BABE #238: KRISTIN JOHNS - Social Media Influencer; CEO, Kristin Made Inc.
Kristin grew up shy, but found her voice — and her successful career — through the personal YouTube channel that she started in college. Garnering upwards of 600,000 followers and 47 million views in just three years time, her channel gives a glimpse into her day-to-day life with a focus on all-things beauty, fashion and home decor, and laid the foundation for her business, Kristin Made Inc. Her sunny demeanor, lifestyle tips, creative brand integrations and daily adventures have cultivated an engaged and encouraging community of viewers and supporters around the world.
Babe you admire and why?
Someone I admire so much is my big sister Ashlyn. She is hilarious, stylish, hardworking and so unique. She’s actually growing a following of her own on social media because people are so attracted to her relatable and laid-back attitude. She works full-time as a kindergarten teacher in Copenhagen, Denmark, and she has a loving marriage and the cutest son in the whole world. I seriously just always hope to be more and more like her!
How do you spend your free time?
I love to spend my free time at home. I am such a homebody and even if it’s just sitting on my couch reading a book or watching a cooking show, it’s where I feel most relaxed.
Current power anthem?
Any song by Lauren Daigle, but specifically “You Say.”
What would you eat for your very last meal?
I would have to choose one of my mom’s homemade dinners; probably crawfish étouffée. She is the best cook, especially with Cajun food since we’re from Louisiana.
What’s something you want to learn or master?
I want to master playing the piano and bread making—two very different things, I know! But I just started learning piano a few months ago and I’m finally able to read chords and play most songs, which makes me so happy. I have slightly dabbled into homemade bread-making and I want to become an expert at it, because there is nothing more cozy than homemade bread.
What’s something not many people know about you?
I was growing up—and really until about two years ago. I was so shy I would hide in the bathroom at parties, even when I knew a lot of the people there. I was so scared to say something stupid or for people not to listen to me that I just wouldn’t say anything at all. YouTube was a huge turning point for me because I started to find my voice and realize my voice and what I had to say actually made a difference.
Tell us about your hustle.
I’ve always loved fashion, home decor and beauty, ever since I could remember. I knew when I started my YouTube channel about three years ago that I would create a brand one day, and I knew it would be very different from other brands out there. I wanted to create a community for inspiration and encouragement, and a place where you could also shop all in one—and that’s what I did.
What does your typical workday look like?
I always film and edit at least two videos for my channel, usually one full-day photo shoot a week for content for my Instagram and the Kristin Made Instagram, lots of phone calls, lots of emails and lots of replying to comments and DMs. I balance that work with also cooking, cleaning, and playing with my dogs all throughout the workday.
Have you always had a love for homemaking?
My love for homemaking started in college when I finally had full creative control to decorate my room. I experimented with lots of different styles like boho, shabby chic, etc., and finally kind of created a style of my own when my husband Marcus and I bought our first house. That’s when I started falling in love with hosting guests, making tons of yummy food and desserts and making everyone feel welcome and cozy when they stepped into our home.
How would you describe your personal style and the elements that influence it?
My personal style is clean but cozy. Modern but welcoming. Old and new. I like to mix elements that might lean a little bit “cold” and make them feel warm and inviting. I don’t like clutter, but I love special vintage pieces accented throughout my home. That definitely carries over into the Kristin Made aesthetic, too.
Tell us about your YouTube channel and social media presence.
I’ve been doing YouTube and social media for about three years now, and it’s definitely not easy. It takes a lot of self-discipline and also a bit of a tough skin, but I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else. Kristin Made ties into my social media presence in a huge way because my followers can also now follow along with this whole new world I’m stepping into, which has been amazing.
With such a demand for a constant online presence, how do you unplug and make time for yourself?
This is what I’m trying to learn to do right now! It’s very, very hard because our life is our work—and we post about our life, so it’s almost impossible for the lines not to be blurred. In 2019 I would love to start setting more concrete work hours for myself, because it can sometimes feel like we both are working from the second we wake up to the second we go to bed. That’s never good.
What would your advice be for others who are looking to brand themselves and/or create a brand online?
Be real, and be yourself. It may sound cliché, but it is 100 percent the truth. There are many, many people on social media, but only one of you. If you stay unique to yourself people will see that and be attracted to that.
What are some common misconceptions about your job?
Many people think it’s an easy, non-time-consuming job. I remember one of my aunts recently asked me, “So you just film and post a video whenever you want—and that’s it?” And I just had to laugh because I can totally see how people can perceive it as being just that simple. Working with brands, keeping up with all of the social media platforms and running your own business is like a double full-time job. When people come out and visit Marcus and I, they always say, “Wow I had no idea how much work y’all have to do!” We just look at each other and laugh.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
Sometimes it’s easy for people to doubt or look down upon young women—which is ridiculous. But I have built a team of incredible, supportive and uplifting people around me, which makes all the difference. Hiring people and supporting people who you know are equal-minded and non-discriminating is the best way you can continue to create a more positive place in the industry.
What’s one of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in your work?
The biggest obstacle for me is myself. Self-doubt and comparison can be truly heart-wrenching and can make me want to quit. But, this past year I’ve gotten to a place where I feel completely confident in my content and what I’m doing. It’s been an incredible feeling.
Who are some women in your field(s) that you look to for inspiration?
Amber Fillerup — the way she balances her business life and her family life is totally encouraging to me. Jaci Smith — she’s not only my friend but someone who is very innovative, business-minded, and generous with her knowledge. Hannah Westby — she’s also one of my best friends and she is the photographer for Kristin Made as well; basically a creative genius, and we have such a similar vision for everything that it makes it so fun and easy to work together.
What motivates and inspires you? What does success look like to you?
My relationship with Jesus keeps me motivated. My main goal with all of this is to show my love for God and to inspire people to know what’s really important in life. Success to me is when I get a message from someone who says that my videos got them through a really difficult season of life, or that they came to know God from my videos—that to me is everything!
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and remember to enjoy where you are right now.
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