[FIGURES] A Day with Huda Alvi

2018.03.16
[FIGURES] A Day with Huda Alvi

Upon meeting Huda my first impression of her was that she is vibrant and full of inspiration.

The first thing she did was give me a big hug and I immediately noticed her unforgettable smile and laughter. 

Huda and I met in Yorkville. Quickly after our meeting, she gave MOVIDA a shoutout on her Instagram story

which showed me how charismatic she is, making her such a great person to follow and engage with on social media. 

She is exactly who she is online, in person. 

She told me that her ultimate dream would be to be an actress or model.

Frankly, I think she could have been successful at either of those jobs if she pursued them as she is unbelievably photogenic. 

During the next couple of hours we spent together I learned so much more about Huda than I expected,

not just from the questions I had prepared, but, from her personality and the unplanned extended conversation we had. 

If you are planning or struggling, to become a social media influencer, then you want to meet Huda or give this a read. 

Huda is wearing the Pearl Triangle Earrings from the Venus collection (currently sold out)

This isn't a crash course that will make you instantly Insta-famous or financially successful,

but you will understand what things you need to think about before stepping into and stepping up in the business - especially

if you're a woman facing tough decisions, Huda's experience may inspire you. 

Talking to Huda Alvi 

 

It’s about how to live, not just how to eat and how to dress, but how to live well, how to be kind to people, how to jump back when you fall.

You think of yourself as a 'life influencer', why is that? 

 

 

I think the word blogger is so vaguely used. As soon as you think of a blogger, you automatically get categories like fashion, food, style, and lifestyle.

I started sharing my stories since I started Instagram and I find that I have interest in everything.

It’s about how to live, not just how to eat and how to dress, but how to live well, how to be kind to people, how to jump back when you fall.

I couldn’t give it a better term than a life influencer.

 

Doing what you do, how many hours on average do you spend on your phone through the course of a day? 

 

When I first started, it was committed 2 hours a day, committed.

An hour in the morning and an hour at night.

Now, it’s about half an hour.

What have you done differently between the two hours you committed to being on your phone versus the half hour you commit to it now?

 

The goal when I first started was to build a following.

You are not going to get anywhere unless you have people actually following and listening to what you have to say, so building an audience takes time.

I devoted my night, day or night, I need to build something.

It was a completely different perspective.

It was a business perspective looking at growth.

 

"

I can’t see myself just running around and consistently being an ad and promoting stuff all the time.

Now, I feel like I’ve gone to a place where I found an audience that listens to what I have to say, I am on the platform either to engage and connect or just to post.

Initially, I was confused. I wanted this and wanted that.

I wanted collaborations, I wanted to get paid and make a career out of this.

While I was learning, I realized I don’t want to do this full time.

I can’t see myself just running around and consistently being an ad and promoting stuff all the time.

I want to be able to have some sort of authenticity.

 

I realized when I started to share the real stuff about me,

I instantly realized that people are far more interested in the real lifestyle rather than the shoes you are wearing.

"

We are each other’s celebrity. Whether you are a microscopic or large-scale celebrity, we are in a new-age of sharing ourselves.

People are more interested in “hey what happened when you got divorced? What happened when you fell?” Those are the questions I hear most often.

I barely get messages about “Where did you get your dress?” There is no offense to people that are making a killing on this, but it’s all about what you really want to do and achieve.

 

In the beginning, I wanted to become the best fashion blogger anyone would see. So that’s my goal. So I developed that exact thing. I got collaborations on fashion and everything, I was surrounding fashion and beauty.

As soon as I started changing my direction and my narrative, everything changed along with them. Now my intention is to just post based on how I feel and what I want to talk about.

 

I agree. People, at least me, are looking for authenticity. We care more about what is happening in your life and value that relatability. 

 

It’s true. Stories that make me go “Hey, I know what your kids are doing and I know what you did here” makes me feel more connected than “Oh, I see what you are eating and sipping on.”

I think the time has changed. We are each other’s celebrity. Whether you are a microscopic or large-scale celebrity, we are in a new-age of sharing ourselves.

 

 Huda is wearing the JYGAO Love Letter Ring. 

You're right. It isn't just about the glamorous parts of your life. It has to be about every part of your life. 

 

Yes. When you define what kind of influencer you want to be, that’s when you truly succeed.

For all those women that are out there pushing hard, as long as you define yourself and your market, you can grow!
 

 

Everyone knows what happens after you built your following but,

what was the roughest time you had after starting your journey as an influencer and how did you figure it out? 

 

It was roughly the beginning of 2017 when I actually developed an audience because everything comes at you at once.

As soon as I hit 10K followers, you start to get approached by a lot of brands and people.

I was confused because I thought everything was great and I didn’t know how much time is spent on this. For example, a brand reaches out to me and wants to send me all this great stuff.

I wanted them but the next thing is how am I going to deliver back?

So I was spending countless hours shooting and editing that stuff and giving them what they want.

