Welcome to Second Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear's parent company, Clique Brands, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Lifeon iTunes, and stay tuned. We'll be releasing new episodes on Mondays.
L.A.-based retailer Revolve paved the way for influencer trips that now take over your Instagram feed, and Raissa Gerona is the brains behind the site's innovative strategy. Early in her career, she dealt with her parents' disapproval of her career path and a business failure, but you can bet she learned a thing or two on her way to becoming the chief brand officer of Revolve and the co-founder of Alliance Apparel.
Gerona started out as a political science major at UC Irvine with hopes of becoming a lawyer. When she realized she didn't want to pursue that path, she says her parents were devastated, and she was forced to support herself financially. She was able to pivot after the failure of a brand she started herself and eventually landed at Revolve, where she was instrumental in launching the influencer program.
In the newest episode of Second Life, Gerona explains how Revolve chooses the influencers it works with. "We want to make sure that they obviously have great engagement and honestly that they just have a good sense of what the brand is and somebody that we want to travel with all the time," she says. "People kind of sometimes laugh at us because we'll use the same girls all the time, but there's a reason why we use them." And if someone is hard to work with? "They're out," Gerona says. "It's not worth it."
Gerona also explains how Revolve can look past numerical data like engagement and follower count if they have a feeling about a certain influencer's potential. "A lot of times, these influencers that we take a chance on, they then become incredibly large, giant influencers who now work with luxury-house brands. And then there are times it doesn't work out. But it encourages the entire team to be very open and forthcoming with ideas," Gerona explains before pointing out some qualities the women share. "The influencers that we work with are incredibly entrepreneurial, super smart, so savvy, and they have their finger on the pulse on what is working and what's happening."
Head to iTunes to subscribe to Second Life and learn more about Revolve's influencer strategy and the career lessons Gerona has learned along the way.