Anna-Shearer

The Influence Room Podcast- Changing the dialogue: Anna Shearer

This week on our podcast, we are delighted to have joining us the fabulous Anna Shearer, blogger and entrepreneur. She chats to us about her journey as a blogger and how she has developed through working with brands which enabled her to set up her own marketing and advertising agency, Digital Oblix. 


Overview

Having grown up in America as a child, she took inspiration from the likes of Whitney and Lauren Conrad, and Kristen Cavallari. Whilst studying fashion buying and merchandising at Philip Green's Retail Academy, one of her tutors told her that she had to start a blog if she ever wanted a job in fashion- so this is what she did.

Anna’s first job was working at Urban Outfitters where she learnt the value of multi-tasking, however, she decided to leave and took a job at ASOS. She discusses how buying is extremely difficult if you don't know what you're doing and so after a few months at ASOS she realised buying wasn't for her. Her dream was always to be a full time blogger, but it couldn't earn her enough money at the time. Therefore, her main job was the agency and her blog was a 'side hustle'.

At the time when she was getting gifted free products and brands were offering her money, she realised she could actually turn it into a business. When looking back she realises how glad she is to have worked in an office as it gave her more of a drive for success, by the structure it instilled in her. 

Anna discusses the importance of creating long relationships with many brands and how she has became friends with a lot of the PR girls, which has enabled her to get reoccurring jobs, and prefers to be her own agent. As time goes on she is gaining more and more contacts and her network is getting bigger.

Looking to the future, she wants to create her own something but she is still unsure what that is yet. She wants to ensure that whatever she picks, she executes it right and it's something she really wants to put out.

 

Five quick takeaways:

  1. Clients always want to be on the next big thing, so you need to keep ahead of the curve.

  2. Your reach on TikTok is what Instagram was 10 years ago.

  3. If you're not on TikTok you're doing something wrong, “The time to get on TikTok was yesterday”

  4. Going straight into blogging and not getting a job you can feel quite lost and also lack experience and knowledge of industry

  5. Paid traffic is thriving at the moment, but organic reach is just not good. It's really difficult to grow.

If you enjoyed this episode and don’t want to miss the rest of the series, you can follow The Influence Room Podcast on Spotify and Apple iTunes podcasts.


 

Full audio transcription

- Bronagh

Hello and welcome to the Influence Room podcast. This is the show that brings together talent, brands, influencers and industry thought leaders to discuss what influence means from different viewpoints.

- Bronagh

Our guest this week is Anna Shearer. Anna is a fashion buying graduate turned blogger turned entrepreneur. She's actually one of the original members of the Influence Room and so we were really excited to sit down with her to find out how her career has changed since joining in 2017.

- Bronagh

In the interview we'll cover what she learned early on from working for companies such as ASOS, how she has channeled her love and knowledge working with brands into forming her own company and the importance of diversifying in influencer marketing. Enjoy the interview.

- Bronagh

Hello and welcome to the Influence Room podcast. We are recording today from a cafe in West London and so if you hear things in the background that is why. Thanks for tuning in again. We've got really great guest with us today, Anna Shearer. Anna has actually been a friend of the brand for a few years now. We're really excited to talk to her about where her career has evolved from 2017, was it, that you joined? Am I getting that right?

- Anna Shearer

The platform?

- Bronagh

Yes.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. I was one of the first, I think.

- Bronagh

The founding members. Yeah. Anna, just to take it back to the start, I'd love to hear about ... Because just before we started recording you talked about that you grew up in America, which I didn't know. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about growing up and what your influences were growing up.

- Anna Shearer

I grew up in America for 10 years. As soon as I was born, a few months later we moved to Boston and then we moved quite frequently because my dad was director of a [inaudible 00:01:44] company so we bopped around America. I had a really crazy fun childhood living in America. Then I came back to England and I've been here ever since. Yeah, I had really wild childhood and I always joke to my mom that I get bored quite easily because we kept moving house like every six to eight months, which is why my dating history has been quite infrequent. That's another podcast though.

