We’re excited to release the next installment of our podcast dedicated to all things e-commerce and environmental.
In this episode, we’re speaking with the engaging and dynamic Angelina of Blueprint DIY. She’s worked as a sustainable architect, she’s a mother of three, a widow, and an upcycling maverick. She discusses what it’s like to operate her Influencer career as a small business, why sustainable fashion needs to broaden its game, and has some solid life advice we could all probably stand to learn from.
Transcript: 102 – Angelina of Blueprint DIY
Welcome back to Responsible Impact, a production of MagicLinks. When it comes to sustainability, we know it’s not feasible to have zero impact, so we’re striving to be as responsible about ours as we can. We work with influencers and brands in eCommerce, and as we raise our own awareness of how things are shifting, it makes sense to have conversations with the diverse industry voices all around us. This episode, I spoke with Angelina of Blueprint DIY. From starting out as an architect, pivoting to motherhood, and eventually choosing her career as an influencer, Angelina brings a lot to the conversation.
Welcome! I know we wanted to kick off by just sort of introducing you as a person, separate from maybe your work as an influencer. Where do you want to dive in?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (58s):
Sure, I always introduce myself as Angelina of Blueprint, DIY, but there is more to me than that. I’m also a licensed architect, a widow and a mother of three.
Natalie (1m 12s):
That’s a lot. Yeah. That’s all lot.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (1m 16s):
Natalie (1m 17s):
What kind of architecture do you work in?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (1m 19s):
Well, I’m mostly liked to rehab existing buildings. That’s where I kind of fell in love with doing that. And you know, it kind of encompasses all of my life because that’s exactly what I do with clothes as well. So
Natalie (1m 32s):
Upcycling, yeah. Now when we first talked, you mentioned something about sort of a sustainability and a green, almost like certification if that’s the right term for your architecture work.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (1m 42s):
Yes, I am leadership in energy and environmentally design. I have accreditation and that is, we shorten it to LEED, but it’s yeah, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. And it’s the USGB,C United States Green Building Council, their version of a certification for buildings where you can tell how sustainable that building is. It goes all the way from silver, all the way up to platinum. The great thing about the certification is that you don’t have to have one area or another area.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (2m 12s):
There’s a lot of different areas and you combine them to get a higher certification. So for instance, we’re talking about materials, where are, where those materials source, what is in those materials? I had no idea that a lot of new materials contain volatile, organic compounds, for instance, like when you get a new something new from Amazon or someplace and you smell it, and it has that quote unquote “new smell.” A lot of times those smells are volatile and we don’t even realize it.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (2m 43s):
So the smell in carpets, a lot of times, it’s not great for those who will occupy the building immediately after it starts to, you know, it’s open. So those are things that we’re looking at an energy and an atmosphere. We’re looking at the HVAC and just a whole gamut of other things to make sure that the air you’re breathing inside your buildings is healthy and safe
Natalie (3m 9s):
Becoming an influencer. How did that come on the scene for you?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (3m 14s):
I had started, I was at the point in my life where I wanted to start having kids. We decided that I would stay home with them, but I am not like – I get bored really easily. And so at that point I absolutely loved shopping, but we were going down to one income because I was just going to be doing architecture kind of on the side from home. And I started watching YouTube videos and I saw these girls thrifting and they would do little projects and, you know, kind of remake them. I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been sewing since I was a kid, you know, I can do that.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (3m 45s):
And so I decided like, everybody needs to know about this. Like, you know, people should know. And so I started my channel seven years ago and pretty much never looked back. And three years ago when my husband passed away, I really decided that I wanted to kind of make a career of it and really put everything in and not letting go of the architecture – that I have definitely have further plans down the line for that. But right now my main focus is on sustainable clothing and just showing people how they can remake their clothes to be just as unique as them
Natalie (4m 20s):
Am I mistaken if I say that it sounds like, really, you took the same spirit that you were approaching buildings and architecture with, and then you just sort of put it on to what was now, you know, your world a little bit more?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (4m 32s):
Natalie (4m 33s):
I love that because I think a lot of times we feel like there’s only one outlet for a certain thing in our lives. And it turns out that you can take the spirit of something and apply it in all sorts of ways.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (4m 42s):
Natalie (4m 43s):
So in terms of when you were first diving in as an influencer, what were some of the obstacles or the hiccups in the road when you were starting?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (4m 51s):
When I was first starting, time was a bit of an obstacle because I had two small children and actually right after I started, I found out “Surprise, because you’re having a third!”
