We’ve been avid followers of beauty and lifestyle guru Marianna Hewitt for years now, and we’re clearly not alone in this… She was among the first wave of YouTube beauty bloggers when she launched her channel back in 2012; she’s the woman behind the fashion girl–favorite blog Life With Me; and she currently has more than 892,000 followers on IG. Her latest venture? Joining forces with Lauren Gores Ireland to launch a natural and decidedly chic beauty brand—Summer Fridays—that’s been flying off the shelves at Sephora.
She’s currently hard at work building out the Summer Fridays team, but Hewitt was kind enough to take a little breather and chat with me about her career, what it’s really like being an influencer, and how she prefers to celebrate all the important moments along the way. (“Natural diamonds,” she says on that last topic, going on to explain that she prefers timeless investments that can be cherished and passed down through the generations.) Keep reading for Hewitt’s insights on building a brand, and shop a few diamond pieces worthy of your next career milestone.
Now that you’ve founded your own brand, how do you balance it all? And what are some common misconceptions you hear?
People don’t realize that as influencers, we work seven days a week at all hours of the day. There’s no clocking out; we work regular business hours, and then we have events, photo shoots, and travel that happens at night and on weekends. [A common misconception is that being] an influencer is easy—that you just hang out and take pictures all day—but it’s so much more work than that.
I think that people don’t realize how difficult it is to create content every single day for years and find new ways to keep your audience engaged—even during the times when we might not feel inspired because part of our job is always having to be “on.” There’s so much that goes into Summer Fridays as well. We’re a small indie brand with a small team, and Lauren and I wear so many hats (marketing, product development, operations, sales with retailers, etc.).
What significant or meaningful milestones are you most proud of in your career?
I’m really proud of two things… First, the day I launched my blog. I started my YouTube channel in 2012, but I launched my blog on February 1, 2014. And at the time, there weren’t a lot of bloggers. So it was the beginning of when it kind of started. It was a lot of work that I was taking on without a lot of resources! And the second would be when we launched Summer Fridays on March 7, 2018.
How did you hallmark those achievements?
The piece I’m wearing that’s most special to me is a diamond angel-wing necklace from Lauren. She gave it to me when we launched Summer Fridays, and I’ll always remember that as such a special time in our lives! I think she wrote a note that said something about giving our business new wings.
I know you bought yourself the diamond rings you wear every day as well—why do you think self-gifting is so important for women?
[When I purchased those rings], it made me feel really excited and proud that I could do this for myself. We’re all working really hard, and whatever it is you’re working toward, you should celebrate it. For me, diamonds are an ideal way to do just that, because you can wear them every day. They’re investment pieces—they’re so special and are definitely more than just a piece of jewelry!
What is it about diamonds that really stands out to you?
When my mom got remarried, what she wanted more than anything was a natural diamond engagement ring from Tiffany’s. Investing in it was special for her because it’s something she could eventually pass on to me; [she also appreciated] that it would gain even more value as time went on. She always stressed to me quality over everything! It really made me appreciate the jewelry and the time that goes into making it.
Okay, let’s set up a day in your life—what do you need to be productive?
To be productive, I need to have a clean, organized space, which is really hard because I get so many packages every day (a blessing we have as influencers that can also be quite overwhelming). So I try to Marie Kondo as much as I possibly can, donating or giving things away so I’m not constantly surrounded by objects.
And what’s your work wardrobe like? Is there anything you wear every single day or put on especially when you want to feel confident?
My work wardrobe is typically a pair of jeans, a bodysuit, and a pair of heels, and then a blazer, a jacket, or sweater. Then I add on jewelry to elevate things and help me feel put-together. Without my diamond earrings (especially my diamond studs!), I feel really naked! I feel like they brighten up my whole face.
Let’s look back for a second… Is your current career path the one you envisioned for yourself when you were growing up?
As a kid, I wanted to grow up to be Oprah, and I still do! I love her. That’s why I became a TV host and why I went with the career path that I did. I love sharing my passion for fashion and beauty; that’s why I started my blog and YouTube channel. I think my love of products and shopping and having a relationship with my audience were what led me to pivot into co-founding a skincare brand. I never thought this would happen, but now that I’m doing it, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
Do you feel like a success? And have you had any important mentors who helped shape your vision of what being successful entails?
I wouldn’t describe myself as a success; I’d say I’m still a work in progress, as every day I’m working toward my goals. Growing up, my picture of a successful woman would be someone who’s put together and independent—someone paving the way for herself! As for my mentor, I’d definitely have to say my mom; she always encouraged me to be self-sufficient and work hard. The way she carried herself, the career she had, the way she dressed, the things she cared about… All of these things had a major impact on who I am today.
And what are some career goals you’d still like to accomplish?
Right now, we’re really focused on building out a team for Summer Fridays. We had such an incredible first year; now we’re growing and seeing hires we want to add to our business. We’re really excited about growing the team, and adding new people to our company will help us hit the goals we really want to get to.
Okay, and lastly, think fast…
Gold or silver? Rose gold.
Your favorite diamond shape? Emerald.
Vintage or custom? Custom.
Minimalist or maximalist? Minimalist.
Ankle jewelry: yay or nay? Yay!