UNMRKD WOMAN: Allysa Larson
By Danica Tamura
Meet Allysa Larson, a San Diego based fashion blogger who you’ve probably already seen on Instagram (because she’s killing the game rn). We sat down with Allysa over some coffee to discuss all things Instagram, blogging, and her two passion projects Summer Buns and Pitch and Get Paid. To learn all the deets about the life of a fashion blogger and small business owner, read below!
For the readers who don’t know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Allysa and I am a full time blogger/content creator. I live in San Diego but I’m from Arizona. I grew up and graduated from college there then moved out here. I was working in retail full time and thought that was the career path I was going with and then started doing Instagram as a side hobby for fun. It started growing into something bigger, kind of at the same time I was starting to dislike my corporate job. I wanted to work for myself, do my own thing. That’s what I did and Instagram took off and started to become more of a thing and I just took that leap. I went full time with this in May.
How did you get into/start blogging?
I always have loved fashion. I would always be that girl that my friends would ask what should I wear and can I borrow this out of your closet? I was always that girl and so I decided I should just start posting pictures of my outfits but actually try a little harder and make my feed look like something and not random. I really wanted to niche down to fashion and beach life and once I did that, it sort of started to take off. I really enjoy creating content and putting outfits together and styling them, and so I thought I want to make this a thing, how can I go about doing that? I was posting everyday, getting a lot of content, reaching out to a lot of people asking how they did it and if they had any tips or tricks. There’s still no rule book or anything so you have to figure it out yourself but I think everyone’s journey with it is different.
As a full time blogger, what does your day to day schedule look like?
I would categorize it into two different days. I either have an at-home, administrative day where I don’t leave the house, don’t put makeup on and stay in my pajamas all day. But I’m on the computer all day, responding to emails, editing and submitting content, pitching brands, sending contracts and invoices. Or I’ll have a different day, where I’m out shooting content, meeting up with other influencers, networking, or going to events for brands. Usually I’ll shoot about twice a week, once on the weekend and once during the week.
What is a part of blogging that people never talk about?
I think the biggest misconception that people think when they think of bloggers or influencers is that these girls get free clothes, they take a photo, and they post it - and it’s not hard. But it is hard, we work seven days a week. Sometimes there are events on the weekend and a lot of girls have full time jobs they go to during the week. Then they have to get their content on the weekend and also go to events on the weekend. They do all their blogger stuff on the weekends then do their full time job during the week and it’s hard. I give props to people who do still have full time jobs. I think people laugh when I’m shooting outside and people say “do it for the gram” and I’m like I will do it for the gram and I am doing it for the gram. The shampoo bottle I’m taking a picture of is paying me, does the shampoo bottle in your shower pay you? I just get frustrated because I don’t walk into your office and go mock you and make comments, it’s not my place and it’s not my job.
Do you ever get in a rut with your content? How do you deal with that?
I went through one of those a couple months ago. I felt uninspired and I wasn’t feeling my preset anymore. I felt like it seemed so edited and I wanted to have a more natural look. My preset was doing well for me but I felt like it wasn’t me anymore. I’m like what do I do? Do I cut my hair? Do I dye it? I just took a couple days off from social media altogether. Instead of looking for inspiration on Instagram I went on Pinterest and read fashion magazines. I really looked at outside sources for different inspiration. And then I went to Fashion Week. I feel like that really inspired me because in New York, people have the coolest style. It’s so different there than it is here. That’s kind of when my style transitioned a bit from boho and flowy to more of a street style. I’ve been really happy exploring that avenue while still keeping the beach incorporated.
What are your thoughts on Instagram taking away likes?
There are pros and cons. When I was at an Instagram conference they were saying, “Think about going through middle school or high school with Instagram” - I didn’t have Instagram until I was in college. Growing up with it would be so hard, it’s already hard to make friends, there’s always mean girls, there’s already cliques - you don’t need something else that is more of a popularity contest. People who are younger I totally get not having likes, I feel like maybe there should be an age thing for likes. I feel like on my side, the business side, for brands to see who is engaging with us it would be hard but you can always send them that information. I think either way it would take a lot of pressure off people and I think that would be a really good thing. For me personally, I really try to not let things (like not enough likes or comments) get to me, I try to be very intentional. So if I am posting a photo, it’s because I like it and I am proud of the work I created and regardless of how it does, I’m going to leave it up. Why put out content you don’t like or aren’t proud of?