Natalie (5m 2s):
I hear that’s how that works when you’re busy is when they’re like, “Oh, now’s the time.”
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (5m 8s):
Exactly. So we had our third when I first started my channel and that was definitely an obstacle, but like I was saying before, for me just staying home, although that’s like the most important job in the world, I found myself, especially after having my first two and they started going back to school. I started thinking to myself, well, what is my life? What, what am I doing for me? And a lot of times in 2020, we talk a lot about self care and that wasn’t such a big thing back then, but I felt like I was losing myself.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (5m 39s):
And so I really, I felt like I needed to do this for myself. And so I prioritize it as my sort of self care. And at the, also at that time, another obstacle was resources. I started off with just my phone, the camera on my phone and a couple of other free resources. I was free editing software, just anything that was free. I was using it. And, you know, and then we just kind of grew from there.
Natalie (6m 5s):
So whether a lot of you like running to checks the backside of the phone, or the front side of the phone to be like, is it on, is it working?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (6m 10s):
Yes. Yeah. And a lot of, Oh, I recorded all of that — and it wasn’t on!
Natalie (6m 20s):
In terms of your experience in the influencer space: once you had produced the content and you were posting it to the platforms, what, what was it like to swim in those waters? And how has that changed in the time that you’ve been doing this?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (6m 34s):
I never thought it would be so hard. Like you see, everybody has this example of different influences influencers that they see. And it seem like on the surface that they’ve grown overnight and that they just posted, “Oh, I just woke up and decided to make a post and it went viral” and everybody thinks that’s going to be them. And that definitely wasn’t me. So for me, it, you know, it was definitely more difficult than I thought.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (7m 6s):
And so I really, at about three years ago, I really decided that for me, it was worth investing in myself. And so I went out, I did a six week class where it was just really in depth about YouTube. And then I also applied for the YouTube next up program. I won that last year. They flew us out to LA for a YouTube bootcamp. And it was just really, really inspiring to actually see what all the ins and outs of what goes into being a career influencer.
Natalie (7m 44s):
You know I’m going to ask you to elaborate on that!
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (7m 46s):
Yes, go ahead. What goes into it? You really have to know your audience. Well, first of all, you have to know what you bring to the table. I think a lot of people and I, and I’m guilty of this and I, to this day, for instance, when everyone was making videos about masks, my followers were asking me, “Why aren’t you making videos about masks?” And I told them, I said, “When I make videos that everybody else is making, I tend, in my experience – it doesn’t go anywhere, it doesn’t go viral for me, where it will go viral for everyone else.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (8m 21s):
And so I’ve learned that I have a niche in the YouTube space, in the influencer space, and I really have to, not necessarily stick to that niche, but focus on that niche, and just really find who I am, what I have to offer and push that on social media and allow the people who also identify with that to find me. And then also you can’t sit back and wait for them to find you. You have to actually go on other social medias to advertise.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (8m 55s):
And another thing, even my subscribers at the beginning were getting on me about like, “Why aren’t you on Pinterest? Why aren’t you on all of these other social media’s putting out, you know, that you have these videos on YouTube?” And so it became this like really big thing, like, okay, after I post a YouTube video, I have to post about it on Instagram. I have to post about it on Pinterest. I have to post about it on Facebook. And it just helps your engagement and helps people to find you and also asking people to actually subscribe, asking them to share nobody does anything that you don’t ask them to do.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (9m 29s):
And so just learning all these small tips, it’s it totally makes sense. But until you really find that out, oh, YouTube is hard.
