@tiffany_schutte is on a body positivity mission, combating societal pressures to conform to a certain mould. This is the first in our series that gives insight into the lives of creators, in which they share the challenges that they have faced, and what they have learned along the way.
How long have you been creating fashion content for?
Since around 2018. I was working at a shop and buying a ton of their clothes. I started to randomly share the outfits I was wearing to work and people loved it. I’m from Indiana, Columbus, and no one there was really doing that kind of thing.
At first I wasn’t really getting paid for anything. I’m not sure people realise that you don’t just start making all this money when you first start out! I would buy all these clothes to the point I was almost losing money.
I realised how much I was bringing in to companies whose clothes I was posting. So I started getting gifted collaborations which then turned into paid.
How have you developed over the years?
My stuff wasn’t really curated at the start. I didn’t really know what photo presets were or how to use them. It’s good to have some variation — I don’t want to have makeup photos back to back.
I like to play around, but at the moment I’m into neutral and warm tones. People seem to really like it. I try to do a mix of what I like and what other people like.
How do you balance doing what you want and creating content that your audience likes or expects?
At first it was hard. Even sometimes now I find myself struggling to make sure I’m not doing what everyone else wants me to do, or what I see others doing. My husband helps me a lot with support.
I like to do polls and allow some input when it comes to makeup looks, but I always try to make sure the outfits I choose are all me. I try to create looks that aim inspire people, such as playing with colour.
I know that some styles are just not for me and that I have to stick to my guns.
“I didn’t really see that many mid-sized girls represented.”
What do you define as midsize fashion and what led you to find this niche?
Here in the US, they consider 16 and up plus-size, even though it is the average size. For me midsize is (US dress size) eight to 16.
When I started, I noticed a lot of people I followed were super tiny. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But then my body was changing and I didn’t really see that many mid-sized girls represented.
I’d see a lot of plus size accounts, but I was just somewhere in the middle at a 10 or 12. So then I thought why don’t I just be that representation.
Through this I met some really great girls that are in the same kind of niche. It is great because even though we live far away we can message if we’re struggling with something like a bad experience with a brand.
So what kind of bad experiences have you had?
I once approached a brand and said hey, you don’t have any mid-sized representation. I thought it was odd since they carried those sizes. They went from like double zero to 26, but only showed petite women. They said that I wasn’t the body type I was looking for.
There are still some shady brands out there. Lately I’ve seen so many girls just getting screwed over. It’s kind of scary. They aren’t being paid, or are just taken advantage of.
A friend recently had an issue with a big clothing brand. They stole her video and posted it on their page. The company re-edited it and everything and never gave her credit or paid her, and it ended up being their highest rated video.
If you could give any advice to yourself when you were just starting out, what would it be?
Honestly to just stay true to yourself. Don’t let negative comments get to you or the naysayers. When it comes to partnerships, think about what you can provide for them, come from a place of service.
How do you deal with haters?
I don’t really get a lot anymore, it was more when I had just started. They are just trolls so I don’t let it get to me, I just remind myself that they don’t know me, they’re not my best friend or family, and they’re not paying my bills so their opinion doesn’t matter.
“Don’t let negative comments get to you. They’re not paying your bills so their opinion doesn’t matter.”
So how do you separate real life from social media?
Honestly, at first it felt like social media consumed my life. My husband helped me so much. Like every day we were shooting. Over the last year we’ve started to do the content in batches instead, which I think really helps. You don’t always have to shoot and post at the same moment or day.
Every now and then I do stories but I try not to share too much of my life. I don’t share any personal drama and try to keep most of my life pretty private. I put my phone down at a certain time every night, usually before dinner.
Did you notice a sudden growth spurt? Do you have any tips?
For the most part I would say it was pretty slow and gradual. My first big tip is to be true to yourself. My second is to not necessarily take every deal that comes your way.
I’ve seen so many friends fall for this. It’s a huge mistake, because you will start getting deals early on, for random skinny teas or underwear on a monthly subscription. But a lot of the time they don’t pay. If you can buy your own underwear then I would not recommend it!
You’re not going to make a lot of money at first, but you will keep your audience’s trust. I don’t want to post random things just for a bit of money.
I’ve seen a lot of people mess up and then their engagement starts to drop. It’s hard to win your audience back if you lose it right away.
“I don’t want to post random things just for a bit of money.”
How do you keep organised?
I’m working two jobs, blogging and finishing a bachelor’s degree in business. It’s really tricky.
I always keep a planner which I think is huge. I write in dates and stick to a plan on what to post or if a sponsor needs something up on a certain day. I check it daily just to make sure I’m not missing anything. My husband is a big help and sometimes even checks my notifications!
Did working with Matchmade help things get a bit smoother?
I was happy to come across it. I always share fun games that I play on my phone on my stories, and that is what I got matched up with.
We got the ball rolling straight away. So I think it was the same day I got matched with a brand, I was asked how much I want for doing some stories and I gave them a number and it was confirmed.
Communication-wise it has been really great, everyone’s so responsive and really nice.
Did you use any tools?
I love how you can see in real-time how your post is performing, most places don’t offer insights like this, so that was really useful. The platform was also really handy when it came to planning the post itself.
How has the pandemic affected your work?
Luckily, it hasn’t really affected me content-wise. Some brands have seen budgets cut though.
For example now, it’s the holidays so it’s the busiest month and I’ve had way more sponsorships than I’ve had for the rest of the year combined. Everyone says oh, you know, you can triple your rates, it’s the holidays. But to me we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and it’s not so ethical.
My family has small businesses and I know how hard they have been impacted.
For now I aim to continue chugging along and growing. If we can get through this pandemic we can get through anything!