Benjamin was the winner of our previous Instagram contest and scored an interview with us as one of his prizes! He immigrated to Australia in 2014 from the UK after growing tired of the cold British weather. After completing his degree, Ben decided not to pursue the typical route, he instead, decided to curate, manufacture and promote his own social media clothing line. Utilizing the power of social media and celebrities the brand quickly grew into an online success. Ben’s’ eye for fashion, art and photography is what drives his style and social aesthetic. Combining lifestyle, beards and fashion into a carefully curated feed of quality content, Ben has built a following who are interested and engaged with what he has to say.
Dustin: Hey Benjamin, how are you doing today?
Good thanks and you 🙂
Dustin: It’s early over here in the US. Did you receive all your prizes ok? Any favorites in the bunch? Is it safe to say you got #woofd?
Yes I got them all and love them. I truly got #woofd and I loved it.
Dustin: Have you lived in Australia all your life?
No I lived in the U.K. Till I was 24 🙂
Dustin: Is there anything you miss from the UK you cant get in Australia? What prompted your move?
Probably some of the comfort foods.. prawn cocktail crisps for sure! I’d always wanted to visit Australia from a young age and I guess I was scared to take the leap. I had a bad break up after a two year relationship and just thought “what the hell… its now or never!”
Dustin: What were you doing for work before the move? What are you doing now?
I was a marketing account manager for roughly 10 different brands with an agency.. now I work client side as a marketing and events manager for a fine jewelers.
Peter: So, you declare yourself as a influencer. What’s an influencer according to you?
I guess whether I’m an influencer is open for discussion.. and probably more in the eyes of others than myself. If I influence people by recommending brands that I love then great. I guess that’s the real definition.. I’m sending a sincere message that hey I love this brand you might too.
Craig: Ben, you created your own online fashion brand when you were pretty young. Tell us a bit about that. What made you want to create your own brand / label?
The clothing line was always an aspiration of mine as I’m a very creative person. It was also a challenge and me proving a point to all the people that said it wouldn’t work or I couldn’t do it. I spent 3 years studying biomechanics at university and I just didn’t want to do that straight away so I started the line. I set up social media accounts, designed prints, created a website and just tweeted liked a mad man and it worked… all products were made to order so it was a very low if not zero investment for me apart from time. The brand grew to the point I was making enough money to make it my soul focus.
“If you’re smart, you can be successful without a huge financial risk, social media is a powerful tool but you have to be prepared to put in the time and effort for organic reach.”
Craig: What did you learn from the experience and what advice would you give to someone creating their own?
If you’re smart, you can be successful without a huge financial risk, social media is a powerful tool but you have to be prepared to put in the time and effort for organic reach. If I had to give advice to anyone starting their own brand, take the time to establish your market, research the customer, create a brand that is unique to the market and connect with those customers. Build your brand organically before you invest valuable dollars into advertising in the hopes that it makes you a return. There are ways to test the waters before making such a commitment if you’re prepared to sacrifice your time.
Craig: You’re building a great profile as an influencer down there in Australia, how did you get started?
To be honest I never really took my own social media serious until I moved to Australia.. it started out as a way to keep people back home updated on what I was doing and where I was going and then it just become more of a thing. It’s an artistic platform for me to create photographs that my audience find interesting.
CRaig: Who have you been working with?
I’ve worked with a few brands recently from Bondi sands to charity’s for cancer. Being a marketing manager and knowing the power of influencer marketing I’m always keen to help brands that align well with my content.
Craig: The influencer game looks like a lot of fun with the boat parties, bar openings, movie launches and freebies. Is it all fun and games or is it more hustle than it looks?
It definitely appears more glamorous than it is.. of course it’s fun but there’s a lot of pressure to create good quality content for the brands you work with. You have to understand that the brands have expectations from you as a marketing medium.. they choose to work with you for a reason, you need to deliver. The key is being consistent with your content and only aligning with brands that truely fit your brand. It’s easy to take every opportunity that is put to you but that can be damaging to both you and the brand if the synergy isn’t there.
Dustin: It sounds like you take being a social media influencer seriously. What are your thoughts on the Fyre Festival scandal and on people backing brands, products, or events without know much about them?
I have two opinions on the Fyre Festival: 1. Being a marketing and events manager I know how difficult it can be to organise an event, market the event and then meet peoples expectations. However it seems here that this was never about actually executing. Clearly things weren’t working out as from what I’ve read the actual event was nothing like it was promoted to be. People left stranded in damp tents on an island! Rather than hoping to get patrons drunk to cloud their judgement of the event, the event should have been pulled or postponed until the event organisers could deliver on what they promised. 2. As an influencer (which this event was heavily promoted by) I’m also careful who I align myself with. I often research companies who approach me because I like to know what message I’m sending. It works both ways, brands should also be researching me. Unfortunately in this case I’m not sure the influencers really used their brains. I hear large sums of money were thrown towards them and the promise of exclusive access to an elaborate private island festival, that itself would be hard to resist. But as the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Now these influencers have aligned them selves to an exclusive list, which basically aligns them to the event staff. They were the event promoters, tasked with spreading the word and getting people to attend. They now carry part of the blame in the eyes of their followers who no doubt feel deceived. I appreciate on the influencers part this is probably an innocent mistake and they too, probably had no idea until they arrived however it just goes to show you should take time to consider the job and brand synergy. Mistakes reflect bad on both parties and damage both brands.
“Pride is as much about respect for what our previous generations did to get us where we are today as it is about celebrating and fighting for equality.”
Dustin: Have you noticed any differences in LGBTQ rights in the different countries? How about the pride celebrations?
Germany just legalized gay marriage so that’s a massive step towards equality for the LGBTQ community. It’s about time Australia followed suit but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon! Pride always look absolutely amazing, I really need to get out to the states one year and experience it.
Dustin: I’ve been to pride in Atlanta and San Francisco in the US. The parade in San Francisco is massive! I heard the one in New York City is massive. Do you have any favorite pride activities or traditions?
I really enjoy just getting together with my friends and celebrating diversity. Our community is so rich with different people with different backgrounds and experiences. It is great to hear everyone else’s stories and to reinforce the fact that we are just so lucky to have been born when we were, some people really didn’t have it as easy. Pride is as much about respect for what our previous generations did to get us where we are today as it is about celebrating and fighting for equality.