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Fashion careers: Personal branding with Lynn Quanjel, model, influencer and founder of Social Nomads

By Aileen Yu


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A familiar face on social media, Lynn Quanjel, also known as @whoisthatblonde has worked with L’Oréal and launched a swimwear collection in 2018 with Dutch lingerie brand, Hunkemöller. Taking her fashion entrepreneurship even further by founding Social Nomads, a social media consultancy powered by influencers, Quanjel tells FashionUnited how to make a lasting impression through personal branding as well as what the next trends will be in influencer marketing.

“I’d like to see Social Nomads as a bridge which closes the gap. We consult companies on how to apply influencer marketing correctly and we teach influencers how to work on a more professional level so that both sides meet each other halfway. This way influencer marketing doesn’t only become more efficient, but also more pleasant for both parties.”

Lynn Quanjel

Tell us a bit about your background, how did you break into the fashion industry?

It all started with modeling to pay for my college tuition. This went so well that after completing my master’s degree, I decided to work as a full-time model while freelancing as a fashion editor for multiple magazines. As a model and editor, you meet so many people on a daily basis, so your network grows really fast. When you combine quality photography with engaging writing it’s a logical step to become an influencer.

As an influencer, what have been some highlights in your career and is there anything you’ve learned that you can share with us?

There are so many amazing highlights, I consider myself very lucky. One of my favorite experiences was designing my own swimwear collection for Hunkemöller, which we shot in the Seychelles. Another really fun collaboration was being the face of the L’Oréal Colorista Festival campaign. These brands really understand influencers and know how to work with them in order to get the best possible marketing results. The reason is that they understand influencers are creative individuals who have a very specific target group which they know how to serve better than anyone else. Many brands still make the mistake of thinking influencers as an advertisement space that they can completely curate.

The real key to successful influencer marketing is finding influencers who truly match with your brand and trusting the content creator to do their work. As a consultant I always recommend my clients to create a briefing which is broad on concept level, and specific on practical level: create an overall concept (usually connected to a campaign) which the influencer can fill-in with his or her own personal twist and get very specific on practical details such as deadlines, hashtags, UTM links and buyouts.

Tell us about your social media consultancy, Social Nomads. What made you decide to start your own business?

Social Nomads was founded when Chichi (my business partner) and I saw a business opportunity because we noticed that the marketing world was missing a deeper understanding of influencer marketing. Many companies use influencer marketing nowadays; however, most of them apply it wrong and then claim that it doesn’t work.

Before starting Social Nomads I was working for Sanoma – one of the biggest publishers in the Netherlands- to create their own influencer platform. While talking to their advertisers I noticed that most of them had no clue how to use influencers in their marketing strategies. On the other hand, I also had to work with a lot of influencers who had no idea what reports or benchmarks were and didn’t even know how much money they were worth. From both sides, there was a lack of knowledge and I realized that there wasn’t any company out there that focused on education in order to fill that knowledge gap.

What does a workday look like for you?

As a consultant I focus on education and product development. On a daily basis, I create social media strategies, workshops, inspiration sessions, seminars & influencer campaigns for clients. I also constantly write articles, e-books and social media content for Social Nomads. We are currently working on two additional projects: a video course for SME’s and a podcast.

Besides working from our office in Amsterdam, Chichi and I are also traveling regularly to create content and to work with our international clients. Last month, Chichi was in Hong Kong to research opportunities with Chinese social media companies and not that long ago I was in Los Angeles for a secret project.

What can you tell us about the next trends in influencer marketing?

Due to the increasing importance of voice-driven devices we expect podcasts to become more relevant. You can already see an impressive interest in the US and Scandinavia and it’s continuously growing worldwide. Companies could start their own podcasts to build their authority and increase brand awareness, but they can also use influential podcasts to advertise branded content.

Is it true that nano- and micro-influencers are on the rise?

Nano- and micro-influencer marketing will continue to grow: not only are they cheaper than mega-influencers, but they also have a highly engaged audience. They feel very ‘real’ and therefore trustworthy. More and more nano- and micro-influencer marketplaces will pop up to provide services for these type of campaigns.

However, the nano- and micro-influencer campaigns will still be combined with bigger influencers. The macro- or mega-influencers will be the face of the campaign – connecting their personal image to the brand and creating quality content. Then, the nano- and micro-influencers will boost this campaign by creating a ‘buzz around the brand.’ The perfect combination, if you ask me.

How do you stand out in a saturated market?

I think it’s essential that you choose a specific niche, that way it’s much easier to make an impression with potential clients – that’s why we decided to focus on consultancy rather than all-round influencer marketing. There are numerous marketing agencies that started to offer influencer marketing as a service because it was a hype without really understanding what it means and how to utilize it properly.

Chichi and I both have a following on Instagram and still work as influencers in our free time. Besides that we have created a pool of very capable influencers with each their own expertise in order to serve our clients the best way possible: we have experts in Youtube, Micro-influencers, ‘Realness on social media,’ photography, and so on. Every single person working for Social Nomads has already proven themselves in the field of social media, which guarantees qualitative results for our clients.

What is your must-have fashion item?

A colourful suit! It’s a full outfit so you never have to waste time thinking about how to style your look. It’s powerful, ready for any business-related meetings and still has a fun twist to make people remember you by while looking stylish and bold.

Any words or advice you’d like to share with us?

“It’s okay to be out of your comfort zone.” These words help me deal with stress when I feel like things are moving too fast. The truth is: if you’re not ahead of the curve, you won’t stand out as an entrepreneur so it’s okay to dream big and take ambitious steps to reach your goals. There are only two possibilities when you step out of your comfort zone: You succeed and you get one step closer to your goal. You hit a wall and you learn how to be better next time. If you look at it this way, there is no way you can lose!

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Photos: courtesy of Social Nomads, courtesy of Lynn Quanjel

career coach
Influencer Marketing
Lynn Quanjel
Personal Branding
Social Media
Social Nomads