome. They each bring something different to the table and my life. I’m thankful to each of them for joining me on this journey. Ericka, Kat, and Erica, you girls are ROCKSTARS.

Overall, I had a blast at NYFW and I am excited to go back next year. It was a great learning opportunity and next year, I’ll be prepared to build new relationships and continue to grow my business.

Cheers to growing pains,

Steph