The Impact of the Creator Economy and Influencers on Retail | Interview with Tiffany Hardin

Jan 18, 2024

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In this episode of Let’s Talk a Little Shop, Emilie talks to Tiffany Hardin of Gild Creative Group, an influencer marketing agency that works with BIPOC creators. Tiffany and Emilie discuss:

  • 1:30: Build a business around relationships
  • 2:15: Building connections so ideas take root, that’s what influencer marketing is
  • 3:30: Aligning your company to cultural trends through the voices leading them
  • 5:15: Successful influences need to be able to create content that hold audience attention
  • 6:30: If you want to work with brands, you need to be professional and easy to work with
  • 8:30: How Tiffany built her career in music industry and ended up working with the likes of Kanye West and Missy Elliot
  • 14:00: Don’t be afraid to pivot your careers and change direction
  • 18:54: Be bold, be brave, and ask questions.
  • 23:05: What the world tells you is one thing, what you become is another
  • 27:15: Just because you have a title, doesn’t mean you have all the answers
  • 30:00: You can’t have it all, that leads to burnout
  • 34:09: You can’t be strong and a pillar of strength all the time, you have to learn to ask for help
  • 38:00: Hustle culture needs to die, it’s time to redefine it and become a conscious hustler
  • 40:14: Don’t be afraid of excellence
  • 44:20: Don’t seek validation in others’ definitions of yourself.
  • 46:23: Imposter syndrome holds many women back, it’s time to change that.

What It Takes to Be an Influencer

According to Tiffany, anyone can be an influencer. If you want to have a sustainable career as an influencer, you must be able to build and hold an audience, understand how to work with brands, and you have to be able to create content that others find valuable. Influencers have to have good processes and systems in place in order to do this.

Allow For Self-Discovery and Evolution, You Don’t Know Where It Will Take You

When it comes to your career, you often start off as something “you’ve always wanted to be.” As you move down that career path, you may find yourself discovering that what you set out to become professionally changes. And in fact, you may not want to pursue that career path at all. It’s important to let yourself go through that process of discovery. Let the places you live, the culture that surrounds you, and the opportunities you find there reshape the direction of your career.

For example, Tiffany had wanted to be a singer. As she pursued her career as a singer, she found that she was drawn more into music business and talent management. She decided to pivot and got a degree in music business management. She then started interning and working under influential talent managers in order to build her skillset. She was able to work under reps for everyone from Kayne West and Missy Elliot. It led to moving to New York City because of an offer that came from her hard work and attitude towards her career.

Learning to Own Your Time

After years of working in corporate America, Tiffany wanted to better own her schedule and time. The seeds of entrepreneurship started to take root. She moved from music and talent management to working on the brand side of advertising and strategy. From these two careers, she created a way to merge talent management with advertising and strategy, which is the root of influencer marketing. She realized at an early age that time is her most valuable asset.

As a Woman of Color, it’s Okay to be Be Bold and Hungry

As a woman of color, Tiffany is proud to be viewed as bold and hungry. She talks to Emilie about “when you’re young, you don’t know better – you almost have no filter.” When you’re young, creative expression isn’t something you’ve probably learned to tone down. As you progress in your careers, you learn to play safe, play small, and fit into societal expectations. But today, maybe it’s time to start breaking down the walls, and start using a canvas larger than the paper you’re given. Tiffany wants to see BIPOC communities embracing their hunger, creativity, and boldness in order to own their time, but also build lives they want to live.

Insight: A misconception that many professionals think is that a title requires you to have all the answers. That’s not true, there are things you know, but you’re never going to have all the knowledge you need.

The Future of Work

It’s important to have a vision of where you’re going, but employ the model of “strong opinion, loosely held.” Releasing your mind from what “work should look like”. The environment you’re in is important in what you’re doing. We always think it has to look a certain way, but that’s not true.

You Can Have It All – Just Not All at Once

As Oprah has said, “You can have it all, just not all at once.” Tiffany and Emilie discuss the myth of having it all, and how you have to put this idea down. Instead, you should look at life in seasons, that’s what leads to sustainable growth, and also being in charge of your time. Trying to have it all, all at once, leads you to be tired, and burned out. If you’re trying to “have it all,” it will not only set you back, but it will make you sick. Saying “No” is a superpower everyone should learn to use.

Understanding the Evolution of Relationships

As you evolve professionally and personally, it’s important to accept that relationships change. People that are in your life today, may not be there tomorrow. Some relationships last a lifetime, but some are meant to be there for a certain season of your life. Forget work/life balance, instead, think of having harmony between work and life. If you’re in a busy season, there are things that need to be prioritized. You can’t always be a pillar of strength and wisdom in all areas, you may need people supporting you.

Changing the Narrative on Hustle Culture

It’s important to reclaim language. Hustle culture has negative associations. Tiffany embraces being a hustler, but she’s a Conscious Hustler. Being a conscious hustler is about being mindful in business and life. It’s about high performers being able to consciously know when it’s time to put down and retire goals, and replace them with ones that may be more aligned with their needs.

For example, the desire for excellence is different from the pursuit of perfection. Excellent is doing this right, there is clarity, consistency, and a level of care on things you’re assigning time and attention to. It can be repeated, perfection can’t be repeated. You can create excellence at a high level when you’re extremely mindful of your own values. If you align that, you embody it, and that becomes your culture.

Women and Imposter Syndrome

Women often have wounds that need to be healed in order to feel worthy. Our social conditioning has been, “you’re good enough, as long as you’re good enough for someone else.” Here’s another place where women need to change the self-talk to “If I’m in this room, I’m good enough.”

Tiffany advises women to stop thinking about our shortcomings, and focus on our greatness. She says, “We need to stop creating limiting narratives on what we are able to accomplish. Confidence moves differently. I know who I am and I feel good about who I am.”

When we learn to look at ourselves from a place of wholeness, imposter syndrome fades!

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Emilie Lewis

Emilie Lewis