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Influencer Sessions: Get To Know @faded_spring

Nov 06, 2023

Influencer Sessions

Influencer Sessions: Get To Know @faded_spring

We caught up with Ana De-Jesus, known on Instagram as @faded_spring, to talk dopamine dressing, discovering your self and dreaming big! Read on as we step into Ana’s colourful world, designed specifically for creative expression and community-building. 

We love your style! Would you say the colours and patterns you choose to wear are an outward expression of your inner feelings? Or does wearing them eventually bring them out of you as the day goes on?

Thank you so much, that is so kind! I absolutely love that question. So, for me, I wear bright and bold colours to not only bring joy into my own life, but also into the lives of others. Feel good colours like red, green, pink, and blue have the power to change the way we think and behave. 

We tend to associate extroverted patterns like florals, and primary colours with positive emotions, which subsequently makes us feel better. When I dress in neutrals, I feel like I am missing a part of my soul. I don’t feel like I am being my authentic self, and long for prints, patterns, and colours to feel happier. So, the colours that I choose aren’t an extension of the way I feel, but rather how I would like to feel. 

I struggle massively with depression and anxiety, so to me colour is therapy. It is a form of self-care, challenging you to gravitate towards colours that invite happiness into your life. For example, blues and green exude tranquillity and serenity. Red is energising and passionate. Purple makes you productive and creative. 

When I dress, I think about how I want to feel. Do I want to feel confident and in control? Do I want to be quirky and maximalist? Or do I want to be calm, and contemplative? 

Tell us about your background and how you started to build your following. 

After I graduated university I was unwell, and was unable to work in the traditional sense. I was someone who never liked staying still, and needed an outlet for my creativity. I started my blog back in 2015, and my social channels followed a little while after. 

What started off as fashion became therapy. I would write about my childhood, and the trauma I faced growing up. As an adult who had come from an abusive home, I hadn’t expected my story to resonate with so many people. So many people related to my journey with overcoming trauma, and identified issues in their own lives that were similar. While it broke my heart that there were so many others who had suffered too, it made me feel proud to share my journey with others who were struggling too. 

Suddenly I didn’t feel alone. I had found my tribe. Most importantly I had found the most authentic version of myself. As I got better, I transitioned into full-time work and moved to London. I was a Journalist, yet I didn’t feel fulfilled. What I loved was content creation. 

Within the first year and a half I transitioned to content creation full-time. Things were going well, and I built my following quickly. But what I didn’t account for was fluctuations in income. My mistake from the beginning was putting my eggs all in one basket, and not diversifying my income. I ran out of money, and into debt. Not because I was spending crazy amounts of money, but because I wasn’t earning enough. I went back into full-time work for several years and was miserable. 

Coincidentally, 2019 was also the year where I stopped posting on Instagram. I felt overwhelmed, incredibly anxious, and struggled to balance everything that was going on in my life. This was the year where everything you could possibly think of happened. 

One of my grandmas died. I went into debt. I was in a house fire. Lived with an aggressive housemate. Went into an incredibly toxic full-time job, that I am still recovering from now. Was mugged twice. There was more, but that’s a story for another time. I came back to Instagram a few months ago, after four years away. While I never stopped blogging, I found Instagram hard to continue. 

However I am back, and so blessed to be here. So that’s a little about me and where I come from. I have Portuguese heritage, and see my (biological) Aunty as my Mum, Aunty and Dad all rolled into one. I grew up in foster care from the age of 10, and have always wanted to be a writer. 

But how did I build my community I hear you ask? I built most of my following by creating authentic, and genuine connections. I try to reply to most comments, engage with my followers often, and share other people’s content. Not only this but in the early days I would attend a lot of events, and connect with creators in person. As well as this, I would cross-promote across all channels, and make sure I posted content that reflected who I was. Content that is bold, brave and different. From the way I write, to my photography and content creation style, it is personal to me. 

A lot of people say to create content that your audience wants to see. To some extent I agree. But at the same time, it is about discovering what makes you happy. If I wanted to have a higher following, I would change everything from my aesthetic, to posting schedule. But I always stay true to myself. What is more important than following is creating a community. Somewhere that feels like home.

Which platforms do you predominantly use? Which is your favourite for posting and which is your favourite for community engagement?

My blog is, and will always be, my number one baby. After all, I am a writer first, and a creator second. My blog is the one constant, but after that I would say Instagram. Particularly now that I am back and am trying to build up my community again. 

