#Borderless: How Ezinne started her journey as a natural hair content creator.
For this week's Borderless, we spoke with Ezinne, a natural hair content creator and influencer on Instagram & Youtube, who walks us through her journey as a creative.
Hi Ezinne, could you tell me a bit about yourself?
Sure, My name is Ezinne Amadi. I live in Lagos, Nigeria, and I create content around natural hair. I studied Electronic Engineering at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and I have some background in tech as I worked as a business analyst at a tech company for about two years after graduating from University.
Nice! How did you start your journey creating content around hair?
Funny thing is I didn't set out to be a content creator in the exact sense.
Yeah. Here is how it happened ⎯ I never really liked hair extensions or attachments. I have always preferred to wear my hair in its natural state because that's just more comfortable for me, so I'd style it to prioritize comfort. Many of my mates back in university got curious and asked me questions about how I styled my hair, and I always had to respond to inquiries like that constantly.
A friend then recommended that I start a blog where I document my responses so that when people ask me a question about my hair, I could just easily refer them to my blog.
And that was how I started. I just wanted to be able to better answer the hair-related questions people had for me.
So when did it morph into being a serious thing for you?
It was around when Instagram became popular. People read blogs less and were more attuned to visual content (pictures & videos). I knew I had to move with the trend, so I got a camera and started to make visual content around hair, which I'd post to Instagram and Youtube. I was a lot more active on Instagram when I first started because it was easier to drop content there and go as opposed to Youtube that is more demanding.
When did brands start reaching out?
Interestingly enough, I started getting offers from brands not long after I got active on Instagram. I still remember my first international collaboration. It was with an American brand in 2017, and it paid about $100. I was so excited because I didn't have a plan to monetize my content when I started.
How did that deal go?
It mostly went well.
Hehe. So I created the content, and the brand loved it. But there was some hassle with getting paid. They planned to pay me via PayPal, which didn't work out because you can't receive money via PayPal if you stay in Nigeria. I had to open a domiciliary account and share the details with them. It took about a week before the payment eventually got processed.
I know, right. I am not a patient person when it comes to money that I have already worked for, so that whole process was just frustrating.
For how long did you use a dom account?
Not for long. I had a friend staying in the UK whose PayPal account I used for a while. Then so as not to overly stress her, I came up with this super complicated workaround I started using.
Sounds like a lot of stress.
It really was.
How did Sendcash come into the picture?
I was ranting to a friend about how difficult it was to receive international payments and withdraw my money. Even when I succeeded at withdrawing, the rates weren't favourable, and I was starting to lose brand deals because of payment issues.
He introduced me to Sendcash, and when I checked it out, the first thing that caught my eye was the rate.
So you have been using Sendcash since?
Yeah. You guys introducing USD accounts has made receiving payments even easier for me. Plus, you have a really great support team. That alone puts my mind at rest.
Yaay! I'd pass that on to them.
I am curious. How do you charge the brands you work with?
Well, It mainly depends on the kind of content they want me to create for them.
There are two categories when it comes to making content for brands ⎯ collaborations & campaigns. A collaboration is when a brand wants me to specifically create marketable content for them, like product reviews & endorsements where I delve into how their product works. A campaign is when a brand has a pool of creators/influencers, and they want us to collectively create a buzz around their brand/product by mentioning it to our audience.
I charge a lot more for collaborations than I do for campaigns because I am making a definite statement to my audience about the quality of the brand's product, putting my weight behind it.
And how do you evaluate these brands before working with them?
I always put my audience first. For me, it's asking myself if my audience can relate to the brand and how well my values align with that of the brand. If I promote a product that contradicts what I represent, there will be an obvious disconnect.
You have worked with a lot of international brands. How did you position yourself to work with them?
I don't think I did any positioning. I started out creating content that could be useful to people like myself, and I have stayed authentic to that. In fact, I fall back on my content a lot when I need to figure out something, like a hairstyle I have created a video on in the past.
I use bright colours a lot in my videos, and I match them with my outfits because I like colours, and I realized that many people who pay attention to my content also like hair content and colours.
I think staying true to myself has attracted people who genuinely like my content, and brands can pick up on that.