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Inside Influence: One On One With Katie Sands

I spoke to social media influencer Katie Sands, a.k.a. @HonestlyKate, about her journey and best advice

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? 

Katie: I have a degree in musical theater and a graduate degree in theater production. I can sing opera and belt out Broadway classics on a professional level. 

Adam: How did you get here? How did you become an influencer? What is the inside story? 

Katie: I have always been an influencer in the rhetorical sense of the word, but I didn’t start to monetize my influence until 2017. HonestlyKate was created as a platform I could use to reflect my journey as a young woman navigating the ins and outs of New York City, trying to grow and inspire as many people as I could reach. From the brand’s inception, it’s been my goal to inspire girls to curate their own futures and let them in on my fashion and beauty secrets along the way. The “honestly” in my name definitely isn’t a coincidence, because HonestlyKate is all about authenticity. I try to always stay true to who I am and what I value, no matter what kinds of obstacles show up along the way. Being honest includes featuring brands that I find meaning in, it’s what my brand is all about. As an entrepreneur, I constantly remind myself of the core reasons why I started to blog: my love for fashion and my passion for helping people be their truest selves. As long as you’re true to yourself and your ambitions, you will always be authentic.

Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in working with influencers? How do you decide who to work with? 

Katie: Create a real and authentic relationship with the person. I am so much more inclined to work with brands where I have a personal relationship with the founder or CEO. Don’t push products on people. Show them real results, and how you incorporate it into your daily routine. 

Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in becoming influencers? 

Katie: Don’t try to be everything for everyone, just be something for someone. 

Adam: What is the biggest misconception about the influencer world and life as an influencer? 

Katie: The biggest misconception of the influencer world is that it is glamorous. The picture you see with the full glam, clothes, and perfect lighting is 5% of what goes into the work I do. My day consists of running endlessly from meeting to meeting. Taking calls, and making sure everything is in order for the next day/week/or year. 

Adam: What has being an influencer taught you about branding and marketing? What are your three best marketing and branding tips? 

Katie: Never show up without having a clear and distinct message. This goes for meetings as well as a blog post. Know your audience and know who you are trying to target. This can vary depending on if you are speaking on a panel, making a video for a brand, or delivering a campaign on Instagram stories. You cannot have the same voice for different platforms. Don’t ever limit or change your brand because of trends. Trends should be following you.

Adam: Who are the best leaders you have been around and what have you learned from them? What do you believe everyone should know about leadership? 

Katie: You do not need to be authoritative to be a leader. Always be kind. Everyone will remember your kindness. The best leaders I follow are the ones that are the most relatable and authentic with their audience. They are letting you in on their lives, showing their vulnerability in hopes you follow along on their journey.

Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you? 

Katie: I am very involved in different philanthropies. Philanthropy has always been a huge part of my life, and over the years I’ve recognized the power it has to completely change lives and make the world a better place. For me, the most important part about being an influencer is having the power to influence — and I believe we should use that power to help others. It’s important we all share a little bit of what we have with those around us, especially those that need it most.

As a social influencer in the fashion world, I do my best to support ethical fashion brands whose proceeds benefit philanthropies. Currently, I am sitting on the board of Make A Wish as the youngest member of the NLC. I have spent my time granting wishes around the Tri-State area, and continue to help by using my platform to fundraise for the organization.

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