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Modern Fashion: Influencer Jaclyn Hill On The 5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand Today

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

In our series called, “5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand Today” we are talking to successful leaders of fashion brands who can talk about the Future of Fashion and the 5 things it takes to lead a successful fashion brand in our “new normal.”

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jaclyn Hill.

Jaclyn Hill, two-time American Influencer Award winner and entrepreneur, rose to popularity in 2010 with the success of her YouTube channel and collaborations with major brands and celebrities including Kim Kardashian, BECCA Cosmetics, Morphe, and Allure. In 2019, Jaclyn launched her namesake makeup brand, Jaclyn Cosmetics, solidifying her as a beauty-industry mogul. She also debuted her fashion jewelry brand, Jaclyn Roxanne, in November 2021 and has plans to expand her portfolio in the lifestyle space. She currently has a loyal audience of over 14M on social media and has garnered 589M+ views on YouTube.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?

My early childhood was spent on a farm in Illinois. I was homeschooled growing up and taught to be independent and self-sufficient at a very young age.

After my father was in a devastating car accident, my family moved to Tampa, Florida when I was about seven years old, and I spent the next several years traveling around the world with them on mission trips. I credit my “unconventional” upbringing with preparing me for a career in largely uncharted territory as an influencer.

Ever since I was young, I wanted to do something in the beauty and fashion space. Not only do I love makeup, which is what ultimately opened many doors for me, but I also wanted to be a fashion designer. I think that what we wear is such a great expression of our personalities, so I don’t think anyone close to me was surprised when I expanded into fashion and accessories.

Can you tell us the story about what led you to this particular career path?

Between homeschooling and experiencing bullying, I spent a lot of time alone which led to my experimenting with makeup.

I started my career on YouTube eleven years ago when I was at a really low point in my life and living off food stamps. At the time, I was working as a self-taught makeup artist at MAC and my clients convinced me to upload a few of my tutorials on YouTube. My videos quickly gained traction and soon I was one of the first full-time beauty influencers on the platform.

Eventually, I began collaborating with top beauty brands like Morphe and BECCA Cosmetics on joint product releases and launched my own cosmetics line Jaclyn Cosmetics in 2016. However, my longing desire to work in fashion and create something that was truly my own still lingered.

I knew I always wanted to create my own jewelry line since the day my grandmother gave me her pearls when I was eight years old. I made up my mind a few years back to start making arrangements and setting aside money to launch Jaclyn Roxanne because having complete creative control over my next brand and manifesting my own ideas was so important to me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I had been doing YouTube for about two years when I did my first meet-and-greet in Tampa and I met a fan who came up to me crying uncontrollably. At first, I didn’t understand what was happening, but then her dad came up to me and said that they had driven all the way from Kansas to meet me. His daughter had recently attempted suicide and, four days later, she discovered my videos and her mood immediately shifted. She became so excited about learning how to recreate my makeup looks and it ignited a passion that set her life on a new trajectory.

I remember looking at my mom and us both having this realization that what I was doing was more than just “makeup”. It was the first time I realized the impact my videos could have on people, and it made me want to keep sharing my story.

You are a successful business leader. Which three-character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Authenticity has been the most important character trait to my success. When I started on YouTube back in 2012, I did it with honest reviews of products that I would use in my everyday life, and I’ve never stopped. In my daily life, I strive to be upfront and honest which can be difficult when you share your life online.

Discipline is also key to success. Being an influencer is not always as glamorous as our Instagram feeds portray. I wake up every morning with a list of to-dos and a team relying on me to execute. No day is ever the same. One day I could be planning content and approving video edits and the next I’m in the Jaclyn Roxanne offices ideating new launch concepts and meeting with manufacturers. No matter what industry you’re in, it takes a lot of discipline and a willingness to wake up and choose to keep reaching your goals every day.

Lastly, I would say that persistence is a major part of how I became successful. I was completely unknown when I started out and there were a lot of No’s at the beginning but for me “No” never translated to “Give up” or “Try something else”. “No” simply means keep going until you find that one “Yes”. When I finally found my “Yes”, doors opened, and they haven’t closed yet. You have to keep pushing.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Jaclyn Roxanne is a namesake brand that was also built with accessibility in mind. This means many of the collections are inspired by my own personal jewelry collection that subscribers have complimented in past videos and social media posts.

A few years ago, it dawned on me that I was in a position to create pieces at a lower price point that my audience could call their own and treasure for themselves. The jewelry we create functions as an extension of the personal brand I’ve created online and celebrates how accessories contribute to self-expression.