- Bronagh

Yeah, that's a whole other podcast.

- Anna Shearer

Yes, inspirations growing up, I would say you two are probably going to laugh but do you remember the Hills?

- Bronagh

Yeah. Oh my God. The best show ever.

- Anna Shearer

It was the best, oh my god.

- Bronagh

It was the period of the OC, the Beach, the Hills, the sea.

- Anna Shearer

Whitney and Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari and just being someone that worked in fashion. I look back at my career in fashion and I just think, "God, they really did have an influence on my life." Watching Lauren intern at Teen Vogue. I interned at Kurt Geiger, Karen Millen, BHS. Yeah, I followed her steps and what she was doing and then she was a bit of girl boss. She's now got her company. She worked for different fashion houses and that's exactly why I did if look back and I followed their footsteps.

- Anna Shearer

Kristin Cavallari from Laguna Beach has got her own jewelry line now. It does help that she's married to an NFL player.

- Bronagh

Yes.

- Anna Shearer

She's also the girl boss in her own right.

- Bronagh

I guess what they did was they were the original lifestyle influencers. They were selling the dream.

- Anna Shearer

They were the first reality stars really, and they didn't know how famous they were going to be, they didn't know what was going to come of the show, so it was so raw. Now you watch Made in Chelsea or something, and it's so scripted, whereas that, it just wasn't. It was so raw. You went through the breakups with them and the struggles at work.

- Milly

The arguments.

- Anna Shearer

The arguments. Yeah. Which, I had exactly the same experience working for ASOS and Outfitters. My first job was ASOS. No, sorry, Urban Outfitters.

- Bronagh

What did you do there?

- Anna Shearer

I studied fashion buying and merchandising and then my first job I landed was yeah, at Urban Outfitters. I remember screaming when I found out on the train. I was, "Oh my god." I worked there for a year. I hated it.

- Bronagh

Why?

- Anna Shearer

I was actually thinking last night, "How do I describe this without getting in trouble?" The place was run by like cowboys. It's so bent the way that the company's run. Moving from Urban Outfitters to ASOS, it's run like a well-oiled machine, ASOS. It really is. They are top of their game for a reason. It was very structured ASOS and some very done by the books. Urban Outfitters is the polar opposite. But it's actually very fun because you just get chucked in the deep end and you get told to do pretty much everything and anything. Every day is different. It was a fast paced, typical fast fashion office. It's really fun. I learned a lot.

- Anna Shearer

I hated my manager. Typical first job, I feel like everyone hates their manager. Everyone hates their manager. I was like, "She's a bully. I want to leave." The feeling of handing my resignation my first year over to my boss and going to ASOS just felt it bittersweet. It was like, "Bye."

- Bronagh

I don't know if this is indicative of the fashion industry as a whole, but it is one of those industries that's so appealing from the outside, but actually once you go into corporate environments, it's a very, very intense culture.

- Anna Shearer

Oh yeah, reality.

- Bronagh

Yeah.

- Anna Shearer

You grow up looking at these huge brands, these corporate brands, that you love and you're like, "I want to work for L'Oreal, I want to work for ASOS," but actually working behind closed doors in the head office is very different to what you see. It's all marketing, what you see.

- Bronagh

What was one of the biggest things you learned?

- Anna Shearer

One of the biggest things I learnt probably was multitasking. Buying is really, really, quite difficult if you don't know what you doing. I thought I was going to be sat front row at Fashion Week. Fashion Week used to be that the buyers would sit in the front row. You'd select your quantities and that would be it. That what I thought it was going to be like. Fashion isn't like that.

- Anna Shearer

I was thinking I was going to swan in there and be traveling around the world, buying different fabrics and they were like, "Yeah, no. You're an admin. You need to sit and work through paperwork. You're a clerk."

- Bronagh

You need to stay in your lane.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. Stay in your lane, and you're there for four years and you earn $17 grand a year and that's it for buyers.

