Nicole runs a dreamy Instagram channel where she features local fashion finds in addition to her travel adventures and beauty faves. She is an entrepreneur with two successful online businesses celebrating local makers and thrifty living. With a great sense of style and 3 years of influencing under her belt with over 100 campaigns completed, she’s giving a peep into her influencer journey, how she got here, and thoughts on Instagram hot topics and brand collaborations.

Socials:

@hamiltonhippie
@boughtitlocal
@steeltownsistas

Hometown:

Hamilton, Ontario

# of Years Influencing:

Three

Niche:

Everything Local; Fashion (Thrifted/Local), Lifestyle, Couples, Travel, Pets, Food, Beauty and Hair

Favourite Apps:

PicsArt
Inshot

Instagram Aesthetic:

Easy going, realistic, romantic and fun but stylish* (trying to not try lol)

Describe Your Style:

Effortless, girly, sporty

# Of Campaigns To Date:

Well over 100 to date…..Crazy!

Favourite Vintage Shops:

Vintagous Rags, Hawk and sparrow 

Thrift shops – Salvation Army, Bibles for Missions

Favourite upcycle item purchased:

My Levi’s shorts, my vintage jumpsuit, and scrunchies! 

You’re the Co-Founder of @boughtitlocal and @steeltownsistas, tell us a little bit more about these business ventures!  

Bought It Local started directly as a result of my blog! I made friends online with another local loving lady, Sarah, who is an e-commerce and website design specialist. One day, I brought up the idea of opening my own online store based on my blog. Sarah suggested we expand on the idea and said that she would help build the shop for free in exchange for a partnership in the business, and just like that, Bought It Local was born.

It is now a makers’ marketplace in which micro brands and businesses have their own online stands! They sell their products to customers from across the country! I am so happy to be supporting my local community and monetizing my blog! 

Steeltown Sistas started as a result of COVID! Me and a close girlfriend, Cici, decided to sell clothing and housing goods while we were both working from home. I was actually just doing a cleanout of the house when I decided to list some of the extra items on a separate account! I’m not sure about the future of this brand but you never know…maybe we will see some of my custom upcycled designs come to life on this platform! 

What do you like to do for fun?

Thrifting! Walking at the beachfront, beaching, canoeing, brunch with the girls, and watching movies! 

How did you become an influencer/ content creator? 

I was working in marketing for a real estate business, which lead me to start my own blog in order to put together a portfolio for a freelance for social media management. 

Where do you find inspiration for new content? 

Movies, social media/bloggers, my friends, and my students.

How often do you post a week? 

Usually 6 times a week or once a day!

What type of content generates the most engagement with your followers?

I would say fashion and food content! Also, local travel content is really popular.

How did you build your 7k following?

I built my 7k following through following others in my community and engaging with their content. Also, building brand relationships and reshares can really help you grow!

What do you think about hashtags? Yay or Nay? How do you research the best hashtags? 

Yay and Nay? I mean they are very helpful when people are looking for certain things…. so I think the secret is to use them as a search engine.

For example, if you’re posting a picture of you at dinner, use tags that are related like #foodiespotshamilton or #foodofhamilton, etc. That way, when people are looking for food in Hamilton they have a better chance of stumble upon your post.

Also, using the brand’s specific hashtag is critical. Study the reshare hashtags of your favourite brand to get featured on their Instagram or website!

I have had loads of success with that, but make sure it is the hashtag they state on their accounts to be featured!  I think not getting too carried away and keeping them direct is best, don’t just slap a million generic hashtags, be strategic.

Quality over quantity!

Give us the tea on your content strategy!

I don’t really have a content strategy established! I just try to be as consistent as possible and follow my analytics. I post when my followers are on the app and I try to pay attention to what types of content they like to see and share that! 

For me, I find it best to post between 8:30-10 am every day. I mainly share posts with me in them and I don’t go crazy with edits, just some quick Lightroom adjustments. 

In your opinion, how do you measure the success of a post? 

Mainly engagement with followers, not just likes, but comments, DMs, and questions. When somebody messages me and says they too visited a place or tried a product because of my content, I really feel like I am providing value for them.

What are some challenges you have faced as a BIPOC influencer?

Mainly campaign opportunities, I often feel like black women are not marketed to and are not used as a means to market products! I find many brands and PR companies do very little to build relationships with black creators for products other than “black hair products”.

I think we have a long way to go for better inclusion on campaigns, as they really help influencers and brands to grow. The more you do, the more content you have, the more resharing occurs, the more your following grows. It’s all connected. 

What has been your favorite experience as a content creator?

I love doing travel/experiential content and foodie content! But skin and beauty for me are always such a treat especially with my skin concerns, I get beyond excited whenever I collab with spas and aestheticians! 

What has been your favourite brand collab?

I love collaborating with all brands, but I think my favourite is when I get to collaborate locally, so working with Craftnadian and other local businesses make me so happy to be able to help build up micro brands! 

What would you change about brand/influencer collabs?

I think for me it’s not one brand but rather the brand relations ie. PR Companies. I think the worst situations are when brands are extremely pushy and have very hard deadlines for very small value products.

The creator’s time is very valuable. When working with a low-value partnership for medium to large brands (low being under $100 value products) for a product that doesn’t worth much ( and I mean low like under $20 CAD), sometimes, the demands are so high like they want loads of content and very quick turnarounds.

My worst content is rushed content, so I hate being in that position because it always is poor work with poor results; I just don’t feel good about it. Now I’ve learned who to work with and how to state my boundaries with brands. 

Where do you see the future of influencer marketing going? 

I think it is 100% here to stay. I think we will now have influencer marketing forever, and although platforms can come and go, it will always be the same sort of concept. 

I believe we will see more turnover and diversity in influencer marketing moving forward, but I also see it becoming more complex and more demanding for creators. 

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now as a content creator? Do you want to continue with influencer marketing? If so, what do you want to have accomplished?

I am not sure, it’s been on my mind for a few months as to where I would like this journey to go! I no longer work full time in marketing, and I am transitioning into a new phase in my life where I’m not sure how blogging would fit into it.

I think if I am to stay, I would have to do more content and open up more into my day to day life…I am not sure that would be something I want to do, but you never know! 

I have accomplished everything I wanted to from the initial goals of starting my blog! Now it has turned into something bigger than I expected it to ever be, so I guess for now I am happy where I am at and we will see how it goes! 

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