Natalie (9m 40s):
Yeah, no, I can imagine. It sounds like what your initial supporters and fans were asking you to do was almost to sort of think of yourself more as a business, because what you’re describing sounds like a marketing mix for a business, you know, like a distribution plan. Did you think of yourself as a business going into it or was this more of just, like you said, like self care and a personal thing to keep yourself, your spirit fed?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (10m 3s):
I totally went into it just for personal and just to help others. Like I had no idea that this would turn into, you know, more of a career for me until much later on, but yeah, I just wanted to be able to help myself and help others.
Natalie (10m 20s):
The turning point, when you realized it was a career, was it over overnight? Was it as slow dawning on you?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (10m 27s):
It was like I said, it was when my husband passed away and I had to make a choice. So at that time I was doing two videos a week and I was also working on a museum project that was two hours away from my house. And I had to make a decision. Should I put everything into YouTube or into being an influencer and try to earn, you know, the money that we need through that? Or should I put everything into architecture and be two hours away from my kids during the school day?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (11m 2s):
And of course they’re all in school and that’s fine, but you know, I just think, you know, something could happen while they’re at school and I need to go pick them up. I’m two hours away. And so I decided that YouTube was what I needed to do, but it was also honestly what I wanted to do. And another reason for that was because in architecture, you are very dependent on other people’s budgets, other people’s desires, whether they are giving you the green light to go on a project or no-go. And I was getting a lot of go, no, go, go, no go.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (11m 35s):
And it was just frustrating for me. And so with YouTube, all of my projects that I do are only dependent on me. And so I, I really needed that at my, at that point in my life. And so YouTube was the obvious choice
Natalie (11m 51s):
At that point. Had you taken that YouTube course yet? I took it after that. So we took care of ourselves for about six months and, you know, it came to that point where I was like, okay, I have to make a decision, what I want to do with my life. And six months after my husband passed away, I took that class. And at that time I was at about 30,000 subscribers. And I haven’t looked back since I love that so much because I think that in addition to just the resilience that you’re describing as a human being, who has “life”
Natalie (12m 24s):
stuff to deal with, I think it really clearly shows that there’s — I think a lot of people don’t realize that influencers are actually their own small businesses.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (12m 33s):
Natalie (12m 34s):
What you’re describing is this process of leaning into your startup as opposed to being, you know, a work employee somewhere else. I just, I really love that in terms of making your channel about upcycling and in staying with it and continuing on this sustainability trend, was there ever a discussion about like doing different kinds of content?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (12m 53s):
I actually, earlier in the channel. My daughter used to play with dolls when she was younger and we had started making videos about making doll clothes and it was still upcycling, but that at the, at that time seemed like it was going to bring in more money, you know, more income. And we did well at that time, we were doing one doll video per week and one video about clothes and the doll videos were really taken off.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (13m 23s):
And I just finally had to make a decision about which one I personally loved more and which one I wanted to do more. And it turns out it was a great decision because the kids marketplace and YouTube is a little bit of turmoil right now, but it was a decision at the time where I was like, okay, I’m losing a lot of ads since making this decision, but it was the decision that I wanted to make because I started off as self care for myself. And over the years, people have asked me, you should do videos about kids.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (13m 56s):
You should do videos about this or that you should make clothes from scratch. And that’s not where my heart is. That’s not where my mission is. And so I stick with it because it’s really where my heart is. And I know that if I stick with that, people will be able to see the passion and they’ll enjoy the videos more. I’ve seen so many people get burnt out because they’ve been doing content based off of what will get views instead of based off of what’s really in their hearts. And so I really want to do this for the, you know, for the long haul and in order to do that, that means I have to keep, you know, my desire, my desire has to stay fresh.
Natalie (14m 34s):
The impression I get right is that people who are afraid to do things that are separate from what the numbers are indicating are really worried about a financial slump.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (14m 44s):
Natalie (14m 44s):
How, how would you speak about weathering that to people who are afraid to be more authentic because they don’t want to have that slump, you know?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (14m 56s):
Yeah. I think that it pays to, I think that I was saying, this is not an easy thing to say, but I would say as far as YouTube, you’re going to get that slump regardless, regardless of whether you think that you’re doing what’s right now, it happens for if I had to chose to do the kids content, I would be in a slump right now. And so I took the slump back then choosing what I desire, but I was still being a slump right now is just the way things go.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (15m 26s):
So you have to be incredibly creative about how you make money. And so I think that I wouldn’t so much focus on the slump being about what the content that you’re making, but I would more focus on and especially the way things are going now, I would more focused on being creative in how you make the money. So what your content should be set, but then you have to figure out okay, around this content, that really is my passion.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (15m 58s):
How do I get the, you know, the funding, the income that I need, the revenue sources.
