NEXT UP is Amy (@amyventures) of Amy Chen Design. Amy is a freelance graphic designer, photographer & prop stylist. She is also a fellow color-lover, and an Instagram suggested user....aka she's the real deal! Oh and if you've ever seen or used the hashtag #colorventures, you can thank Amy for that too. This NJ native definitely knows a thing or two about building community and leveraging social media. Read on to hear her awesome advice - spoiler alert: numbers don't mean a thing:
LISH: What do you do?
AMY CHEN: I am a self-employed graphic designer, photographer, and prop stylist. I run my own business where I offer my creative services to brands big and small. It's been a bit of a struggle for me to find my "niche" thus far - so I like to tell people that I dabble in a lot of different areas of expertise. I don't think that you should ever limit your talents or abilities.
L: How has social media influenced your career path/business?
A: Social media has influenced my career path/business in so many ways! In January 2015, I was featured by Instagram for one of their “weekend hashtag projects” – which grew my following to about 7,000. And then a few months later, I was chosen to be a suggested user for a couple weeks – which grew my following to over 40,000. It’s been such a wonderful way to grow my audience, and I have created some amazing relationships with other like-minded creatives! It's also opened up a huge window of opportunity to work with different brands/companies. I definitely don’t think I’d be where I am today without it.
L: Did you ever expect social media to play such a large role in your professional development/business?
A: I never expected my social media following to grow in the way that it has over the last year - nor did I expect it to bring about business opportunities. When I first hopped on Instagram, I didn't treat it like a business tool. I posted poorly edited photos of the food I ate and my messy college workspace (if you scroll far down, those gems are still there, hahaha!). Once I started viewing it as a way to market myself and my talent, my whole world changed. It's amazing how much social media plays a role in professional development these days!
L:What are some opportunities that have resulted from social media?
A: I've gotten to work with such a variety of awesome people and brands through social media - including: Hallmark, Studio DIY, Harry + David, Rent the Runway, and many others. I love that one day I'll be working with a food brand, while the next day I might be working with a fashion brand. I have many interests, so I love that I get to work with such a wide variety.
L: Where do you find inspiration to keep creating?
A: I find inspiration in SO many things - I have a LOT of interests, haha. There's little in this world that DOESN'T excite me. With Pinterest at our fingertips, and everything a Google search away, it can be easy to make excuses for not going out to explore new things... but for me, the best inspiration, in my opinion, is found OFFline. I love to gallery hop, check out museums, street art hunt, cook, bake, go out to eat, window shop at places I can't afford, thrift, collect house plants that usually end up dying, hike, bike... the list goes on.
L: What is one piece of advice you would give to creatives who are looking to use social media to enhance their careers/business?
A: To not obsess over the number of overall followers you have. That number really doesn't matter. What matters most is your relationship with your followers. If you put engaging and valuable content out there, your following will naturally grow. The worst thing you could do to yourself is get wrapped up in how many followers other people have and obsess over comparing your numbers to others. As with anything, real genuine growth takes time.
L: Who are your favorite accounts to follow? Any hidden gems we should know about?
A: Instagram is my social media platform of choice, and I follow WAAAY too many people over there. 10 of my favorites are:
L: What's next for you - tell us about something you're working on!
A: I have an upcoming collaboration with Harry & David where I'll be photographing some of their adorable Easter cake pops! I love styling and photographing food, so I'm pretty excited. I also worked with them for their holiday campaign, so it's nice to continue building my client relationship with them.
on IG, Twitter, Pinterest, & Snapchat (she's a funny one!)