My cousin Natalie Alzate, a Marketing major at UCF, has been working super hard on making her YouTube channel relevant for her followers and just landed a position with ICON!!! I am so proud of her!
This was a message I received a couple weeks ago. I have to admit, I only halfway understood what Ana was saying. Yes, I know what YouTube is. Yes, I know what employment is. And yes, our Office has a YouTube channel as well. But most of my experience with YouTube is watching music videos, news anchor fails, and cats doing silly stuff. This sounded really cool. A student had figured out a way to land a job using their social networking presence!
Natalie’s video blog is called, “Natalie’s Outlet” (https://www.youtube.com/user/nataliesoutlet) and contains over 30 fashion and make up videos. Some have a few hundred views. Some have a few thousand views. And her Valentine’s Day video has over 176,000 views!
So how did she do it? How did she land a job with her videos? Hard work! While building her own content, Natalie spent a lot of time interacting with the content of others (that’s why they call it “social” media!) She would share, comment, and start conversations. In this way, she was able to make contact with Michelle Phan, a principle with the ICON network (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxLz-V4V3TY-WCnapvg9odw). ICON consolidates and shares content from top channels on a variety of topics. Because of her networking and number of followers (over 7000), ICON added Natalie’s channel to their line-up and she will now be a contributor to their network.
Here’s my Q&A with Natalie covering what she did, why she does it, and what it means to her career:
Why fashion? Why does it interest you?
I find the fashion industry to be fascinating. I love watching it evolve while remaining inspired from decades past. It is fun because there are no limits to your creativity and it allows you to be whoever you want to be at that moment in time.
How does your blog reflect what you want to do after graduation?
For as long as I can remember, I have been torn between these two inner feelings of wanting to be a successful business woman and having a job where I can do something different everyday and really utilize my creativity. Starting my blog has given me a sense of professionalism while allowing me to create my own unique voice and brand for myself. It is the first thing that I’ve ever done that has given me the confidence to go after the kind of career that I’ve always dreamt of.
What was the biggest challenge(s) you faced?
I’ve faced many challenges with getting this blog up and running! I tip my hat to the people who blog everyday for a living, it is HARD work! The most technical challenge was teaching myself to use square space. I’ll admit, I am not the most computer savvy person on the planet. An ongoing challenge that I feel I will likely never overcome is having my photo taken while I model my outfits. I get SO uncomfortable in front of a camera! In the beginning stages of this project, I did contemplate using photos of other people modeling the clothes, but decided against it. The goal of my blog is to relate to young women and I feel like I can present myself on a more personal level if I feature myself.
How do you come up with new content?
I like to set aside an hour or two every week to “shop my closet.” This is the time that I dedicate to doing nothing but picking out a few of my favorite pieces and playing “dress up” until I discover new ways to wear them. It typically results in a disaster of clothes all over my bedroom floor that I later have to clean up, but I find that those are always the times that I am struck with the most inspiration!
How have you applied things you’ve learned in classes (Marketing, Management, writing, etc.) to writing a blog?
I have to say that my favorite part about blogging is the actual writing about the pieces that I feature. I didn’t realize how much I loved my clothes until I started writing about them. I feel like previous writing classes that I’ve taken in college have taught me how to get my point across in a way that I appear personal while remaining professional. My marketing classes have been a huge help too! Such a big part of fashion is selling it, and the marketing classes at UCF have definitely helped mold me in that aspect. Knowing how to sell your personal brand as well as your product is key!
What is your ultimate goal, what do you want to get out of this activity?
For a few years now, I have been desperate to move to New York after graduation and pursue a career in fashion marketing. Last year I started taking steps to securing an internship in New York for this summer. Due to personal reasons, that internship is just not going to be possible. When I saw the opportunity to write a blog for an actual class assignment (how cool!) I started to really think about that adventure and how it could benefit me in the long run. What really sold me on the idea was the fact that I can include my blog on my resume! Although I will not be in New York for a fashion internship over the summer, I am still remaining proactive in my goal!
The other day I overheard a student in line at Chick-Fil-A talking on his phone. Actually, he was so loud the dead could hear him! “Yea, there were Apply buttons so I just clicked them all. We’ll see what happens.” I can tell you what will happen….nothing! Good things come to people who DO!! People who step out of their comfort zone and make things happen. People like Natalie who find unique ways to brand themselves, tell a story, and present a value proposition that employers want.
Congratulations Natalie, you did something awesome! I’m proud of you, too!