Natalie (16m 8s):
Gotcha. And when you talk about what’s happening now, and you also talked about what’s going on in the kids’ space, can you, can you dive into that a little bit more?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (16m 14s):
Yes. COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) has basically taken YouTube to task about the previous practices that they were targeting. They had targeted ads for kids that were under 13 and that’s illegal. Technically YouTube is not technically for kids under 13. And so they were working it that way, but COPPA said, “No, no, no, no, you cannot do that.”
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (16m 45s):
And so all kids content currently, you can’t comment on their videos and their revenue sources are a little bit more limited. Now I know a lot of people haven’t seen as big impact as we expected, which is amazing. I’m so happy that that is the case, but it tends to affect smaller channels, more than larger channels, because they’ve already figured out how to be creative with their revenue sources. So once all of that happened, AdSense for smaller channels started to decrease.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (17m 17s):
And so they really were forced to concentrate more on sponsorships, on brand deals and different things like that, so that they can make up for that revenue. However, you know, in the class that I took, that was always one of the things that we were told. Never, never, never put all of your eggs in the Ad Sense basket; to make sure that you are diversifying your income streams.
Natalie (17m 43s):
Yeah. I know a lot of folks have been talking about Ad Sense being, I don’t want to say exactly fickle, but certainly not a very reliable game to be playing right now. What are your thoughts on what’s happened with AdSense and where it’s going?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (17m 56s):
I think that since should only be kind of like your extra money, as far as businesses concerned, I’m actually doing fairly well with AdSense right now, which is so surprising to me because of everything that’s going on, but I’m grateful for it, but I can’t, I don’t know, next month it can be completely different and I could be getting just as many views as I am right now. And that’s the hard part about it, is that it’s not so much about how well you’re doing on YouTube, it’s really about “Are those advertisers wanting to advertise with YouTube?”
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (18m 35s):
And if they feel like YouTube is in trouble, they start to back off of their ad dollars. And I never know when that’s going to happen. And so for me, I’m really focusing more on getting sponsorships brand deals. But number one for me is to get my fashion line out there. I’ve been working on that half of last year and all of this year to get that launch by the Fall. I really want to do that. I have the support for it, you know, from my subscribers.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (19m 5s):
And I really want to get that out. It’s just a matter of re working how I do things because you know, so used to being a one woman shop that you really have to expand your mind and say, okay, you know, I have to start hiring people for different things, so that in turn I have the time I need to expand and do the things I need to do.
Natalie (19m 26s):
I mean, obviously COVID, and supply chains, and orders, and things like that — so in terms of starting up your own fashion lane, what’s this year done to, with, for, you?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (19m 38s):
Well, the great thing is that I’m not dependent on supply chain and different things like that because it’ll be made to order. So that is not so hard. The biggest thing for me is just that when COVID hit, I realized that – it wasn’t so much that it pushed the fashion line back – but that I realized that I had more of an opportunity to make content for people that were going to be home needing something positive to watch. And I’m so glad I made that choice because at the time I needed to get over a hundred thousand to keep my partner manager with YouTube and we made our goal there.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (20m 19s):
And the channel really, really has grown so much since the beginning of quarantine and different things like that because people are at home, they have the time, not only to watch YouTube, but they have the time to complete some of these projects that they’ve been wanting to do for so long. I get that comment so much, like now that I’m at home, I can finally do the upcycling, the sewing that I’ve been wanting to do. And so, and people are very appreciative to have something positive watch because there’s so much news, there’s so much, you know, so many things right now that kind of bring your, your attitude, your mind down.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (20m 58s):
And I just really wanted to be a place where people can be lifted up and just kind of be able to forget for a moment and, you know, just keep their hands busy, their minds busy and, you know, have a healthy, healthy space.
