Early Beginnings: Believing In Yourself
At the beginning of our careers, we were both pursuing traditional, corporate paths — Amra as an economist working on World Bank projects and me as a Georgetown Law attorney in international arbitration. One evening, Amra was exchanging DIY tips on how to make a face-mask out of your kitchen ingredients with friends over dinner, and some remarked that she should share these tips on a public website. (This was late 2012, when DIY blogs were still rather new and few far in between.) That night, Amra spent the whole night trying to figure out HTML code and creating her first blog post on the old-school Blogger. The following day, she approached me with the idea to contribute to the blog and soon enough, our website began to take shape. We were sharing DIY tips from makeup and fashion to traveling and interior design.
Our family and friends were skeptical at first; in fact, I recall my father saying that my time was worth zero and my friends snubbed me saying: “you take photos of yourself and post them on the Internet.” At the time, there was never any intention of this becoming anything but a hobby but the opportunity presented itself after our website reached 150,000 monthly unique visitors just after three months.
As our audience grew in size, we began to be approached by brands to advertise; we then realized this was very much a business. Within a year, we left our jobs as an economist and an attorney and dove head first into the world of digital marketing, influencer platforms, blogging, and coding — all in one place. Not only was it a career path in digital marketing born out of a hobby to post content on the Internet, but we also realized that the digital age provided new platforms for millennials everywhere to turn their creativity into a business.
Fast-forward two years, with accumulation of 2+ million followers, the tables turned after Amra and I were invited to sit front-row at some of New York’s top fashion shows. Backstage, at events and private gatherings, we were acquainted with industry’s insiders and began building personal and business relationships. This was when our business really took off, and we started working with leading lifestyle brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Avon, HTC, and Uber.
Why Are Brands Turning to Digital Influencers?
Traditional marketing was slowly losing its power as the brands began realizing that consumers are becoming educated, ignoring traditional banner ads, and looking for reviews and worth-of-mouth recommendations when making purchasing decisions. This new generation was actually choosing who they give their trust to evaluate products. More often than not, these trusted sources came in the form of digital influencers, who are partnering-up with their favorite brands, trying out products even before the products hit the shelves. What this new generation was looking for was, and still is, useful reviews, whether on books, TV shows or consumer products they’d like to buy. The power of word, picture and video was never as powerful as it is right now, which opened countless business opportunities to those willing to see it.
The New Generation: In the Age of Internet the Possibilities Are Boundless
One thing that has motivated us all these years is the fact that this business and our passion has lead us to be creative and learn about a vast number of fields — coding (we learned backend and frontend coding!), the latest technological trends like countless of photo editing apps, social media platforms, and even took-up professional photography (experimenting with different lenses and lighting equipment). We even found applications to analyze data from our social media platforms. Thus, we took a scientific approach to analyzing social media data to understand what type of content went viral.
The beauty in creating the pillars of our own digital business is in the fact that we are developing and growing in ways that would be unimaginable to us only a few years ago when the economic barrier to entry was much costlier. Because of the technological advancement and democratization of the media through the Internet, our message remains to encourage women across the world to pursue entrepreneurial ventures, education and on top of it not to be afraid to be the best version of themselves.
Amra Beganovich and Elma Beganovich, two sisters and social media mavens who left their 9–5 jobs to build two companies, Club Fashionista and now Amra & Elma rely on their impressive Instagram presence in expanding and maintaining their business.
Originally published at medium.com