If producing this influencer marketing podcast has shown us anything, it’s that the best influencer marketing professionals come from all different backgrounds. For Maria Rendina, influencer marketing coordinator at SheFit, that background was broadcast journalism. But through a connection at SheFit, she found herself launched into the influencer marketing world.
The team at SheFit was facing a unique challenge as a startup in the niche sports apparel industry: they didn’t have a wide range of diverse products — they started with a single product built specifically for women.
The solution? Influencer marketing. But they didn’t work with just any influencers — they focused their energies on influencers who aligned with SheFit’s mission and already had a passion for the product.
Throw on your SheFit apparel, head to the gym and put on your headphones to learn how Maria Rendina helped SheFit go from a startup to a brand with a passionate cult following.
- You don’t need a business degree or a background in influencer marketing to get into the field. Sometimes all you need is the right connection.
- Startups come with many marketing challenges, but also the flexibility to make the campaigns yours.
- Choose influencers who align with your mission and values.
- Choose influencers who had a pre-existing passion for your product — before the money got involved.
Interview with SheFit
Perlu: Hello and welcome to the Perlu Podcast: Influencer Marketing Re-imagined, a podcast where we chat with influencer marketing professionals, social media influencers, bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, you name it, about what has led to their success.
Today, we are speaking with Maria Rendina, the influencer marketing coordinator at SheFit, a rapidly growing women’s sports apparel company and creator of the ultimate sports bra — the only fully adjustable sports bra available to women today. Maria liaises with the SheFit marketing team in developing influencer strategies and creative campaigns while building out relationships with prominent influencers and thoughtful leaders to positively represent the SheFit brand. Maria’s personal interests in fashion, entrepreneurship and self-development help aid in keeping her abreast of emerging trends and techniques to better collaborate with those in the influencer space.
I’m your host Alexis Trammell. If you enjoy today’s episode, we hope you sign up for Perlu, connect with SheFit and learn more about how you can grow your influencer marketing career.
Maria, thank you so much for joining us.
Maria Rendina: Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to be a part of this.
Perlu: Awesome. Cool.
Why don’t you tell us a little more about your background and why you got into influencer marketing?
Maria Rendina: Yeah. So I actually graduated from college in 2018, with a degree in broadcast journalism — so completely different from marketing in general. And then I actually had a connection to the owner of SheFit, and I started working in their events department and traveled across the US and worked in sales and did the selling of the bras and word-of-mouth, trying to get it out to fitness brands to gain exposure on the brand in itself. And then I shifted to the influencer side of things last year in January. And that’s when influencer marketing started to kick off for SheFit. We never really touched influencer marketing in that space at all.
I was like the guinea pig. I got to liaise with my managers and other peers within the marketing department. And we really grew and we’re here now. It’s been exciting and crazy, but it’s definitely been a learning process for sure. And we’re still growing and developing, and I’m just learning as I go.
Perlu: That’s so cool. That’s so exciting that you got to kick off influencer marketing for the first time at SheFit. I just love the SheFit brand — the whole woman empowerment angle and the versatile bras. I think that’s so, so cool for you to have gotten in the ground level of influencer marketing there.
Maria Rendina: For sure. It’s been really awesome. And just to be a part of a woman brand. Right now we currently only sell sports bras. We just launched our seamless leggings — our boss leggings that just launched are really awesome — and we’re really looking forward to having more pieces to add to our collections.
But it really did start with a staple piece, and that’s our ultimate sports bra. And, you know, we always talk about how we’re here for “Her.” We’re here to support Her and everything that she does, whether that’s in the gym, outside of the gym, just helping Her to achieve all of Her goals, whatever those might be.
Perlu: That’s so cool.
How do influencers fit into the overall Shefit marketing strategy?
Maria Rendina: So influencers have a lot of power in the influencer space. Social media is kind of taking the world by storm right now. And we’ve taken that as an awareness tactic to gain brand exposure and to find new audiences. So our brand ambassadors — we tried to have direct response mechanisms with promo codes to generate sales. Then we have our core ambassadors, which is a select few women. But then we also work with influencers to slowly hone in and to become brand ambassadors if they align with our brand. So it’s just a really rapidly growing space for us right now that’s going to take a large part of our budget as we grow, especially into 2020.
And then we’re just using the social media landscape to evolve and allow us to evaluate new spaces to be active on as well.
Perlu: Cool. Cool. Thank you so much, Maria. I’d like to take a quick break to talk about Perlu, the platform that all influencer marketing professionals should be using to connect with influencers. It’s not a subscription-based directory. It’s a professional network of active influencers, ensuring that brands partner with only the best, and you can sign up and try the platform for free today.
