Chriselle, tell us more about you and where you’re from?
I started off as a stylist; I was an editor at a local luxury magazine, Genlux magazine. I pretty much was on the traditional fashion editor path. Then I met Michelle Phan. I met her about 8 years ago and had no idea about anything digital related. At that point either you were on YouTube or had a blog. Michelle introduced that digital world to me. There really wasn’t anyone doing fashion on YouTube. I uploaded my first YouTube video 6 years ago, and the response was insane. I had 500,000 views overnight!! This was just me, without having a following. I saw a need and a want from people for this kind of digital content; curated content. A lot of girls on YouTube were posting about things that they bought, and it was very young content. I’m a little older. I really focused on the curated elevated content angle. I saw a huge need for it and a big gap in the editorial world and digital world and I ran with it. Our videos became an overnight hit. From there I started the blog. It was a little bit of right timing, and it was unique content at that time. The combination of those two things made it a success.
How long did it take you before you went full-time?
I went full-time after a year and a half… then that’s when I got my first paid job. Wow. People are willing to pay money for the content that you’re creating!
We have a staff of about 7 people. Our production office is in downtown LA. It’s a well-fueled business now, but it took about 6 years.
What were those key hires?
Laura was my stylist assistant 8 year ago. She’s been so loyal to me. Her role transitioned, and she was my very first hire. In the beginning she was running everything, and now she is the operational director. Coordinating schedules with deals, making sure deadlines come in on time, managing the staff so I can be creative. What I realized was that my hands were full with a little bit of everything, with being the boss, the talent, creative, the writer, the voice, and it got to be a little much . I had to let go of a few things for me to be creative and feel inspired. Now Laura handles all the business elements because I was handling all of that, and it frees me up to be my best on the creative side.
What’s been the biggest surprise to you from becoming a mother?
Going into motherhood I heard all these different stories from different moms. I had this idea that it would be so scary and I’d lose my life. That I wouldn’t be able to jump back. Once I had Chloe, I didn’t jump right back into work. I didn’t lose that part of me, it just got enhanced. So many people talk about how tiring it’s going to be. My life has been better since. It’s actually a great thing. I was expecting the worst, and actually it turned out it wasn’t.
A lot of people assume my husband is super wealthy, and that’s why I’m able to do what I do. We both have to work. People always assume, but we both work very hard.
What are the three characteristics you would use to describe yourself?
Clean, classic, simple and elegant. I’m not really into trends. Clean lines and more classic pieces in my wardrobe.
Who’s been your inspiration?
The classic icons. I think my style mainly comes from me making mistakes. What I feel most beautiful in and what I’m most confident in. For the past 20 years, I tried to adopt as many trends as possible. Looking back on it I cringe; a lot of it has to do with making mistakes. It’s about figuring myself out. Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelley, Bianca Jagger; she was one of the first women to wear an all white suit to a party.
What tips do you have to do suggest finding your style?
I think it really depends on what you gravitate towards. We all gravitate towards expensive things. When you’re shopping or going through a blog, you’ll always love something. I have tons of mood boards. When you see the same things popping up over and over again and find what you like, you’ll see a consistency. Is there a certain color scheme or silhouette that you gravitate towards? I do a lot of screen grabbing and I have a special screen grab folder. If you update our IOS they have this cool new tool to place all of your screengrabs in one folder. It’s like the new mood boarding…finding that consistency with what you like and being aware or it. It’s good to validate your subconscious so you can see what you’re attracted to.
What is your beauty regimen like? Are there tricks you love?
It’s all about skin. If you have amazing skin, you don’t have to wear that much makeup. For me it is all about protecting your skin. Koreans are really focused on good skin your whole life. It’s about preparation. Protecting it all year round. I’ve had skin regime for the past 10 years. I still do it every single night. I never ever fall asleep with makeup now. I don’t drink that much water. I know I should. Let’s be real. Who has the time? I take these hydrating pills that supplement your body for water, because for me I know I’m not getting enough water. Sheet masks…..
What is your vision for the brand and where do you see yourself in one year?
We still plan to grow the content side and to add even more content. We are posting 2 to 3 times a day starting next month. We’re continuing to build up this content machine. The name of the game at the end of the day is; it’s really about good content. We’re continue to build that out for our followers. Right now we’ve had CINC studios, because we have a production team behind us, we’ve garnered the interested in fashion/beauty brands, creating these visually stimulating videos that are very professional. There are not many people doing that kind of quality, so building out our production studio and having that as another business and growing that into a big business is a goal. Right now we have 3 to 5 clients that come back to us. It’s not necessarily me starring in it, but me directing for commercials, fashion films. We’re also starting to work on our Lifestyle category. A lot of the content that does really well is for the motherhood audience. Focusing on that.
