In celebration of New York Fashion Week, we looked no further than one of our favorite fashion bloggers, Jessica Wang, Through her popular blog, Not Jess Fashion, Jessica has been crushing growing her business and her family while supporting other mamas along the way. With over 600K followers on Instagram, Jess shares her tips on how to create meaningful content, staying organized and some motherhood wisdom we should all adopt. Read on…
You left behind a corporate 9 – 5 job in favor of following your dreams and starting Not Jess Fashion. What was the tipping point that really took you from daydreaming to knowing you wanted to take action and turn your passion into a business?
I got hired by Morgan Stanley right out of college, and I’ve always thought that numbers/finance was my thing, but shortly after, I realized it was not at all what I wanted my life to be. I’ve always been interested in fashion, but would have never dreamt of making a career out of it. Without any fashion background or a single connection in the fashion industry, I knew I had to hustle hard. I’ll be the first person to tell you that it’s not an easy business to be in. As glamorous as it seems, there’s so much sweat and tears that go into it. But at the end of the day, I’m so passionate about what I do and it makes it all worth it. So to answer your question, there’s no one tipping point. There were lots of rewarding moments like starring in the Make Up For Ever nationwide ad campaign (seeing my face on the subway and in the Sephora stores were just so surreal), being featured on a 4-page spread on People’s Style Watch, and flying to Beijing as a guest of Omega’s CEO. All these things are reinforcement that the hard work I put into my passion have started to pay off, and it’s all worth it.
Was everyone supportive of this move?
I think any full-time blogger could relate to this, but there were lots of people who were skeptical – my parents, friends, and even my husband haha. However, you can’t always make decisions based on everyone else’s feelings. I’ve learned that going with your gut serves you well in the long run.
We love that you now host a weekly series dedicated to helping bloggers focusing on how to get the best photography, to creating a personal brand, and everything in between. What are your three key lessons for someone wanting to elevate their own voices on social?
My top three lessons for someone wanting to elevate their voice on social would be:
1. Have a specific point-of-view. I know this is so cliche to say, but it’s so important. In a place where everyone is basically doing the same thing, wearing the same thing, and saying the same thing, find a way to make your content stand out.
2. Don’t get so caught up in the numbers game. I think when you get too focused on numbers you lose sight of your original intention and creativity. It can also be discouraging, so stay in your lane.
3. Be patient. Things don’t turn up over night. You have to be patient and dedicated to the craft – whether it’s writing, photography, or social media. Things always tend to happen when you least expect, so work hard and be consistent.
You now have over 600K followers on Instagram (congrats!). Was there a certain post and/or period of time you can point to where you really started to grow your following? If so, what was it?
The algorithm change has definitely slowed down growth this last year or so. I definitely saw the fastest growth prior to that. Today, giveaways have become quite popular in growing. Things like teaming up with a few blogger friends or doing a series of holiday giveaways are good ideas. Just don’t overdo it or else it will actually hurt your brand.
How do you manage the sheer volume of engaging in an authentic way with your followers? Do you have any apps, hacks or assistants?
Where do you see the industry heading in a few years time?
I think everybody will have the chance to be an “influencer” who works with brands no matter how big or small someone is. The industry will only grow bigger but also smarter. Brands have numerous strategies and ways they can track performance now, so you just have to make sure you can deliver – and perform! The audience has also become smarter. They can tell when something isn’t genuine so quality content will become even more important!
For all the positives you’ve experienced, I’m sure there is a flipside. How do you deal with negativity on social media?
You learn to develop a thick skin over time, and I think it helps that I always get tunnel vision. I get so focused on creating content for my blog or social channels, strategizing my business, and being a mom of two, that I have no time for negativity.
Your daughters are rarely seen on your feed and site. Is this a conscious decision?
I do try to open up about my personal life, which includes my family. Although my daughters aren’t regularly featured on my feed, you’ll almost always catch them in my Instagram story. My feed is curated and tailored to have a distinct look – along with my blog – so I only feature them where it makes sense.
How has becoming a mother influenced the way you approach your career?
I think it’s made me more forward looking. When you’re young and have no one else to take care of, it can be easy to get short-sighted and even be a little selfish. But when you’re a mom, you’re always thinking about the future – and about others. Your thoughts are an endless process of how to make something better or more efficient. That’s carried over into my work. You also develop more compassion – especially for other moms, so I think it makes me a more empathetic boss.
Can you remember any break down moments when family and career collided in a major way. How did you deal with the crisis?
Traveling is always hard when you’re a mom, so this was definitely a crisis in the beginning. I tried to take shorter trips and capture lots of content while I was away, so I get to spend more time with my family when I’m home. It’s gotten easier because you learn that it’s a natural cycle for working moms. I still get “mommy guilt” sometimes, so I turn to my friends who are also moms for advice. It’s so nice – and important to have a strong support system. Also, I’m thankful for the great technology we have because when traveling, I’m only a WeChat, Facetime, or phone call away from my girls.
You are a beauty junkie. What’s your beauty secret/obsession right now?
Gosh, how much time do you have? Haha. I live off of sheet masks, especially when I’m traveling – and I love the ones by Dr. Jart. To fake a summer glow, Tarte’s Brazilliance Self-Tanner has been my go-to for years; Tan-Luxe is also an amazing alternative and can be mixed into your moisturizer. I also can’t live without YSL All Hours Foundation and YSL Glow Shot Highlighter. BY TERRY Baume De Rose Lip Balm is the bomb. Oribe has a new hand cream from the Cote D’azur collection and you should get your hands on them when it comes out (no pun intended)…
Who do you look to for inspiration for your career? In Motherhood? In life?
Tina Craig, Chriselle Lim, and Nicole Warne are the ultimate boss babes. I truly respect what they have done and how they’ve paved the way for many of us in the blogging world. In motherhood, I look no further than my mom. She selflessly puts everyone else before her and I’ve never met anyone that works as hard as her. She’s taught me to trust my intuition, speak my mind, express gratitude, and see the humor in life. Be right back, going to give her a hug now.
What are you looking forward to most about Fashion Week? Least?
I always look forward to the shows as I really do enjoy seeing new trends emerge from the runways. Plus, it’s a great time to see my friends whom I don’t normally see. What I’m looking forward to least is the cold – fashion week in February is never fun because trekking around in freezing temps is painful!
3 pearls of wisdom
Keep your word – Kids are like that saying, “Monkey see, monkey do” - same goes for your employees, co-workers, and spouses. You have to lead by example and follow through on your commitments. If you agree to do something, do it. If you make a mistake, own it. Trust is everything when other people are involved.
Always be professional - Unprofessionalism kills. The simplest gestures like please and thank you demonstrates trust, respect, and makes someone more willing to help you!
Address issues up front - Never wait to get clarification or until a problem escalates. You’ll save yourself time and conflict by making your demands clear up front. Do not wait to mend issues because they usually only get worse.