No commitments or obligations. Here’s Brent Scott, Perlu’s director of influencer marketing to tell you a little bit more.
Perlu: So Maria, what do you look for in influencers that you partner with?
Maria Rendina: So because we are a woman-based brand, we don’t have men’s apparel or anything like that. We try to focus on women that have a very heavy female following.
We use influencer platforms and dive in and try to figure out if they have above a 50% female following. Getting a high engagement rate is also really important. So we work with women that have really good engagement — their followers and their audiences are really engaged in what they’re posting, who they are, what they stand for and just have a good alignment with who they are as a person, who they are as an influencer with our brand.
So we really try to have that alignment with SheFit, what SheFit stands for, our core values. And you know, a really big thing is also do they like the products? So we work with women that feel as if they are confident in representing what SheFit is, what SheFits stands for, how the product fits and that they’re being very genuine to their audience and what they’re sharing.
If a Perlu member were to want to work with SheFit, how would they go about doing that?
Maria Rendina: How any Perlu influencer — any influencer in general — could really get in contact to work with our SheFit brands would be through the platform, reaching out to us, getting in touch with a rep. That would probably be me kind of figuring out, okay, do you align with our Tribe per se?
So we work with a lot of mom bloggers. We work with a lot of fitness enthusiasts, fitness instructors and then women that are body positive getting into working out. Those are our three main Tribes. They can reach out to us on that platform, or if they want to message us on social media, we also do have an influencer email — firstname.lastname@example.org — where we have collabs sent through there as well. And we just build out partnerships that way for the most part.
Perlu: Cool. Cool. Cool.
On a personal level, what would you say is your biggest career success?
Maria Rendina: So I think for me, being able to work with a company that’s growing so fast — it’s a really fast paced environment for a company that is a startup. We’ve been around for about seven years, and we’re still really learning and honing in on our craft and who we are. So we constantly are figuring out the language that we want to use, the type of women that we want to work with and who we are as a brand and then aligning that with our influencers.
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And for me, coming into the marketing room as someone that hadn’t ever worked in the influencer marketing space and working with my peers to figure out solutions and strategies of how we can best do that was probably something that was very challenging for me. But it was something that I felt helped me as a person and as a professional.
And so being able to successfully collaborate with my coworkers and building out really good ideas and thoughtful ways to work and be intentional with what we do is probably the best thing for me.
Perlu: That’s beautiful.
What are some of your biggest lessons learned in your career? Do you have any advice for those who are new to influencer marketing today?
Maria Rendina: Yeah. So I think the number one thing is if you’re selling a product or if you have a product, make sure that the woman or the people that you work with actually really like what you’re selling. Oftentimes you scroll your social media feeds and you’ll see people selling certain products, and you can tell when something is staged or almost pushed instead of it being a little bit more authentic and natural and genuine.
So of course in influencer marketing, there’s tons of money to be made and intensive growth to be had, but at the same time, I think it’s really important to advertise for something that you actually really genuinely would buy or sell to one of your good friends.
I try to keep that in mind when thinking about how other people can really grow in this space as well. Being authentic to what your brand is and what you guys stand for and having people that align with that is probably the most important.
Perlu: Of course. Yeah. That’s in the best interest of both the brand and the influencer.
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I mean, influencers’ audiences aren’t going to be very well engaged or very trusting if the influencer is not promoting products that they truly believe in. So that’s definitely a good call. Well, cool, is there anything else that you’d like to add, Maria?
Maria Rendina: I don’t think so. I just think that being a part of this is super awesome, and being a part of the influencer space is really cool.
I think oftentimes people look at it as like, oh, influencers and social media are a lot right now cause they’re so popular. But it is a really cool space to be in, and it’s cool to see it grow and to evolve and change. And I’m just really excited to see what 2020 has in store for SheFit and for the influencer space in general.
Perlu: Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Maria, it’s been such a pleasure.
Maria Rendina: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Perlu: Cool, so everyone go check out SheFit. They’re also active on Perlu if you want to connect with them on there.
Thank you so much to everyone listening, we hope you really enjoyed hearing from Maria Rendina at SheFit. If you like our show and are interested in what it takes to succeed in influencer marketing, check out our blog at blog.perlu.com for more podcasts and blog posts and sign up for Perlu at perlu.com to meet mingle, connect, collaborate and grow your career. We hope you join us for our next installation of the Perlu Podcast: Influencer Marketing Reimagined.