Jaclyn Roxanne is very near and dear to my heart because it’s also the first brand I’ve built entirely from scratch and bootstrapped myself without any assistance from outside partners or investors. “Jaclyn Roxanne” is what I nearly named my YouTube channel because it’s my birth name and how my family refers to me. This company symbolizes a new era of independence and coming into my own as a female founder.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

“What Sally says about Susie, says more about Sally than it does about Susie”.

My mom taught me this when I first started my career and experienced living in the public eye. With social media, everyone has access to you and sometimes it’s difficult to ignore the mean comments and unwarranted opinions. Whenever I feel myself letting it get to me, I remember this quote and realize that how people act is a reflection of them, and not me.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?

There is a lot of talk about how we can use technology to enhance the consumer experience when shopping and I’m really excited about that. We’ve seen brands create digital wardrobes based on purchases and help consumers try on makeup digitally. I think we will see a lot more technology in the future and I hope to be able to integrate it into my customer experience one day soon.

As a social-first jewelry brand, I think we’ll also see more fashion companies operate marketplaces entirely on social media platforms. Instagram specifically has been a powerful tool for Jaclyn Roxanne and allows us to communicate with our customers in a more engaging and interactive way.

Can you share how your brand is helping to bring goodness to the world?

My brands are always designed with the end consumer in mind. I want them to wake up every day and feel powerful and beautiful because using my products simply enhances their inner beauty. When a customer puts on The Solitaire Necklace or The Glamour Hoops, I want them to feel empowered to take on the day and look great while doing it. Similarly, when they light one of Seventh Avenue Apothecary candles — a brand we sell on our marketplace iminit.com — I want them to feel at peace in their home.

Can you share with our readers about the ethical standards you use when you choose where to source materials?

When I created Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics and Jaclyn Roxanne, the very first thing I made sure of was that my products would be made ethically and cruelty-free. I also incorporate materials such as Rhodium that are meant to extend the lifeline of my products and help combat the strain that fast-fashion puts on the environment.

Fast fashion has an advantage, that it is affordable for most people, but it also has the drawback that it does not last very long and is therefore not very sustainable. What are your thoughts about this? How does your company address this question?

Sustainability should be at the forefront of every fashion brand as fast fashion is one of the major causes of waste in the world. Jaclyn Roxanne combats this by using materials (such as Rhodium) that have the ability to create quality, long-lasting pieces.

Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need to Lead a Successful Fashion Brand”. Please share a story or example for each.

Education: Knowing your product before creating your product is so important. As a beauty entrepreneur, I had a sense of the production cycle and could apply a few key elements, but fashion is an entirely different world. Take the time to learn about the industry and do your homework on the entire process from ideation and design to manufacturing and packaging.

Branding: It is so important to make a positive and lasting impression on consumers. Branding is key in differentiating your company from competitors and making it easy for consumers to identify how your product will fit into their everyday routines. Your branding says everything that consumers need to know about you before they ever try your product.

Quality Materials: Quality is at the forefront of all of my brands. I want customers to enjoy everything I put out and keep coming back. The only way to do this is by consistently producing quality products which also keeps us competitive in the market.

Customer Service: Customer satisfaction is every brand’s goal and delivering a stellar customer experience can make or break a company. Customers may have questions, want to exchange a product, or may even want to return a product. Either way, customers need to be met with friendly and clear communication throughout every touchpoint. Each customer interaction is an opportunity to deliver on your brand promise.

Influencer Marketing: As an influencer, I have witnessed brands blow up overnight by getting their products in the right hands. Influencers are an important part of a brand’s success these days because they create content that appeals directly to a particular type of audience. Collaborating with the right influencers can mean reaching thousands (if not millions) of potential buyers who are likely to purchase your product. Influencers already have an established and trusted dialogue with their audience that newer brands typically need time to build.

Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?

The future of fashion is sustainability. Fast fashion is one the leading causes of waste in the world and, in order to combat it, brands are creating pieces that are long-lasting and eco-friendly. For example, our Jaclyn Roxanne jewelry uses Rhodium, a metal that is corrosion resistant, to help our pieces last longer. The fashion industry has experienced a significant sustainability shift, creating quality pieces that people can wear for a long time and that’s what we strive for at Jaclyn Roxanne.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Be kind to you.

I would start a movement to encourage people to be kind to themselves. I always say, “Treat yourself like your best friend.” We’re so quick to be hard on ourselves and pick everything apart whether it be your weight, your looks, etc. But, if your best friend comes to you with the same feelings, you immediately hype her up and make her feel good. We need to do the same for ourselves. Be kind to your body and your mind and do things that make you feel good. Just be kind to YOU.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can find me on YouTube, connect with me at @jaclynhill on social media and shop Jaclyn Roxanne’s current collection at iminit.com.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.