Executive Interview: Kendall Stein

Photo courtesy of Kendall Stein

Kendall Stein is the creator of the impressive fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brand My Styled Life. In addition to her job as a content and social media manager, she runs a My Styled Life blog and posts on several different social media platforms. I adore fashion and beauty myself, and in the past have tried to start up my own Instagram blog—rather unsuccessfully, to be quite honest. With essentially two full-time jobs in the social media field, I was eager to absorb everything that Kendall had to say in our interview so that I could reevaluate my Instagram blog and give it another try. I learned a great deal from her about what it takes to be a successful influencer and the biggest factor that stood out to me was authenticity. Kendall graciously provided me with her extensive knowledge and experience that is relevant in a world where social media influencing is a rising profession. 

What did you major/minor/master in?

For undergrad, I was a Business Administration major with an emphasis in marketing and a minor in Public Relations. I went on to complete Chapman’s 4+1 MBA program and graduated with my Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Can you tell me more about My Styled Life? How would you describe your brand and what gave you the inspiration to start it?

I have always loved makeup, but developed a strong affinity for it my senior year of high school. After graduating high school, I started a YouTube channel sharing makeup tips and soon after, created a blog to accompany it. Over time, I began sharing fashion content as well and that led me to establish my current blog, My Styled Life, in January 2016. My Styled Life’s motto is that “every day is an opportunity to be styled,” because I believe that each day we make choices that make our lives beautifully styled, whether that be putting on a cute outfit, rocking a new makeup look, or even finding a unique home decor piece. On my blog and associated social media accounts, I share fashion and beauty as well as Southern California lifestyle content.

What really helped you kickstart your career in the field of social media and influencer marketing?

Aside from my blog, I work full time as a Content & Social Media Manager. With that being said, my blog is what really paved the way for my career. It inspired me to focus on marketing in school and gave me real-world experience that I was then able to apply to what I was learning in class. In addition, I feel that my work experience gained through my blog really helped me land my current role.

Given your experience with your established brand, what would you say makes a person stand out as an influencer while competing with others? What are some key factors that go into developing a person’s brand?

Someone who is authentic and relatable! I think that there are many influencers trying to establish this identity of being superior to others or perfect because they have x many followers, this or that item, etc., and at the end of the day, I feel that many followers are just looking for someone that they can relate to. They want to follow someone who they feel like they are virtual BFFs with. As for developing a personal brand, I think it’s important to understand who you are and what you want to be known for — aka your unique value proposition. It’s critical to be authentic! Moreover, it’s easier to build a personal brand identity than to have to redefine an existing personal brand identity. This doesn’t mean you have to have everything figured out from the start, but more so, you need to have a goal in mind.

How do you manage your brand on all the different platforms (Instagram, blogging, YouTube, etc.)? Which platform would you say has been the most important in boosting your exposure?

This one is hard! Aside from my blog, I have an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Pinterest account along with a YouTube channel. Keeping up with the content for all these platforms can be very challenging, especially with having a full-time job. The key is constantly assessing which platforms seem to be leading to the best results for your brand and then making the choice to focus on those platforms. For example, Instagram has historically boosted my exposure, but recently I’ve been putting more effort into TikTok as well because it has proven to be a great platform for me to reach new users faster. In general, TikTok is currently providing content creators and brands with a very rare opportunity to post content and gain a ton of exposure/large following relatively quickly. This following then transfers over to other platforms such as Instagram as users like your content on one platform and therefore, want to follow you on other platforms.

How did your internship with 60 Seconds help build your skills and prepare you for your career?

I think that the key with internships is making sure that you are actually learning something and getting hands-on experience, as you can then take this experience and apply your learnings to classes you are taking and ultimately, the career you go into. This was exactly my experience at 60 Seconds. Sherri, the founder of Omics LIVE and 60 Seconds, always encouraged me to experiment with new ideas to see if they worked and if they didn’t, then analyze what went wrong and adjust the strategy. As a result, I was able to gain a lot of knowledge and improve my skillset during my time with 60 Seconds.

What advice would you give to aspiring influencers?

Pay attention to what your audience wants to see! As you become an influencer, you have to think of yourself as a brand. Successful brands adapt their strategy based on what performs well so as you post content, pay attention to what is performing well for you. Then, create more content that is similar. This doesn’t mean that you can’t try posting new types of content, but the key is to always be analyzing and adjusting your strategy.