- Milly

Well, okay then.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. It was like, "Right." After a few months at ASOS I was like, "Maybe buying is just not for me." And I was like, "Shit, I've studied this. I've got tuition fees, uni fees from studying it for a year at Philip Green's Retail Academy." So I was thinking, "God, I've got all this university debt, I have to pursue it." But it's really not. If you think how many people study what they did at uni and then they don't actually carry on doing what they're doing. It's almost a waste of money if you think about it.

- Milly 

We just go there and drink.

- Anna Shearer

You go for partying and you make lifetime friends.

- Milly

Yeah, exactly.

- Anna Shearer

Where was I?

Milly

Don't do that kids.

- Bronagh

No. Do not take Millie's advice.

- Milly

Yeah. I just came out of it, so it's a bad time to ask me.

- Anna Shearer

Anyway, yes. Then I finished working at ASOS, but the dream was always to be full time blogger. I think because it was instilled in me from the HV team, I was always working and the blog was a side hustle. I now have carried on with that, if you know what I mean. I'm still working with my agency as my main job and then my blog is a side hustle. I think I just enjoy it that way.

- Bronagh

What gave you the inspiration to start the blog?

- Anna Shearer

I actually never wanted to do one, but my tutor at uni was like, "If you don't start a blog," to the whole class, " ... You won't get a job in fashion and that's it." We had an ultimatum and I was like, "Wow."

- Milly

Well, I better start.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah, I was like, "Oh god, do I actually have to do this?" I started doing a website. I started putting blog posts out and then obviously Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, all of that was born. I evolved with the times and then I started given free stuff and I was like, "Oh, this is interesting." Then I remember the first time that a brand offered me money, and I was like, "Oh, this could actually turn into a business."

- Anna Shearer

But the reason why I started working full-time and why I got the job at Urban was because blogging, you couldn't earn money at the time. I think it was 10 years ago now, because that's when I actually started the website, 10 years ago. You couldn't earn money from it. It wasn't evolved. By then there was only a handful of people who were doing it.

- Bronagh

Do you remember who those people were?

- Anna Shearer

Lorna Lux, Sarah Ashcroft, like the OGs. Proper OGs. Who else? Zoella.

- Bronagh

Yeah, Susie Bubble.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah.

- Bronagh

I always remember Susie Bubble's blog.

- Anna Shearer

What was it? Blonde salad or something?

- Bronagh

Yes, Chiara Ferragni.

- Milly

Oh wow.

- Anna Shearer

Did you see her wedding?

- Bronagh

Oh my goodness. It was insane.

- Anna Shearer

And the documentary on Netflix about her?

- Bronagh

I haven't watched that.

- Milly

It was really interesting.

- Anna Shearer

So interesting.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. She had a good life.

- Anna Shearer

It's subtitled because I think they're Italian. Yes. Yeah, it's really interesting. I was just not like, "You're like a dream."

- Milly

Can I have your life please?

- Anna Shearer

I know. I always think if I actually pursued blogging and I was still living at home, I would have been able to grow it and become-

- Milly

Whatever.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah, full-time blogger, but because I was working it held back on growth a little bit because I was focused a bit more on 9:00 to 5:00, although now in hindsight, with the way things are going, I'm glad that I worked in an office because I totally understand the way that structure is meant to be and I'm not lazy and I've got more of a drive to succeed. Whereas people that just come out of uni and just go straight to a blogging, they do feel a bit lost. I'm friends with people that just got out of uni and they're like, "I don't know what I want to do. Do I get a job?" I'm like, "I would recommend getting a job honestly for a year and just experience it."

- Bronagh

They don't have the knowledge to ... Once you've got the knowledge of how the other person's, say the brand thinks, you're in a much better position to negotiate better deals essentially.

- Anna Shearer

Definitely.

- Bronagh

You know what they're thinking, whereas if you've got no empathy for how that person thinks or what their key responsibilities and their job are, you're almost going to be ... The person on the other end of the brand is just going to perpetuate that blogger generalisation.

