Q + A with Maddy Corbin

Maddy Corbin is an avid Instagrammer who recently launched a new blog to build on her growing momentum. PATTERN sat down with Corbin to discuss how she is turning her Instagram feed into a money making machine.

Jenna Drake: When did you start your Instagram account and your blog?

Maddy Corbin: I started my Instagram account in 2014. Instagram was easier to integrate into my life and manage than a website or a blog, so the blog launched just a couple of weeks ago. I only have two blog posts up, but eventually I’ll have a total of four sections for the blog: Photos, Life, Eats, and Travel.

JD: What did you learn from running Luxury 45?

MC: It was a big project for somebody in high school. It taught me a lot about running a business. I would come home after school and file my business taxes. It taught me how to establish professional relationships with people and made me more confident overall. 

JD: How do you set up collaboration with stores or brands?

MC: Really it’s just a matter of getting in touch and determining if there is interest on both sides. People will reach out to me, and say “Hey, we really like your feed and photos, and we’d like to send you a product for you to photograph and post. Are you interested?” I also reach out to brands and introduce myself. I now have a media kit, and in my email I’ll say, ‘If this is something you’re interested in, I’d be happy to send you my media kit.’ I’m always happy when people want to see it. I will never be somebody that’s going to hide that. 

JD: What was your first collaboration?

MD: It was with a small boutique called Amara. They sent me a top, and I had to find a way to shoot it and integrate it into my Instagram feed.’ I was super excited about the idea of taking pictures, and getting free product. That was the beginning of the whirlwind – realizing that I could use Instagram for so many more things than I thought possible.

JD: Can you explain the process of receiving an item and posting about it?

MC: Because I have now accumulated a lot of items, I try to do three to four posts per day. If I open a box and it looks pretty, I’ll take a picture and post it on my Instagram story saying ‘coming soon.’ I’m getting a lot of stuff, so I’m trying to pace myself and keep things personal and human and not advertise too often. After I post a sneak peak, the item goes on a rack in my office. I have my Pinterest and mood boards that I use as inspiration to figure out how I can authentically integrate these products into my every day life. Sometimes though I do just really need to get a post out, so I have to figure out how to create a nice product shot. I do try to keep as much of my content about everyday life as I can, but everyone knows that doesn’t always happen.

JD: How would you describe the overall theme of your blog?

MC: People say I’m a minimalist. I like it clean and simple. Showing the simplicity of everyday life helps me too because sometimes life is just crazy.

JD: What are other blogs (or Instagrams) you get inspiration from?

MC: Some of my favorite Instagram accounts are  Mandi Nelson, Soel Sister, and Roolee Boutique. But really, I’m inspired by everyone that I follow.

JD: How did you develop your Instagram aesthetic?

MC: I used to edit in VSCO, and I used a very specific preset [A6]. In the last two months, I have moved to editing in Lightroom, which is what I use to edit images for my freelance clients. I’ll still use a collection of presets like VSCO, but they’re for Lightroom. Doing this a lot helps you figure out what works and what doesn’t for both your Instagram and for blog photos.

JD: What are some challenges you face being a style blogger?

MC: Over-saturation and lack of variety. So many people say they are a photographer or a blogger. I’ve slowly tried to turn my personal Instagram into more of a branded ‘Maddy Corbin’, but I don’t want to be labeled as solely a social influencer or solely a photographer. That’s a challenge right now. 

JD: Do you have strangers who recognize your from your feed, come up to you in public?

MC: Oh yes. It now happens almost daily on the IUPUI campus, but it works both ways. I also keep an eye out for people with whom I engage through social media. I was getting coffee at Starbucks and thought that maybe I recognized the barista, but she didn’t say anything and I didn’t either, so then later I got a message from her saying, ‘Um I just served you coffee, I was going to say something but was too nervous.’ It’s definitely weird at first, but now I’m used to it. If you’re going to make your life public, you have to expect that people will recognize you and feel like they can approach you and start talking to you, even if you’ve never met them before.

JD: How would you describe your personal style?

MC: My wardrobe is basically a capsule wardrobe. It’s 25-30 pieces that I style in different ways. If it’s comfortable, I’ll wear it. With the collabs, it’s definitely been harder because I have all of these clothes I have to actually get pictures of myself in. Mainly just simple and clean.

JD: What ‘s your favorite piece of clothing in your wardrobe?

MC: Mom jeans. One hundred percent mom jeans. I love things that are high-waisted because they’re just more comfortable to me.

JD: What’s the best part about having a social media presence?

MC: Getting to form creative relationships with people is really great. Just trying to make Indy more creative. Meeting people I never would have been able to meet if I didn’t start on this road of social media marketing.

JD: Worst?

MC: Putting unnecessary pressure and stress on myself. Thinking that my followers are going to be upset if I don’t post daily or that my work isn’t good enough. Definitely self doubt.

JD: Do you have any advice for Instagrammers/bloggers in Indy?

MC:  Number one thing is to keep posting on a regular basis. The more content you put out, the more opportunities you have for companies to notice you and to want to collab with you.

Also, never ever ever ever ever buy followers. I don’t care how badly you want to get there, you never buy followers. Keep in mind that the number of followers you have is less important than the amount of engagement you have with your followers. When it comes to collabs, companies are looking for people that have really engaged audiences.

One of the big things for Instagrammers is the quote,

‘You give love, you get love.’ Engage with people, and they’re going to engage back.

That’s how you gain a real audience. You go through and find people that are in your market or customers of people in your market or even the ads in your stream. If you think those people would like your content, go through and give them some love, likes, or comments, and you’ll get that love back and half the time you’ll gain a new follower.

Photography by Aubrey Smith.

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