The term “influencer” is relatively new, but already we associate it with a certain amount of glamour and prestige. Interior design blogger and Influencer, Cara Irwin of Goldalamode, reminds us that this perception is not quite accurate. While working with big companies has its perks, it’s the everyday struggles and triumphs that Cara shares with her followers that keeps them connected. That authenticity is what causes companies to seek Cara out, not the other way around. How does she deal with the not so glamorous aspects of her life, like burnout or illness? Find out in this look at the life of an influencer.
Give us a brief description of your business.
I work closely with brands and PR companies to advertise products on my social media accounts and website. Mostly, I work with home decor and home renovations companies.
I style products, take photos, edit and write about them to show my readers.
How did you get started?
When we bought our house in 2013, I found my passion for DIY and home decor. I started taking photos of projects and posting them on Instagram (@goldalamode). When I reached about 2500 followers, HomeGoods reached out and asked me to work with them. I had no idea I could even make money on social media. As I began writing and posting about things, more brands started to reach out. At the time I was in college for interior design and I ended up dropping out to pursue blogging, or influencing as it's called now.
What inspires you?
I get a ton of inspiration from nature and older styles of decor. I love searching on Pinterest for vintage decor and decor from France and Italy.
What is it like working with larger companies like, Home Depot and Valspar?
It's a lot of fun working with large brands. They usually have a bigger budget which allows for more time and creativity to be spent on the content. It's also fun to build relationships with people who work for these brands because we usually end up working together again. I'm super grateful for all of my partnerships because they always take a chance on me and believe in me. It allows me to make our home beautiful and for me to live a happy and well-decorated life.
How do you manage cross platforming (ie. sharing your Youtube videos and Instagram posts) effectively? How do you direct traffic to multiple platforms?
Usually, I put most of my focus on Instagram because that's where I grow the most and I can link to everything from there. Most of the management is setting goals monthly like a certain amount of posts on each channel. I write all of my ideas down at the beginning of the month and then decide what I want to write about.
Between interior design posts, you often share hijinks with your many pets. How do you find sharing parts of your personal life, that are not necessarily business related, works with your brand?
I want people to know that I'm just another person. I'm just a person on social media that people can relate to, learn from and be inspired by so I don't mind showing my entire life. My goal is to build a community of people who trust me and love things that I love. I want to make it possible for people to be themselves and love their own lives.
Something you have shared with your followers is your struggle with your autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia. How do you manage your illness while being a busy business Babe?
It's a challenge to run a business and struggle with health. It was even harder when I wasn't talking about it because I felt like I was faking my energy and happiness in those moments. When I was able to express myself and the struggles I have I didn't feel as guilty about taking time for self-care. I also didn't mind setting boundaries and deciding where my time is really beneficial and appreciated. It's great to be a busy hustler, but it's even more important to be healthy and centered in order to stay focused and successful.
How do you avoid burnout?
I have no problem taking time for myself and my mental health. I do get to the point of exhaustion, but I try to relax and reward myself for working so hard whether it be a yummy Starbucks drink, a bubble bath or day at the spa. I also take AT LEAST 10 minutes a day to stand outside, breathe deep and appreciate nature. I find that nature really helps me in moments of tiredness.
What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts that you follow?
Some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow are @_harlowejames and @sarahshermansamuel for decor. For health I follow, @dr.jess.md and @organic_olivia.
What’s the easiest way to reinvigorate a room?
I'd say the easiest way to reinvigorate a room would be paint. It might take more labor but it's the cheapest way to make a room look bright and brand new. Other than that, window treatments, lighting, and art!