- Anna Shearer

Definitely. Moving from ASOS, I actually worked for a luxury skincare brand. It was meant to be just a six months to 12 months stint. It went on for three and a half years and I built my way up and then I ended up being the marketing manager for the company in the UK. I loved it because that's where I learned all of my marketing skills, which then led me to start my own marketing agency, Digital Blitz. That's been amazing. That really helped me leave my job and keep me afloat because obviously blogging cover is good, but it's inconsistent and yet you don't know when you're going to get paid. I remember one brand took a year to pay me.

- Milly

Wow.

- Anna Shearer

You just don't know. It's not a set paycheck every month and because I've worked in an office, I was like, "I like that paycheck every month." Yeah, I've had the agency now for two years. I split my time, 60/40, I'd say. 60% I spend on the agency and growing brands, Instagrams and stuff like that and growing their businesses, doing paid traffic ads, and all of that, websites, SEOs, all that digital marketing stuff. Then the other 40% is blog stuff, which is actually quite fun because it's almost like a fun hobby now. I hustle with the agency and then I enjoy the blog, 40% of my time going to events, traveling for the holidays or whatnot.

- Milly

Amazing. Do you think having the agency has changed your perspective of being a blogger now?

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. I feel like I'm way more ahead of the curve because I constantly have to be on the ball. For example, things like TikTok, that new app Byte that's come out. It's like Vine 2. Yeah.

- Milly

Oh goodness.

- Anna Shearer

The owner of Vine has launched this new app. It launched a week ago. I have to be on it and stuff like that because the clients constantly want to be on the next big thing.

- Milly

And they'll be asking you, I suppose?

- Anna Shearer

Yeah, they come to me. I'm their fount of knowledge so I have to be ... I'm signed up to all the digital marketing magazines. I'm a proper techie.

- Milly

Your inbox must be insane.

- Anna Shearer

I know. It's really interesting. I love it. I'm always reading about new stuff.

- Bronagh

What's your feelings on how Instagram has evolved?

- Anna Shearer

Instagram, I have a love hate relationship with the app. I used to love it. I used to really love it and everyone needs to slag off and I'd be like, "No, I love it," because I got on it early. I lived the dream while I was working, I was still going on free holidays, trips to France and I loved it. But I think the way the algorithm has changed, they're trying to make people... Which benefits me in one way because of my agency, but doesn't with the blog. They're trying to make people pay for reach. Organic reach is much less now, which is really difficult for bloggers because businesses thrive. Pay traffic is thriving at the moment, but organic reach is just not good. It's really difficult to grow.

- Bronagh

Yeah. I just feel like as an emerging creator it's such ... I always say this about ... YouTube is exactly the same. I really don't understand how anybody ... A very small number of people can get to that superstar level now.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. And they call it [inaudible]-

- Bronagh

Virality? Yeah.

- Anna Shearer

Virality. How you go viral is 1% of Instagram that are able to go viral and it's usually because you're friends with a celebrity or you're someone that's been on TV.

- Milly

You've been tagged by the right thing.

- Anna Shearer

Exactly.

- Bronagh

But I also think going viral is dangerous though because it's like that overnight fame thing. People can't really cope with that level of exposure, all of the stuff that comes out.

- Milly

It's like Love Island. All of the stuff that's come out with them. 

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. There's a girl on TikTok, it's actually two girls where they didn't do anything before. They weren't bloggers. They were just normal girls, 15 years old. In six months time, this girl has 20 million followers on TikTok. It's mental.

- Milly

Yeah.

- Anna Shearer

I've been looking at interviews with her and it's like she's a little baby. I feel so sorry for her. She sat there with her parents in the interviews and she's like, "I don't know what to do. I don't know how to negotiate a brand deal. Money's been chucked at me from left, right and center." She had an interview with Gary B. I don't know if you know him.

- Milly

Yeah.

- Anna Shearer

An entrepreneurial guy, I love him. He was just like, "Follow what your parents say and make sure they guide you," but then he was saying to the parents, "Make sure she's not the golden goose. Don't rely on her for income and stuff, but help her build her little empire." In six months time, her whole life's changed. It's crazy.

