All Photos Courtesy of Elisa
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Berlin based content creator and creative consultant, Elisa Schenke inspires a laid-back, unpretentious, approach to style. No fuss, just a practical, day to day way of dressing that any woman can apply to look polished, stylish and on-trend.
Her style is focused on effortless modern pieces often complemented by understated jewellery. Over the past couple of years, Elisa has built a successful personal brand which has enabled her to work with companies such as Burberry and Uniqlo. Here, she discusses some of the challenges and life lessons she has learnt along with her journey, since starting her blog.
“Sometimes the concerns to start are always a lot bigger than your courage and they get bigger with every day that you think about them. But in the end, when you finally take the first step, things always – well mostly – turn out to be pretty easy and the decision becomes the best you ever made.”
Q1. How did you get started?
After school, I studied Fashion Marketing. I’ve never seen myself as a designer, but I was looking for something creative to do and I wanted to combine my passion for visual content with something solid. I saw myself in an advertising company or maybe doing brand communication later on in my career. Alongside my studies, I started my blog because I was looking for a place to express my creativity and it was a very common thing at that time. And thanks to that, I started making friends through the blogging scene and was able to build a strong network in Berlin that has helped me realise my own projects.
Q2. Describe what you do as a visual content creator and creative consultant?
As a freelancer, my schedule changes from day to day. In general, I have to divide my time between “public visible” projects and the “non-visible” ones. What I mean by that is: From an outside perspective, you can see my website and Instagram. This requires a daily work schedule of creating digital content like photo productions for Instagram which include styling, location scouting, research, as well as post-production such as editing. Then, there is “community management,” where I spend time answering questions and comments from followers, sending links to products I’m wearing or giving tips on Berlin. Up to this point, the tasks are relatable for most people because you can see the direct results.
The other part of my role involves negotiating on collaborations, reporting on how well they do and doing sample coordinations. I also do content creation for brands which means producing pictures – this is where the visual in “visual content creator” comes from – for their own social media channels and other digital marketing purposes. Because brand campaigns are now getting shorter and new collections are dropping faster, I outsource certain parts of a campaign’s production to other creatives.
As a creative consultant, I also advise brands on social media matters, do events or create presentations for agency pitches on new projects. I usually get access to these projects through a good network of industry professionals. That’s why a very important part of the non-visible aspect of my job is networking. This means going to events from brands and agencies, meeting PR managers, photographers and other industry professionals, just to maintain contact. This helps me get jobs because when you share some of the projects you are involved in, your name will come up next time someone needs somebody for a similar job or project.
Q3. What are your tips for managing the workload?
I’m a real to-do list person, paper to-do lists. They are my key to staying organised and rewarding myself by ticking things from my list. That’s such a good feeling.
Every Sunday evening or Monday morning, I write myself a to-do list for the week. This includes, things I want to get done workwise, but also private stuff. Afterwards, I create a list for the current day and prioritize my tasks. If there is one big task that needs a lot of concentration, I try to do it first thing in the morning. If I need a really clear head, I get up pretty early (for office hours), at 6.30am and I am at my desk by 7am to start the working day before e-mails and other stuff come up. I also put my phone away, so that I am not disturbed and focus on one task at a time. In general, focusing on one task without distraction from my environment helps a lot.
After lunch, I’m mostly not that focused anymore so I try to set meetings and other appointments in the afternoons. It works best for me to divide my working day into two parts: a morning part where I can focus for hours on one thing and an afternoon part for things that require a less concentration span. I used to work a lot in the evening hours during my studies and I still do that sometimes, but I think it’s best to have a work-life balance. It helps to structure yourself, to develop a routine and also to set an end of the working day and private time.
Of course this doesn’t work all the time. Sometimes, I also transfer parts of my daily to do’s to the next day simply because I tend to put too much on the list or something unexpected happens. So my tip is to try and fill just 80% of your daily time with tasks. Otherwise, you’ll never finish one list and end up in the hamster wheel with too much work and less time to get it all done. And one last thing: look for different kinds of tasks. Don’t do 3 conceptional tasks in one day. Put a walk to the post office in between or one hour for quick e-mail conversations. Also, take breaks. Although it might seem like you are you’re losing time, in the long run, you need them to stay focused and work efficiently.
Q4. What has been your biggest life lesson?
So far, my biggest life lesson is that “your ego is your worst enemy.” To me, this is so true.
It’s definitely hard to satisfy myself or at least be pleased with my work. I still struggle with comparing myself to others. Especially with everything being so accessible nowadays. There might be a lot of inspiration out there but just as many comparables. And, although I’m pretty sure that this is a challenge that will accompany me throughout life – both in personal terms and professionally – I’m fighting less often against my alter ego.
Q5. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced on your journey to where you are now?
I remember the first one, right at the beginning and it was to actually start. I always dreamed of having a blog but needed a lot of persuading from friends to start and do it. Sometimes the concerns to start are always a lot bigger than your courage and they get bigger with every day that you think about them. But in the end, when you finally take the first step, things always – well mostly – turn out to be pretty easy and the decision becomes the best you ever made. So always ask yourself, “what do you want: the pain of staying where you are or the pain of growth?”
Q6. What advice do you have for anyone hoping to create good visual content and build a career like yours?
Try not to look left or right. That’s probably the only thing that works. Stay true to your self and surround yourself with like-minded people. But don’t avoid a good creative conflict with people who think differently. Try not to push too hard and enjoy.
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“That’s why a very important part of the non-visible aspect of my job is networking. This means going to events from brands and agencies, meeting PR managers, photographers and other industry professionals, just to maintain contact.”