Personal Branding Requires Introspection: An Interview with Kendall Becker
During a recent trip to New York City, I managed to snag some time with fashion forecasting expert and blogger, Kendall Becker. When I first discovered Kendall on Instagram, I recall immediately saying, “okay, she knows what she’s doing.” Meeting her #IRL proved it.
Kendall knew she wanted to pursue fashion ever since she was young. Her time at school consisted of acting and finding love and opportunity in the fashion space. At Kent State University, she created her own degree: a major in Fashion Merchandising with triple minors in Marketing, Fashion Media and Media Literacy. After starting her career in the editorial and media world as Editor-in-Chief of Kent State’s Magazine and Assistant Fashion Editor at Editorialist New York, Kendall realized that the media landscape wasn’t truly her fit. She preferred the strategy and insights behind conceptualizing content, and thus, landed her current role in Fashion Forecasting with Ross Stores, Inc. During this time, Kendall used her blog as her main creative outlet to create relevant content that spoke to her growing community of followers for trend forecasting education and fashion styling inspiration.
Kendall brands herself “The Realist,” a person who accepts a situation as it is and is prepared to deal with it accordingly. She has documented every part of her journey, from a student just starting to realize her purpose and passion, to an influencer who found a role that played to her strengths. Read on to learn about how a strong personal brand is helping her build a reputation and a career simply by being true to herself.
Kendall, WTF is a personal brand?
It’s all about knowing who you are and deciding how you want to portray that to the world. It’s important to find consistency in that message and to be authentic to yourself.
How did you begin your personal branding journey?
I have always been introspective. I regularly take time to self-reflect, deep dive into astrology and assess my Myers-Briggs. My acting experience taught me that if anything, I need to know who I am as an individual and what makes me, me. I focus on making myself the person I would want to be friends with because if I’m not going to be happy with myself or confident in knowing who I am, who else will?
My academic, professional and personal life gained purpose when I found who I was via introspection. So, I built a clear brand around fashion. I’ve been fashion-obsessed my entire life, but I especially loved watching Fashion Police growing up. I love how they take a constructive approach to fashion critique (and obviously add some humor with some not-so-nice commentary). I wanted to integrate my fashion advice in a similar way. I started my blog during my senior year of high school because I didn’t have anyone to talk to about fashion. By 20 years-old I committed myself to my blog because I was confident in my interests, skills and strengths, and I built a very clear vision of what I knew I wanted to represent.
My pinnacle forms for content are my blog and website, Instagram and YouTube and I dabble in Pinterest. I use elements and characteristics of my individual style throughout my brand to maintain consistency. For example, my thing is black, white and red. That’s what my apartment looks like, it’s what most of my wardrobe consists of, and it’s what you’ll see as a theme on my Instagram feed. I think personal branding is all about a consistent message.
How did you grow your personal brand within your community?
After working in editorial in NYC, I realized I wanted the creative freedom to connect with people about fashion on my own terms. The best way to do that was by having my own platform and curating my own audience. I put all my eggs in one basket with my blog and started to talk about all things fashion, trends and inspiration. Initially, it was hard to grow the website, but I was lucky to have a friend who was skilled in the tech side of websites and we bounced ideas off each other, which helped me grow.
I also think knowing yourself and your niche is as important as finding tools to increase growth. It all depends on who you’re targeting, so you have to find that audience in the first place and provide content that is authentic to you as well as align it with them. If your content does not align with your values, it definitely will not grow. That’s why I say that your personal brand always stems back to introspection.
What is your purpose as a fashion blogger and influencer?
My main purpose is helping people through inspiration and education. My blog is there so people who are looking for fashion advice or trend inspiration can come out with something valuable.
What’s next for ‘From The Realist’?
I love fashion forecasting because it plays to my strengths. I am excited to grow in my new role within fashion forecasting in a corporate setting, and open doors to companies that I had never considered in the past. I am looking forward to new horizons for my personal and professional development. I also do freelance styling and editing on the side, and I would love to see both those efforts take off.
Finally, what does “Simply Be” mean to you?
Embracing who you are. Moving forward with who you are and why you are. Finding yourself and holding it close.