I recently had the pleasure to run into Yanie Yanson at a special perfumery class taught at Shanghai’s Condé Nast Center of Fashion & Design by Givaudan. We first met several years ago when she was still working at an agency and side hustling her blog. As a female entrepreneur who I had previously interviewed for work, enter: The Marginalist by Yanson, I was extremely curious to see where her professional life was taking her a year on. Keep reading below for Yanie’s inspiring words of wisdom.
Chu: Can you briefly walk us through your career story?
Yanson: I started off as a fashion intern in New York for a Korean American fashion designer who was dressing stars like Julia Roberts and Madonna. I received a scholarship by my university at the time, which helped me travel to Milan and France in addition to NYC. Following on from this, I completed a masters in fashion, it gave me an educational opportunity to travel between Shanghai and Paris.
Because of the business scholarship, I was supported to attend Parsons or FIT to study fashion or design, so found my own way to enter the industry.
It wasn’t until I got to Shanghai that I was recognised as an influencer with significant monetisation. I worked with brands that had larger budgets and it went on from there. Back in my day influencer wasn’t a mature term or career path, it was just a fun hobby.
“KOLs are divided into three different tiers and are nowadays much more fragmented than before. Red (Xiao Hong Shu) and Douyin are two of the hottest platforms for brands to watch out for. Red has over 70 million users and Douyin has around 100 million users and fans registered on the app.” Yanson on China’s must-watch digital marketing trends
Chu: How were you able to successfully establish your agency Pompom?
Yanson: Pompom rebranded only several months ago, and now it is a boutique creative agency of eight people. I strongly believe everyone in Shanghai can do PR as it is based on execution but a creative agency is about thinking creatively and strategically. We try to see more of a visionary, see what the fashion and cultural trends are expecting from advertising, videos and editorials. We created Pompom to help clients amplify their brand’s image and now 95% of the brands we work with are international brands.
“Another factor for brands to bear in mind is localised content; this is very important in China. We offer brands a service to support them in localised content campaigns whether it is an H5 campaign or aimed at Dragon Boat, 11/11 or 5/20 festivals etc.” Yanson on China’s must-watch digital marketing trends
Chu: What experience based advice can you offer aspiring entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own agency or becoming an influencer?
Yanson: It has to come within, it has to be an intrinsic passion not an external interest. You have to ask yourself if you would be a blogger even if the money was not much? Would you do this for fun? Often you will have bad months when there are no gigs, but you have to believe in yourself and focus on what sets you apart from the other bloggers.
Being a female entrepreneur in this industry in Shanghai at this current moment is invigorating as we are celebrating feminism and all thing women empowerment. I feel very lucky to be a woman and working as an entrepreneur today.
You have to identify your niche in the market and think of innovative ways to use that as your strength. A year and half ago we created a localised adapted campaign for one of our clients where we invited and managed over 75 KOLs and celebrities to participate at this super brand day resulting in 35% increase in sales on Tmall. This is an example of the KOL campaign pushes we specialise in.
We may be forced to end the conversation here, but Chu most certainly does not… For the come-full-circle Yanson files, head on over to Selective Attention!
Originally written by Sandy Chu for Selective Attention, 2018. All rights reserved
Additional editing by Elsbeth van Paridon for Temper Magazine
About Selective Attention:
These days after writing B2B content for five years, Chu constantly thinks about the business takeaways in cultural trends, apparel products and around retail, which is making her life tragically tasteless in a melodramatic way that one can only describe as “hipster heartbreak”. With that in mind, Chu is trying to give herself some creative freedom to explore ideas for fun’s sake though she can’t help but include some On a Serious Note sort of content?
Having decided that writing a personal blog would be just too,,, light. Chu went out and bought herself a new domain — Selective Attention (.net though) so she can make this in to a blog publication. The idea is to make this a semi-fun (“oh, joy!” Quote, Chu herself) creative learning exercise which will help her develop her professional interests area’s depth of knowledge that will be written through the lens of personal rumination.
Featured image: Courtesy of Yanie Yanson via Selective Attention
Temper Magazine does not own any of the above English content. All featured English content was re-published by Temper Magazine and originally belongs to Sandy Chu for Selective Attention, 2018. All rights reserved.
An American with more than a decade of work experience in Shanghai, Chu is a China specialist with experience in writing, research scouting, marketing, event management, and translation. Holding a B.A. degree in Advertising, Chu is a cum laude graduate of Michigan State University.
Currently working full-time at WGSN, Chu writes gated B2B content covering Asia product trends, Chinese consumer insights and Chinese digital marketing trends. In this role she has been quoted as an industry expert by BoF.
While her regular work remits focus on identifying and analyzing commercial trends, on a personal level she retains a passion for creative merit and cultural insights around China. Sandy previously ran her own fashion blog and creative events which have been featured in Time Out Shanghai, Femina China, Lonely Planet’s Shanghai city guide and the U.S. edition of Travel & Leisure.
She is currently working on developing her new blog Selective Attention.