It’s a strange one to create a community after being away for four years. However, I am working hard, and love the community that I have on Instagram. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful community who is so understanding of my mental and physical health issues. I can have time off, and they will still be there to support me. 

What type of content do you create (video/static etc), and which type works best for your audience?

Funny story. Before I took a large Instagram break, I would only do static Instagram posts, and Instagram Stories. I barely created carousel images, and videos was something I had never done before. Since I have come back I have been utilising as many Instagram features as possible. I have only been doing videos for a few months, but my editing skills have improved massively. 

As well as this, I am finding it easier to execute outlandish concepts that I have, and understand how to create a video narrative that translates. There is so much I need to improve on but I am proud of what I have achieved. 

As well as this, I also create blog posts, tweets, and work on my Pinterest too. I am looking to focus on TikTok next, but am trying to find the courage to start. I know that video content is what is popular now. However, I still have a soft spot for images. 

In your own words and experience, how would you define “influencer marketing”? 

Influencer marketing is about harnessing the power of content creators to spark change. Whether that is to raise awareness, build relationships or create authentic connections, working with creators is underrated. After all, we quite literally do the job of 10 people. Some people see influencer marketing as unnecessary, but it is the future. 

We are photographers, marketers, creators, writers, SEO specialists, e-marketers, models, and so much more. There are several different types of creator marketing which are predominantly paid, and gifted. There is also affiliate collaborations, and freelance work that comes from working with brands. I just wish that more brands, PR’s and agencies truly recognized the value of working with creators, because we deserve more. To those who see ‘freebies’, I say look further. Nothing is ever free. Not when you have to work overtime to ensure that you create content on time, and are sometimes not being paid for your hard work. More to the point, you are multi-faceted, a Jack of all Trades, who wears many hats.

Why do you think influencer marketing is so powerful today?

It’s simple. Influencer marketing’s success is driven by hard working creators like ourselves. We put blood, sweat and tears into everything we do. We are relatable, and resonate with our audience. People follow us because we are ourselves. We are not celebrities, nor do we claim to be. We are real, tangible people who are credible. 

Creator campaigns are successful because of our engagement, community, and hard work. Brands have so much to gain when working with creators. 

From a business point of view, businesses can reach their target audience, increase brand awareness and even drive sales. At the same time, even when we are collaborating with brands, we are always people-first. 

Have you worked with brands before? How do you decide which brands to work with?

Yes! I have worked with incredible brands over the past few years which I am incredibly grateful for! I feel so lucky that I get to call this my job, and am thankful to do a job that I love and adore. I am someone who is incredibly passionate about three intrinsic values: being authentic, sticking to my ethics, and being my fun, colourful self. From an ethical point of view, I am a proud, cruelty-free vegetarian. 

So what does this mean? I only work with brands that DO NOT TEST on animals, and don’t wear any animal materials. I don’t eat any meat, and fish, and therefore, the brands must be vegetarian friendly. 

As well as this, I don’t promote brands I wouldn’t personally buy from. I know money is difficult. I struggle often. But what is more important is keeping the trust of not only myself, but my audience. I have turned down huge opportunities because they didn’t align with my values. I am learning to stop under-selling myself, and stick to my guns. If you lose deals because of this, just know it wasn’t meant to be. Every action has a consequence, so be prepared to face them. 

I also work with brands who work with a diverse range of creators. It is so important that brands don’t work with the same type of person. If our population is diverse, then so should be creator marketing. Again, I have lost deals because I have turned down work with brands who are not inclusive and diverse. Before money, followers and likes, being true to you is imperative. 

How do you think influencer marketing will change over the next 12 months?

Another great question! I hope that there will be a stronger focus on paid collaborations. Regardless of following, and vanity metrics, everyone should be paid for their time. If you are paid for your job, then so should we. 

Although gifted campaigns are meant to have no requirements to post, many brands really push the boat. They can expect a huge amount of deliverables for free, and even give you contracts. Contracts should only be carried out for paid campaigns, period. While I do gifted campaigns, I am trying to move away from them. I will still do gifted collaborations but it will be on my terms. After all, by 2027, the influencer market will be worth around $1.52 billion. With the cost of living, and demands rising we need to be paid more now than ever before. Exposure doesn’t pay my bills, and it doesn’t pay yours either. 

I also feel like AI will be a huge part of influencer marketing in 2024. After all, already we are seeing AI platforms find creators for campaigns, streamline editing processes, and even write content for you. Imagine how much more advanced it will be in the next 12 months. If AI is already helping users search for specific influencer partnerships, then imagine what the future will hold.