- Bronagh

Yeah, there that real duty of care from platforms because they are propelling, especially TikTok. It's mostly young people. It's mostly teenagers who are in the multi-millions now. It's like, where is there to go from that point? You want to grow at your own pace.

- Anna Shearer

Well, like any social media app, the teenagers jump on it first. Instagram's the same. Think about it. I was 17 when I jumped on it and I was an early adopter of Instagram because we were ... Teenagers on the ball with that kind of thing. They're at school, they've got more time to play around.

- Milly

They all talk about it.

- Anna Shearer

They all talk about it. Yeah. Word gets around. Teenagers jump on it first and then slowly the adults get on it. Facebook is a perfect example of that. We used Facebook and then our parents, 15 years later we're like, "Oh my God. Facebook. My old friend Patsy from school."

- Milly

I'll poke you.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. Look, I've just nudged you. I'm like, "Mum, you are so 2000."

- Milly

They're waving.

- Bronagh

I also think it's really interesting when you work in this industry, you're so invested in it and then when you speak to your brand that's just starting to look at Instagram advertising or just starting.

- Anna Shearer

They don't have a clue.

- Bronagh

Yeah. It's so-

- Anna Shearer

This is where I come in.

- Bronagh

Yeah. Well, I was going to say, what are some of the main things that you find brands struggle with?

- Anna Shearer

Do you know what? It's the most simple things. So things like your feed, how you create your feed, how it looks as a whole. There are nine images in the road. Does it look like a Pinterest board? That's how I was trying to fit it. Brands have no idea what image looks good next to what image? You'd never put two standing girls next to each other in an image. It just doesn't work. You have to do a lifestyle image in between to spread it out. It's really difficult to teach that to someone, so I often have to curate their feed for them. Then every now and then they'll upload their own image and I'm like, "Stop. You're messing everything up." I'm OCD about how it looks.

- Anna Shearer

Just that creative eye, they just haven't got it. They've got the entrepreneurial spirit and business mind about them and they can scale a business quite easily, but I come into for the creative side of that., which they haven't got. You're either creative or you're figures really. You can kind of do both, but I've never met anyone that's really amazing.

- Bronagh

Can do both well.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah.

- Bronagh

How do you tailor it from brand to brand? What's the process? Because obviously every brand can't have the same feed.

- Anna Shearer

They usually send a branding pack and if they haven't got it, we'll sit down and we'll line it all out because I love branding. If the branding's off, I usually tell them and then I'd remake our logos and stuff. Like I'm like, "No, you're just ... No."

- Milly

Start over.

- Anna Shearer

That's usually single white females. For example, a woman that she started doing her own business and has just started in the last year. It's easy to remake someone's logo, whereas it's harder if their business is larger. What was the question?

- Bronagh

How do you tailor it from brand to brand? I'm just interested. You'll have a specific feed that you probably like, but a brand might come in and say, "Oh no, I'm not sure that that quite works for us." How do you then tailor what you think looks good?

- Anna Shearer

Yeah, back to the branding pack. They'll send me a branding pack. They usually have fonts that they use and a branding agency usually made that pack for them. Then they have hex codes, which is a color or three different colors that they only use, so I try to stick to that. For example, if I made a quote for Instagram, I would make all of Canva or Photoshop and I'd only stick to that hex code that is in line with their branding. So that's how you do it.

- Anna Shearer

Then you usually sit down. I usually ask them to make me a Pinterest board and pin images that they like, so I get the feel of what the brand's about. Yeah. I'm working with a brand and it's really interesting. She loves LA vibes but a little bit of an edgy LA vibe, not standard palm trees. She likes girls on surfboards but not on a beach, but on the road with trainers on and stuff. It's a slight twist, which is quite difficult to translate to someone, so you have to be able-

- Milly

To see it.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah, face to face meetings, lots of Pinterest boards, lots of creative meetings, which I love. That's the fun part really.

- Bronagh

What tone of voice? Because I always find it's the dreaded caption, People really don't know how to write a caption.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah.

