Published on September 9, 2020, at 12:47 p.m.
by Olivia Carroll
Social media influencers have taken over the landscape of advertising. In the past few years, the advertising industry has expanded to include influencer marketing agencies, representation and communication tactics on how best to use social media influencers to promote your brand. The personal brands these influencers cultivate are what determines which companies choose to work with them. As lucrative as this influencer industry has become, some influencers have decided that they want to use the social media following they have created to promote their own endeavors.
Many social media influencers have turned from promoting outside brands to begin using their personal branding to advertise their own entrepreneurial efforts. Some influencers simply sell merchandise with their name on it, while others use their niche following to do something bigger.
Jeffree Star went from advertising only third-party makeup brands to founding his own cosmetics line, Jeffree Star Cosmetics. Michelle Phan used her status as a beauty influencer to start Ipsy, a subscription that delivers a box of makeup to your door every month.
Many of these influencers don’t have to pay for media placements? to get their business up and running. After all, their following is what brands pay them for, so they might as well use it for their own businesses.
One influencer has taken the entrepreneurial spirit to another level. Grace Beverly, who was known as “gracefituk” on YouTube and Instagram until she rebranded to simply her name, decided to use her following to start not one, not two, but three businesses.
Beverly, who gained her following as a fitness influencer, began her venture into the world of business with her workout guides, Grace Fit Guides, or GFG. This company was rebranded to B_ND in April of 2019. Only a month later in May of 2019, Beverly introduced TALA, an ethically sourced athletic apparel brand. Finally, Beverly launched Shreddy in mid-October of 2019, an app that acts as an extension of B_ND to provide workout and meal plans.
In a YouTube video titled “I started 3 companies this year,” Beverly mentions the incredible sales that all three companies brought in between their launch and December of 2019. In eight months, B_ND brought in around $2.28 million in sales. In almost two months, Shreddy brought in around $650,000 in sales. In seven months, TALA brought in around $4.1 million in sales.
These numbers are impressive by any new business’s standards but what makes them even more incredible is their reliance on owned and earned media. In her video, Beverly mentions that the Shreddy app reached #1 in the app store only 24 hours after the launch without any promotional material. TALA’s impressive sales were accomplished with no outside advertising or marketing materials for almost the entirety of the first seven months of the brand’s life. Beverly said that TALA had just launched paid marketing the week before she filmed the review video.
Though Beverly stated that she hopes to get into influencer marketing and athlete sponsorships with her brands, she is currently their “largest sponsored influencer.” Of course, she adds that as they are her brands, she is not actually sponsored and is truly just using the platform she cultivated to promote her businesses.
Beverly knows the advantage her owned media has given her brands, but she makes a point to say that she doesn’t want the brands to be successful based solely on her social media following.
“The amazing thing about TALA is that so many people have become involved with it, and have purchased items, who don’t know me, which I love. I want more than anything else for these companies to speak for themselves and to be amazing in their own right,” said Beverly.
Many social media influencers are content to continue advertising for other brands. However, there is a group of influencers who are evolving to look past the brands they promote and take their own step into the world of entrepreneurship.