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: I’m actually a pretty shy person! It may not seem that way since I’m a blogger and, on a daily basis, share photos of myself and my life on my blog and social media, but in all seriousness social settings (especially large events) terrify me. My husband is the outgoing one and I’m definitely the quiet, more reserved one.
Adam: How did you become an “influencer”? What is the inside story? I originally started my blog as a way to document my life as a newlywed. It was more of a life journal for my family and friends to follow.
Rachel: Not long after I started my blog, our wedding was featured on the cover of Utah Valley Bride Magazine and that’s when I started seeing more and more traffic to my little space on the Internet. My wedding photos were being pinned and re-pinned and I started receiving fashion questions from women all over the country. They were more interested in what top I was wearing or what shade of lipstick I had on than what my husband and I were doing that weekend. And that’s really what sparked the idea to change my focus and make Pink Peonies more of a fashion blog.
Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in working with influencers? How do you do decide who to work with?
Rachel: My best piece of advice would be to be personal!!! Get to know the influencer, their likes, dislikes, learn about their family and their passion. I’m more likely to notice and respond to an email that starts with “Hi Rachel” rather than a simple “Hello.” It seems silly, but adding a personal sentence or two can make all the difference. I’m interested in working with brands who are interested in me and align with my aesthetic.
Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in becoming influencers?
Rachel: Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, listen to your gut and visualize your success. Trust that the universe will lead you to that success. We create our own realities.
Adam: What is the biggest misconception about the influencer world and life as an influencer?
Rachel: I think the biggest misconception about influencers is that they have the easiest job in the world, and that they’re materialistic. Being a blogger is a 24/7 job that is extremely hard and takes so much more time and dedication than anyone realizes. A blogger—especially one in the early phases of starting a blog—has to wear so many hats: creative director, stylist, photographer, model, writer, editor, marketer and the list goes on. The women who have turned a space on the Internet into a full-fledged business are brilliant, hard-working businesswomen who don’t get enough credit.
Adam: What has being an influencer taught you about branding and marketing?
Rachel: The biggest thing I’ve learned about branding and marketing is to decide what kind of content or product you want to create and stick with it. Stay true to who you are. As an influencer I only work with brands that I truly love and use. I’ve worked hard to have a personal connection with my readers since day one and I never want to lose that. They trust me and enjoy following me because of who I am and the type of content I choose to share, and I always want it to be that way. Although my brand is fairly new (only 2 years old), branding and marketing has played a big role. Similar to my role as an influencer, my role as the founder of Rachel Parcell, Inc. is to create feminine, original pieces that women look and feel beautiful in. Our branding and marketing strategy branches from that one goal.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Rachel: I have three sisters and we all have different hobbies that we enjoy! Growing up my parents encouraged us to try anything and everything until we found our niche, and fashion and designing has always been one of my biggest passions and hobbies. In high school I took a sewing class and that’s where I sewed my very first piece! I have it framed and hanging in my office, constantly reminding me to follow my dreams. Another hobby of mine is fitness and running. My dad loves to run and it has rubbed off on me and all of my sisters. Right now we are all training for a half marathon coming up in a couple weeks! There’s nothing better than waking up bright and early before my babies and getting in a good workout to start off my day! It gets me up and going and puts me in the right mindset to tackle whatever lies ahead in my day. Fitness and running gives me an energy and zest for life that I didn’t know existed before.
Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and how do you pay it forward?
Rachel: My biggest influence in my life has been my mom. When I first started my blog almost five years ago EVERYONE thought I was crazy (including all of my sisters, Drew and my friends from school). Everyone except for my mom. Day in and day out she would go out with me to take my outfit pictures. We would drive around and climb through trees and bushes to find the perfect location and she never complained, even when it was freezing outside! She could tell how much I loved it and she was so dedicated to helping me pursue something I loved so much. My mom was literally the only one who believed in me and encouraged me to follow my “blogging” dreams. She was my source of strength and really made me feel like I could do anything I put my mind to. I hope to be the same caring, encouraging mom to my two babies, Isla Rose and Jackson. Being an influencer can be overwhelming at times, but being a mother brings me my greatest joy and I wouldn’t trade my role as a mother for anything in the world.