- Bronagh

How do you advise people on ...?

- Anna Shearer

I usually do that.

- Bronagh

Okay.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah, so they leave it all to me.

- Milly

I guess you're a probably a pro now.

- Anna Shearer

Yes, to be honest. I've got a friend actually with an agency and she didn't know how to write a caption for something and I was like, "Give it to me." I just did it in two seconds. She was like, "How the hell did you do that?" I'm like, "Ive just done it for so many years. It's just like-

- Milly

Second nature to you.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. It's just easy, It is practice though. When you practice something, yeah. But you just have to be quite witty with it.

- Bronagh

We've obviously talked about your role within your agency. Let's talk about your own platforms. How do you navigate your relationships with brands? What is the biggest bulk of your work at the minute?

- Anna Shearer

I'd say I'm quite lucky in the sense I've got a long relationship now with many brands. You guys are just one of them, so obviously it was one of the first. It was three years ago you guys started but a lot of the brands on your website I also had already spoken to or worked with, which is really good because when they have companies that come up they always to know where to come. They just email me. I'm friends with a lot of them now. Even though like PR girls I've met, PR girls move around quite a lot, but because I'm friends with them, they'll take me with them to whatever company they go to, so it actually works quite well because you end up-

- Milly

Tapping into other brands, yeah.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. Tapping into loads of other brands.

- Bronagh

What do you appreciate in those relationships? How do you like to be contacted?

- Anna Shearer

I prefer email.

- Bronagh

Yeah.

- Anna Shearer

I know that a lot of friends bloggers of mine who are younger prefer DM. I don't really like DM. Maybe I'm old fashioned, I just don't like that some brands that will send me their links over DM and I'm like, "No, no, no. I just want it on the email. It's one place. I can file it." I have so many DMS from followers and stuff asking questions. I don't need to muddle it up with brand deals. I'd rather have it all on email. But I think the younger generation are doing everything on DM, which is kind of lame.

- Milly

They love the DM.

- Anna Shearer

They love a DM. I prefer emails really to negotiate brand deals and stuff. I do it with myself. I tried going with an agent for about three months and didn't like it.

- Bronagh

What did you not like about it? Is it relinquishing control a little bit?

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. I had to give over my email so that brands were emailing them and I feel they were taking my brand contacts.

- Bronagh

Ugh.

- Anna Shearer

Maybe I was paranoid but I thought, "If you're taking my brand contacts, then you can use that for another blogger and stuff." I just didn't like it. Yeah. They were like, "Can you just make sure that they email your email but it bounces onto ours," and I was just a bit funny about it. I was like, "No." Then they were also taking 20% cut of brands that I've worked for years and I knew them and I was like, "This is so pointless. I get paid $3 grand and they take 20% but that girl is my friend. Why should I give them 20%?" I was like, "This is just not me."

- Bronagh

No.

- Anna Shearer

20% doesn't seem like much, but when you're working in the thousands it really is.

- Milly

Oh yeah, definitely.

- Anna Shearer

I actually found I was getting more jobs on my own than through them because I'm friends with a lot of PRs and stuff.

- Bronagh

Yeah. Well, that's it. There's no worse thing than a bad agent, but then there's no better thing than a really good agent. It's about navigating the right time when you need that.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah.

- Bronagh

Is it something that you'd ever be open to in the future or do you think that you'd like to stay running your own business?

- Anna Shearer

I think if it got unmanageable, then I would ask for help.

- Bronagh

Yeah.

- Anna Shearer

I don't actually think I'd ever get an agent again. I think I'd get an assistant or a photographer. I feel the way that Lydia Mullins runs her business is quite ... What's the word? Inspirational. She has it all in her house. She's got an office. She has a full-time photographer, she's got an assistant, but she doesn't have a manager. She literally takes all the profit herself and then she'll give it to whoever helped her. I like that way of working. I think that's rather than an agency, "Here's a brand deal. I'm taking 20%, off you go." It's just a bit soul-less to me. I don't know.

