Successful Brand Partnerships According to Influencer, Victoria Hui
If you’ve ever been searching for outfit inspiration or tips on where the next cool cafe in Toronto is, you’ve probably stumbled across Victoria Hui (AKA @thelustlistt on Instagram). With over 93,000 followers and a dreamy hyper-curated grid, Victoria has both built herself a social empire and a thriving self-sustained career. She’s worked with everyone from The Bay to Pandora and has travelled the globe (not without sharing a casually jaw dropping snap of every moment).
As a past Monday Girl speaker and our go-to girl for lifestyle inspo, we asked Victoria to share more insights into the mystical world of being a full-time influencer. What does it take? What’s her daily routine? How do you work with brands? Lucky for us, she graciously spilled the beans:
Tons of travelling, free goodies, glamorous outfits--you're living the dream life! But we know how much work goes into creating content and being an influencer. Not everyone does though. Could you share with us what goes on behind the scenes of Instagram? What does a typical day look like for you as a full-time creator?
Everyday is so different for me since it depends on what sort of projects I'm working on, what events I have to attend, or what meetings I have to go to. A hypothetical day could look like this:
9 AM - Wake up and catch up on social media in bed (Twitter, FB, YT, IG)
10 AM - Catch up on morning emails
11 AM - Roll out of bed and make coffee & breakfast, wash face and apply skincare, apply full face of makeup for a shoot session
12 PM - Shoot a YT video, or head out to shoot some outfit content for IG
2 PM - Lunch
3 PM - Hop on a call, walk my dog Kobe
4 PM - Reply back to emails that came through from the morning
5 PM - Edit photos/videos, or sometimes attend an event
8 PM - Make and eat dinner
9:30 PM - Take a break and relax with Netflix
11:30 PM - Walk Kobe
12 AM - Computer work (edit photos/video, write blog post, organize finances, etc.)
3 AM - Go to bed
You've worked with a lot of brands in the past. What have been a few of your favourite collaborations and what does a successful brand partnership look like to you?
Throughout my career as a blogger, I've had the pleasure of working with phenomenal brands, and some not so great. But some of my favourite collaborations would definitely have to be with McDonald's, Pandora, Dyson, Booking.com, and Canon. From my experience, a successful collaboration comes from a brand that understands Influencer Marketing and how to navigate it. Brands that trust my creative integrity and allow me to produce content without being over restrictive in regards to how the content is shot, how much of the product is integrated into the content, and how I word my captions are truly the ones that succeed.
Being IM became what it was, it merely existed as people online sharing their own organic thoughts about a product or brand to others. You'd never see the full front of a shampoo bottle taking up about 30% of an image accompanied by a caption detailing 10 points of technicalities of the product. That just isn't now normal people converse with each other and seems more like a sales pitch. Many brands are still stuck in the traditional marketing headspace when it comes to IM and can't seem to relinquish the control over messaging.
Not only does it in turn feel disrespectful to me as a creator that you don't trust me enough to obviously not speak about competitors or to speak ill about your product/brand, but it shows that brands are necessarily going after the core value of IM - personal experiences/recommendations/opinions. They see IM as an advertising platform and that influencers are their "megaphones" that they can script what will be said.
So to sum it up, brands that understand why IM is powerful and why creators that speak truly from the heart as opposed to regurgitating prescribed dialogue are the ones that create successful and meaningful partnerships not only with the influencer, but with the consumer as well.
You recently left your full-time job at Hashtag Paid to pursue your own brand full-time. Was that transition difficult for you? What advice would you give to someone thinking about leaving their job to build their own business?
Yes, it was definitely a difficult decision to come to. I left in January of 2018, and although it was a hard and sad decision, it wasn't one that I regretted. At the time, I was extremely conflicted because I was raised with the traditional mindset that securing a stable 9-5 identified as success. Being able to access health benefits, an expense account, and taking industry colleagues out to coffees/lunches was more or less defined as a legitimate career.
Things were going well for me, I was growing my team, I was part of a company that had a vision that I believed in, but at the same time opportunities for my blog/side hustle were also growing rapidly. I found myself feeling guilty of turning down amazing opportunities simply because they would take me out of the day-to-day office time, but I also felt guilty for not taking the time to nurture myself. In the end, the decision was made for me when I re-evaluated my finances and realized that the financial returns on my creative career outweighed those that I had in the office. It definitely was a luxury to be able to make my decision based solely on my income, but it was one that absolutely solidified my decision.
My advice for anyone who is considering leaving their job to build up their own business is to:
a) ensure that you are financially prepared in the situation that your business doesn't pan out the way that you want it to. I made sure that I had saved up enough to keep myself afloat in the case that I needed to re-enter the job market and search for a new job if blogging full time didn't work out.
b) ensure that your annual income from your side hustle at least equates what you're making from your full-time job. You need to ensure that you're at least able to equate your 2 salaries before leaving one behind. This guarantees that you won't be pulling in less.
c) Go for it. If you feel that your side hustle is doing well, who knows if you'll ever get this opportunity again in the future. I fully believe in the carpe diem. Seize every opportunity that is given to you because who knows when you'll get a second chance.
d) Make sure that you have a good and strong support system around you. Being your own boss and only employee can be extremely difficult at first. You spend many days alone and it takes awhile to find your rhythm.
What's next for Victoria? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I'm currently focusing a lot of my attention and efforts into growing my YouTube channel to differentiate what I do. I've found that the Instagram space become extremely oversaturated and I found my work process becoming formulaic. YouTube provided me with a new outlet to teach myself new techniques such as video editing, and a different opportunity to grow. I also aim to create and grow a team of my own and hope that in 5 years time to have at least 3 other people on my team!
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
The beauty product you swear by: Currently - Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter
Something most people don't know about you: I have a condition called cold urticaria, which means that I'm allergic to the cold and I break out in hives in the winter.
Go-to Toronto restaurant: Pho Rùa Vàng Golden Turtle Restaurant
Guilty pleasure: I have too many! Probably bubble tea from Chatime though!
Follow and connect more with Victoria Hui on Instagram here.