Natalie (21m 12s):
I mean, I can speak from personal experience. The first thing I did when LA went into lockdown basically was I tried poorly to bake a loaf of bread. I made a giant crouton is what I made. And then I stared at my, exactly that, my ever-growing pile that had been in the corner of my closet of things I needed to like tailor or mend or that I could chop up and play with. And that was exactly it as the first thing I did, I was like, h, I have this, this has actually been ready to go the whole time.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (21m 37s):
And I also figured that, you know, to be sensitive to people’s financial states, you know, at the beginning, we didn’t know, we didn’t know people were going, how, you know, people were going to be affected financially. I just felt like that was irresponsible to do it at that point. Yeah. I just felt like it would be irresponsible to put that on my subscriber. Cause they, and I’m so grateful for my, for my subscribers. And I feel they’re loved so much, but for me to ask them to support me at that time, I just felt like that wasn’t what I wanted to do.
Natalie (22m 13s):
Yeah. No, that makes perfect sense. In terms of other things besides AdSense, the way that you’ve seen the influencer landscape shift and e-commerce shift, what is your hot take?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (22m 23s):
I think that more influencers are focused on being a business. Now I think that it’s no longer play time for most influencers. They consider themselves businesses. There’s no longer – well, I see that on TikTok, that most people they’re getting really big and they’re super excited. And now they’re talking about TikTok going away. And a lot of people are trying to make the shift. They want to be prepared.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (22m 54s):
But I think that, you know, those influencers are really going to need to start thinking of themselves as businesses. But I think on Instagram and on YouTube, the influencers are more, they’re ready to think of themselves as businesses and to act accordingly
Natalie (23m 13s):
In terms of other specifically e-commerce things: So I know you talked about not necessarily asking folks during COVID to spend more, what are some of the eCommerce observations that you have? Because I know just in the last couple of years, if I look back, I mean the way we shop and the way we interact electronically. I mean, it’s, it’s a whole new world, really.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (23m 30s):
Yeah. It’s very different than it used to be far more people are purchasing even their clothes. And I really don’t like buying clothes online, but when you think about, okay, I can buy my clothes online or I can put myself or my health in danger, of course it’s going to be buying the clothes online. And I think that as people get used to that, then it won’t be such a big deal. Even myself, you know, once you buy online, you know, for so long, it becomes, you know, you’re normal.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (24m 2s):
And that means that those businesses that were not brick and mortar have a better chance of growing now than they did before. For those, you know, who didn’t like to buy online, who are now used to it, I’ve seen a lot of businesses lately grow really, really well because people are just more willing to search online and find the products because it used to be about convenience. It was all about convenience. Whether I can go around the corner and get the product in and it didn’t have, it didn’t even have to be a perfect product, but it was a product that I’m used to a product that I’ve seen before maybe used before.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (24m 40s):
But I think people are far more willing to try new things. They’re far more willing to do a little bit of research and, you know, even purchase things from Instagram ads, from even myself I’ve been in, I see things on Instagram as like, wow, you know, I wonder how that works! And you know, so I even have a series on YouTube called “I Try Before You Buy” for different sewing products that I’ve always wanted to try. I see them. And I always wanted to try and figure, I’m not the only one that’s probably wants to try this.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (25m 13s):
So I’ll put myself out there and try it before everyone else buys it. And it may not be a great thing, but yeah, that has been a really good series to just, you know, try these things that we’ve seen. But we weren’t sure about
Natalie (25m 28s):
That uncertainty, I think, is really baked in for a lot of people when it comes to eCommerce. So that’s really, yeah. Yeah. I like that. You’re naming it. I also love that you positioned yourself to be able to try out all these gadgets and it’s for “other people” Big air quotes going on there! 🙂
2 (25m 44s):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I’m doing this, I’m doing this for everybody.
Natalie (25m 49s):
Totally selfless! I swear! If you want to put a prediction out for what this time next year is going to look like, what would you think?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (25m 58s):
I predict that more brands are going to start diversify. I would hope so. If they intend on lasting, they’re going to have to start thinking more like influencers and diversify, how they make income and which, which will be great because, you know, they can get into different things that perhaps they weren’t focused on before. You know, like a lot of the companies that say that they want to be green, they really, really need to dig deep and look into their processes and see how they can do more than sell brand new clothes.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (26m 35s):
They, they have to, they have to, they won’t be able to call themselves green unless they really think about all of the aspects of sustainable fashion. There are so many aspects of sustainable fashion that they’re just not hitting. And they really, really need to start thinking about that.
Natalie (26m 53s):
What are some of the aspects that come to mind most for you?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (26m 57s):
Well, of course the highest in my mind is upcycling, but of course there is making sure that you purchase clothes to last. So many companies are not making clothes to last anymore. And as the consumer gets wiser, they’re going to look at those clothes and say, Hey, that material is not long lasting. Your processes are bad. And they’re, you know, just going to start not buying, purchasing those clothes because the company hasn’t made them to last. I think people are also starting to get wise about that, about their cars, about their sewing machines, about different things like that.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (27m 30s):
Looking at these companies saying you are intentionally making products that fail within a certain time, even phones, intentionally making products that fail after two years, and that’s not acceptable. That’s not sustainable for us to live on this planet. You know, for much longer, we’re building up this trash and your design, designing it to be that way and that’s not acceptable. So that’s one thing. Another thing is for people to actually tailor their own clothes up cycle their own clothes, but then also the companies are starting to realize that they should use more sustainable materials.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (28m 5s):
They should recycle actual materials into their products. And then of course, with upcycling, you just remake clothes that are already there. And it’s just a lot of the, and thrifting. Thrifting is part of that too. Just completely wearing something that is already made. That’s a giant part of sustainability because it’s like 100% is 100, you know, there was nothing that needed to be remade. So I think that they really, really need to think about all of those aspects.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (28m 38s):
If they want to call ourselves sustainable a sustainable company. And of course they have to become more ethical as well in the treatment of their garment workers and different things like that.
Natalie (28m 49s):
Absolutely. I think, I think none of us would want the life – the day to day life – that these workers experience. It’s patently cruel, really.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (28m 58s):
Natalie (28m 59s):
And it makes me, so it makes me feel so frustrated. And so sort of powerless as a consumer to know that I can either buy something that was made with this labor practice or not.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (29m 11s):
Yeah. And it’s strange to me, like what you’re talking about, how businesses are going to have to wisen up, that there’s not already businesses who are really more jumping into this because it’s a total unmet need in the marketplace. You know, thrift stores are doing their best but… It keeps me up at night because I know, you know, because I personally see where things could go and I’m still limited in my resources. And so I just, I justin myself. I try to move as fast as I can because I know that it can be better.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (29m 43s):
I know, I see the solution as like, I want to put it out there so bad.
Natalie (29m 50s):
I know. Are there any companies that you’ve and you don’t have to name them, but I mean, have you changed your purchasing habits and your go-to companies based on these kinds of moral-?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (29m 60s):
I, well, currently I’m pretty much, I’m a hundred percent thrifted and upcycled, so I don’t even purchase from any quote unquote “sustainable brands.” The biggest thing is the reason is, is that because a lot of this and not all of them, but a lot of sustainable brands have this image in their mind of what type of person is, what type of woman is sustainable.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (30m 32s):
And they make the clothes look like that. And that’s not me. And so –
Natalie (30m 38s):
I think you can be, I mean, you’re being very diplomatic. I think we all know exactly what you’re describing. I think, yeah. It’s particularly it’s, it’s particularly troubling.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (30m 49s):
Natalie (30m 50s):
And given the conversations that we’re having as a nation now about race and yeah. You know, and just justice, generally, I am impressed at your ability to be so withheld, as you say it, but go on!
