Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to go behind the brand. First things first, though, what is something about you that the many people who follow you don’t know?
Rachel: My first job was at a salad chain in high school! I wasn’t the most athletic so since I didn’t play a sport, my parents were adamant on me getting a job. I used to make all of the salads, wraps and sandwiches there and definitely styled the bowls a bit more than anyone else did, ha! I would mix different dressings together, create new salad ideas. I have always had fun with my food.
Adam: How did you become an “influencer?” What is the inside story?
Rachel: It still is comical to me that I am considered an Influencer. I started my brand back in early 2014 when I was working at a startup in the food and beverage space. I felt undervalued and undercompensated during my time there and was looking for a second income of sorts. I wanted to sell overnight oats in a jar and deliver them to people in Manhattan. My husband (fiance at the time) suggested posting my recipes on a blog or Instagram to start and then we can look into getting a kitchen to sell overnight oats from. A few months into posting my recipes, I quickly forgot about selling overnight oats and focused on creating various recipes for both myself and my readers to enjoy. I saw that there was need in the space for recipes that can be good for you and actually taste good. Something I struggled to find, it was all about juicing to feel your best and that was never my thing. A few months later, I was fired from my job and that is really when I was able to focus solely on growing my own brand.
Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in working with influencers? How do you do decide who to work with?
Rachel: It is so important for brands to know that each influencer works differently. I always say that just like every brand is different in the products they sell and what they offer, each influencer is different. That is what makes everyone’s brands so unique and stand out in the space. All of my brand collaborations are customized for that exact brand. I take the time to get to know the brands I work with and form longer term relationships with them to make things less transactional. I am also very particular about what their ingredients are, taste and the brand as a whole. I always say that if I will go to the store and purchase that product to eat or use, it’s a brand I would like to work with.
Adam: What is the biggest misconception about the influencer world and life as an influencer?
Rachel: That it is glamorous and all hearts, stars and rainbows. Instagram is a very impactful platform and everything looks perfectly curated and it is easy to get caught up in thinking that someone’s life is perfect. No one sees the massive amount of dishes I do daily, the behind-the-scenes of establishing partnerships with brands, personal and health struggles as much as they see the beautiful bowl of oatmeal drizzled with peanut butter. I really try to open up about my own personal struggles on my platform and connect with my readers in other ways. No one’s life is perfect and it is so important that everyone remembers that.
Adam: What has being an Influencer taught you about branding and marketing?
Rachel: It is hard to measure the exact impact that Influencer marketing has at times. Brands are faced with challenges from their team’s to have an ROI on each collaboration and it isn’t always feasible to do so. When brands are e-commerce based, we are able to measure the sales that come in from a collaboration, which is helpful but for brands that focus on in store sales, there’s no direct way to quantify it. Brands expect their websites to crash when they work with someone but it doesn’t happen overnight, consistency is also key in a successful brand collaboration.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Rachel: Funny enough my hobby has always been centered around food in some capacity. I have been baking ever since my Mom would let me turn the oven on. Granted it was boxed cake mix or brownies, but I have always loved my desserts and making desserts for others. Now as a hobby outside the kitchen, I love to travel with my husband and family to explore new cities and immerse myself in different cultures.
Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and how do you pay it forward?
Rachel: There are so many! My family is definitely a huge influence in my life. They helped to shape me into who I am today and are my biggest supporters. I also have a lot of respect for anyone who starts their own business. It takes a lot of hustle and determination. There is a lot of BS to deal with no matter what industry you’re in and it takes a certain something to be an entrepreneur. When I was first starting my brand, I really looked up to other bloggers in the space and would email them to seek advice. While there are definitely some emails and messages I miss from readers, I really love giving advice to anyone starting out on their health and wellness journey!