It’s time for our Influencer Spotlight Interview: a monthly series designed to provide our influencer community with valuable insider information about the industry.
This month, I chatted with Jenn Ibe: a Chicago-based fashion and lifestyle influencer who doubles as an Oncology RN.
Jenn and I first connected a few months ago at an influencer event in Chicago. I was instantly impressed by her stunning photos, but as I’ve gotten to know her more I’ve been even more impressed by her sweet spirit and the way she approaches business. Here’s what she had to share!
WH: So you live in Chicago now, but you’re originally from Nigeria… tell us how that transpired.
JI: I was born and raised in Nigeria. I moved to the US after high school when I was 16! My family was in Michigan, so that’s where I lived and went to college. After finishing school and working for a few years, I packed my bags for the big city in 2014!
WH: And where along the journey did your blog begin?
JI: The blog started while I was in college completing my nursing degree! I needed an outlet for creativity and a way to document my love for fashion. Wearing scrubs everyday did not give me the opportunity to express myself through my style, but the blog let me do that! However, I never really took it seriously until I moved to Chicago where I got inspired to create , shoot editorials and become an influencer.
WH: What has been the biggest shift in the landscape you’ve seen during your blogging career, and how have you adapted?
JI: Brands are beginning to value bloggers a whole lot more and regard them as valuable assets in reaching consumers. As we all know, the biggest game changer was Instagram! It’s created a platform for advertising, creativity and an actual career path for entrepreneurs. At the same time, redirecting the focus from the writing style of blogs to the picture feed of Instagram. This change redirected my focus from my blog to my Instagram for a while, which meant more frequent content, and more frequent interactions/ engagement with followers which is mandatory for success!
WH: You always have stunning images on Instagram! Tell us about your content creation process and how you find inspiration for high-quality imagery?
JI: For imagery, Chicago has always been my biggest motivation! I’m lucky because it’s totally hard to take a bad picture in this city. I am very inspired by architecture and sometimes play off that, subtly matching colors and patterns of my outfit to the architectural backdrop of where I’m shooting.
Most of my looks are carefully planned whilst other are spontaneous! The overall end -product depends on how the outfit or a piece of clothing makes me feel, I try to channel that persona or emotion through the photos!
WH: In addition to your blog, you also work as an Oncology RN. What does it look like to essentially have two jobs and finding balance between the two?
JI: To be honest, I’m still trying to find my balance. Some days are better than others. There are various times when I have to prioritize one over the over and that changes constantly! But that’s okay! Being a nurse, comes with a moral obligation so I always have to completely present when I’m on the clock. Hence, I have lots of late nights and weekends where I am working on the blog! But I’m lucky and thankful to be able to do both!
WH: What has been your favorite collaboration you’ve participated in to date?
JI: It’s very hard to choose just one, because they all feel like my babies! However, It has been an honor to be able to create content for Ralph Lauren, David Yurman and Nike.
WH: What advice would you offer to an influencer who is looking to land more brand collaborations?
JI: Create an amazing portfolio and start pitching yourself to brands! Your work will speak for itself but those brands need to know you exist!
WH: What are some of the the most important qualities you think are required to be successful in this industry?
JI: Perseverance, creativity and love for what you do! It’s not easy to be a blogger/ influencer. The market is heavily saturated and very competitive, but to be successful you have to really love being a creative and never give up even when you hear “no”!
WH: Any predictions about where influencer marketing is headed? As long as the internet is still here!
JI: I wish I had a clue! I would like to think that the influencer market would be here for a long time creating opportunities for entrepreneurs and creatives to do what they love! As long as there is consumerism and the internet, I think there would always be a market for influencers. A more interesting thought is “where is Instagram headed, and how much longer will the platform stay #1?
WH: Any other wisdom you’ve gained that you want to share?
JI: Your time is valuable and It is okay to let people and brands know that. So spend your time doing things that are worthwhile, and that will contribute to your dreams and goals!