“I know that the moment you become a social media personality, you become public property. Being in the public eye, you’re always going to be afraid of what people are going to say,” Grace shares. “This is why I’ve always avoided posting photos of my children or my husband on my public pages. I’ve accepted it for myself, because, well, I love it. It’s my career, it’s my profession, it’s my job. But it’s not my kids’ or my husband’s. My readers have long learned to accept and understand that. They don’t even question it.” And so despite tempting offers for brand campaigns with her children, Grace has unwaveringly kept to this principle since the beginning.
NUMBER FOUR, ALWAYS CHOOSE TO STAY GENUINE.
In many studies conducted from 2017 to 2018 about influencer marketing, one finding has been constant when it comes to social media success: Authenticity is key. In these celebrity-crazed times, readers can easily recognize insincere posts or paid product placements. Perhaps what drove Grace’s success was the fact that while her blog content evolved, she stuck to its original candor even as brand sponsorships or collaborations took place. “I’ve always liked things to be real, unscripted, unforced,” she says. “Without really knowing it in the beginning, I guess that’s how I gained the trust of my readers.”
NUMBER FIVE, EXPAND AND EXPLORE.
Her own Kate Spade dress. PHOTO: JOSEPH PASCUAL
When brands consider you bankable and you know you help shape consumers’ behaviors and influence their purchase, of course, it won’t take long for you to realize your own potential as your own brand in a bustling influencer-driven industry. That, combined with boredom, was the case for Grace Baja and the birth of Grace Home.
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“I easily get bored,” she admits, “that’s why my blog evolved; that’s why I started creating events; that’s why in 2015 I put up Grace Home; that’s why Taste by Grace Home was conceptualized and launched last year… I always want something exciting.”
Grace first launched a home line, starting with scented beeswax candles and then eventually, with glassware and other home accessories. She also joined trunk shows that allowed her to sell unique finds from her travels abroad.
“I never wanted to be just a lady who lunches,” she quips. “I mean, that’s fun, but I also wanted to be someone who works.”
The Grace Home branding turned out to be perfect, since people had already come to know her as a homemaker who enjoyed entertaining and fixing up her home. One of her biggest feats, however, was the birth of Taste by Grace Home last year, which took nearly a year of hard work, research and development, and planning.
In time for the holidays, she introduced beautifully packaged cheese-pairing jams, cheese spreads, and other one-of-a-kind snacks that sold like hotcakes at Artefino, an artisanal craft fair in Rockwell Makati that launched last year. “By
5 p.m., I was sold out,” she recalls. “Of course I was surprised, but more than that I was grateful.”
NUMBER SIX, IT DEMANDS HARD WORK.
If it were entirely up to her, Grace wouldn’t call herself an “influencer,” but then that would also be quite oblivious.
“I’m proud of my brand. I guess in a way, because of what I’m doing, it has garnered a lot of attention, therefore followers and influence. It is not given to all, so I feel it’s a gift. But then in my case, it’s more than a gift,” she points out. “I worked hard for it. I am more than a blogger now because I believed that I had so much more potential and that I could do more. I built The Spoiled Mummy and Grace Home Manila from scratch. Not even my husband was involved. I didn’t have financial investors, capitalists, or whatever. I simply worked hard.”
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NUMBER SEVEN, REMEMBER THAT NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU.