Elena Greensill is a style blogger based in the UK. She posts her daily fits and provides styling tips to her audience. She has a background in fashion design and currently works as a childrenswear designer alongside creating content. Check out her Judge.me page for some of her outfits and accessories!
“Everybody goes through those slumps with creating content where you say, ‘oh, I don't feel good enough compared to everybody else.’ They're sharing the best parts. They might be wearing that gorgeous outfit, but they might be having the most miserable day. You just have to be aware of that.”
Combining her passions and creating aesthetics
“One thing I would say to others that want to do it, for some people, it just happens quickly, but it’s not like that for most people.”
With your content, you’re combining both your love and talent for fashion, as well as your enthusiasm for creating content. What’s the progression been like from studying fashion to making content about it?
I’ve always been interested in fashion with my background, and I've always posted outfit pictures or snippets or details on Instagram. I left school at 16 after my GCSEs and did a BTEC in Fashion. It was the most fun I’d ever had so then I did fashion design at uni. Not long after, I landed a pretty decent job. Fashion design is very much about persistence and you also need that persistence when it comes to influencing. Neither of them happens overnight. With influencing, I probably started taking things seriously, during the first lockdown. I just thought – I've seen other people do it, now I'd quite like to share what I'm wearing. I’ve been posting outfits and stuff for quite a long time on Instagram so it just felt like a natural thing for me, especially with the fact I always dress up. I'm not a casual person so it's easy for me to put together an outfit!
And when did you do your first brand deal?
I didn't get my first collaboration until after a few months of posting every day. So for people who think it's easy and it just happens, as I mentioned already, it doesn’t. That's one thing I would say to others that want to do it, for some people, it just happens quickly, but it’s not like that for most people.
You must have quite a visual brain with your fashion design background. Is that why you chose Instagram as your main platform?
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I've had the same account for years. I think my first ever Instagram picture was probably 2011 and since then, I've always posted pictures of outfits. Instagram has always been my favourite. Twitter's just not the same. Facebook? Nobody ever uses Facebook anymore. I have slowly gotten into TikTok, but it's always the videos that I don't think will get views that get views, and then it turns out to be embarrassing for me. I’ll post something that I just thought would be fun for me and then, I don't know, over 1000 people know I'm scared of earthworms. So TikTok just isn’t taken as seriously for me!
It’s interesting to hear you’ve had Instagram for so long. It’s clear from looking at your feed you have a very specific aesthetic with your posts that you’ve built over time. Why do you decide to deliver content like that?
You know, it's funny you say that, because I don't feel like I'm that put together with my content. I think it's because I mainly stick to one colour palette and that's what I like to wear. With my aesthetic, I'm very much a Pinterest kind of girl. I do love a bit of Pinterest! At the minute because I'm so busy though, I'm just wearing what I want and posting what I want. That also seems to work for my aesthetic because I wear the same colour palette, so it's just natural. I know that some people will get apps to plan their feeds out so everything's in the same colour, but I don't really do that. I don’t have the time!
You obviously make time to use your Judge.me recommendations page! How do you find that?
Yeah, it's really enjoyable and easy to use. I really like the fact that you can have a look at what other people have bought and recommended and use their special discount code if they have one. Who doesn't love a discount code!
Dealing with the pressures of creating content
It’s amazing to see how you balance Instagram around other commitments and still manage to deliver content effectively. How do you manage to maintain your engagement? Are you still posting every day?
Well, I try to post every day, but if I get home late, I usually decide I won’t post a picture on that day. I’ll just wait for the next day at 1 pm or post it when I finish work at five o'clock. Then when I get home, I’ll reply to comments and stuff. If I feel like I've missed my prime window, I know it's not going to perform as well so there’s no point in posting. I have a lot of gifted content coming up at the moment so being aware of that posting window and being organised is super important. With my Instagram, it has to be well planned out. I have had it before though, where I'd come in from work at seven o'clock and know I need to shoot a campaign and I obviously do it, but you never get the best results when it's rushed like that. It's always better to plan ahead.
How do you find the pressure of trying to deliver content for brands, often when it’s not paid?
Yeah, I definitely think there is a certain expectation for the images or content you produce to be literally perfect, even when it’s just in exchange for a free product and no fee (This is known as “Gifted”). It’s quite a bit of pressure, and it's difficult finding the time to do it, especially if you're juggling an actual full-time job. I know not everybody does. You know, some people can afford to create content full-time, or they have part-time jobs so they have a bit more time to plan and post, but quite a few of the content creators I know have a full-time day job. They still put their all into content creation though!
And what are the expectations for influencers around specific content formats like video which is now so important for brands?
Well, it’s a lot. For example, I've got a [Instagram] reel coming up with quite a big hair company. The content took me probably about two and a half hours to film and that’s going to be cut down into a one-minute reel so it’s not easy. I still don't do a lot of paid content which is fine for me; I'm more than happy to do it in exchange for gifting because I really enjoy doing it. For example, the one for this hair brand – that wasn't paid, that was gifted. They’ve previously gifted me two products and one got lost and they were happy to resend it. They’re really understanding people and I just have a really comfortable relationship with their PR team. With companies like that, who are really nice, you genuinely don’t mind if it’s a gifted brand deal. Even though the content took me a long time, it was still worth it. Then there are some companies that ask for a lot and they could probably do gifted products alongside a fee. A lot of companies aren't willing to do the paying bit though because they'll have people that will happily work on a gifted basis. That's just from what I've seen anyway.
And what are the most enjoyable aspects of creating online?
Oh, that’s a hard one. Well, I actually enjoy getting ready and taking pictures the most. It’s really nice to know you're inspiring people. I got featured on the H&M website and I thought that was so cool because there'll be people that click on the product and don’t have any idea of what it looks like on a real person. But then they'll see me and consider buying it. It’s that sort of influence that’s the best. It's not all about the material things. I think another positive is connecting with other people. I would say I've made quite a few friends through my Instagram profile which is really nice. And sometimes people will put you in touch with brands or recommend you to them. Usually, when it’s like that – it’s someone you know, I always say yes. You can talk about your experiences with the brand, with other influencers and it's like a little community. There's one girl called Abby, who I've spoken to quite a lot and she'll say to me, “I'm gonna work with these people that you've worked with before. What was the product like? How did you find the size?”. Stuff like that is really helpful. Some companies can be more demanding than others and it’s good to know that so you can be selective with who you work with.
Based on those demanding experiences, what would be your one piece of advice for brands working with influencers?
I would say that some PR teams aren’t the friendliest and you can feel a bit bombarded. Sometimes you have to negotiate the terms of your contract and posting schedule. I do read the contracts and sign them. Not every brand has that, but it is more comfortable for you as the influencer if they do have that. This is all made a lot easier by just having someone friendly, who's easy to communicate with on the brand’s PR team. It’s really nice when the brand actually wants to get to know you too and does a Zoom call with you. I have had that before with the hair company I’m currently working with. They told me exactly what they wanted so it was really clear and the brief was really nice. A lot of them send out really nice briefs with exactly the points they want you to mention, which is really helpful. Having a PR pack like that for smaller influencers is really great as they might need a bit more guidance. I would just say to generally be friendly about these things. We’re making content for your brand, often for free, so just having that friendly face to communicate with is great.
What advice would you give to a person who’s just starting off?
I'd say be very consistent with your content, pick your aesthetic because it does help. I wear the same colour tones and that works for me. A lot of people pick their niche. For example, there are a lot of petite girls that do reels on finding petite jeans, which really works for them because there’s an audience for petite clothing. I’d just say be consistent and find something that you like, you really enjoy. Because if you don't enjoy creating the content, you'll get bored of it so quickly. Everybody goes through those slumps as well with creating content where you're like, “oh, I don't feel good enough compared to everybody else”, but you have to remember, it's not people's everyday reality when they post. They're sharing the best parts. They might be wearing that gorgeous outfit, but they might be having the most miserable day. You just have to be aware of that.
Her Designs on the Future
“That's the whole point of being a content creator. Don't be boring!”
In terms of your long-term aspirations as a creator, where do you see yourself with that?
Well, I’d love to be the sort of person that could have content creation as a side hustle, whilst designing my own brand. I think that would be really cool and it's something I've looked into before but it’s just having the funds to do it. I think it would honestly be the best thing to do for me, designing what you want, what you know, people are going to wear because it's what you wear. It's what you love. I'd say that would probably be my biggest aspiration, but who wouldn't want to be a full-time content creator? It just looks like such a boujie lifestyle, even though I know it's not. It looks like you're living your best life every single day but you’re actually balancing that image with stressing over deadlines and how to crop a reel together. That’s not the easiest, but it is a lot of fun.
Finally, if you could describe your content in one word or sentence, or summarise it with a mantra, what would that be?
Oh, you’ve put me on the spot! I actually don't know. I could say stylish but then everybody's content is stylish and that’s a bit boring. That's the whole point of being a content creator: don't be boring!
What a great note to finish on! Thanks so much, Elena. It was great chatting with you and we look forward to seeing what you do next.
All photos courtesy of Elena Greensill.