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Interview With An Influencer: Geneva Vanderzeil from A Pair and A Spare

Meet Geneva Vanderzeil, your new best friend, interior design muse and DIY guru all rolled into one. A successful Australian blogger, designer, craft lover and businesswoman, Geneva launched her website A Pair & A Spare in 2010 as a platform to share stylish How-To tutorials. Since then, Geneva’s site has grown to span across Style, Interiors, Creativity and Travel and includes her most recent venture – her daughter, Frankie. We recently collaborated with Geneva on behalf of NESCAFÉ to create a series of content showcasing how its Café Style coffee sachet range makes the perfect indulgent moment at home or on the go. 

We spoke to Geneva about the rise of A Pair and A Spare, the ever-evolving world of social media, and her advice for brands looking to make the most of their influencer partnerships.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Geneva and I run the website A Pair & A Spare. I started my site almost ten years ago now, and it focuses on sharing with people how to bring creativity into their lives – in their style, their homes and their travel. I’ve written a book, worked with international brands, spoken on panels and created a really interesting and engaged audience around the world. Creativity is powerful and we all need more of it in our lives.

What’s your favourite social channel and why? 

I focus a significant amount of attention on my website, and feed my content out to various channels from that. In the last decade I have been able to build a dedicated website following (we have over 200,000 loyal readers), which is something I want to nourish as much as possible. I love how instant other social channels like Instagram and Twitter are, and how they enable you to connect on a really personal level, so I use them in a strategic way to grow the audience for my website. I’d also like to focus more attention on video content, because I think creative and How To content translates really well in this format.

How have your website and social channels changed since you started? 

I started my website in 2009 and there weren’t any other social channels to speak of, and I used to post a few times a day! Obviously, the landscape has evolved significantly since then so I have tried to evolve with it, whilst being true to my core audience and trying to grow my readers. These days the different content itself is more nuanced and tailored to the channel it’s on, but always trying to direct people back to my website. In addition, I think more and more we are going to see that it’s important to get offline with your audience, through events and workshops, so that people can get to know you on a more personal level. Even if you have a hundred thousand followers, being able to fill a room is a big deal (and a challenge!) and it’s this that translates into a real and loyal audience, which is where value lies for brands.

What are two things you’ve learnt since you started A Pair and A Spare? 

1. Never underestimate your audience. 

2. Never underestimate yourself.

How do you keep your followers / readers engaged? 

I think these days people want to see all elements of the content or project, not just the finished design or idea. And I agree, I love to see how and why things are done. So for me it’s about taking the audience on a journey and having them help me with the process too, and using various mediums to share the different parts of the journey.

How do you pick the brands that you work with? 

One thing that is important to me is that all content I share is informative, entertaining or educational. I want my content to be the kind that people come back to and bookmark. The type that makes people’s lives better and more creative. So even if it means having to say no to lots of things, I know that in the long run all you have is the trust and loyalty of your audience.

What advice do you have for brands wanting to work with you? 

The best work I have ever done is when brands allow me to come up with a great idea for a campaign and execute it in a way that I know my audience will love. I know it can be scary giving up the reigns, and there’s always a need to meet the requirements of the brief, but this is the way that the content will feel the most genuine and real. I think it’s also useful to have an understanding of the goals for the project, if the goal is to create content for a brand’s own channels (we do that too!) then they can and should dictate exactly what they want. But once you are using a brand ambassador and want to tap into their audience, it’s worth letting that person use and interpret the product in their own way so that their audience can really get on board with it.

FORWARD Agency is one of Australia’s leading consumer PR agencies and regularly work with our clients on influencer marketing campaigns. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.