How has influencer marketing changed since you began working within social media?

It’s funny because we associate influencer marketing with social media. However, since the dawn of time marketers have leveraged the power of influential people. Anne Boleyn changed religion, influencing Henry VIII’s decision to break from the Catholic Church. Rosa Parks who led the movement against racial segregation on public transport. Marsha P. Johnson the first self-identified drag queen in the US, a key figure in the Stonewall Riots. Lili Elbe a trans woman who underwent the world’s first documented sex reassignment surgery. All of these people were powerful change makers and influencers who paved the way for those that came after them. 

Influencer marketing as I might know it today though, was very different when I first started. Change makers or influencers were seen as celebrities. Unattainable, out of reach. Back in 2015 blogging and content creation was just getting started. There was little in the way of influencer programmes. Agencies were focused on more traditional forms of marketing. Blogging and social media wasn’t seen as a viable job. Above all there was less focus on vanity metrics. Instead brands looked at content style, and community when working with creators. 

However, influencer marketing has evolved immensely. You have platforms that pay you to create. You have more social media platforms like TikTok with a focus on video content. Brands want to harness the power of creators because they are seen as authentic, and relatable. 

Let’s put it this way. Are you more likely to trust the opinion of a celebrity or a creator?

Do you use any software to help create and edit your content?

Yes! I use a mixture of editing software including In-Shot for videos, and Lightroom/Photoshop for photos. Canva comes in handy to create colourful and fun Pins for Pinterest, while I use Preview to ‘plan my content’. As someone who colour-codes her feed, this helps me organise my content. I know creators use other tools like scheduling platforms, metric tracking, and more editing software, but this is what I use. 

How do you balance your online and offline lives?

I am still trying to work that out aha! When you work for yourself, and can work from everywhere, creating balance is hard. In the past I have been known to have little sleep, working until the early hours. There was no boundary between work and fun, because it was blurred. Everything I ‘did for fun’ was work too. I am a lot better now though. I stop working at a certain time, put my phone away, and try to be present in the moment. I prioritise people who are important to me in my offline life, and make time for my loved ones. 

Above all, I think it is important to focus on self-care and self-love. I spent so many years in a vicious cycle of self-sabotage, destruction and being hard on myself, that learning to relax doesn’t come naturally to me. In fact, sometimes when I try and have fun, or unwind, I can have panic attacks. Yet, I am learning to sit with my emotions, and really work on myself. My one tip? Don’t let your online and offline lives crossover. You need to set boundaries, and create a distinction between the two. 

Which influencers inspire you?

What a lovely question! I have too many to count, but would really like to highlight some smaller creators who deserve the recognition. 

@HannahsColourfulWorld whose account is exactly how it sounds: bold, vibrant, and always guaranteed to put a smile on your face. She is a lovely, relatable mum, who just happens to have a fun sense of fashion. 

@hellokatiegirlblog who pairs gorgeous monochromatic outfits with beautiful art murals. I love her unique aesthetic. 

@pink_atomic_kitten whose creativity knows no bounds. Fun grungy yet colourful outfits and concept videos that are joyful. 

@andrea.colorfulstyle who empowers people to wear more colours just like me. She has some of the best outfit combinations. 

@ojubaby who has colourful daily styling tips and stunning outfit colour combos! She’s also a sweetheart! 

@novasistas who show how sustainable fashion can be fun, colourful and approachable. 

@carlajmellor who has the most adorable family. And guess what? They are all incredibly stylish colour mavens who love bold backgrounds. 

There are so many others that I would have loved to have highlighted, but please show these creators some love as they are wonderful!

Where would you like to take your career as an influencer?

I could sit here and say, I want to make more money. I mean sure, that would be nice. There are so many months where I am struggling to pay the bills, that I often question what I am doing. 

But then I remember the real reason I create. To not only empower myself, but others. So my end goal is to make a difference and engineer change. 

I want to create a movement for mental health in the creator space, and create free resources to help those who are struggling too. To create a community where creators can share their truth in a private and safe environment without feeling like they are going to be judged. Because this would have been nice when I started. To not feel like I was alone. I don’t want others to feel like that. 

Of course, there are already so many wonderful creators who have created safe spaces for other people. But I want to do the same. The difference is focusing on trauma. Because creating can be incredibly cathartic. But it can sometimes be triggering too. I want to be in a position to create a community with free access to professionals who can offer advice, and even therapy sessions. I would include resources to mental health facilities, and create workshops/chats for people to join in. 

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs.

@ Socially Powerful

Author

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Ella Proctor

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