- Bronagh

It's definitely changed. I know a few years ago there were a number of management companies that really were top dogs and had all the top talent and it definitely feels over the past year or so that more and more people want to bring it back in-house and retain ownership of lots of things.

- Anna Shearer

Yes.

- Bronagh

It will be interesting to see whether that changes at all.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah.

- Milly

Especially with TikTok, because it's how do you, I guess, control something that's so everywhere because TikTok is everything. There's no defined formula for it now.

- Anna Shearer

It's crazy. Yeah. You can literally go viral overnight on TikTok. Your reach is what Instagram was 10 years ago. It's a really exciting place to be at the moment. If you're not on TikTok, you're doing something wrong. The time to get on TikTok was yesterday.

- Milly

Yeah, you're late.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. Brands are like, "Do I need to get on," and I'm like, "Yeah." I put one of my clients on and I was like ... There was me with my own personal one doing six videos a day or whatever, trying to grow it. I put one video on for her and it went viral.

- Bronagh

No way.

- Anna Shearer

It got 100,000 views on it. I was like, "Oh my God, bloody typical."

- Bronagh

That's why they pay me the big money.

- Anna Shearer

I was like, "For god's sake."

- Milly

That's the 60/40 right there.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah, literally.

- Bronagh

Yeah. I think that if you are someone that wants to diversify, so if you want to do brand stuff, if you want to do publishing, if you want to do licensing, if you want to do live, if you want to do blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, maybe it's time to think about having a team that can really supercharge that. But actually, when it comes to brand relationships, I get what you're saying. If you've already got that direct relationship, it doesn't really make sense to have a middle person in between.

- Anna Shearer

And as time goes on, I realise that I'm just gaining more and more contacts. My network is quite big. When I meet new bloggers they're like, "Oh, how'd you have the contact from L'Oreal?" I'm like, "I just worked with them for years." Once you work with them once and you go on a trip and you go to an event and that's your contact made and your relationship made with them. Then they just contact you whenever.

- Anna Shearer

L'Oreal, I go to London Fashion Week with them every year now because me and the girl are friends now. We go for coffee, we go for lunch because we've worked together so much. You just bonded with these people and they're not strangers anymore. It doesn't feel like business anymore. Whereas when you haven't worked with a brand before it does feel like a business deal where you're talking very particularly, whereas you're not talking about boys and gossip.

- Milly

Did you see that photo?

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. Did you watch Love Island last night?

- Bronagh

As someone who's been in the industry for a little while now, what is the stuff that still excites you? Because obviously when you first start, as you said, you're like, "Oh, I've got gifted stuff and now they want to pay me." What is this stuff now that you get excited to buy or look forward to?

- Anna Shearer

I love the travel aspect of blogging. I have traveled so many places on the globe that I never thought I'd gone with brands, which I think is so cool. Speaking of The Influence Room, my favourite collaboration was when Jaguar, the car company, took me to Corsico on a private jet.

- Bronagh

Oh my god.

- Anna Shearer

Hello. That was on your platform. When bloggers come to me, they're like, "What's the Influence Room like? Should I get on it?" I'm like, "Hell to the yes, get on it. What are you doing? It's the best." I've had so many cool campaigns on it. I would have never gone on a private jet before. I do well but not that well. Never ever would I have dreamed.

- Bronagh

Well I guess that's it. We still find more and more that it's about keeping contra deals interesting. For anyone who's just start listening to this podcast and doesn't know what the Influence room is, it's predominantly a contra platform. The ethos behind it is that we build advocacy over endorsement sometimes. Endorsement is where usually someone's being paid to say something. What we want to do is build almost the starters of those relationships, which do come more from an advocacy level. Then if you go on to have a commercial relationship, great, because everybody needs to get paid at the end of the day.

- Anna Shearer

But it's almost like you could compare it to interning.

- Bronagh

Yes.

- Anna Shearer

You're interning for a company like Kurt Geiger like I did. Then if you do well, they'll hire you. It's almost like that. If you give us the one and then you promote it on your blog and it does well and I get sales or whatever and the collaboration goes well, then they pay you next time. It's like an interview process as well.

