Influencer Spotlight: Sandra Manay and Carolyn Yuen

Q&A with collaborators @sandramanay and @heyprettything_

As more and more people invest serious time in their social feeds and begin to work with brands, what it means to be an influencer constantly evolves. This is something we like to let our influencers shed light on.

This week, we asked Sandra Manay and Carolyn Yuen to share their experiences in growing their Instagram followings and the perks and challenges of maintaining influencer status on social.

In case you were looking for an awesome boho Instagram account to follow, @sandramanay is the answer. This Peruvian native is based in NYC, but as you’ll see from her feed, she takes her 12K+ followers around the world to discover beautiful, exotic locations. When she’s not showing off her travels, she’s showing you some awesome outfits or adorable doggies.

Hong-Kong native and Seattle dweller @heyprettything_  is also a big fan of traveling and has recently taken her 12K+ followers all over Europe. Carolyn always finds the cutest place in the shop, street or landscape to capture. Paired with the right filter, no wonder she gets so many likes!

OS: Looking back at day 1, when you first created your Instagram account, did you ever think that it would grow as much as it did? What was the turning point for you that made you want to monetize your Instagram feed?

Sandra: When I started my Instagram I wanted it to use it as an inspiration of my bohemian lifestyle. I thought I would just have a small audience of boho girls, but surprisingly I have a mix from surfers to vegan chefs to designers. I enjoy it a lot!

Carolyn: Blogging/social media have changed so much since I joined (I'm talking circa Angelfire and Geocities days...). I used to just share whatever on Instagram (now I do that on Snapchat), but it's a much more curated and strategized platform. My growth on Instagram has been slow and steady. I started monetizing some of the content when tools were made available, or when agencies reach out to me.


OS: What is the most challenging part of trying to make it as an influencer today?

Sandra: Distractions. Sometimes it's easy to lose focus on why you started blogging and what you wanted to accomplish.

Carolyn: It's a saturated market, but that makes the challenge more fun. Influencers have to have a niche, a loyal and involved following, and quality content to produce. I'm constantly inspired and pushed to improve because there are so many incredible influencers out there who set a high standard.

OS: How have your feeds changed since working on campaigns with us? Have other brands reached out to you since?

Carolyn: I've only worked on Uniqlo with OS - those campaigns were fun because I love Uniqlo, so styling their pieces felt natural.

Sandra: Working with you gave me the chance to work with brands I wouldn’t even imagine could fit to my blog. I’ve worked with bohemian brands from Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia among others, so I’m happy I worked with you guys.

OS: How have you integrated the “maintenance” of your social media feeds with everyday “real” responsibilities? Do you put a lot of planning behind every post or are you more spontaneous?

Carolyn: As with nearly everything in my life, I plan what I can and go with the flow for the rest.

Sandra: I like planning; I focus on quality instead of quantity. On my Instagram I like sharing high quality pictures that will draw people to it. On my blog I try to write one or two posts a week but relevant to my lifestyle and interests.

OS: What is the craziest thing that has happened to you so far because of social media? This can be either working with a “dream brand” or people recognizing you on the streets, to maybe meeting someone who has had a big impact in your life since then.

Sandra: I’ve had the chance of getting invited to great events, and meeting incredible people.

Carolyn: I love that I never know when I check my feeds/email who will be reaching out to me for a project. I've enjoyed working on collaborations with Nordstrom, Dolce&Gabbana, ABC, and so much more!

OS: Speaking of which, what would be your dream collaboration?

Carolyn: I'd love to collaborate with airlines and hotels for travel posts! Dreaming about Maldives, Bali, Turkey, Morocco...

Sandra: My dream would be to collaborate with Revolve Clothing.