Can you tell us about your company Summer Buns?
I came up with the name because I really wanted a beach brand. I thought it was cheeky and cute, like if you are in a bikini, then summer buns! For me, it was always don’t put your eggs in one basket. Instagram is so unpredictable, it could go away tomorrow and what would you do? A lot of people talk about that. I wanted something else that was my own, and I’ve always wanted something else that was my own company. I wanted to start with something small that had a low cost of entry. I was researching trends and what people were into, and that was sort of when the 90’s started coming back in trends. That’s how scrunchies came up - originally I wanted to do hair scarves, but it is really hard to find manufacturers in another country that are easy to communicate with, do your designs, and be affordable. And it’s so expensive to produce in the United States, like five to ten times more expensive. And as a small business, you just can’t afford it. I really wanted to be “Made in the USA” but it’s so expensive, so now I get why a lot of companies don’t.
When the hair scarves didn’t really work out, I started to switch over into the pearl hair clips and the scrunchies. I thought they were so fun, and I’m always one of those girls running around and throwing my hair up. I started researching, and silk is really good for your hair - silk scrunchies won’t twist and pull at your hair. I thought pearl hair clips were also just so cute and such a fun trend. There are so many styles and ways to style it, I feel like there are so many industries you can go in to with it like bridal, hair salons, boutiques, and spas. I feel like there is such a great market for it and being in San Diego is great because there are so many businesses that love to support locally, so I’ve made so many connections that way. And there are going to be a lot of trunk shows and holiday shops coming up, so I’m excited to do those soon and be face to face with customers.
What made you decide to launch Pitch and Get Paid?
I felt like when I was starting Instagram, I had no guidance. There’s no rule book or how-to, and I really wish that when I started, there was something resourceful. This past year I got a mentor and she has been super helpful to me and we have had a few sessions where I would ask her questions. I was thinking, this is great, I need to put all this information down in one space and help other people figure it out too. The other thing in this industry is that it is really hard to get paid as an influencer. Just for so many reasons like brands and their budget, and what they’re looking for in a paid influencer: are they looking for 50k? Are they looking for 100k? There’s just so many different standards and you never know them since the brands don’t tell you what they are.
I just wanted to create a course to help give people who want to be an influencer a guide on how to pitch brands and what to say and where to start. I always get questions about this so I compiled all this information into a course. There’s a lot of different courses out there so I wanted mine to be really affordable for what it was. I did a lot of market research. It’s on the lower one compared to what’s out there - there are some courses that are out there that cost up to $1000. I get that these people took the time to make them and they’re “bigger” but I just didn’t want to charge people so much extra money. I think the course is $300, and that’s the bare minimum it took for production and recording and putting everything together. I put so many different worksheets and tip sheets for people to use to follow along. It’s Netflix style where there are a lot of shorter videos rather than one hour long video. There are maybe 40 videos. It is more interactive, and in every section I either include a tip sheet or worksheet to fill out along the way. To me, manifesting is so important so I think it’s important to write things down.
What is the number one tip you have for people who want to get into blogging?
Just do it. Taking the first step is always the hardest step to take. People will always come up with all the excuses in the book “it’s too saturated” or “I don’t have time” but it’s such a big space that it’s not saturated. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. If it is something you are passionate about, then do it. You have to know your reason and why. If your reason and why is to get free clothes, it’s not going to happen. You have to want to help people, change people’s lives, share your passion and be creative.
What does “unmarked” mean to you?
For me, I think you shouldn’t allow society to label you. You have all the opportunity in the world and it’s really up to you to pursue it and follow your dreams. If you really want to do something, take the actions to do it because nothing is holding you back but yourself. Your life is up to you. It comes down to you and your drive and your willingness to go after it. So for me, being unmarked is not letting society bother you and living life. Live life for you.