God forbid, if you are not doing a very great job, you will never get to collaborate with them again. I have heard from a lot of the marketers and PR people that under-delivery is a big issue with influencer marketing.

 

For me, it was chaotic. I had too many things on my plate and my agenda was crazy.

So I had to say stop, and consider what I do want to take on and what I don’t.

There can be so much work and you don’t know when to take a break because it becomes your life.

When you are out for a coffee, you want to take a picture. You are out traveling, you start thinking if the shot will look nice.

You stop enjoying the moments of life.

You gotta say no, maybe take pictures for 20 minutes and put away your phone.

"

 It’s not “I’m gonna be a blogger and everything is gonna be great” anymore.

Where do you see social/influencer media going in the future? 

 

I wish I had more experience in marketing and PR to answer that.

 From what I’ve discovered so far is that the influencers with any level of following are the new commercial and ad media.

The stats show that it’s a 3.2 billion dollar industry and it’s still growing.

Looking at marketing agencies and brands, the number used to be 34% of them using influencer marketing.

Now I believe this number is almost 100%.

The only thing that is different from 4 years ago is the difficulty to start and survive.

Not a lot of people were in this before, but now you gotta be strategic about this business as there’s much much more competition.

It’s not “I’m gonna be a blogger and everything is gonna be great” anymore.

We hear a lot of bloggers say that they started blogging as a creative outlet.

If it’s 5 years ago, it could be great, but now, you have to look at it as a business. If it’s a creative outlet, let it stay that way.

 

You started your first business when you were 18. What was the reason for you to ditch the more traditional path you were taking and risk starting something new?

I have always been the black sheep of my family for a very long time. My dad would say do this and I will do the opposite.

Even though my parents are very open-minded, there are still some areas that are so closed off to me.

I always wanted to test the boundaries and leap out.

At the age of 18, I had the opportunity to go door-to-door. I was always friendly, talkative and was able to sell.

I realized my skills at a very young age. Because of how well I was doing at the company I was working for, I recruited all my friends to work with me.

That leadership quality came from such an early age.

 

My team had almost 30 people and my team brought the most amount of sales to the company. So my boss came to me and asked if I want to get incorporated and run my own business, and I said yah!

So it was not a tough or risky decision for me.

It was very spontaneous and I was running it for a good 3 years but that business was with my ex-husband, who was my boss, and we got divorced so I went on to do something on my own.

 

After that, I wasn’t sure what to do because I just got divorced at the age of 21 and I have never worked for anyone.

Soon after, I got a job with a recruiting agency. I worked there for a year and it didn’t work out, and I started my second business.

 

My job at the recruiting agency was sales. I was talking to bigger clients,

asking if they need help filling their staff. I understood the model almost instantly and thought that was easy.

I worked for them for a year but I actually got fired from my job because I was newly divorced, going through lawyers and my kids were 2 and 3 at that time.

My daughter has some asthmatic problems and she’s continuously at SickKids hospital, and I hardly slept at night. I had to take a lot of days off.

Before the one year mark, my boss fired me. I was like f**k that, I will do it on my own.

I worked out of a space offered by my friend, incorporated my business which I have done before, used computer and internet and that’s it.

I was cold-calling companies that I already dealt with. I got a lot of business from my old clients so instantly, my business started growing.

I spent 7 years doing it until 2 months ago.

 

 

If I could go back to my past, my real dream was to be a model or an actress but my parents never allowed that opportunity.

There’s a part of me that always finds that world fascinating and social media is the new way for me to be near that dream.

 

Share with us a regular day of yours as a mom, wife, CEO, influencer and all the other roles that may apply.

 

 A regular day looks like this.

I wake up at 6:30, go downstairs and cook the kids breakfast, they go to school themselves because there’s school bus now.

I will go back to my room, go on social media and do my posts, go back to sleep for a couple of hours with my husband, wake up and have breakfast together, check my email and work on my new startup for at least 4-5 hours.

Around 2 o’clock, I start preparing lunch for the kids because they are coming home soon.

We all watch TV for a while and then I drive them to the Quran class for religious reading.

We will come back, do homework, shower and then they will be preparing snacks and I will be cooking dinner. 8:30 they are in bed and then me and my husband just chill.

A lot of my time is spent on cooking but thank god, I love cooking.

 

 

The other side of me, I try to spend 2 days a week coming downtown and meeting different people from a business perspective and I go back home.

My husband helps out a lot. He’s a firefighter and he only works 8 days a month but his shifts are 24 hours, so he’s home a lot.

 

Who are your style icons? 

 

Probably Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Aniston, and Charlize Theron. 

 

What are you doing after our talk today? 

 

I don’t know yet. We made a jar two weeks ago.

Every week we will pick out of the jar and whatever it says we will do.

Today is our first week doing it, whatever it says, we are going to do it as a family. This idea just forces you to do things you always want to do and maybe will never do.

 

 

We are always on the hunt for talented local artists and creatives to share their stories. If you have a suggestion, please comment below or simply shoot us a message!

 

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