Hi BTG Fam and Happy Wednesday xo
We are back and it’s officially time to introduce the beautiful Pia Shah – a fashion and lifestyle blogger. If you are already a close follower of Pia, you will know she is down to earth, a fashion queen, and drop dead gorgeous. Not only this, she’s been working consistently on growing her following and she did it all on her own, AND organically. Whether you are in the industry or not, we can all agree, this is no easy feat.
If you’re curious to know how Pia made her mark on socials, keep on reading!
When did you first start using social media?
I started using social media (for leisure) from the time I was in 7th grade onward. Of course, this dates back to Instagram’s inception, so the idea of an ‘aesthetic’ or a curated feed didn’t really exist.
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
So, since I was young I’ve always loved fashion + beauty. I literally used to pretend I was filming YouTube videos and did hauls on my iPad from the time I was 10 years old. However, my background is in finance. After graduating college with a B.S. in Business Finance, I was a junior analyst for a non-profit start up and I was studying for my CPA. Simultaneously, I took an internship opportunity with Bloggers Who Brunch; while my time with them was short-lived (due to my 9-5 job), it was with the BWB team that I rediscovered where my passion lies- it was definitely an ‘aha’ moment of where I was in life versus where I wanted to be. From there, I made the commitment to post every. single. day. I didn’t leave my job until about a year after, but it was just a commitment to myself to do what made me happy, even if at the time, I had <1k followers.
How long was it before your social media platforms became profitable? How did you live through those first few months/years? Did you have any struggles?
I didn’t see Instagram as a lucrative means of income for myself until I reached around 20k followers. Of course, this was a little over a year ago, so a lot has changed on the platform; nowadays, I don’t think following matters as much. The first year and a half of committing to my platforms full time, I was fortunate enough to live at home and I also didn’t leave my full-time job until I really saw potential in my business/career through social media.
What did you do prior to influencing on social media?
As cliche as this may sound, this is my dream job. Of course, I’d love to continue to grow/expand. At this time, I’m actually working on a line of my own (hint hint), which I’m very nervous about, but just as excited!
What are your thoughts on social media? And what do you think is the most commonly misunderstood thing about social media?
I think social media is one of, if not, the most powerful tool of our generation. I think the most common misconception is that social media isn’t a ‘real’ job or that it’s easy money; if anything, it’s the exact opposite. I think it’s hard for people who use social media solely as a means of leisure to conceptualize how others are able to monetize it, so they choose to devalue its impact on society, but that narrative is a time of the past. If you still don’t get it, then that’s okay, but don’t hate on something just because you’re unable to make something bigger out of it😉
Tell us something about yourself that your followers don’t know
I feel like I’m pretty much an open book on my platform, or at least I try to be. However, I do think I’ve been mistaken for someone who is materialistic and while I enjoy nice things, they’re just things. I find my happiness in the people that surround me (my family, friends, etc) and in my faith. In person, I’m actually very chill & laid back.
What negative assumptions, if any, have been made about you via social media?
To be honest, I feel like the assumption that a lot of negativity surrounds the community is a misconception, in and of itself. Of course, there’s always going to be negative people/assumptions, but that’s an anomaly in comparison to the outpour of love and acceptance I’ve received through my interaction with so many amazing women.
Of all the gifted packages you receive as an influencer, which product/item excites you the most? What would be your dream brand to collab with?
Honestly, gifting can be pretty overwhelming, so I only like to accept the things I know won’t go to waste. With that being said, being gifted from designers is really exciting, but I also find it touching that those with smaller businesses share their products with me. I love supporting smaller brands & building a relationship with their founders!
Who are the three most influential people in your life, and why?
My parents would be the first two people I’d list- they’re both first generation immigrants and two of the most loving, generous, and hard-working people I’ve had the privilege of knowing, let alone being raised by. They’re innately good people and I feel so lucky to have been surrounded by those core values my entire life. They’ve afforded me so many opportunities and I feel a responsibility to work hard because, unlike them, I was fortunate enough to have been given all the tools. Another individual I have a lot of admiration for is Marianna Hewitt– I think she’s a brilliant business woman & she’s always remained true to her brand.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring influencer if you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip?
Sounds cliche, but just go for it. Don’t think too much and don’t focus on what others are doing- there’s a lot of overlap in inspo, but remain true to yourself. Your audience can easily tell the difference between someone who is authentic versus someone who is trying to be like everyone else, so please just BE YOURSELF. Also, do your own research- there’s nothing you can’t google these days, so be smart and strategic.
To follow along with Pia’s journey, click here.
Who are some of Pia’s biggest inspirations?