Everyone dreams of translating their passion into their careers – and that’s exactly what fashion mavens Stacie Brockman and Erin Kleinberg have done. The duo first worked together at The Coveteur, where they raided and showcased the closets of style icons like Sarah Jessica Parker, Pharrell and Kourtney Kardashian. They then used their creative prowess and business savvy to build Métier Creative, a creative agency that builds cult-status brands with meaningful messaging that makes you say, “That’s so me!”
We sat down with Stacie and Erin to discuss how their personal brands helped define and build success in their careers.
Pilot: When did you first become aware of personal branding and what did it mean to you?
Erin: I began honing my personal “brand” identity when I was in high school (although I may not have known it then). Looking back, I truly was always doing my own thing. I wore pieces because I thought they were cool, not because a friend told me they were. I made the clothes I couldn’t find in the stores but knew I wanted. Ultimately, that translated into me becoming a designer.
Stacie: I definitely became aware of personal brand at a very early age. To me it meant, “Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you believe in?” Ultimately, everything I do needs to feel 100 per cent, authentically me. It needs to be funny (genuinely funny), confident, creative, innovative, maybe even ridiculously outrageous, and at times, unexpected.
Personal branding is all about how you show up in your day-to-day life. It’s the values that you bring into everything you do. It guides your decision-making, relationships, and so much more. In short, it’s very important.
Pilot: How does the Métier brand relate to your personal brand?
Erin/Stacie: Truthfully, we feel our personal brands are very intertwined with Métier’s. Personally, and professionally, we are very chill, laid back, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously – but we know when and how to put ourselves together for the right occasion.
Métier has the same vibe, but slightly more elevated because we’re showcasing our work. The Métier brand really comes to life when you see our Instagram feed or IG Stories. People often comment that our culture looks fun, welcoming and supportive. Like our own personal brands, that’s the image we always want to put out there. Ultimately, we hope people view Métier’s brand as a direct extension of our team and us.
Pilot: Do you ever turn your personal brand “off” in public?
Erin/Stacie: We always stay true to ourselves and of course, our Canadian roots. Our personas are authentic so there is no “off”— it’s us. We’re nice, funny, humble, who don’t take ourselves too seriously just because we’re whipping out some badass, top-tier level work. But ultimately when we go home and we’re with our families, we’re very much present in that moment because we can appreciate the desire for balance from the online and offline world.
Pilot: Where do you think you’d be without your personal brand?
Erin/Stacie: You would truly see the same people, but mildly less… polished? While we are conscious of what “content” we put out in the world. We are genuinely passionate about what we do and the brands we work with – lucky gals, you may (and can) say.
We’re not trying to look like Photoshopped, hyper-real versions of ourselves online. We want people to see the guts and glory. We want our personal brands and Métier’s brand to be one that actually looks real, not FaceTuned. This business has a crazy unglamorous side – schlepping equipment, traveling at 5 a.m. on a red-eye and knocking out emails isn’t cute, but we’re not afraid to show that.
Pilot: What’s the biggest mistake people make when they begin developing their personal brands?
Erin/Stacie: Crafting a truly authentic and effective personal brand takes time. Do it when you can let your passion take the front seat. Don’t do it because you feel you should, or your best friend is, or because something is popular at this moment in time.
The biggest mistake people make is trying to copy the personal brands of others because that’s when the world of social becomes so saturated with the same kind of content. White washed spaces, pale pink walls…it’s not to say there’s not a time and place for these aesthetics, but ultimately just be you, be real, and it’ll be much tougher to copy others. Stand out, be funny, be relatable, have a little irreverence, and you’ll be good to go.
Pilot: Is there any other advice you can offer people looking to expand their personal brand into their careers?
Erin/Stacie: For a young entrepreneur, you should always think about your personal brand, beyond where you are but where you want to be. Who are the clients you want to work with? Are you networking with the right people? Does your Instagram represent the “pitch” you are putting out?
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and style.
Photo of Erin and Stacie by Karim Olen Ash.
Want to learn more about personal branding? Join Pilot on September 21st for our next Co-Pilot event, “Kim Kardashian is my Co-Pilot.” Come out and enjoy some drinks, snacks and an exciting panel discussion featuring more personal branding experts.