What’s been the most challenging thing about being your own boss and leading a team?
The guilt that comes with it. I think that even though we know as working moms don’t need to feel guilty because we are doing this work for our growing families, it’s hard to run away from that guilt. Even though you have validation and are doing it right. I’ve talked to many women about it. Same thing they go through. Maybe I’ll get out of it, it’s only my first year in. There is a never ending cycle of feeling guilty when you have to leave, when you have to travel. It also feels good to be in this position and feeling guilty about loving that and that freedom and you’re able to work is hard. At least for me. It’s a never ending cycle.
I choose not to bring her on trips now. I did it early one and it made me feel worse to know that she was there but I don’t even have time to spend time with her in the hotel room. You have to figure out if it’s worth it to bring your child with you. In the first year, I traveled with her quite a bit and I was hard on her. Being realistic and not selfish. You have to go with what’s better for your child.
What do you do balance?
I shut off on the weekends. I instagram here and there. I don’t put the pressure on myself to do that. I don’t think it’s hurt me at all. It’s only helped me mentally. It’s really hard to shut off when I get home. Most of my work gets done at 9pm. I work up until 1am, 2am. The only time I’m able to shutoff is then, when it’s my hubby + Chloe.
What is your favorite social platform and why?
My favorite platform is snapchat. It is one just so real and authentic. I feel like I could really be myself. It’s not produced at all. It’s what I’m doing. It’s all of a sudden become this beautiful platform to showcase my best work. I go there more for inspiration. When it comes to updating my followers on what I’m doing at the moment, it’s snapchat. That’s where I’m able to showcase my motherhood life a bit more. We really try to keep it more fashion focused on every other platform. I have a lot of mommy followers.
Where do you see the industry heading? In a few years time.
Nothing ever stays the same. When I first started my blog it was the only platform. There was no Instagram. Blog numbers were so high back then. Now, we all have our dedicated followers but to get new blog followers is so much harder. I can’t really predict what is going to happen, but I do think that things are shifting a little bit more towards video and real content vs. very produced and polished things. People and brands are getting smarter about how they place products and sponsorship. We’ve gotten requests for doing integrated content rather than dedicated content. Can you just integrate into your lifestyle.
What advice and tips do you give to people trying to building their own voices on social?
Finding a unique voice, because there are so many people out there right now doing the same thing. I’ve also found that being very open makes you unique. Not everything is the same. I did my pregnancy announcement, but I also shared my story of my miscarriage. That kind of openness, opens the floodgates of them going through the miscarriage too. I think being able to share your story and finding the audience that can relate to you is so important. Maybe it’s the struggles of balancing school and your passion. So be authentic to your own story! One of the reasons why our following is loyal is because a lot of people starting following me before I was married, then when I met Allan and now that I have a baby. It’s almost like this never-ending story. Everyone has a part of his or her story that can relate.
I am excited to get into my 50’s. I’m in my 30’s, and no one thinks it’s a big deal. 40 is kind of weird. 50, I’m not young anymore but I’m still going to be fabulous and people are going to love it.
The other advice I have is to collaborate a lot — I collaborated with different influencers, like Song of Style with Aimee. We partnered when we were both starting off!
You have to be very pro-active about the community you have in front of you.
Who are your mama inspirations?
Words you live by or quotes you love?
Someone once asked the Dalai Lama what surprised him most about humanity. He responded, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.”
I think so many of us focus on goal setting, it’s one thing to be obsessed with them and not having a life outside of them and forgetting to live in the moment. There comes a point where you have to let it go and enjoy the ride. You can always have more and always have less.
Chloe is turning one year next week, that went by so fast. There were so many times I thought I wasn’t going to survive or make it through. Figuring out my whole working situation while breastfeeding. I wish I could go back and enjoy it. Not stressing out about it as much.
What is something that surprised me after becoming a mom?
Beside the fact that I was able to have my life back, the other thing is I’ve always been so business oriented and career oriented and into my building my own career, I never ever could have imagined loving something more than what I do. I never really understood how I could.. but after Chloe came, my world just completely shifted. It’s like a whole nother level and heart to be filled again. I’ve never seen myself as so motherly, so domesticated. I really love it.