It's rare to find someone, while achieving viral growth and success with their personal brand, that remains humble and relatable like its their very first day at it. Then, allow us to introduce Shaynna to disrupt the stereotype and monotony. We had the pleasure of working with Shaynna (@modern_day_esther) two years ago on our branding and content creation before we officially launched.
The best part? Since then, she's grown her community and brand, but she's still down to earth with an artistic, girl-next-door aesthetic that if you know, you know.
Watching her brand and creativity grow has been exciting to witness, but even so the fact that she is still humble and appreciative of every member of the community she curated. We nabbed her for a Q&A to learn how she juggles newfound attention from her content, her creative process, and how she feels about sharing skincare products with her boyfriend, and why she would choose IG over TikTok!
Who are three people that have been the most influential to you?
I was raised by women, very strong women! They all played a part in who I am today. My grandmother, who has been a teacher for most of my life and is the first person I saw use a sewing machine.
My mother, one of the most creative people I know, does it all and allowed me to do all that I wanted to do as well.
And last but certainly not least, My aunt Sherri, she was also a creative that inspired me to pursue my passions.
Was there a photo or video of yours that went viral? How did it feel with so much attention on you?
It's happened a few times actually and it catches me off guard each time because I never expect it haha!
Most recently it was a look I did during the holidays, I put Christmas ornaments and string lights in my hair and the videos I shared on my social accounts garnered a total of almost 500,000 views in a matter of a few days!
For the most part, all comments were positive thankfully, but it always comes with a few trolls that leave negative comments just for attention. Which I've learned to not really care about over time because all they're doing is boosting my engagement by leaving comments which helps me in the long run.
From content creation for yourself to collaboration with brands, as well as designing clothing, accessories, etc.; how do you continually find inspiration to keep it fresh and relevant?
My faith I'd say is definitely the biggest factor in my creative process, I pray about all of my creative decisions and ask God to guide me because sometimes, I have no clue how to do something or even where to start. I find inspiration in everything really, I could be in the car and here a single line in a song that sparks a whirlwind of ideas. Which is dangerous sometimes because I can end up overwhelming myself trying to bring an idea to life.
You have great engagement with your audience on IG. How was it going from 1000 to 10K followers and then 10K to over 30K?
When I first started using Instagram, I strictly downloaded it to interact with friends! I would post my outfits, song screenshots and the really good breakfast burritos my mom would make for me. Growing a following was nowhere in my mind. Once I moved to California in 2014 I noticed people I didn't know were starting to find my Instagram and were following me. It was a little scary at first but also interesting to me that a stranger living in London cared about what I had for lunch or all the insane amount of sunset pics I posted. My growth has always happened in spurts and was always unexpected, but I enjoyed making new friends online.
Growth can certainly happen overnight but even if it does, you still have to work to keep it.
Any advice for people/brands trying to grow an engaged community with a picky algorithm and saturated market?
I don't like calling them followers. I feel like it puts me on a pedestal when I'm truly no different because of the numbers on my social media account. It does come with its dangers and people can often be judgmental or feel as if I owe them more than I have to give. In general, I'm just honored to have such a large support system online, I appreciate every single person. I've always posted things I like and things I care about and that attracts people. Either because they relate to me or because they find me interesting (crazy!! I'll never get over that!).
Being genuine and staying true to who you are is advice I always give to anyone that's looking to grow, people can spot someone that's trying too hard or faking. Someone else might be doing what you want to do and that's fine! Still do it, because you have something to bring to the table that no one else does! The world is big, it's room for everyone to prosper and it takes time to grow. I've been on IG for 10 years, growing took time. Growth can certainly happen overnight but even if it does, you still have to work to keep it.
If you could only pick one to update for the rest of the year, which would you choose: IG or TikTok?
I'm most familiar with IG, it's like a friend I've had for years. While TikTok is the cool new kid I really really enjoy hanging out with but is still a mystery to me. I would probably go with instagram because it gives me a variety of ways to share my creative ideas while TikTok only allows video content.
You wrote a blog article for us, 10 Gender-Neutral Clothing Brands, that still slaps. People love it because it is hard to find an index of brands that cater to gender neutrality. Is gender-neutrality something you think about when designing?
Oh wow, I'm so glad that the blog post is still doing well! I really enjoyed writing and doing the research for it!! In my design process, I definitely aim to make things that everyone would feel comfortable in regardless of gender.
What are your thoughts on gender-neutral skincare?
I personally love gender neutral styling and have many gender neutral pieces in my closet! I'm seeing more and more that the concept of gender neutral clothing specifically is changing and evolving and I love it! People are really becoming more comfortable in their expression across fashion, beauty, self care and more.
Do you share skincare/bodycare products with your partner? if so, which product do you both run out of frequently?
My boyfriend and I love doing our skin routines together and sharing products being that we have some of the same skin concerns! Anytime I find a new product or product I can't wait to tell him about it and try it together. Our favorite thing to do together are face masks, sheets, mud masks, gel masks, all of them!!
we are always stocking up on them because we use them so often. He also loves your new 2 in 1 Body Polisher and I'll soon have to get more of that haha!!
What are your goals for future projects/collaborations?
I am what many would consider a multi-hyphenate! I wear many hats and do so many things. I've finally found a balance and am currently doing almost all the things I love and am most passionate about! I most recently entered into the world of beauty, a very large world in deed and I'm excited to continue to grow and refine my skills to further that area of my career path.
The next thing I want to do is pursue acting, I have experience and have always desired to do more in that area because it's something I truly enjoy doing, I look forward to future opportunities and all the doors God will open for me in that area!