In today’s American culture, technology is nearly omnipresent. From children to grandparents, nearly everyone is toting a smartphone, tablet, laptop, and/or camera. According to a recent study by PEW Research, 92% of 18- to 29 year-olds own a smartphone. While the devices we carry often reflect our lifestyle, the way we carry them can affect the way we carry ourselves. This is precisely why Jill-e Designs ramped up with influencer marketing. Afterall, when you’re a lifestyle brand, portraying that lifestyle is paramount to showcase your brand. Consequently, highlighting a lifestyle happens to be at the core of influencer marketing.
The Inception of Jill-e Designs
In a lot of ways Jill-e Designs was a marriage of function and fashion. As fate would have it, the epiphany came to Gail Backal, Founder of Jill-e Designs while she was on her way to a wedding. At the time, Gail’s husband and professional photographer Daryn was packing his camera supplies to shoot a wedding. As Gail would assist Daryn with these shoots, she would help carry all the equipment to and from each location. Then she started asking herself, why does a camera bag always have to be black, boring, and ugly? Why can’t it look nice like a high-end handbag? It was a no-brainer to Gail, who quickly understood the importance of creating a strong first impression. “You look good, you’re dressed professional, and then you’re lugging in this thing that looks like you’re getting ready to go camping,” Gail laughs. “We were representing our company, and it just felt like that bag dressed me down. In 2007, Jill-e Designs launched as a pro-camera bag company, filling the niche for aesthetically-pleasing bags and exceptional functionality. “Function and fashion are not mutually exclusive,” Gail asserts. It wasn’t long before the brand started designing cases, covers, and bags for mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and a multitude of other devices. “We beautify tech.”
Concerns about Influencer Marketing
“There are lot of things out there that people talk about and try to sell you,” says Gail. “And of course they make it sound good, but you don’t really know if it works.” As with any brand, return on investment (ROI) has to be a factor. Gail had tried her hand with social media marketers, SEO gurus, and advertising agencies, but nothing was giving her the boost she was looking for. “I’ve tried many different things but have always been disappointed, quite frankly.” However, Gail soon realized that something was different about ApexDrop’s influencer marketing campaign. “[ApexDrop] got who we are, what we’re about, and they were super easy to work with,” Gail says. With the process seemingly simple enough, there was still one more looming point of apprehension: “the other concern I had was if the influencers were going to do the brand justice.” As the posts started being published, Jill-e was receiving rave reviews and the influencers were loving the products. The design was on point, the functionality was exquisite, and the price point was fair. As time went by, Gail quickly saw the potential of having professional influencers on board. “I thought what the heck, as long as the photography is good, I would probably spend that much, maybe even more, on one lifestyle photography shoot. I felt like it was low risk from that perspective.” Gail’s risk ultimately paid off big time. “The photography is excellent. Looking at what they’re doing with our products, how they’re styling it, how they’re posing, and how they’re pairing it with their outfits.” Because of her extensive experience with photography that includes both wedding photography and a career at Kodak, the value of visual content weighs heavily on Gail’s decision to have made the leap into influencer marketing. She states, “I’m just blown away with what they’ve done. I’m really, really pleased… They’ve done a better job than I ever imagined.” [/av_textblock]
How a Brand Learn from Influencers
“We’re leveraging that photography like crazy. From that perspective alone, it was definitely a good decision.” Gail didn’t waste any time capitalizing on the content her influencers had created and quickly incorporated their photos on the brand’s website, social media profiles, and monthly lookbooks. Although the lookbook wasn’t necessarily new for Jill-e, the form in which it was presented changed dramatically after receiving her influencers’ photos. “These photos gave us a vision,” Gail shares. “Once we saw the photography coming out of the campaign, we had this idea: why not make it look like Vanity Fair or a high-end magazine? While nearly everyone has a device these days, your personal style determines how you’ll carry it, and how you carry yourself. This is precisely why Jill-e Design bags and accessories are built for both beauty and function. The idea is simple: aesthetics and utility can coexist in the same space. Hands down, business owners will always understand their brand better than anybody else. However, sometimes in the process of cultivating what a brand is, we need the help of others to see what it can be. “The influencers have really helped us understand what our brand can do, Gail says. “I think that’s where they inspired a more significant vision for us…they pushed us to do even more.”
ApexDrop has helped thousands of authentic micro-influencers connect with quality brands through contextual product gifting (also known as trade collaborations). Imagine having an affordable and easy way to get your products featured by hundreds of influencers immediately on Instagram, but without all the extra work. ApexDrop offers an unparalleled service in campaign management from start to finish and can assure that their clients receive quality posts and authenticity. For more information, schedule a call with an ApexDrop Influencer Specialist today www.apexdrop.com/contact