Rachel Martino isn't your typical blogger. She recently became a full time blogger after working corporate as Origins' community manager, and she has created an international brand with over 384k followers all before 25. For Rachel, age ain't nothing but a number.
Now, Rachel is putting all her focus on making sure her blog continues to thrive and living her true calling to the fullest. We caught up with Rachel as we get ready to have her at Create & Cultivate ATL this fall, and had her tell us a little about her experience moving from the corporate world to a full time Francophone blogger.
Make sure to catch Rachel on panel this fall - get your tickets now here!
Francophone American YouTubers are a very rare kind to run into on the internet. What was the ah-ha moment where you thought, "I’ll do both an English and French YouTube channel"?
Yes we certainly are a rare breed! When I was in college I had started my US YouTube channel and was loving the interactions with girls all over the country. As a French major gearing up to study abroad I thought to myself, "I wonder if French girls make beauty videos?" And of course they do. I started watching French YouTubers to practice my French learning and listening skills. I decided to try out a video, and I was hooked! For me it was such a fun way to engage with girls on the other side of the ocean!
You mentioned you studied abroad in France for a while. What are some of the lessons that you learned abroad that you have applied to your brand today?
Taking chances! I first studied abroad in high school and that experience changed my life. I felt I could step outside my comfort zone and try new things. Studying abroad forces you to push yourself! I can't recommend studying abroad enough. In college I was able to spend 9 months on France really learning the language and culture and it really changed my life.
From a young age, you were creating your brand while helping Origins develop their digital footprint as well. What are some of the things you have learned as a digital influencer and a strategist for a corporate environment that have translated into your own business strategy? What are some of the differences?
Working in a corporate environment for a large beauty brand was an incredible experience that helped shaped my business and my life. While at Origins, I learned how a brand operates on every level. Launching and growing the @OriginsUSA Instagram was a highlight of my professional career. I leveraged my knowledge of Instagram from my experiences growing my own audience @RachMartino to help propel our brand's IG to success. Through running a corporate IG I learned the importance of consistency, quality and engagement.
Last year you made the decision to leave Origins as their community manager, to become a full time blogger. How did you come to this decision?
It wasn't an easy one! There were so many things that I loved about my job at Estée Lauder. Working with a team, a daily routine, feeling like a part of a bigger goal not to mention a steady paycheck and benefits. But as more and more exciting projects started to come in, especially travel projects I realized I was at a crossroads. I could continue to dedicate myself to my full-time job and move up in the company, or I could forge a different path and focus on my blog and YouTube channels. I thought about it for a long time but once I made the decision I knew it was the right one. It was certainly scary, but worth it! I gave a long notice, 6 weeks, so I could wrap up loose ends and help find a good replacement, which was so important to me after three years in the position. Now it's been a year and I've never looked back!
What is a piece of advice would you say to anyone who is in a corporate setting who is aspiring to be a full time blogger?
Learn everything you can! Working full time in a very corporate setting taught me so much about business and helped me become the successful blogger I am today. It can be really hard to focus on your blog and a full-time job! It's important to make a schedule for yourself to stay organized. I would often film videos early in the morning before work and shoot blog looks on the weekend, it's all about maximizing your time. If you truly have the passion for blogging that work won't seem so tedious. Also save, save, save! If you want to go full-time freelance you will be in much better position financially if you save money while at your corporate job. It's tempting to buy thousands of dollars worth of clothes, I know, but becoming a blogger can be stressful because you're not getting the weekly paycheck anymore. I saved all the money from my blog and a percentage of my corporate salary when I was working 9 to 5, so when I did decide to make the move to freelance I still felt secure.
The brands that you partner with are always in line with the brand that you have created for yourself. And as you have grown as an influencer, you surely get tons of requests to collaborate. How do you know which brands to decline and which to say yes to to maintain the integrity of your brand?
This is always difficult. As a blogger it is so important to stay true to yourself and your brand but as a business it can be hard to say no to incoming offers that pay the bills. I always try and think "would I buy this?" IF it's something I would pay the money and buy, then it's a good fit. And sometimes it's about infusing your own style into a brand you may not have considered before. They have chosen you because they think your look can align with their brand! But always, always be true to who you are.
What are some of the challenges that you have run into while creating an international brand?
Working at an international level is so exciting for me! I love having an audience all over the world, especially in my beloved France. It can be difficult, however, when working with international teams. There is a language barrier, different customs and sometimes opposing work styles. I always make sure to get everything in writing because calls can be stressful in another language.
Even at an audience level I have made some mistakes. For example, a few years back I made a few Halloween tutorials on my French YouTube channel including a 'Lana Del Ray' costume makeup. I got all these really negative comments and it really upset me. It wasn't until later that I realized in France, if you're going to dress up, it's really only as something scary. For them I was making a mockery of Lana Del Ray! So you have to learn as you go and do research when you can.
Can you let us in a blogger secret that all bloggers know but their audiences are unaware of?
We do have lots of secrets! People always ask me 'how are you so photogenic in photos?' Look at my camera roll and for one photo posted on IG there are 100 that I didn't post! Getting the perfect photo is a bit of an art that required patience, proactive and great filters. Also most bloggers shoot maybe 3 looks in one session - I'll meet with a photographer and have 2 more outfits in my backpack and then change in a public bathroom (very sexy, I know) One time I met with my friend Noelle, who is also a blogger and we each packed 6 swimsuits and a pop-up tent and headed to Rockaway Beach! We changed in the tent which was blowing around like crazy in the wind! But by the time we were done we each had 6 different swimsuits photographed!
If you weren't a digital influencer or community manager for a beauty brand, what would you be doing today?
That's a tough one. As a kid I always wanted to be an actress. I think I've always had that urge to 'out myself out there' which is probably why I ended up as a blogger/YouTuber.
Can you teach us french, sil-vous plait?