Meet Ishpreet Kaur – YouTuber, social media influencer, creator and face of the hugely popular DIY videos YouTube channel Slick and Natty. In just about 2 years since she first started creating videos for the channel, it has acquired close to five hundred thousand subscribers.
In a candid tête-à-tête with FishSenseDQ, Ishpreet shared the story of her journey towards social media fame, experience working with brands, and what it means to be an online influencer.
Tell us about the journey that finally got you where you are today.
It all began with me studying dentistry. I never wanted to be a dentist, I was always inclined towards interior designing and those sorts of things. Just because I was good at studies in school, everyone assumed that I would end up becoming a doctor. That’s how I got into dentistry. Towards the end of it however, I realised that I couldn’t do this forever.
Like, dentistry wasn’t something that is going to make me happy, so I had to take a call on what I should be doing next. It just so happened to be around the time that 3 Idiots came out (laughs). So I had gone to watch 3 Idiots with my parents and as soon as my Mom came out of the theatre she told me that I could do whatever I wanted to in life, before that they were never really convinced.
I thought that MBA was the answer, it would unlock new avenues for me. So, I completed my MBA from Narsee Monjee and got placed into a pharmaceutical company at a very good package. Initially, I was very excited because it was something new – me beginning a new journey in my life. But we all know what it’s like working in the corporate space.
That was my turning point. I decided that it was time for me to take a call and take my life into my own hands. So, I quit with no plan of action in mind.
People might think otherwise. But sometimes, a spontaneous decision can have the best impact. So, I was sitting at home, with all this free time that I could now invest heavily into learning and exploring things that I was passionate about and interested in.
A thought to start a YouTube channel just clicked and I decided to utilise my time to start creating interesting videos on the side. In the beginning I didn’t know what my channel would be centred around or built on, so I took it one step at a time. Being inclined towards creativity and the creative process of things, I started making ‘How to’ tutorials and also showcased other craft projects. And that’s how my channel took off.
What inspired you to go digital? – Was it to gain a huge exposure to audiences or just doing something you love?
One reason was for me to be able to channel my creativity into something. The second was to be acknowledged. I’ve always known that I’m good at what I do, but I never really put it out there for people to see, learn from and appreciate. Those were my basic drivers.
Tell us about Slick and Natty, the content you currently publish and the kind of content you plan to publish in the future.
So my niche would be DIY videos, specifically ones related to converting old clothes into other useful products. Those are the videos my viewers have come to appreciate the most and also demand the most of.
The DIY videos however can be very time consuming & effort intensive. My audience now expects to see more content being sent their way from me and so I’ve started shooting other videos now that revolve around skin & hair tutorials with a dermatologist friend of mine. Fashion related videos like tips and tricks to dress up effectively. I am now venturing into the beauty, fashion and lifestyle segment.
Do audience suggestions and comments play a big role on the kind of content you choose to go forward with?
Definitely! After a point, when you’ve made like 50-60 videos, you are searching for more topics to cover. In those moments it’s best to tap into your viewer’s comments to know exactly what they would like to see you doing as well. It’s a win-win situation for both me & my viewers.
How was your overall experience working with brands and the marketers? Were there any memorable videos or campaigns you have done?
So honestly, it’s definitely a very big source of income for any influencer who has the opportunity to work with brands and media agencies. At the same time, it isn’t something that is very easy to carry out because there are usually mediating agencies involved and many-a-times there is a lot of back and forth before you really get a proper understanding of what it is that you’re expected to do. Without proper planning from the brand and agency side you could get locked in a paradox of revisions and iterations until you can finally deliver what is expected. Also, sometimes you don’t get the liberty to do the things you do love doing.
How much liberty do you give to brands? And how do you deal with them when you’re not comfortable doing things they ask you to do?
To begin with, there are 2 kinds of products that I won’t endorse, for example bleaches & fairness products. Those are the moments I completely put my foot down.
As far as execution of the video is concerned, you have to be a little flexible with brands because you know that they are also considering a tonne of other aspects that might not be as clear to the influencer involved in the project. If, however, the brand or the agency is unclear about their expectations and you’ve gone through 2 to 3 rounds of feedback and iterations, it’s time to put your food down and say – ‘This is how I am, this is what I do & this is what I’m good at and I can’t really change that about me.’
What are the memorable campaigns or videos that you have done for brands?
So, I did a video for Nivea deodorant. That entire experience was smooth. The brand and agency involved were clear and transparent about what they wanted, so it was very easy for me to execute. Everything got done in one go. I still feel that Nivea is a brand that is very professional and clear about their requirements.
If you were to give any advice to brand managers, on how to work with influencers what would that be? How can brands better interact with influencers to get the best out of them?
Firstly, it’s best when they (brand managers) have complete clarity on what they want – so that they can communicate the same to us (influencers) as well.
Secondly, it’s always ideal if we send a script across first, that they can then revise if required. This drastically reduces the number of revision required on the final end product – which is a lot more wasted effort from the influencers end if there are too many revisions. My experience with Nivea was one such project that worked out very well.
Thirdly, when brands or agencies approach us, there is usually a sense of urgency. We do understand that even they (brand managers) have timelines that need to be met, but with a little better planning they could unintentionally do us (influencers) a very big favour and give us sufficient time to make a really good video that both parties are happy and satisfied with.
Lastly, the payments…
Do you face any delay in payments?
Depends upon the agencies. Some agencies will always delay it. Some others however are professional enough.
Which place becomes a bigger source of income – Is it YouTube? Or is it mostly the brands that you work with that get you the biggest payout?
YouTube is consistent. It becomes a regular source of income, but obviously, it isn’t a very big amount.
With brands, you stand to gain more – both in monetary terms as well as exposure. But they are on project or campaign basis and you never really know when you’re going to be approached next.
Do you have any tips for budding content creators who probably are inspired by you and want to do the kind of work you’re doing online?
So, I get a lot of mails from people who are starting off their channels or have already just started it; and they want me to give them tips on some simple but very crucial aspects, like how to make a video share-worthy or how to make a channel popular, so I have one advice for them –
‘There’s no substitute for the research that you will do yourself, which will make a strong foundation for your channel. Before I started my channel, I had researched thoroughly about everything and now I feel so confident about all those aspects because I did not rely on anybody else’s knowledge. Secondly, I’ve been on YouTube for a long time and can safely say that there’s no trick or short way to make your channel popular other than your content. So initially, you will have to put in a lot of efforts in figuring out what is it that’s going to make your content unique. Some niche that you can tap into and then really be consistent with initially. You’ll really have to put in your sweat into it for your channel to become popular, there’s no shortcut to it.’
If you had an opportunity to work with the brand that you really love, which brands would you pick, like the brands that resonate with you completely?
- Flyrobe / Satge3 – As I believe that renting clothes instead of buying all the time is the sustainable way to go
- Bioderma – For their scientifically developed skin products
- Kama Ayurveda – for their chemical-free products
- The Body Shop – for their chemical-free products
- Ajio.com – For its unique collection of fusion Indian wear
According to you, what makes an influencer?
Passion for what they are doing, most importantly because that reflects in your work and your ability to communicate with your audience, convince them about the message you want to get across and to be able to play in things well!