Social Stars Olivia Perez and Stephanie Shepherd on Building Your Brand from Scratch

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If you've ever dreamed of seeing your latest post featured on Instagram's "Suggested" page, we know just the girls to talk to. Much like Bumble Bizz, Forbes contributor and Friend of a Friend founder Olivia Perez and Revolve digital influencer Stephanie Shepherd (you may have spotted her on past seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashian's as Kim's former assistant) are passionate about the business of branding. We sat does with these two lovely ladies at the Bumble Hive LA to discuss the importance of building and growing a personal brand on social media channels that's all about celebrating your authentic self — not changing it.

Whether you have a passion for fashion or are more of a lifestyle guru, check out their tips to learn how to create collaborative connections and propel you forwards towards your next career move — because, as Perez says, “There’s always a next move.”

On starting a new Instagram following and being virtually unknown

"If you just post what you feel and stay true to that, finding yourself becomes synonymous with building your brand... Instagram is your own marketing tool. So no matter what you do, you’re a brand in and of itself. If you post what you want to post, it’s super special, and it makes it different. It stands out from anybody that kind of looks the same after a while.”

– Stephanie

“I think you have to put numbers aside — and, sure, it’s important to look at what does well if you want to grow — but finding your hobbies and putting them out there so that other people can relate to them and be apart of your story and your brand is really important.”

– Olivia 

“You kind of have to train your audience too and say, “Look, these are things that I like.” And there’s going to be someone out there that likes it too, and you’re going to reach someone—someone’s interest and it can widen your audience.”

– Stephanie

On advice for someone looking to grow their following

“Post everyday — consistency for sure. The cool thing about this whole new movement of an influencer is like you get to be on someone’s phone everyday. You get to be in front of their face everyday. You get to show them something everyday. It’s amazing that you have access to so many people—so if you just keep pushing it out, they’re going to eventually pay attention.” 

– Stephanie

On brand identity

“We want everything and we want to be everything. I think it’s a very old-fashioned way of thinking to say, “If you’re an actress, that’s all you get to do. If you like fashion, you stay in that lane.” We have so many resources and we have so much more at our fingertips. Putting yourself in a box and thinking you have to be one thing is just not the way anymore."

- Olivia

“If you are trying to figure out your brand identity, if you are trying to navigate where you want to go, you have to have a tribe. Have people that you can lean on and go to for advice — people who are successful in what you want to do. Don’t ask some random person who was no clue about what you’re talking about—surround yourself with people who are successful and who you want to be like.”

– Stephanie

On supporting female friends around you

“If my friends get featured in an article, or have good press, or just came out with something — you have to support the people around you. It’s only going to bring you positive energy. There’s enough room for everybody to have success. If the people around you are up on the way, you go together.”

– Stephanie

“You can reach the finish line together. Find that person that you have a competitive streak with and be able to sit next to them at a table and find your common ground and collaborate on something. You’ll always find more success in that than anything.”

– Olivia 

On the connection that transformed their work lives

“Finding people that are like minded — no matter what situation you met them in — flourishing and fostering those relationships is really important... Treat [everyone you meet] like a teacher no matter who they are, and don’t pass judgement. Build your army. Build the people that are going to support you, because you supported them from the beginning, not when they had millions of followers.”


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