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (31m 4s):
Yeah. It’s just, I, to me, I think of, you know, whenever I see the clothes, I think of, you know, Oh, if, if you want to be sustainable, you have to be that woman that wants to run through a meadow barefoot and,
Natalie (31m 18s):
And has a Vitamix. You have to, I mean, Vitamixes are great, but
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (31m 22s):
Yeah. And that’s not me. And so that’s one of the reasons why I really, really wanted to do a YouTube channel to let people see that. Because when I first started looking up upcycle, I thought it was amazing. But the only thing I saw was more like a boho style and that’s no shade on boho, you know, it’s absolutely amazing, but there’s so many other styles of fashion and every single style of fashion should be covered with sustainable brands. And so if all of the sustainable brands are geared towards one type of person, why are we confused why people are not choosing sustainability?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (31m 55s):
Like it’s not confusing. So…
Natalie (32m 2s):
No, you’re right. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a, that was very well put, I applaud you a hundred percent. In terms of things that you wish you could see happen in the influencer economy, so to speak and the influencer influencer industry, what are some things that you would love to see this time next year?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (32m 21s):
I would love to see more companies really working with influencers as businesses. And I put it like that because a lot of companies, not all, but some companies look at what influencers do as a side. It has been proven that people buy more from microinfluencers than they do from people like Kim Kardashian and, you know, people of that status.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (32m 52s):
So, and companies know that, but I personally feel like a lot of times companies are throwing you bones. You know, I get so many emails every day saying, we’ll give you free product and no, that’s not acceptable. I’m doing a service. I’m marketing your item and for free product? No, no, that’s not acceptable. So I hope that by this time, next year, that more brands will really, really want to see the value in working with influencers.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (33m 24s):
And they will start to really step up their games and approach us as businesses, the businesses that we are and respect our subscribers. I’m not going to put you in front of my subscribers when all you’re doing is throwing me bones. I respect them. And I respect myself and it’s not going to happen. And I’m also not going to put anything in front of them that I wouldn’t try myself, that I don’t respect my, any companies that I don’t respect. So I’m hoping that the companies will step up and really start approaching it in a better way.
Natalie (33m 54s):
That’s so great that you’re saying that because I can say that, you know, MagicLinks, a lot of what we’ve been doing from the beginning has been to be utterly transparent about influencers’ data and their fans’ data. And we’re not packaging it and reselling it, but just so that like influencers can really understand, like, okay, you know, I posted a link to X and Y and here’s how that did. And we’ve always made the argument, you know, that first of all brands understand the value that influencers bring to them, which is part of why – but they know that there’s been a missing component to that information ecosystem, and that a lot of influencers had been flying blind and didn’t really know the value they were bringing to the brands.
Natalie (34m 31s):
So when it came time to say, no, thank you on your freebie, you know, talk to me when you respect me with a monetary offer, that that’s been like a game changer for so many. It sounds like in terms of tracking your data, and when you say like, understanding your worth separate from just in a way of saying like, as a person and as an influencer, I’m worth more, how do you track that?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (34m 58s):
I took another class. I took a class last year from an Instagram influencer and she was actually willing. And that, and that’s another thing that has influenced. We really have to become more transparent with one another. And nobody wants to talk about how much they’re getting from brands. Nobody wants to talk about it because they’re scared that maybe they’ll stop getting it. I don’t know what they’re afraid of, but this particular person was willing to share what she was getting from brands.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (35m 29s):
And it kind of, it woke me up, I mean, in a huge way. And so she gave us strategies about how to help brands to see that you are a business, that you are worth the value of what they’re paying, and also helped us to see how much brands are actually, how many marketing dollars brands actually have. And you know, how much they’re actually given to influencers is not nearly what they should.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (35m 59s):
And so, you know, it just kind of woke me up. And so after that, I started saying, no, alot alot to free product and just different things like that, because it just wasn’t a lot, I’ll say this: a lot of it is just not products that I would put in front of my audience. But then on the other hand, a lot of it is just not worth what they’re offering.
Natalie (36m 25s):
How do you navigate that? If you had any tips for other influencers where you’re like, you need to decline this offer, and here’s why, what are some ways that you would suggest phrasing things or handling delicate refusals?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (36m 38s):
I would, if you got an offer for a free product, I would just kindly send them an email back and say that here’s my media kit. And here is my rate sheet. And, you know, let me know what, you know, budget you’re working with. Even if you want to choose a package. And I have packages on my rate sheet that they can choose from that combine YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and different things like that.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (37m 10s):
You know, look at the ratio. If you want to choose a package, choose a package that best fits your needs. And I would love to jump on a zoom call or a call with you to speak about it in more in depth. And if they don’t respond at all with a counteroffer, anything else that means that they weren’t interested in paying you any money anyway. So you’re not losing anything.
