Being an influencer is a lifestyle.

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10 Questions: Phil Valles

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Name: Phil Valles
Instagram: @philvalles
Website: www.darkessentials.com
Years of being an Influencer: 2 Years

1. What does success as an influencer look like to you?

Being able to wake up every morning feeling happy with what I have and excited about the projects I’m working on.

2. Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

I would say I am more of an extrovert but it really depends on the environment and people I am surrounded with. I consider myself a social person, and love to be around people. But, I do have periods of time where I enjoy being home and taking time to disconnect.

3. How do you try and stand out from other people with followings? What makes you different?

What I feel separates me from a lot of people is my sense of personal style. I’ve always strayed from the traditional “buttoned-up” idea of menswear. From my outfits to my lifestyle content, everything is a true reflection of myself.

4. Do you feel like blogging can provide you enough success to make a satisfactory living?

Definitely - in my opinion, companies are always going to need relevant content produced that speaks to their audiences in an authentic way. While the vehicle in which that content is delivered may change over the years, the general idea will remain the same. Before blogging and social media became what they are today, large companies appeared to always put their marketing dollars behind A-list celebrities. Today, audiences have become smarter and able see through the thin veil of those inauthentic endorsements. With blogging, content creators like myself will only commit to partnerships that makes sense. If I don’t like a product a company is pitching me, chances are my audience won’t like it either and it’s a waste of time for everyone involved.

5. Who do you look to for inspiration?

I pull inspiration from all over, but I’m really old fashioned. I have a habit of flipping through magazines and pulling tear-sheets of editorial shoots I really vibe with. I also get daily inspiration just walking the streets of New York. I’m lucky to have an office in Soho because there is an wide range of people with specific styles that come and go throughout the day - I love seeing how differently people style similar pieces that I have in my own closet - I’m always getting new ideas. Other than that, I like to casually flip through Instagram and save images of outfits I like.

6. What’s the hardest thing about your job?

From the early mornings with my puppy, to the afternoons at my office, and the evenings working on the blog - I’ve had to really learn how to prioritize my time on a daily basis. It can be really easy to let work consume you while forgetting about the real life that you’ve left behind – I have been guilty of doing this several times. Over the years I have learned how to balance things a bit better by learning how to say “no” every now and again. When I first started working on my blog I found myself attending every event I was invited to, spending late nights emailing clients, shooting content all weekend long, and so-on. Now, I’ve been a little bit better at cutting back and realizing I can’t do everything and be everywhere.

7. What’s your favorite image that you’ve ever taken?

My favorite image that has ever been taken of me is actually a photo of me and my dog, Oliver! The picture was shot by Leo Chang outside of a coffee shop when my dog was about 10 weeks old. What I love the most about being a content creator is that I have developed an enormous library of life-moments that I’m able to look back on.

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8. Where is the influencer landscape headed - will your job exist in 5 years?

It’s really hard to predict where things will end up! The industry is constantly changing, but I think there will always be a place for content creators.

9. What has being an influencer done to your self image / self confidence?

After being in this industry for a few years my self confidence has improved tenfold. When I first started, I was in a place where I didn’t really know what I wanted to do long-term and was feeling really unsure of myself and the direction I was going. Now, I have a platform to speak and create, which has allowed me to develop a creative confidence that I didn’t have before.

10. If someone were starting out today, what advice would you give that person?

I would tell that person to think about what separates them from everybody else - the industry has become oversaturated and identifying what makes you unique is most important. From there, I would recommend focusing on creating consistent, high-quality content.

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