- Bronagh

We also try to advise people that there has ... Let's take a platform like Instagram for example, because it did become so saturated with commercial work, it really has switched a lot of audiences off. We always try to advise people, "You do need to get the balance of stuff that you just like doing because you like doing it. Not every single post needs to be an ad," because that exposes them when the audience gets a little bit-

- Milly

They switch off, don't they?

- Bronagh

Yeah. But then not everyone agrees with that. Some people might say, "Well, I like doing all my deals. I like that all my work is paid for." But I just hope that as the industry continues to evolve, that people do see the value in building just this more authentic relationship.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah, definitely.

- Bronagh

What have you got coming up this year?

- Anna Shearer

What have I got coming up? I think I want to start my own something. Growing all these brands and stuff on social media and helping them build their businesses essentially, I could easily do my own something. I'm toying with the idea of what I want to do.

- Bronagh

Okay.

- Anna Shearer

I don't know.

- Bronagh

Have you thought of the category yet? Fashion, beauty?

- Anna Shearer

I've played around with candles, a fashion line, shoe line. Makeup, I love. I just love everything. I need to really hound in on something because I know that I'm quite impulsive. I want to pick something and make sure I execute it like excellent and make sure it's really what I want to put out. It's quite scary once you've got this following. You can't put something out that's half-assed. It really has to be perfect, otherwise you get such a backlash.

- Milly

Also you don't want to do all of them and then not do them to the best of your ability and then be like, "Darn it. I should've just done that one."

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. Definitely. I'm seeing a lot more bloggers become a bit more entrepreneurial and start their own business, which I love because I love a good girl boss. I feel like that's my next step because I'm able to grow other people's businesses. Why shouldn't I be able to do my own?

- Bronagh

Absolutely.

- Anna Shearer

Yeah. I'm not sure yet. I'll let you know.

- Bronagh

That's exciting.

- Milly

We'll help as much as we can.

- Anna Shearer

Yes, exactly.

- Bronagh:

Well, I don't know. For anyone who is listening who maybe doesn't follow you already, where can they find you?

- Anna Shearer

You can find me at @AnnaVShearer. That's another thing. I changed my username.

- Milly

I was going to say.

- Anna Shearer

Yes. I thought it would be a good opportunity to say it on the podcast. It used to be Le Fashion Fetish. I noticed more bloggers doing this. Happily Gray changed her name to her actual name, Zoella. That was the thing back then, you had like a blog name. That was my blog name and then everyone's like, "What's your actual name?" Then an evolving blog, you grow your own personal brand rather than a blog name. Blogs don't really exist anymore. I don't really know who reads the blogs. I don't even do my blog anymore. So I was like, "Who is Le Fashion Fetish? She doesn't exist anymore. Let's move onto my own name."

- Anna Shearer

I changed it and I had a bit of a dip in engagement because people couldn't find me. They were DM-ing like, "Where are you?" Even my friends were like, "What's your ... Have you deleted it?" I'm like, "No, I'm still here guys." For months I had to keep putting stories out like, "By the way, I've changed my name. Sorry, I sound like a broken record." Yes. It's Anna V. Shearer, which is my name. I think most of my social handles are all that. I've got TikTok, YouTube, Twitter. I haven't got Snapchat anymore. Oh, I'm on Byte now.

- Bronagh

Okay.

- Anna Shearer

The new thing. If you don't know what Byte is guys, it's like the Vine 2. Yeah.

- Bronagh

Great. Well thank you so much for joining us today Anna. We're delighted that you're still a member.

- Anna Shearer

Yes.

- Bronagh

Anyone who isn't a member already, get in touch. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks for listening.

- Anna Shearer

Thanks, bye.

- Bronagh

Thank you so much for listening to the Influence Room podcast. If you'd like to know more about what we do and become a member, please head over to the Influence Room.com or you can follow us on Instagram at the Influence Room. See you next time.