Natalie (37m 32s):
Yeah. That’s reminds me a little bit of when Shonda Rhimes talks about the power of no. Have you ever heard her talk about it? It’s basically for those who maybe haven’t heard it basically, she’s saying, you know, the way that you say no to somebody, what comes after that, the tone of that is actually how they really felt about you the whole time. Yep, exactly. And so somebody who gives you a very respectful, no, and says, or it takes it in a respectful way and says, you know what, if this changes in the future, please come let me know as opposed to somebody who’s like, “well, I didn’t want you anyway.” …Well, that person was never going to respect you, even if you had said yes to keep them happy.
Natalie (38m 5s):
Exactly. And is that worth your life energy at a certain point? Probably not exactly. I know you’ve mentioned that you have three kids, so do they help you out with producing any of your content or give you ideas?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (38m 15s):
I actually do recently because I really want to pass on. I think it would be a shame for my kids to go to college and not know anything about being an influencer. That would be absolutely a shame. And so my daughter does, she is currently translating or not translating – she’s currently doing my subtitles for me. And she makes sure that they’re in proper sentences and they’re broken down so that people understand them.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (38m 47s):
And then she auto-translates them until about seven languages. They’re not super consistent, but you know, they do, they have their little jobs and they make their, you know, their little, you know, allowances or whatever from that. And then my son takes my videos and he edits them down to one minute so that I can use them on social media. So yeah, they’re learning really, really good skills right now.
Natalie (39m 14s):
I’ll say, my gosh. Amazing. Any other pro tips for listeners besides to come borrow your children for post production?
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (39m 22s):
Yeah, hire them! I would say one of my protests and this is something that we talk about a lot on my YouTube channel is to remember that everyone, everyone, for some reason is afraid to cut clothes. I, it it’s a little bit, I’m more afraid to cut raw fabric, but for some reason, everybody else in the world is more afraid to cut clothes. And so I would say to remember that everyone’s afraid don’t feel like you’re the only one.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (39m 54s):
Everyone is afraid. Not think it has to do a lot with how our parents taught us to regard our clothing. You know, a lot of times, especially as women, you know, you’re taught to treat your clothes with respect and to sit properly. So you don’t mess up your clothes. Don’t roll around on that floor, so you don’t mess up your clothes. When it comes to cutting clothes, we get so scared. And I would say, you know, think of it just as cloth. It is just cloth it, you know, and a lot of times in my community, we’re purchasing things at the thrift store.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (40m 25s):
Didn’t cost much. It’s just cloth. And our motto is to be afraid and do it anyway because you’re never going to get results if you don’t try. And so yes, that first one may be a total bust, but it doesn’t matter be afraid, but still do it anyway. They will get better over time. You know, especially if you’re starting small with just cutting t-shirts or different things like that, the no solo projects and work your way up. You’ll definitely get better. So yeah, that’s what our Facebook community is all about.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (40m 57s):
We have, you know, those who joined and they just watched for a while, and then all of a sudden, you know, they’re creating pieces like, yeah, I made this and this is my only my second time using the slot machine. I’m like, really?
Natalie (41m 10s):
I love what you do so much because I know a lot of folks imagine that the only way that they could monetize being an influencer is to be selling new garments, and while there’s definitely – obviously – a market for that, all of this has really just, again, like to your earlier message, it feels like such proof-positive that being who you are in a space: There’s room for you.
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (41m 32s):
Natalie (41m 35s):
All right. Big, thanks this episode go to Janet Cowan, Haesil Shin, Brian Nickerson, and Angelina at Bueprint, DIY. I’m Natalie, and we’ll leave you with this:
Angelina of Blueprint DIY (41m 47s):
My final thing is just for everybody to be afraid and do it anyway. That’s, that’s what I want to say.